Getting around Sao Paulo

Public transport

The underground Metrô (tel: 0800 770 7722 in Brazil only; 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 ( 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; 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.


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.


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; and Hertz (tel: +55 11 3258 9384;

Bicycle hire

São Paulo's bike-sharing scheme, Bike Sampa (, 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.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.