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São Paulo is the Brazilian hub for many international airlines and thus the first stop for many travelers. Before buying a domestic ticket, check which of the city's airports the flight departs from, as the international airport also serves many domestic flights.

GRU Airport

GRU Airport, the international airport, is 25km northeast of the center.

Most domestic flights depart from Terminal 2 East or West; but Azul and Passaredo operate out of the newer Terminal 1 located 2km to the southwest, among others.

Most international flights operate out of the newer Terminal 3 (connected to T2 by corridor and people-mover), an impressive world-class terminal that opened in 2014. Exceptions include mid-haul flights from Central and South America and the Caribbean (Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral, Aeromexico, Avianca/Taca, Copa, Tame etc), and a few stragglers from Africa (Ethiopian, Royal Air Maroc, TAAG) and Europe (Air Europa) – but check ahead.

Frequent free shuttles connect the terminals 24 hours a day.

Congonhas Airport

The domestic-only airport, Congonhas (CGH; Aeroporto de São Paulo-Congonhas), 14km south of the center, services many domestic destinations, including the majority of flights to Rio (Santos Dumont Airport), which depart every half-hour (or less).

Transport Options

Bus

Passaro Marron (www.passaromarron.com.br) operates two airport bus options: the flashier Airport Bus Service, which is one of the most efficient ways to/from GRU Airport, making stops at Aeroporto Congonhas, Barra Funda, Tiête, Praça da República and various hotels around Av Paulista and Rua Augusta; and the cheaper and more crowded suburban Airport Service line 257 to/from Metrô Tatuapé (R$6.15, 30 to 45 minutes; every 15 minutes between 5am and 12:10am). It's easy to confuse the two from the airport – they depart right next to each other outside the terminals. To the airport, Airport Service line 257 is reached by exiting Metrô Tatuapé to the left toward Shopping Metrô Boulevard Tatuapé and the buses are on the street below to the left as you cross the pedestrian bridge.

For Congonhas, catch bus 875A-10 ‘Perdizes-Aeroporto’ from Metrô São Judas or catch an Uber (R$45 to R$65) to/from most neighborhoods of interest (or get there for under R$20 if you catch an Uber from Metrô Jabaquara).

Bus 257 to Metrô Tatuapé – Terminal 2

Bus 257 to Metrô Tatuapé – Terminal 3

Airport Bus Service – Terminal 2

Airport Bus Service – Terminal 3

Car

Rental car agencies Avis (www.avis.com.br), Hertz/Localiza (www.localizahertz.com/brasil/pt-br), Movida (www.movida.com.br) and Unidas (www.unidas.com.br) operate out of GRU in both Terminal 2 and 3. Hertz/Localiza, Movida and Unidas also operate out of Congonhas Airport, among others.

Taxi & Ride-Share

Guarucoop is the only taxi service allowed to operate from the international airport and charges vacation-spoiling prices to the city (R$150 to Jardins, R$150 to Vila Madalena, R$157 to Vila Mariana). There are Guarucoop booths outside of the terminals.

Uber and other ride-share apps are generally 50% cheaper than Guarucoop. They cannot pick you up on the near curve, however; you must meet the driver on the departures level near established Uber pickup/drop-off totems.

To GRU Airport, São Paulo taxis charge a 50% surcharge for crossing municipalities – one more reason to bypass them. You can get a good deal, however, with a family of taxi drivers, Paulo, Marco and Stefan, who hang around outside the Praça da República Airport Bus Service stop – they'll take you faster in a shared taxi for the same price as the bus.

An Uber from Congonhas Airport to Av Paulista runs around R$21 or so off-peak.

Train

The brand new CPTM Linha 13 (Jade) became operational in 2018 and connects GRU Airport with Engenheiro Goulart station on Linha 12 (Safira) in northeast São Paulo. The 15-minute ride (R$4) leaves from Estacão Aeroporto station across the highway from Terminal 1 between 4am and midnight. If you're lugging wheelless luggage that isn't a backpack, you might complain about the walking involved.

Additional services planned at the time of writing include Connect, which will run between Estação Brás and GRU Airport during peak hours (5am to 9am and 4pm to 8pm) for R$4; and Airport Express – the most convenient and easiest for travelers – which will link Estacão da Luz and GRU Airport (R$5 to R$10, 35 minutes, four times per day). Check ahead to be sure these services are up and running on arrival.

Bus

São Paulo has three long-distance bus stations, all accessible by metro. Each terminal tends to specialize in a certain set of destinations, but there are no hard-and-fast rules, unfortunately. The handy app Socicam (www.socicam.com.br) details which terminal services which destinations, among other pertinent info.

The main terminal and South America’s largest, Terminal Tietê, 4.5km north of Centro, offers buses to destinations throughout the continent. Avoid bus arrivals during early morning or late afternoon – traffic jams are enormous. You'll find left luggage (Guarda-Volumes) on the ground floor near the west entrance. Rates run between R$13 to R$25 per 24 hours depending on bag size.

Buses to Santos leave about every half hour from a separate bus station – the Terminal Rodoviário do Jabaquara, which is at the end of the southern metro line (Metrô Jabaquara). Terminal Rodoviário da Barra Funda, in the west zone, near the Memorial da Ámerica Latina, services destinations in São Paulo state, including Iguape and Cananéia, Paraná and all buses to the Pantanal.

ClickBus (www.clickbus.com.br) is a good app for consulting departures times, fares and purchases (with foreign cards!) and there's a dedicated pickup booth on the eastern side of Tietê bus terminal in front of Bradesco bank. BuscaOnibus (www.buscaonibus.com.br) is another good resource.

Long-Distance Bus Fares from São Paulo

While there are plenty of options in addition to what's listed below, the following companies generally offer some of the most comfortable/reliable services:

Angra dos Reis

Starting Fare (R$)

84

Duration (hr)

Bus Company

Reunidas Paulista (www.reunidaspaulista.com.br)

Asunción (PY)

Starting Fare (R$)

250

Duration (hr)

20

Bus Company

Pluma (www.pluma.com.br)

Belo Horizonte

Starting Fare (R$)

121

Duration (hr)

8

Bus Company

Cometa (www.viacaocometa.com.br)

Brasília

Starting Fare (R$)

189

Duration (hr)

15

Bus Company

Real Expresso (www.realexpresso.com.br)

Buenos Aires (AR)

Starting Fare (R$)

467

Duration (hr)

44

Bus Company

JBL (www.jblturismo.com.br)

Curitiba

Starting Fare (R$)

89

Duration (hr)

Bus Company

Cometa (www.viacaocometa.com.br)

Florianópolis

Starting Fare (R$)

149

Duration (hr)

11

Bus Company

Catatrinense (www.catarinense.net)

Foz do Iguaçu

Starting Fare (R$)

220

Duration (hr)

17½

Bus Company

Catatrinense

Montevideo (UY)

Starting Fare (R$)

490

Duration (hr)

32

Bus Company

JBL

Paraty

Starting Fare (R$)

65

Duration (hr)

6

Bus Company

Reunidas Paulista

Pantanal (Cuiabá)

Starting Fare (R$)

395

Duration (hr)

27½

Bus Company

Andorinha (www.andorinha.com)

Pantanal (Campo Grande)

Starting Fare (R$)

261

Duration (hr)

14

Bus Company

Andorinha

Recife

Starting Fare (R$)

379

Duration (hr)

45

Bus Company

Itapemirim (www.itapemirim.com.br)

Rio de Janeiro

Starting Fare (R$)

96

Duration (hr)

6

Bus Company

1001 (www.autoviacao1001.com.br)

Salvador

Starting Fare (R$)

375

Duration (hr)

26½

Bus Company

Gontijo (www.gontijo.com.br)

Santos

Starting Fare (R$)

27

Duration (hr)

Bus Company

Cometa

Santiago (CH)

Starting Fare (R$)

465

Duration (hr)

57

Bus Company

JBL

For international services, JBL heads to Montevideo (Uruguay) and Santiago (Chile) at 1:30pm on Sunday and Monday and to Buenos Aires (Argentina) at 9pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. For Asunción (Paraguay), Pluma heads out at 6:30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Sunday.