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I will be traveling to São Paulo soon with my eleven year old, and am curious to know what the recommended way to get to/from the airport (São Paulo-Guarulhos International, GRU to Expo Center Norte).

We prefer not to use Uber [or similar "ride sharing" companies] for various reasons, so are wondering if there are regular taxis in São Paulo that are reliable, and if there are any issues with price gouging or similar (particularly for English-speaking tourists)? Or is our best bet public transit (which we're heard is fairly good in São Paulo, for the most part)?

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    FWIW: I have been cheated by many taxi drivers but never by on Uber/Lyft/Grab driver.
    – Hilmar
    Nov 18, 2022 at 19:57
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    My reasons for not using Uber are not pricing related, but please take it as a given that it is not an option. Thanks :)
    – Joe
    Nov 18, 2022 at 22:37

2 Answers 2

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You can trust taxi drivers in São Paulo. Taxi scams are almost unheard of these days, especially after Uber became popular. Just be sure the taximeter is on and running.

Also, check if your taxi is legitimate. In São Paulo, they are all white with a TAXI sign on top and a red plate, like this:

enter image description here

(But don't worry too much about it, fake taxis are not a thing in São Paulo)

You can also estimate your fare beforehand using Google Maps. The estimate for today goes like this:

enter image description here

If you are taking a taxi, the 99TAXI is a better estimate. 99 is a ride sharing company that works with taxis too, and their fares should be similar to regular taxis.

If you end up being charged a much higher fare than the estimate, or you fell something doesn't add up, just call the police (190). But again, this is unlikely to be needed. Also, remember you don't need to tip in Brazil :-)

As for using public transportation, I advise against it, not because it's not safe, but because for your destination you will need to take a bus, which are not very tourist friendly and you have a kid with you. Metro and trains are much better in that respect.

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I wouldn't recommend public transport. The other answer said it's safe, but only if you take some precautions, such as not using your phone in public (actually, hide all your gadgets, and carry your bag in front of you, not in your back). I've lived there for 20 years and used public transport a lot, and I've never felt completely safe, TBH (maybe it's just me, though).

But I'd avoid it anyway because there's a big chance that you get a very, very crowded train/bus, and it won't be a pleasant experience (specially with kids). If you get in rush hour, it's even worse (there's a common joke there: "If you're feeling alone, just use São Paulo's public transport at rush hour").

Not to mention other frequent problems:

  • constant failures in the trains: more than 200 in 2023 (and that's an improvement, if compared to 2022)
  • strikes (either by bus drivers or train companies): every year there's at least one of each, and it's common that both do it together
  • heavy rain and floods: a constant issue, and in the last years, kinda unpredictable (I always had an umbrella in my bag, no matter how sunny it was)

All of those usually causes major delays and chaos.


Anyway, even though I don't recommend it, there's another option that wasn't available when the question was posted: since September 2023, there's a new train that connects Guarulhos Airport to Terminal Barra Funda (a bus terminal in the West region of São Paulo).

This train line is called "Expresso Aeroporto" (Airport Express), and the schedule can be found here.

The station is near terminal 1. If you're arriving in terminal 2 or 3, there's a bus that can take you to the station. There's a complete guide (in portuguese) here.

One of the stops is in Estação da Luz ("Luz Train Station"), where you can get the subway (blue line) to get to Portuguesa-Tiete station, and then get a bus to Expo Center Norte. According to Expo Center Norte website, the bus stop is at Cruzeiro do Sul Avenue, 1701, and the lines are:

  • 2012-10 (Vila Medeiros – Metrô Tietê)
  • 2033-10, Shop. D (Vila Sabrina – Shopping D)

But what I recommend to tourists - and IMO the easiest and most straightforward way - is to get a taxi. The official company name that operates in the airport is Guarucoop, and there are stands in all 3 terminals. More information can be found at the airport website. Those are different because it's a fixed price: you inform the address and pay in advance.

You can also use apps such as 99TAXI, as the other answer said. There's even a specific area to wait for them, outside the terminals. They are easy to spot, just look for one of those yellow things:

99TAXI pickup area

But beware, in this area there are lots of "illegal drivers" offering their services. Don't go with them, use official services such as 99TAXI or Guarucoop. Another advantage of official taxis is that they can use bus lanes, which is a great advantage specially during rush hours.

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