Getting into São Paulo (City) from Guarulhos Airport

By 08:52 , ,

This post has been updated - November 2014. 

So I realized over the past few weeks that I have been giving friends, friends of friends, Couchsurfers, etc. directions from São Paulo's Int'l Airport in Guarulhos (a town right outside the city of SP)... and writing it out over and over each time and figured I'd keep these directions somewhere!

So really, this post is more for me so that I can just shoot these lovelies a link rather than write the same thing yet again, but also for you who are coming to São Paulo and would otherwise be stranded at the airport or taking a cab that cost more than your plane ticket when there are easy and much less expensive methods of making your way to civilization (or, well... at least sort of civilization).

There are really four main methods (besides getting a ride!) to make it into the city from Guarulhos airport:

Taxi ($$-$$$$)
Fact: cabs in São Paulo are expensive.
Fiction: Cabs are not the only safe way to get into the city. In fact, taking airports taxis may not be so safe.

Depending on where you're going in the city, a cab will run you up to R$200, so plan ahead and have cash on hand just in case you decide to take one because not all taxis take credit cards. A good way to guesstimate is using a cab fare calculator. But look to pay more if you're going to the South or West districts and less if you're going to the North or East (well, east can be relative). And I guess in the middle if you're going to Centro? :-)

There are of course myriad apps you can use as well!
I personally like EasyTaxi, 99 Taxis, and Uber

Coach Busses ($$)
Airport Bus Service is probably the most common means of transportation used to and from Guarulhos. It gives you options to take a number of busses that go to different parts of the city for R$36,50 each way.

The options are busses to :

- Barra Funda Terminal (central/west side - has metro, train & busses to other cities in São Paulo)
- Tietê Terminal (north/main inter-state bus station)
- Berrini (south SP, another financial/commerical disctrict - a lot of conferences here)
- Paulista (center/south - main Avenue in the city & stops at a number of hotels)
- República (right smack in the middle of the city - not a good idea to take the late busses here)
- Congonhas (the airport inside SP city you wish you'd flown into)

You can find schedules here

Public Transportation ($) -

For the frugal and adventurous traveler. A well kept secret in the city is that there's a bus that'll run you R$4,45 from the airport to Metro Tatuapé which is on the east side of the city on the red line which in turn will connect you to all sorts of parts of the city. Here's a metro map so you can get an idea: Metrô de SP

Note that this cheap method comes with a cost. I would recommend not taking this option if you get in at 7 AM, or 5 PM and are carrying a lot of luggage. The red line is the most packed of them all, and you don't want to get stuck on a train during rush hour (it'll take you at least 5 trains that pass by to make it onto one that'll fit you, nevermind your luggage).

That being said, non-rush hour times and weekends are quite pleasant on the SP metro system (but especially the green & yellow lines) and you only need to buy one ticket (R$3,00) to transfer from one line to the other, if you need to to get where you need to be.

Airline Bus (-) -

Depending on which airline you take to SP, there are free super comfortable coach busses that take you from Guarulhos to Congonhas airport by just showing your plane ticket stub! This is very handy if you're going to be settling anywhere in the south side of the city. If you're here on business, you most likely will, so look into it! They're mostly national lines, but worth checking out.

The airlines that have these busses are: Gol, TAM, and Azul (to Viracopos airport). 

You can also, of course, hire my company's travel services to get you a private transfer to wherever you're headed ($$$-$$$$), which is totally worthwhile if you want a comfortable trip and an English speaking driver.
Does anyone have any other suggestions I can add to this guide?

Hope this helps for your next trip to Sampa City!


Photos: Taxi, Airport Bus

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