With over 7 million cars on the city's roads every day and a growing, but still inadequate public transport system, getting around São Paulo in a clean, energy-efficient way might seem an exercise in futility. But don't fret; we've found five ways to tour and travel around the city while minimising your carbon footprint as well as your cash outflow.
Featuring prices as low as R$3 per hour for the late-night rate, Zazcar hopes to connect the dots that the metrô doesn’t with its hourly car sharing service. Cars range from the tiny Smart to four-door sedans and can be picked up at 13 spots across the city (5546 4606, zazcar.com.br).
In a city mired in traffic, legions of motoboys – messengers on motorcycles – zip between lanes of vehicles as they deliver packages. But bicycle couriers like Carbono Zero Courier (4113 3055, carbonozero.com.br) and Rotação Máxima (5081 7763) offer pollution-free alternatives for cross-town deliveries.
Combining sustainable transport with tourism, the U(rban)-Bike project, already popular in New York and Berlin, offers planned bike tours – and you can even rent a bike if one’s not already stashed in your suitcase (3317 4427, u-bike.com.br).
Campus Brasil Downtown São Paulo Tour
This team of educators and travel experts offers a weekly, three-hour walking tour of the Centro in English that only requires a bit of foot power. Rua Alves Guimarães 184, Jardim Paulista (2679 0555, campusbrasil.org).
In a city where car is king, changing attitudes towards the population’s daily commute was never going to be straightforward, but by offering secure parking for the city’s cyclists, plus bike rentals, the Parada Vital Institute has gone some way towards that end. Ismael Caetano created the framework in 2007, following conversations with Eduardo Jorge, São Paulo’s environment minister, about the impact of the ever-increasing number of cars on public health and global warming. A partnership with Metrô São Paulo means over 10,000 participants per month and bikes stored at 24 stations (3661 0332, paradavital.org.br).