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Arriving

By Plane -- Most international airlines fly through São Paulo. Even those heading for Rio often change planes or stop in São Paulo first. There are two main airports. International flights arrive at Guarulhos Airport (tel. 011/2445-2945) 30km (19 miles) northeast of the city. Paulistas will also refer to this airport as Cumbica. São Paulo has a duty-free shop upon arrival before clearing Customs, where you can purchase up to US$500 of goods. Once you have cleared Customs you can change money or traveler's checks or use an ATM to obtain cash in Reais. The American Express office is open daily from 7am to 10pm and is located in Terminal 1 arrivals. The Banco do Brasil charges a US$20 flat rate for traveler's check transactions and US$5 flat rate for cash transactions. ATMs compatible with Visa/PLUS are in Terminal 1 arrivals.

From Guarulhos Airport to the city, travelers can either take a taxi or a bus. Prepaid taxi fares are available with Taxi Guarucoop (tel. 011/2440-7070; www.guarucoop.com.br). Sample fares: Congonhas Airport R$92, São Paulo Centro and Tietê R$75, and Jardins and Avenida Paulista R$85. There are regular metered taxis, which are cheaper when traffic is good. When traffic backs up the prepaid ride turns out to be a much better deal. The Airport Bus Service (tel. 011/3775-3861) operates six different shuttle bus routes to Congonhas Airport, to Praça da República, to Avenida Paulista (stopping at major hotels along the street), to Itaim Bibi, to the Rodoviario Tietê (bus station), and the Rodoviario Barra Funda. Cost is R$30, and each route takes about 50 minutes (if traffic is good). Shuttles depart daily every 30 minutes from 6am to 11pm, and then hourly overnight.

Congonhas Airport (tel. 011/5090-9000), São Paulo's domestic airport, is within the city limits south of Centro. It is used by seven national airlines for their domestic flights. From Congonhas it is a 15- to 25-minute taxi ride to Jardins or Avenida Paulista. There are two prepaid taxi services with booths near the exit doors at arrivals. Unlike in Rio de Janeiro, prepaid here is a reasonable deal. The cheaper, white Taxi Commun (ordinary taxi) charges from R$33 to R$38 for the trip to Avenida Paulista or Jardins. The Rádio Táxi Vermelho e Branco (the Red and White Taxi Company; tel. 011/3146-4000; www.radiotaxivermelhoebranco.com.br) charges about 15% more -- R$38 to R$45 -- but has slightly larger, slightly nicer cars. Regular metered taxis are also available, and will cost as little as R$24 or as much as R$40, depending on traffic.

By Bus -- São Paulo has three bus terminals (rodoviaria). All are connected to the Metrô system. Barra Funda (tel. 011/3392-2110), near the Barra Funda Metrô, serves buses to the interior of São Paulo, northern Paraná, Mato Grosso, and Minas Gerais. Jabaquara (tel. 011/3235-0322), next to the Jabaquara Metrô, provides transportation to Santos and the south coast. The Rodoviaria Tietê (tel. 011/3235-0322), for buses to Rio and connections to Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, is by far the largest and most important bus station, located on the Tietê Metrô stop.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.