Airports, São Paulo
São Paulo has two main airports. All international flights arrive at Guarulhos Airport (GRU), 18 1/2 miles (30km) northeast of the city-centre. Paulistas will also refer to this airport as Cumbica.
Guarulhos Airport is the largest in Brazil and sure one of the biggest in Southamerica.
Unlike airports in Europe and North America, the international airport of São Paulo has a duty-free shop upon arrival before clearing customs, where you can purchase up to US$500 of goods. Once you have cleared customs you can change money or traveler's checks or use an ATM to obtain cash in Reais (R$). The American Express office is open daily from 6:30am to 10:30pm and charges no commission on changing cash or traveler's checks (as long as they are American Express checks), located in Terminal 1 Arrivals. The Banco do Brasil charges a US$20 flat rate for traveler's checks transactions and US$5 flat rate for cash transactions. The ATMs are compatible with Visa/Plus, located in Terminal 1 Arrivals.
Unfortunately the airport does not have any official webpage (at least I could not find one), but there is a page from "Infraero" where you can find the informations you want:
(page does take some time to loud!)
São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport
PO Box 3061-Guarulhos
São Paulo 07141-970
Telephone: (0)11 6445 2945
Fax: (0)11 6445 3173 or 6412 3335
From Guarulhos Airport to the city of Sao Paulo travelers can either take a taxi or a bus.
Prepaid taxi fares are available with Taxi Guarucoop (tel. 011/6440-7070), to all of São Paulo, as well as to the suburbs and surrounding communities. Sample fares: Congonhas Airport R$61 (US$30.50), São Paulo Centro and Tietê R$46 (US$23), Cerqueira Cesar and Jardins R$54 (US$27), Avenida Paulista R$54 (US$27), and Liberdade R$53 (US$26.50).
One can also take a regular metered taxi, flag fall starts at R$3.20 (US$1.60) and goes up R$0.80 (US40¢) per km. If traffic is good, these taxis end up being a little cheaper, but some days traffic is so congested that the prepaid ride turns out to be a much better deal.
In my opinion the best, safest and also cheapest method to get from the airport to the city-centre or to the domestic airport Congonhas is the Airport Service Bus.
They operate four different shuttle bus routes: to Congonhas Airport, to Praca da Republica, to Avenida Paulista (stopping at major hotels along the street), and to the Rodoviario Tietê (bus station). Cost is R$21 per person (US$7), and each route takes approximately 50 minutes. Buses depart daily about every 30 minutes from 6am to 11pm, and then hourly overnight.
Timetables can be found under:
When travelling from Guarulhos Airport to Gongonhas Airport, please remember that in general after leaving the aircraft you have to go trough customs and passport control (which always does take a loooong looong time there) and that you still has to get the luggage, etc. and probably will get stuck some time in a traffic jam (depends on the time)...
so count on around 2-3 hours to get to Gongonhas airport from Guarulhos!
You've landed in São Paulo. Now you need to get to São Paulo - the airport is around 25kms away from the city center, in heavy traffic.
Taking a taxi is expensive - if you negociate with the driver beforehand, it is around R$ 75. If you pay by the meter, R$100. If you are unsure, take a prepaid cab from the booths (blue or green). There are lots of hawkers for taxis in the airport - if you are an obvious tourist, you run the risk of paying way too much.
You can also take the "Airport Service" shuttle buses. There are several different lines: Eldorado Shopping Center, to the main hotels, to certain city areas, etc.. The price is R$24 per person (around US$12).
Finally, if you are travelling with little luggage and a tight budget, you can take the shuttle to the nearest metro station (Tatuape) for only R$3 (US$1,5). This is on the blue line - but don't worry, there are maps on the station showing how the different lines connect.
My wife and I recently discovered that if you prove that your bus driver that you have a connecting flight, (by a copy of your itinerary), there is no charge for the Airport Shuttle Bus. We gave the driver a $5(USD) tip, and it's was greatly appreciated.
When you enter Brazil, you are given a copy of a form (sorry, can't remember if it was Customs or Imigration) that you must present when you exit the country. I normally take great care with these documents, but for some reason I misplaced this item. I was lectured by an angry Brazilian official about being irresponsible, careless, etc. and sent to another area to fill out the same form.
As I filled out the new form, the same official mocked a German tourist's accent, belittled him and finally called him an idiot before sending him into the area where the blank forms were located.
He continued humiliating several others, and the whole scene was somewhat surreal. It's too bad that the last Brazilian several hundred people saw that day was so bitter.
Moral of the story: Don't lose that little white reciept, unless you want to be scolded like a child.
Airport Bus Service is the name of a company (yes, the name is in English, but don't let that fool you) that provides excellent transportation options between major transportation hubs in the city of S?o Paulo.
I have used this service to go between the two major S?o Paulo airports ( Guarulhos and Congonhas ) to connect between international and local flights. However, the company also serves several of the main intercity bus terminals in S?o Paulo as well.
Therefore, don't look at the S?o Paulo International Airport at Guarulhos as your only transportation hub when you arrive in this city. It is possible to get economical connections to the rest of the southern part of the country, no matter if by bus or plane, without having to wait for that rare domestic Brazilian flight that leaves the Guarulhos airport - as most flights to and from that airport are internatinal.
If you don't know Portuguese, find a trustworthy local who is going the same direction, as most of the bus people speak only very limited English.
"How long does it take to get from Congonhas airport to Guarulhos airport?" (or the other way around) is one of the most frequent questions on the São Paulo forum.
The answer is (drumrolls please!): it depends.
If there is no traffic (late at night) then it takes around 40 minutes. If it is rush hour, get confortable because traffic will be very heavy: it will take more than 1.5 hours. At other times, probably around an hour.
For $58R's One Way you can take an AIR-Shuttle between GRU-International into CGH (Downtown Airport) on Ocean Air (Which also serves many other cities say like Macae)
This is much faster and easier than the bus PLUS NO traffic problems to deal with.
"How do I get from Guarulhos to Congonhas (or vice versa)?"
The easiest, most expensive way is to take a cab. Don't try to bargain with the cab drivers lined up outside the departure gate and asking you if you wan t a cab (the more agressive will try to help you with your luggage before you answer). There is a good chance that you will be ripped off (but if you really want to, try to negociate around R$ 75 or insist that the meter be turned on).
Instead, head over to the booths and prepay your fare. No matter how bad the traffic or what way the driver goes, you've already paid. These cabs are very trustworthy as well.
But the cheapest way is also very easy: shuttle busses. There are plenty of blue and red busses, logoed "Airport Service". The shuttle goes direct, but there are other lines that go to hotels or shopping centers. They charge R$ 24 per passanger.
Flying to Sao Paulo from Europe usually takes around 12 hours. You can fly from London, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, Helsinki, Istanbul and Lisbon.
France is one of the few countries with good flight connections to Brazil. Not only does Air France offer two daily flights from Paris to Sao Paulo on Boeing 747's but Varig with a daily service has routes too.
The shuttle flight between Rio and Sao Paulo offers three daily flights on the Rio Galeao / Sao Paulo Guarulhos route.
From São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport you can take a blue/white taxi right at the exit from the building. But first: on the right is a round shaped office where you can tell the destination where you want to go and friendly personnel will calculate the amount. Fare from airtport to downtown (about 30 km) is 29US$ (79 R$). This service is safe and quick
Most of the international airlines have a 'pit stop' in Sao Paulo, before going to Rio de Janeiro. I would consider a 'stop over' if possible with your ticket. But you need at least 3 - 4 days to explore the city. Driving from Rio (which I did) takes about 4 - 4,5 ours. The roads are great, but there is a lot of traffic.
You have the Metro. Otherwise; why dont rent a car? The signs and the roads make it surprisengly easy to find your way (if you know where you going...). See my Rio pages for more info about car rental.
There exists a very good "express" bus service from GRU (Sao Paulo's International Airport in Guarulhos) to downtown (major hotels) as well as the domestic airport in downtown. Inexpensive and comfortable -- they beat the expensive cabs for a ride downtown. Buy a ticket arrivals level curbside by the big Airport Express busses.
The airport is actually located on the outskirts of Sýo Paulo, in a town called Guarulhos (that's why the airport code is GRU). Sýo Paulo downtown is around 45 minutes (or more with road traffic) from the airport, so if you are planning to visit Sýo Paulo, choose a hotel IN Sýo Paulo and NOT nearby the international airport.
There is not much to do around the international airport anyway, only hotels.
BUS LINES FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CITY:
257 GUARULHOS (AEROPORTO INTERNACIONAL DE SAO PAULO)/SAO PAULO (METRO TATUAPE - TERMINAL NORTE)*
258 GUARULHOS (AEROPORTO INTERNACIONAL DE SAO PAULO)/SAO PAULO (AEROPORTO DE CONGONHAS)
259 GUARULHOS (AEROPORTO INTERNACIONAL DE SAO PAULO)/SAO PAULO (PRACA DA REPUBLICA)
299 GUARULHOS (AEROPORTO INTERNACIONAL DE SAO PAULO)/SAO PAULO (METRO TATUAPE - TERMINAL NORTE)*
316 GUARULHOS (AEROPORTO INTERNACIONAL DE SAO PAULO)/SP (CIRCUITO DOS HOTEIS)
437 GUARULHOS (AEROPORTO INTERNACIONAL DE SAO PAULO)/SAO PAULO (ITAIM BIBI)
472 GUARULHOS (AEROPORTO INTERNACIONAL DE SAO PAULO)/SAO PAULO (TERMINAL RODOVIARIO BARRA FUNDA) --- VIA TERMINAL RODOVIARIO TIETE ---
ONE WAY-FARE: R$ 35,00 (as of March 2012), *R$ 4,30
"Airport Bus Service" Ticket offices can be found on both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Look out for the "Airport Bus Service" logo.
The following cards are all accepted: Visa, Visa Electron, JCB, Redeshop, Creditcard, Mastercard, Dinners and American Express.
CHECK BUS LINES TIMETABLES/ITINERARY ON THE WEBSITE BELOW:
The original bus website is still under construction so I don't know if the info found there is up to date: