MS Risk Blog

São Paulo Travel Advisory

Posted on in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update title_rule

São Paulo

City Description

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and is the capital of the state of São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state.


All the greater areas of São Paulo have a high rate of armed robbery, with pedestrians and drivers being targeted at traffic lights and during rush hour traffic.

The “red light districts” of São Paulo, which are located on Rua Augusta north of Avenida Paulista and the Estacao de Luz metro area, are especially dangerous as there are regular reports of young women slipping various drugs into men’s drinks and robbing them of all their belongings while they are unconscious.

Armed holdups of pedestrians and motorists by young men on motorcycles are a common occurrence in São Paulo. Recently, criminals have begun targeting restaurants throughout the city. Such incidents have especially occurred between the hours of 10PM and 4 AM, at establishments in the upscale neighborhoods of Jardins, Itaim, Bibi, Campo Belo, Morumbi and Moema.

Laptop computers, other electronica and luxury watches are the targets of choice for criminals in São Paulo.

Efforts by incarcerated drug lords to exert their power outside of their jail cells have in the past resulted in sporadic disruptions throughout the city, with violence being directed at the authorities, and including bus burnings and vandalism at ATM machines, including the use of explosives. MS Risk advises travellers to São Paulo to be aware of your surroundings and to exercise caution at all times. You are also advised to respect police roadblocks and be aware that some municipal services may be disrupted.

As in Rio de Janeiro, favela tours have recently become popular amongst foreign tourists in São Paulo. MS Risk advises against travelling to São Paulo’s favelas as neither the tour company nor the city police can guarantee your safety.


International Airport

São Paulo has two main airports: São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport for international flights and Congonhas- São Paulo Airport for domestic and regional flights. Another airport, the Campo de Marte Airport serves only light aircraft.

São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport is located 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of the city center in the neighboring city of Guarulhos.


Despite heavy traffic being common in the city’s main avenues, and with traffic jams relatively common its highways, automobiles are still the main means to get into the city.

The city is crossed by ten major highways:


The two major railway stations in São Paulo are Luz and Julio Prestes in the Luz/Campos Eliseos region. Julio Prestes connects southwest São Paulo State and northern Paraná State to São Paulo. Luz Station has an underground station and has east and westbound suburban trains that link São Paulo to the Greater São Paulo region to the East and the Campinas Metropolitan region in Jundiaí in the western part of the State.


São Paulo has three rapid transport systems: the underground rail system has five lines; the suburban rail system, Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) has six lines that serve many regions that are not reached by the underground system; and the fast-lane bus system, in which there are many bus lines throughout the city.

The Metro in São Paulo has been affected by a strike which is now threatening the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament.  Although late on Monday 9 June, Union leaders suspended a five-day strike that has paralyzed the city, workers indicated that they would vote on Wednesday on whether to resume the walkout.


Bus transport, both government and private, is composed of approximately 17,000 buses. São Paulo Tietê Bus Terminal is the second largest bus terminal in the world and serves localities across the nation, with the exception of the states of Amazona, Roraima and Amapá. Routes to 1,010 cities in five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile Paraguay and Uruguay) are available.

The Palmeiras-Barra Funda Intermodal Terminal is smaller and is connected to the Palmeiras-Barra Funda metro and the Palmeiras-Barra Funda CPTM stations. It seves the southern cities of Sorocaba, Itapetininga, Itu, Botucatu, Bauru, Marília, Jaú, Avaré, Piraju, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, Ipaussu, Chavantes and Ourinhos (on the border with Paraná State). It also serves São José do Rio Preto, Araçatuba and other small towns located on the northwest of São Paulo State.





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