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, but these can be very crowded and slow during peak hours. Buses won't stop unless hailed from the sidewalk, and pickpocketing is common. The subway system is usually the fastest option for getting around in Sao 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 them operating from Sunday to Friday, from 4.40am to midnight, and on Saturdays until 1am for most lines. 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 -3 (GMT -2 between the third Sunday in October and the third Sunday in February)
Brazil has a variety of electrical voltages, sometimes within the same city. The better hotels offer 220 volts, 60Hz. If not, transformers are available in electrical stores. Two-pin plugs with a grounding pin are standard.
The Brazilian currency is the Real (BRL). 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. Hotels, cafes and restaurants offering free wifi are widely available in tourist centred areas. As international roaming costs can be high, purchasing a local prepaid SIM card can be a cheaper option. 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)
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.
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.
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 is a fourth terminal that handles large air cargo, and is off limits to passengers.
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.
Free wifi is available in all terminals for four hours.