For those who don’t know, São Paulo’s international airport is actually located in Guarulhos, a neighboring city. This is fairly normal as international airports for large cities are often located in smaller towns. The problem, then, is how to get from there to where you want to go (usually the main big city).
We’ll use Paulista Avenue in São Paulo for this post because it is one of the main areas for business and tourism in São Paulo, with a lot of hotels and it’s not too far from the center. From there, you can then take the metro or bus to get anywhere else in São Paulo.
This time, we won’t even consider the car as an option because, during rush hours, it can take 2 hours…. possibly longer than the domestic flight you just took within Brazil.
What I’ll focus on for this post is the cost of each of the options that I’ll give. The comfort is up to you.
For those here for business that don’t want to lose time and are putting your travel expenses on your company’s tab… or for those who are traveling with many people and can split the cost or just want comfort, this option is for you.
Unfortunately, outside of limousine, helicopter, or private jet, this is one of the most expensive options of transportation around the world. If you want to learn how I feel about taxis, take a look at my page about how to save on ground transportation.
Although I do have to agree that this way is extremely convenient, it’s rather out of the question for backpackers. To get from Guarulhos Airport to Paulista Avenue, you’ll pay around US$ 35.00. Plus, there’s no room for negotiation because there’s a bit of a monopoly within the Guarulhos airport. If you are coming from the opposite direction (from the city to the airport), and take a cab on the street, you might be able to negotiate a bit more.
No matter what, US$35.00 is absurd. To put this into perspective, you can sleep in a hostel dorm room in São Paulo for less than $10.00. So, the cost of your taxi will be the cost of accommodation in São Paulo for almost 4 days!! Sometimes, you can even find domestic flights within Brazil for less than that, too.
If you still want to use a taxi, go to this site: http://www.guarucoop.com.br/eng/index.html
Remember that you can pay with a credit card too.
This is the new fad around the world when it comes to urban transportation. Uber is an application that provides a service similar to the traditional taxi, but the drivers are locals who own cars and have registered to offer paid “rides” to passengers who have the application. It’s something of a paid lift.
How to register and use the service:
- You must sign up and download the application (www.uber.com), available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone. You need to have an international credit card to sign up.
- By signing up with here, https://www.uber.com/invite/ubermain15 you get a free ride worth up to US$ 15.00!
- With the application open, select your starting address. It will then make an estimate of how long the driver will take to arrive.
- You can see the price of the ride before asking for the car.
- Having made the request, enter your final destination. The app then shows what should be the fastest route, the name, model, license plate number, and the driver’s phone number.
- At the end of the ride, an e-mail with the price, duration and the route is sent to the user.
Right now, a ride with Uber from Paulista to Guarulhos Airport is coming out around 25 to 30 USD… so, just under the cost of a taxi.
The Airport Bus Service
For those who have a little bit more time, are traveling alone, and want to save a bit more without losing comfort:
This is a bus service from the Government of São Paulo that, in my opinion, is very cozy since it is clean, has air conditioning, a bathroom, and even free water!! They have several lines that go to different places in São Paulo. To get to Paulista Avenue, specifically, it costs around $14.00 and you can pay with credit card. The bus runs 16 different times during the day, so you will never need to wait more than 30 minutes during the day to catch it.
Just ask Airport Information to find out where to catch the Airport Bus Service. It leaves near arrivals.
For specific schedules, prices, and current information about the different bus lines, you can check this site: http://www.airportbusservice.com.br/
Guarulhos bus line
For broke backpackers and budget travelers:
As I already explained on my page about saving on transportation, those who work at the airport definitely don’t take taxi or shuttle bus every day… they take public transportation! So, if you want to find the cheapest way to get to the city center, just ask the airport workers how do they get to work each day. At the very least, this tactic works for me in 90% of the airports around the world.
This is by far the best options in terms of price. Catch bus number 257 (which is more direct and quicker than the 299) and go to Tatuapé metro station for less than US$1.80. From there, you can take the metro for about US$1.20 to get to anywhere in São Paulo, including Paulista Avenue.
The total will be about US$3.00…voila!
Here are some useful sites for this option:
Bus schedules and prices- http://www.emtu.sp.gov.br/
Schedule for the bus Guarulhos-metro (257): http://www.emtu.sp.gov.br/emtu/itinerarios-e-tarifas/encontre-uma-linha/pelo-numero-da-linha.fss?numlinha=257&pag=buscanumero.htm
Website for São Paulo’s metro system: http://www.metro.sp.gov.br/en/your-trip/index.aspx
Free alternative if you are Flying with TAM or GOL
You can take the free shuttle bus from these airlines that go from the Guarulhos airport to the Congonhas airport, which is nearer to the city center. Just show your flight ticket to the bus driver. The buses are near the exit for arrivals and you can ask the information center where to find them if you need to.
When you arrive at Congonhas, you can get to Paulista Avenue in two different ways:
- By taxi: costs about $13.00
- By direct bus to Paulista: costs about US$1.20. This is without the doubt the cheapest option of all… US$1.20 to get from Guarulhos to Paulista!! To find out what bus to take, ask at the information center at the Congonhas airport. The only detail, as mentioned before, is that you have to be flying with TAM or Gol. You can also use this method to get from Congonhas to Guarulhos if needed.
You can see the exact schedules for the TAM shuttle bus here:
And for the GOL shuttle bus:
Rent a car
Obviously, you can also rent a car at the airport and use it during your time in São Paulo. To know more about it, just check out our article with The 5 Best and Cheapest Websites to Compare and Rent Cars Around the World!
About our last option
Sorry, the free shuttle from Diners card was discontinued….
Well, as this blog focuses on budget travel, I guess I don’t need to say what my preferred options would be. However, all of the options are there if you want them. If you have more tips about this trip or you have a different information from what was given in the article, please, use the comments area below.
Oh! And don’t forget that the above prices and schedules are current as of 06/23/2015.
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