São Paulo has three major airports: Guarulhos International (GRU) and Viracopos (CPQ) for international and some domestic arrivals, and Congonhas (CGH) for most medium and short haul domestic flights.
If flying into São Paulo from abroad, you'll mostly likely land at Guarulhos International Airport, also known as Cumbica. Located 40 km from the city centre, the airport has two terminals that are served by Brazilian airlines Varig, TAM, Gol and by international United, Delta, American, Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, TACA, TAP, Iberia, Alitalia, KLM, JAL, Swiss, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air (via Los Angeles), South African and many others.
Non-airline shuttle buses are available from Guarulhos to Congonhas Airport, Praça da República (Downtown), Paulista/Jardins region, Barra Funda bus station and Tietê bus station(fastest access to the subway). All lines except Congonhas connect to the Metrô. R$33 one-way(July 2011). There is also a regular urban bus every 20-30 min (timetables ), which costs only R$4,30 (as of February 2012) and goes to and from Tatuapé Metro station (30-45 min, via Ayrton Senna, the other is slower) (line 3, red ). Exit Terminal 1 Arrivals and head for the middle island. Look for buses 257 or 297. Less comfy than the shuttles, but can prove faster way to Paulista (and elsewhere) on days with dense traffic, as it goes for the closest Metro station. Be aware that you might be denied access with luggage that won't fit on your lap.
TAM, Gol and Azul, the three main Brazilian airlines, offer free shuttle buses for their passengers with flights to/from Guarulhos International Airport and Congonhas Domestic Airport. Check the schedules for TAM and Gol . If you're on a budget trip and have enough time, you can ride those buses to Congonhas airport (you must show your boarding pass or printed reservation to the bus driver) and then get a taxi to your destination. It will be much cheaper than getting a taxi directly from Guarulhos airport. The trip between those airports takes between 1h00 and 1h30. No reservation is required.
A taxi co-operative, Guarucoop (tel: +55 11 2440-7070), has a monopoly on cabs leaving Guarulhos. They are plentiful and the queue is outside the arrival terminal. Credit-card users can pay for their journey in advance at the booth, although it's useful to have local currency as not all international credit or debit cards will work at all businesses in Brazil. Expect to pay about R$100–140(depending upon your destination), as of October 2011, for the 25 km journey into the city. Passengers can ask to see the tabela, which shows the fares for each neighbourhood. Other options such as São Paulo Airport Transfers provide upmarket vehicles and drivers, with the added convenience of an online booking service, and cost around R$140. When making your travel plans, keep in mind that a taxi ride into the city can take up to two hours during peak times, or around 45 minutes late at night or early in the morning.
The Congonhas Airport is in a very central region, 15 km (9 mi) from downtown. This airport handles most of the domestic flights, including the São Paulo - Rio (Santos Dumont) hop, nicknamed Ponte Aérea. As it was built in the 30s, its simple but glamorous architecture is worth seeing.
The easiest (and cheapest) way to get to Congonhas is by taking any of the "Aeroporto" regular line buses that run along Avenida Paulista. After some 40-60 min in modest traffic you'll be dropped right in front of the airport and the fare is the regular R$3,00 (Bilhete Único accepted). It is mostly faster to take the metro to the São Judas or Conceição subway stations, and then the bus from there (10 min). Take bus number 875 just outside of São Judas station to the airport and when getting off at the airport you need to walk on an overpass to get to the departure building.
Cab drives from downtown or Paulista should be used after checking how is the out of control São Paulo traffic. Check the CET website (only in Portuguese), which is the traffic administration department of the city.
Located in Campinas, around 99 km (62 mi) from downtown São Paulo, Viracopos International is sometimes used when weather conditions prevent landing in Cumbica. Brazilian airline Azul has its hub here and they offer free bus transport to São Paulo for their passengers, it might be convenient depending on your exact location. TAP flies to Lisbon thrice weekly from here.
There are three main bus terminals in São Paulo, all of them served by the Metrô (Subway) network.
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