Taxis are easy to find at Guarulhos airport as the taxi desks are located outside of each terminal, however be aware that only one taxi company is based at the airport and the lack of competition means the level of service is not always great. Also, be aware that for some reason not all international credit cards work at all establishments in Brazil, why they don't still remains a mystery to me. Alternative transport options come in the form of Brazil Airport Transfers, which is a reputable company that allows you to book and pay for your taxi prior to arriving at Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport. Do your own research on which companies you think are best to use, or consult with your travel agency.
I'm not a frequent traveler to Sao Paulo, although unfortunately I still have to visit for business more often than I would like. Typically the airport is not nearly as chaotic as Rio's Galeao airport, however depending on the time of day, Guarulhos airport can still be a headache, especially if there's been delays caused by rain.
Taxi's and buses from the airport aren't too bad, although the journey time to and from the city can be lengthy during peak hours, in which case the bus option just adds to the delay as the bus does stop numerous times to allow other passengers to go to their hotels.
The taxi's are usually ok, and booking and payment can be made at the taxi desk just outside the airport terminal. Do keep in mind that occasionally international credit cards don't work in Brazil - this is not such a common occurrence these days, but is still known to happen from time to time. Also the line for the taxi can be quite long if you're arriving at the same time as numerous other international flights, and the driving style of a lot of drivers is erratic, to say the least.
If you check online you'll find a few different sites that will allow you to book a taxi before you arrive. My suggestion, based on previous trips to the city, is Brazil Airport Transfers (www.brazilairporttransfers.com), but do your own research and use the company you feel is best.
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:
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 $5(USD) tip, and it's was greatly appreciated.
The airport is actually located on the outskirts of Sýo Paulo, in a town called Guarulhos (that's why the airport code is GRU). Sýo Paulo downtown is around 45 minutes (or more with road traffic) from the airport, so if you are planning to visit Sýo Paulo, choose a hotel IN Sýo Paulo and NOT nearby the international airport.
There is not much to do around the international airport anyway, only hotels.
Flying to Sao Paulo from Europe usually takes around 12 hours. You can fly from London, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, Helsinki, Istanbul and Lisbon.
France is one of the few countries with good flight connections to Brazil. Not only does Air France offer two daily flights from Paris to Sao Paulo on Boeing 747's but Varig with a daily service has routes too.
The shuttle flight between Rio and Sao Paulo offers three daily flights on the Rio Galeao / Sao Paulo Guarulhos route.
Easiest way to move from and to teh airport!
Special bus lines connecting Sao Paulo International Airport (Guarulhos) to Congonhas Airport, Praça da Republica (downtown), Tiete bus terminal, Barra Funda bus terminal, Shopping Eldorado and Paulista and Augusta St. Hotels.
Airport Bus Service fare: R$ 27,00.
Except the lines that leave of the Terminals: Tietê and Barra Funda, whose value of the ticket is R$ 28,05.
São Paulo International Airport (Guarulhos) phone: 55 11 6445-2505
Congonhas Airport phone: 55 11 5090-9225
Praça da República phone: 55 11 3331-6196
Tietê Interstate Bus Terminal phone: 55 11 6221-0244
Barra Funda Interstate Bus Terminal phone: 55 11 3392-1313
They accept the following cards: Visa, Visa Electron, JCB, Redeshop, Creditcard, Mastercard, Dinners and American Express.
Schedule available at their website! Check!
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$1,5). This is on the blue line - but don't worry, there are maps on the station showing how the different lines connect.
"How do I get from Guarulhos to Congonhas (or vice versa)?"
The easiest, most expensive way is to take a cab. Don't try to bargain with the cab drivers lined up outside the departure gate and asking you if you wan t a cab (the more agressive will try to help you with your luggage before you answer). There is a good chance that you will be ripped off (but if you really want to, try to negociate around R$ 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.
"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.
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.
A great service for getting downtown from the Garulhos airport in São Paulo to downtown is the shuttle bus. It costs about R$23 for a one-way as I recall, about one-third the price of a taxi. There are several locations it can drop you, including the Praça de Republica.