São Paulo

By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in São Paulo?

Do you need a car in São Paulo > Should you rent a car in São Paulo Brazil > São Paulo ( GRU )

Brazil’s economic powerhouse really isn’t the sort of city where a hire car is going to be either particularly useful or necessary. Unlike its rival Rio de Janeiro, which has numerous great driving roads as it spreads across the Guanabara Bay, São Paulo is situated inland, and the city is relatively circular in shape, with a well-developed urban rail network.

Do you need a car in São Paulo? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

São Paulo is also famous for its massive (and of course hugely congested) skyscraper district, and even in the sweltering heat, it’s much easier to get around using the Metro or buses, and taxis are always an option – at least you can leave the driving to somebody else!

Why should you rent a car in São Paulo?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in São Paulo?

São Paulo Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]



Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]




Free parking score

Total 575 - of which 132 have free parking. [full notes - parking]




However, if there is one road trip which really must be taken from São Paulo, then it has to be a journey on the spectacular Immigrants’ Highway with its two huge reversible carriageway decks criss-crossing over themselves as they descend down towards the Atlantic coast. This is well regarded as being one of the world’s truly impressive pieces of roadway engineering as this toll motorway straddles across dense jungle below. This is the route taken by literally millions of São Paulo residents as they tend to evacuate the city at the weekends, and unsurprisingly, it is notorious for its congestion, hence why it has been built with reversible flows. Yet we still don’t really advise getting a hire car just to experience this road, when you might as well take the bus and let somebody else do the driving – it’s not exactly the sort of road where you can pull over and take holiday snaps anyway!


Why not? Visiting São Paulo without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

São Paulo public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score



Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around São Paulo. 


So unless you have a particular itinerary in mind which involves heading further inland into the jungle, there is little really to gain from hiring a car in São Paulo. Some visitors think about doing a road trip between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but given the relative lack of places to see on the way, it’s a journey that’s also just as easily done by coach or internal flight.

São Paulo car hire summary – as a tourist, there’s very little reason to hire a car here.


Car rental in - São Paulo Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in São Paulo?

  • Based on comparison with transit and walking/cycling?

Is it worth hiring a car in São Paulo?

  • Based on value for money?

Should you rent a car in São Paulo?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in São Paulo if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

What about for families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in São Paulo if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

What if we are staying in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in São Paulo if I prefer not to drive?

What if we are easy either way?

What if I prefer to drive?



What is our final score for São Paulo on the Carornocar scale?


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in São Paulo?

Have you driven in São Paulo? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in São Paulo?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *