My friend and I are traveling to Argentina with a layover at the São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport. From what I've read so far, there's not much to do in Guarulhos and the traffic to São Paulo is terrible. Wondering if that's really all true and if anyone's got a good suggestion? (If we can figure something out we'll get Visas for Brasil otherwise we'll just stay put in the airport.) Thanks!
The truth is absolutely nothing !!! As everybody already said, São Paulo or just Sampa for the close ones, is very huge. Depends of the day and the traffic you will need more than 2 hours to commute. I advise you stay at the airport, find a good lounge and enjoy. Come back in another opportunity and stay at least one week. There are great restaurants, parks, and the night life is very nice.
Bianca and Polly, you are correct.
The traffic to the city of Sao Paulo is horrible. During the rush hours (8-11 AM and 5 to 8PM) it could take about 1-2h for you to go to the city center, for example. Except during the weekends, where it could take about 30 minutes.
Also, keep in mind that you would spend about 110 BRL (~35USD) of taxi in each route.
The nearest city of the airport is Guarulhos, where you will not find anything nice to see, considering you are traveling as a tourist and is expecting to see something nice.
Thus, if your layover is of 8hs, keep in mind you could spend about 2-4hs in the way to/from the airport during the week, plus the time spent to go to your gate, etc.. I think I wouldn't risk to lose my flight in this case.
Hey Bianca, you should not miss the chance to visit the Skye bar at the top of the Hotel Unique and you have plenty of time to do so. The view over the city from there is absolutely spectacular, particularly in the evening Check the website for opening hours. Other than that it really depends on the day and time. Let us know so we can give you more ideas.
I'm sorry, but it's really all true...
I have to enjoy Sao Paulo in these 7 hours. Take a bus from GRU airport to Tatuape subway station. There go to Fradique Coutinho Station and have a lunch there and enjoy the hipster neighborhood. Or go to Anhangabaú Station and have a walk around the historic downtown of SP. For sure you will not lose time with this tour. After that, go back to Tatuape Station and take the bus back to the Airport. Enjoy...let me know anything else. vromoloATgmail.com
Mentioned in this answer:
Hi Bianca! Well, it depends on which day of the week you're going to be in Sao Paulo, and in which time-period. Indeed, Guarulhos is a city outside Sao Paulo and the traffic is usually very crappy. Unless this layover is happening on a weekend, I'd recommend you stay at the airport. It'd take around 1h30 (being optimistic) for you to get to some place interesting in Sao Paulo, and then the same time going back to the airport.
If you still really wanna do something in the city, let me know what your interests are and I can think of something nice for you ;)
Bianca, I'd read the same thing and didn't attempt to leave on my long layover, so I'm interested to see what answers you get!
If you end up staying at the airport, the free wifi seemed to work best down by domestic arrivals. There are a couple cute shops (including a Havaianas stand) on the upper level, but not a lot else to do.