Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport is South America's largest and busiest airport. Also known as Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport or Cumbica Airport, it’s the main airport of the three servicing the greater Sao Paulo metropolitan area. Most international flights to Sao Paulo land here, though it’s also possible to fly from some Latin American countries to Viracopos Airport in nearby Campinas.
Serving upwards of 43 million passengers annually, Guarulhos has three passenger terminals and a fourth cargo terminal. T2 and T3 service international flights, while T1 handles domestic ones. The most common issue travelers have with the airport is not in Guarulhos itself, but the traffic between the airport and the city. However, this can be managed by planning extra travel time and being aware of when rush hour travel times.
Guarulhos International Airport Code, Location, and Flight Information
- Airport Code: GRU
- Location: 16 miles (25 kilometers) northeast of Sao Paulo’s city center, 22 miles (36 kilometers) from Congonhas Airport, and 70 miles (113.5 kilometers) from Viracopos Airport.
- Phone Number: +55 (11) 2445-2945
- Website: https://www.gru.com.br/en
- Flight Tracker: https://flightaware.com/live/airport/SBGR
Know Before You Go
Though moderately easy to navigate, Guarulhos is large, and it can be a long trek from the check-in counter to your gate. The walk between T2 and T3 takes about 15 minutes, but T1 can only be reached via a free shuttle located outside the building. (It’s the same shuttle that goes to the subway station.) The route goes from T3 to T2 to T1, then the cargo terminal, before looping back to T3. T1 contains the A gates, T2 the B-E gates, and T3 the F-H gates.
Azul is the only carrier in T1. T2’s carriers include: Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Avianca, Delta Air Lines, Gol, and Latam (domestic). T3’s carriers include: Air Canada, Air China, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Iberia, KLM, Korean Air, Latam (international), and United Airlines.
The airport is clean, well-lit, and generally safe, though it’s good to keep an eye on your things as you would in any airport.
There are several ways to get between the airport and the city during the daytime. Late-night options are more limited, but taxis and Ubers run 24/7. Another option similar to Uber and with sometimes cheaper prices is the 99 app.
- Subway: Line 13 goes directly to the airport. From the beginning of Line 13 at Engenheiro Goulart station, travel time is at least 15 minutes to the airport. If you are traveling between the airport and city center, allow for at least two hours due to transfers and foot traffic within stations. The airport station is in front of the cargo terminal, and passengers can take a free shuttle to T1, T2, or T3 from under the station awning. Shuttles come every 15 minutes. Line 13 operates from 4 to 12 a.m. Bring cash, as tickets (4 reals / $0.75) cannot be purchased with credit cards.
- Special subway services: During the peak times of 5:40 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. and 5:20 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Connect train service runs a train directly between Brás station on Line 12 to Guarulhos Airport station without stops. Tickets cost 4 reals ($0.75) and there is no service on Sundays. Additionally, there is an express train between Luz station and Guarulhos Airport station. From Guarulhos to Luz station, trains run every 2 hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a final train at 9 p.m. From Luz station to Guarulhos, trains run every 2 hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a final train at 10 p.m. Tickets are 8.60 reals and there is no service on Saturdays or Sundays.
- Public bus: This is the cheapest option for getting to or from the airport. Take public bus 257 to Tatuapé station on the metro’s Line 3, 11, and 12. Tickets are 4.30 reals. From there take the subway to your desired destination for 4.40 reals.
- Airport Shuttle: The Airport Bus Service bus connects Guarulhos to Paulista Avenue, Tietê Bus Terminal, and Congonhas Airport for 30 to 39 reals. Depending on where you want to go, the travel time is one to two hours.
- Uber: Uber is legal and generally cheaper than taxis in Sao Paulo. The travel time to the city center is 45 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic, and the fare is 50 to 70 reals.
- Taxi: The drive to the city center takes 45 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic. Request a cab at one of the official taxi kiosks located outside each terminal’s arrival hall, or through the official taxi service’s website. Fares run from 90 to 140 reals. Tipping is appreciated but not required.
To reach the airport by car, take either the Ayrton Senna or Presidente Dutra highways eastbound from the city center. Allow at least two hours travel time if going during rush hour, or one hour if driving outside of rush hour. Rush hour is on weekdays from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 pm. However, severe weather, like heavy rain, can greatly lengthen these times, and rush hour can last until 10 p.m. or later.
Guarulhos International Airport Parking
Each terminal has its own parking lot. The economy lot outside of the cargo terminal is cheapest, while the lots outside of the regular terminals have standard pricing, and T2 and T3 have premium pricing. Prices range from one hour for 20 reals in economy for 20 reals to 10 days (or more) for 490 reals in premium.
Where to Eat and Drink
Dining options in Guarulhos are mostly comprised of Brazilian and American chain restaurants. This goes for both fast good and dine-in options with Red Lobster, Pizza Hut, TGI Friday’s, KFC, Starbucks, and McDonald’s all having at least one location in the airport. Many restaurants offer 24-hour service, and there are options for every budget.
- Casa do Pão de Queijo: Snack bar serving Brazilian favorites like cheesy pão de queijo, as well as paninis, and coffee. (T1, T2, T3)
- Bacio di Latte: An artisanal gelato cart serving traditional and tropical flavors. (T3)
- Cortes Asador: A steakhouse and comfortable sit-down option serving choice meat cuts. (T2)
- Olive Garden: two of the few locations of the Italian American chain in all of South America, they serve pastas, soups, salad, and desserts. (T2, T3)
- Rascal: A sit-down restaurant serving grilled foods, pasta, pizzas, and Brazilian dishes with a large wine selection. (T3)
- Baked Potato: A budget option serving spuds with meat, vegetarian, or vegan toppings like shitake stroganoff. (T2, T3)
- On the Rocks: Pricey bar serving burgers, beers, and cocktails. (T2)
- Café Kopenhagen: Coffee chain serving espresso-based beverages and chocolates.(T2, T3)
- Viena: A diner with Brazilian homestyle food. (T2)
- Mi Casa Burritos: A burrito bar with juices serving Tex-Mex-style food. (T2)
Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
Free Wi-Fi is available for one hour on the GRU WIFI network. There are options to purchase more time and faster service as well. Electrical outlets can be found throughout the airport and charging stations are located near some of the gates.
Guarulhos International Airport Tips & Facts
- Guarulhos’s AC is constant and strong. Bring a jacket to stay warm.
- T2 and T3 have lounges which can be paid for at the door or via memberships.
- T3 is the most comfortable place to sleep for free, especially in the plush chairs at Starbucks.
- T3’s Clínica Orienta offers massages from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
- Buy superfoods, supplements, and more at health store chain Mundo Verde in T2.
- You can find a seamstress in T3 at Ophicina de Costura from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- If you forgot to buy Havianas, slide over to T2 to get yourself a pair.