In a huge city such as São Paulo, roads can be extremely congested, with peak traffic between the hours of 6am to 9am and 4pm to 8pm. Driving is not recommended in the city, as parking can be as much of a problem as the traffic. Fortunately, there are hundreds of buses covering the city, though these can be rather crowded and slow during peak hours, and also won't stop unless hailed from the sidewalk.
The subway system is usually the fastest option for getting around in São Paulo. The metro system consists of five colour-coded lines: Line 1 (Blue), Line 2 (Green), Line 3 (Red), Line 4 (Yellow) and Line 5 (Lilac), all of which operate from Sunday to Friday, from 4.40am to midnight, and on Saturdays until 1am.
We recommend tourists invest in a Bilhete Único, which is a smartcard that simplifies payment on São Paulo's buses, subways and trains. Visitors can buy these at underground stations and charge them at convenient locations such as newspaper stands.
Taxis are freely available and we'd advise tourists to make use of them after dark. White cabs can be found at stands near big venues and central areas. Radio taxis are more reputable and favoured by tourists, but are more expensive and must be ordered by phone. There's also the option of ride-sharing apps, such as Uber and Lyft.
São Paulo is large and spread out. You won't be able to walk everywhere, but the various neighbourhoods are easy to negotiate on foot and are usually safe by day.
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International
The airport is located 16 miles (26km) northeast of Sao Paulo.
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International (GRU)
LocationThe airport is located 16 miles (26km) northeast of Sao Paulo.
Getting to the city
EMTU buses depart from GRU Airport, bound to Congonhas Airport, Praça da República, Tietê Bus Terminal, and Barra Funda, Itaim Bibi, Circuit Paulista, and Brooklin Novo. There is an airport shuttle bus which drops off at the main hotels. Taxis are available outside the terminals.
TimeGMT -3 (GMT -2 between the third Sunday in October and the third Sunday in February)
Car hire companies include Avis, Hertz, Localiza, Movida, and Unidas.
Taxis are available outside the terminals. Visitors are advised to take the official airport Guarucoop taxis; they are usually a little more expensive but give peace of mind.
Transfer between terminals
Terminal 1 is small and handles only domestic flights. A free shuttle bus connects it to Terminals 2 and 3, which are themselves linked by a walkway.
There are a number of bars, restaurants, and shops at the airport. There are banks, currency exchange bureaux, postal services, gift shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, gift globes, and ATMs. There is duty-free shopping before customs for Arrivals. Tourist information desks are available as well as business facilities and conference rooms in nearby hotels.
Parking is available at a variety of different parking buildings around the terminals, including standard and premium parking options.