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

Sao Paulo Weather

29°C

Local time Sao Paulo

Currency

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Travel to Sao Paulo

Flying to Sao Paulo

British Airways and TAM Linhas Aéreas offer direct flights to São Paulo from the UK. Airlines operating direct flights from the USA include American Airlines, TAM Linhas Aéreas and United. You can find cheap flights to São Paulo in the low season from April to May and October to November.

Flight times

From London: 12 hours
From New York: 10 hours
From Los Angeles: 12 hours
From Toronto: 10 hours
From Sydney: 18 hours (including stopover)

Travel by road

Driving into the city is a daunting prospect. Routes such as the freeway into São Paulo from Santos have high accident rates while car jacking can be an issue around the outskirts of the city. Traffic lights may be ignored, particularly at night if a driver fears for their safety.

The minimum driving age is 18 and foreigners require a valid national driving licence. Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road and speed limits are 120kph (74mph) on highways into São Paulo and vary from 30kph (19mph) to 90kph (55mph) within the city.

Emergency breakdown services

Touring Club do Brasil (tel: +55 11 3858 2133).

Routes

Major highways converging on the city include the SP-150 (Anchieta) and SP-160 (Imigrantes) from Santos on the coast. The BR-116 (Dutra) features tolls and is accessible from Rio but a more scenic coastal option is BR-101, then SP-55 from Rio, via Santos.

An alternative for drivers from Rio is the Senna highway (SP-070) - a faster toll road. The SP-330 (Via Anhangüera) connects the city from northern regions of the state and from Minas Gerais state.

Coaches

With numerous bus companies serving destinations from all over Brazil, the three major coach stations resemble small cities. Terminal Rodoviário do Tietê (Avenida Cruzeiro do Sul, Santana) includes services to Rio and international departures. Terminal Rodoviário do Jabaquara (Rua Jequitibás, Jabaquara) has regular buses to Santos. Terminal Rodoviário da Barra Funda (Rua Mário de Andrade, Barra Funda) includes destinations in western Brazilian such as Foz do Iguaçu. For stations and operators, consult terminal operator Socicam (tel: +55 11 2223 7143; www.socicam.com.br).

Time to city

From Rio: 5 hours 30 minutes
From Salvador: 26 hours
From Brasilia: 4 hours
From Foz do Iguaçu: 12 hours

Travel by Rail

Services

The city isn’t currently served by rail services beyond São Paulo state although plans exist by Agência Nacional de Transporte Terrestres (www.antt.gov.br) to create a high-speed rail link to Rio de Janeiro. This project has stalled time and time again however, and it's unlikely to be completed until the 2020s.

There is a substantial suburban rail network within the city serving destinations within São Paulo state. The city’s main rail stations include Barra Funda, Júlio Prestes, and da Luz.

Operators

The main suburban rail operator is Companhia Paulista de Transporte Metropolitano (CPTM) (tel: 0800 055 0121, in Brazil only; www.cptm.sp.gov.br).

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Featured Hotels

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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.

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.

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.