São Paulo is a city of superlatives; the biggest city in South America, the wealthiest city in Brazil and host to the biggest gay pride in the world (or so the Guinness Book of World Records claims), to name just a few. And as a growing financial centre, the city attracts ever more millions of visitors each year, here on business, immigrating, or just passing through.
For first-time visitors, navigating their way around this enormous metropolis can be a daunting task, so we've laid out some of the essential visitor information. Whether it's getting cash out or making phone calls, finding a hospital or simply being aware of safety and security, we've got the basics covered. We've also got the lowdown on transport issues, including getting to and from the airport and navigating the public transport system.
For those planning a more long-term stay, our introduction to work visas, seeking local legal advice and learning the lingo is a good place to start.
São Paulo’s official English-language tourism site, run by SPTuris, is cityofsaopaulo.com. There are several tourist information offices. The most centrally located ones are at Avenida São João 473 (Centro) and Avenida Paulista 1853 (Bela Vista).
SPTuris also runs a free two-hour walking tour through the centre of the city starting at the Municipal Theatre, Thursdays at 8pm. Call 3256 7909 or 3019 8831 for further information.
Fire and medical emergencies 193
Military Police 190
DEATUR (specialised tourist police) Rua da Consolação 247, Centro (3151 4167/ 3259 2202)