In a huge city like Sao 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. There are hundreds of buses covering the city, operating from 5am to midnight, but these can be very crowded and slow during peak hours. Buses won't stop unless hailed, and pick pocketing is common. The subway system is usually the fastest option for getting around in Sao Paulo. It has three main lines: a north-south line, an east-west line, and a short central line below the Avenida Paulista. The Avenida Paulista line runs from 6am to 10pm, and the other lines from 5am to midnight. The Bilhete Único is a smartcard that makes it easy to pay for transport on Sao Paulo's buses, subways, and trains. You can buy them at underground stations, and charge them at newspaper stands with credits for public transportation. Taxis are freely available and absolutely essential 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. Sao 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.
GMT -2 (GMT -3 between the third Sunday in October to the third Sunday in February).
Brazil has a variety of electrical voltages, sometimes within the same city. The better hotels offer 220 volts. If not, transformers are available in electrical stores. Outlets often accept a variety of plug types but the three-pin type is standard.
The Brazilian currency is the Real (BRL), which is divided into 100 centavos. The US dollar is also welcome in most tourist establishments. In the main cities foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks or cambios. There is an extensive network of ATMs in the country and most major international credit cards are accepted.
The international access code for Brazil is +55. Mobile phone networks cover the main cities and towns, and phones are available to rent. Internet cafes are widely available and most hotels provide internet access. Every town has a central telephone office called a Posto Telefonico where long distance calls can be made, and public phone booths are everywhere, operated by phone cards.
Emergencies: 190 (police), 192 (ambulance)
|New Years Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|Carnival / Mardi Gras||3 Mar - 5 Mar||16 Feb - 18 Feb|
|Good Friday||18 Apr||3 Apr|
|Tiradentes Day||21 Apr||21 Apr|
|Labour Day||1 May||1 May|
|Corpus Christi||19 Jun||4 Jun|
|Independence Day||7 Sep||7 Sep|
|Our Lady of Aparecida||12 Oct||12 Oct|
|All Souls Day||2 Nov||2 Nov|
|Proclamation of the Republic||15 Nov||15 Nov|
|Christmas Day||25 Dec||25 Dec|
The climate of Sao Paulo may not be as congenial as other Brazilian cities, but it is warm and sunny enough by world standards. The weather remains mild to warm all year, with the lowest temperatures of around 54°F (12°C) being experienced during July, and the maximum of around 82°F (27°C) being enjoyed during the hottest month of February. Sao Paulo receives around 53 inches (135cm) of rain a year, mostly during the summer months.
EMTU buses depart GRU Airport, bound to Congonhas Airport, Praça da República, Tietê Bus Terminal and Barra Funda, Itaim Bibi, Circuit Paulista, and Brooklin Novo. The nearest metro station to the airport is Tietê. There the passenger must use a bus to get to the airport. There is an airport shuttle bus which drops off at the main hotels.
Car hire companies include Avis and Hertz.
Taxis are available outside the terminals; visitors are advised to take the prepaid taxis, they are usually a little more expensive but give peace of mind.
The airport has two terminals, which are within easy walking distance of each other.
There are a number of bars, restaurants and shops at the airport. There are banks, currency exchange bureaux and ATMs. There is duty-free shopping before customs for arrivals, as well as tourist information desks, business facilities and two conference rooms.
Parking fees begin from BRL 10 for the first hour, up to a daily rate of BRL 33 in the official airport parking lot. There is a long-stay parking lot nearby, connected to the airport by a free shuttle, which offers a daily rate of BRL 18.75.
Pay-per-use wifi is available in both terminals.