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Know Before You Go
- No matter how hot it is outside, keep a small umbrella or raincoat in your bag. Sao Paulo's climate can be unpredictable, and tropical showers are known to catch travellers off guard.
- In bars and nightclubs, you don't pay for drinks in rounds. Instead, you'll have an individual tab to pay at the end of the night. Depending on where you go, it will either be a plastic card or slip of paper that records all your orders.
- It's frowned upon to eat food on the street. If you want to avoid strange looks from the locals, find somewhere to sit before you tuck into your meal.
- When it comes to drinking water, stick to buying bottles from the shop. Or if you have access to a fridge, you can boil tap water and refrigerate it until it's cold.
Getting Around Sao Paulo
- One of the best ways to explore Sao Paulo is on foot. Most of the city's top attractions are found in the city centre and along Avenida Paulista. But if you need to travel further afield or get somewhere faster, the city has a variety of public transport options to choose from.
- If you are looking for a fast way to get around Sao Paulo, hop on board the metro. The lines stop near many of the top attractions, and ticket prices are affordable with a one-way ride costing BRL 3.80. The metro is open Sunday to Friday from 4:00 a.m. to midnight and on Saturdays from 4:40 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
- The bus system in Sao Paulo is huge, but it's not the fastest way to get somewhere if you are in a hurry. The buses can also get crowded during rush hour, and it's not advised to hop on board late at night. Tickets cost BRL 3.80 one-way and buses run from 4:40 a.m. to midnight every day.
- Taxis are easily found anywhere in the city and are the best option if you find yourself out late at night. While some drivers do speak a little English, it will be easier to get to your final destination by writing the address down. Fares start at a fixed rate of BRL 4 and increase over the distance travelled. Alternatively, you can use the city's ridesharing apps Uber and EasyTaxi.
When is The Best Time to Visit Sao Paulo?
The best time to visit Sao Paulo is during its fall and spring shoulder seasons. From March to May there are plenty of festivals to keep you busy, and despite the high season being around the corner, you'll still be able to find bargains on room rates.
October to November won't be as quiet, with some of the city's most popular events taking place. But it's still cheaper than the winter season if you lock in your hotel rates a few months in advance.
Sao Paulo's summer months (December to February) are hot and humid with plenty of rain. But if you are looking to save money and avoid the crowds it's one of the best times to visit. You'll be able to find deals on accommodation, and flights will also be cheaper. But if you are planning to visit over the weekend of Carnival, book your hotel room a few months in advance to ensure availability.
From June to September, the city experiences it's high season. The cooler temperatures and little chance of rain attract domestic and international travellers to the city. If you want to avoid spikes in accommodation costs, book your hotel room a few months in advance.
Airports in Sao Paulo
Congonhas is Sao Paulo's domestic-only airport. It's located 8 km from the city and is a hub for Avianca Brazil, Gol Airlines and TAM Airlines.
Guarulhos International Airport
Guarulhos is the main international airport for Sao Paulo. It's the second busiest airport in Latin America and a hub for Avianca Brazil, LATAM Brasil and Gol Transportes Aéreos.
Getting To and From Congonhas Airport
If you are on a budget and don't have a lot of luggage, the best way to get from Congonhas Airport to the city is on the bus. It costs BRL 4 one-way and will take about 20 minutes to reach São Judas subway station. From there, you can either switch to the metro or catch a taxi to your hotel.
For travellers who don't mind paying extra, taxis are available at the airport. A single trip from to the CBD will cost BRL 46 to BRL 125 depending on traffic.
Getting To and From Guarulhos International Airport
The cheapest way to get from Guarulhos to the city centre is with the bus and metro. A public bus line runs from the airport to Tatuape subway station. Tickets for the bus and subway cost BRL 4 each and the journey time is 30-40 minutes.
There is also the Airport Bus Service that connects passengers to the major hotels and main bus terminal in the city. Prices for a one-way ticket are BRL 42, and it can take 1 to 2 hours depending on traffic.
You can also catch a metered taxi at the airport. A single trip should cost you between BRL 220 to BRL 250 and can take up to 2 hours.