FOLLOW US

World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Brazil > Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo Weather

29°C

Local time Sao Paulo

Currency

R$

Getting around Sao Paulo

Public transport

The underground Metrô (tel: 0800 770 7722 in Brazil only; www.metro.sp.gov.br) is the quickest way to get from point A to point B.

Lines 1,2 and 3 (blue, green and red respectively) are the core of the metro, and therefore the most useful for sightseeing. It operates daily from 0440 until about midnight (you won't be allowed into most stations past 1155). On Saturdays, it extends operations to 0100. These main lines integrate with the three key long-distance bus stations and connect to overground suburban rail services run by CPTM. A sixth route, Line 15 (Silver), opened in 2014 and operates a daily monorail service between Vila Prudente and Oratório from 0600 to 2000.

You can buy tickets singularly or in batches: unitário for single journeys or more expensive combined tickets that include bus travel. Visitors staying for longer should purchase the Bilhete Unico, a rechargeable smartcard ticket giving access to discounted journeys on all public transport, including bus, train and metro services. You have to register online (http://bilheteunico.sptrans.com.br) and then pick up the card at any metro station.

With over 1,300 routes, the bus network operated by Transporte Público de São Paulo (tel: 156, in Brazil only; www.sptrans.com.br) takes a bit of getting used to. Bus stops infrequently display the routes, although these are marked on the buses. Single bus tickets are R$3.80 one-way, you can buy tickets from kiosks or on board from the bus drivers.

Taxis

São Paulo has thousands of taxis. There are four types: common, radio taxi, special and luxury. Taxis hailed on the street or at white taxi ranks are slightly cheaper. Meters start with a fixed standing fee that increases per kilometre with higher nightly rates between 2000-0600.

Ligue Táxi (tel: +55 11 2101 3030), Super Taxi (tel: +55 11 3859 1100) and Coopertax (tel: +55 11 2095 6000) are recommended.

Driving

Endless traffic jams, confusing one-way systems, and constant lane switching renders driving around the city tough. Parking in central São Paulo is privately run and expensive: look for assisted estacionamento (parking) manned by parking attendants.

When coming to and from the airport, keep rush hour in mind. With minimal traffic the drive is roughly 45 minutes, but it can take up to two hours in peak times.

Car hire

Recommended car hire companies in downtown locations include Avis (tel: +55 11 3259 6868; www.avis.com) and Hertz (tel: +55 11 3258 9384; www.hertz.com).

Bicycle hire

São Paulo's bike-sharing scheme, Bike Sampa (www.mobilicidade.com.br/bikesampa.asp), has hundreds of orange bikes available at stations around the city. Sign up online (under'adquiro um plano'). A small registration fee is payable by credit card and bicycle loan is free for the first hour and charged per hour thereafter.

To check out a bike, you'll need a mobile phone. Private cycle hire can also be found in Ibirapuera Park.

Browse our Video Guides

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

Hotel Excelsior

This 198-room hotel in São Paulo with its mammoth convention centre flatters beyond its 4-star billing. The rooms behind Excelsior's art-deco frontage are plain and businesslike yet excellent value. Wi-Fi is free rooms come with LCD TVs and there is a bar and fitness centre onsite. The location is also close by downtown Praça da República with nearby cultural icons such as Teatro Municipal and Edificio Copan. Staff speak English and can help book tickets and tours. Breakfast included.

Hotel Unique

Like a stranded copper-green Noah's ark, renowned architect Ruy Ohtake's fantasy creation is the pinnacle of imaginative design. Every inch of this boutique São Paulo hotel near Ibarepuera Park is surreal. Rooms with arched wooden floors reflect the hotel's curvature, and furnishings are sci-fi chic. A blood-red swimming pool on the rooftop tops off this extraordinary architectural adventure.

Fasano

This hotel's ethos is opulent familiarity, hence why new arrivals are greeted by an inviting sunken lounge bar of plump leather sofas, with reception concealed within a Babylonian brickwork interior. The theme of easy decadence flows into the rooms with lots of wood and timeless leather furnishing. The Italian cuisine within the sparklingly lit Fasano Restaurant, under chef Salvatore Loi's direction, is one of São Paulo's finest. Naomi Campbell and Yoko Ono are among illustrious past clients.

L'Hotel Porto Bay São Paulo

Popular with business clientele yet conveniently enough located off Avenida Paulista to crack the leisure market. The 76 rooms of this Portuguese chain offer ample comfort for those on the move with iPod docking stations and Wi-Fi. With a beautiful falling staircase and striking artworks on the wall, this hotel oozes grandeur, yet comes at a reasonable price.

Grand Hyatt

Only in the moderately priced bracket if booked in advance because this is a luxurious residence bearing the hallmarks of quality expected from a Grand Hyatt. Located in the Pinheiros financial district it has all the amenities you could wish for including high speed internet a choice of bars and restaurants 466 rooms and suites and an exemplary spa. The Wine Library bar offers guests a giddying choice of 2 500 bottles. Breakfast included.

Staybridge Suites

This modern skyscraper offers good rates for travellers in the thriving commercial district of Itaim Bibi with fabulous vistas towards Moema district from the corporate top floor rooms. The Staybridge is also conveniently incorporated into an open mall with a cinema gym and restaurants so there's no need to risk life and limb crossing busy surrounding roads to go out.