Founded in 1554, São Paulo is one of the oldest cities in Brazil. It is the most populous city in the southern hemisphere and is the capital of the state of São Paulo. The city's Latin motto is "Non ducor, duco", and translates as "I am not led, I lead". Following are brief statistics on metropolitan São Paulo.
♦ Area: 588 square miles. 750 meters above sea-level;
♦ 267 miles from Rio de Janeiro (50 minutes by plane or 6 hours by bus) and 1219 miles from Salvador (2,5 hours by plane or 30 hours by bus).
♦ Population of São Paulo proper is over 11 million;
♦ Population of metropolitan São Paulo is over 20 million;
♦ More than 1 million people are of Japanese descent (largest Japanese city outside Japan);
♦ 850 thousand people are of Lebanese descent (3rd largest Lebanese city outside of Lebanon).
♦ GDP of metropolitan São Paulo is approximately US$388 billion1 (about 12% of Brazilian GDP);
♦ Home of the Bovespa, the largest stock exchange in Latin America.
In addition to walking, there are four primary modes of transportation in São Paulo: metro, train, bus and taxi. If the metro serves the area you are trying to reach, that will likely be the best option, particularly during São Paulo’s rush hour (7-10:00 am and 5-8:00 pm). The Metro’s schedule is: Sunday to Friday from 4:40 am to midnight and Saturday from 4:40 am to 1:00 am. Buses are available 24 hours-a-day, although they run more frequently during peak hours. As a general rule, taxis in metropolitan São Paulo are safe, clean, well-maintained, and the best option for travel in the late evening or early morning hours.
Buses: R$ 3.00 per fare;
Metro and Train (CPTM): R$ 3.00 per fare;
Taxi: As of April 2013, taxi meters start at: R$ 4.10 Costs per km range from R$2.50 to approximately R$3.25 depending on time of day. Taxis are permitted to charge (but often don’t) an additional fee of approximately R$3 if you use the trunk for luggage. www.tarifadetaxi.com/sao-paulo
The Bilhete Único is a very convenient electronic card used to pay bus and metro fares in São Paulo. Users of public transportation recharge the card at authorized points (metro stations, supermarkets, etc.). São Paulo has now more than 3,000 locations to recharge these cards.
♦ Doubts: If you have questions about how to arrive at a specific destination or the best mode of transportation to a given point, dial 156 from any telephone (free call) and tell the attendant (in Portuguese) where you are and where you would like to go.
♦ Metrô www.metro.sp.gov.br
Information in Portuguese and English about all metro lines, stations, and surrounding areas.
♦ SP Trans www.sptrans.com.br
Information about bus lines and companies operating in São Paulo, all of which are monitored by SP Trans. For questions about the best line and bus schedules, click on "Itinerários" and fill in the fields of origin and destination (available only in Portuguese).
♦ CPTM www.cptm.sp.gov.br
Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) is the train company in metropolitan São Paulo (website in Portuguese).