I’ve traveled to São Paulo twice this year and used Uber heavily for both visits. In short, Uber is safe, clean, and cheap in Brazil, and therefore highly recommended.
Guide: Uber In Brazil
As you exit Guarulhos (GRU) airport on the lower level, head out across the street and you’ll find a designated Uber pick-up area. I never waited more than a few minutes both times I’ve arrived at GRU this year. The journey into town set me back R$85.38 (~$15), not bad for a journey that took over an hour.
If you use Uber across town, rides are cheap – about R$10-15 (~$2-3) and again, I never had to wait long for an Uber.
When I traveled from São Paulo to Viracopos International Airport (VCP), the journey was over 100km and included a toll road. My fare was R$205.08 (~$36). That’s a lot of money in Brazil, but very reasonable considering the long distance plus tolls.
As much as I despise tipping, I do tip – about 10%. It is greatly appreciated (drivers can now send “thank you” notes when you tip).
My friend has the code option set, where a four-digit code is generated and must be provided to the driver in order to start the ride. I probably should enable that, but do note in Brazil the drivers will not speak English, so you better learn your Portuguese numbers or hold the phone up.
In terms of COVID-19 precautions, about half the Uber cars had plastic dividers between the front and back seats. Masks are required inside and every single driver wore one properly.
One word of warning – that same friend was in Brazil a couple months ago with some other friends and had a bit of a scary experience on Uber. He was traveling to the airport and the driver was not following driving instructions. He acted dodgy when questioned and it reached a point where my frined threatened to call the police immediately and ordered him to pull over. Whatever he might have had planned, he stuck to the route for the rest of the ride and they arrived at the airport safely.
So there’s that.
But speaking from my own experience of nearly a dozen rides, all went off without a hitch.
Where is Uber Available in Brazil?
Uber is available in just about every city in Brazil, including:
- Angra dos Reis
- Belo Horizonte
- Boa Vista
- Braganca Paulista
- Cabo Frio
- Cachoeiro de Itapemirim
- Campina Grande
- Campo Grande
- Campos dos Goytacazes
- Caxias do Sul
- Conselheiro Lafaiete
- Cornelio Procopio
- Feira de Santana
- Foz do Iguacu
- Governador Valadares
- Itabuna e Ilheus
- Joao Pessoa
- Juazeiro do Norte
- Juiz de Fora
- Mogi Guacu
- Montes Claros
- Nova Friburgo
- Passo Fundo
- Patos de Minas
- Paulo Afonso
- Pocos de Caldas
- Ponta Grossa
- Porto Alegre
- Porto Seguro
- Porto Velho
- Pouso Alegre
- Presidente Prudente
- Ribeirao Preto
- Rio Branco
- Rio De Janeiro
- Rio Verde
- Santa Cruz do Capibaribe
- Santa Cruz do Sul
- Santa Maria
- Santo Angelo
- Santo Antonio de Jesus
- Sao Bento do Sul
- Sao Carlos
- Sao Jose do Rio Preto
- Sao Jose dos Campos
- Sao Luis
- Sao Paulo
- Teofilo Otoni
- Tres Rios
- Vitoria da Conquista
- Volta Redonda
I’ve had a very good experience, thus far, with Uber in Brazil. I intend to head down to Rio de Janeiro at some point this winter and will try Uber there, but it has been flawless for me in São Paulo.
What has your experience with Uber Brazil been?
This is a good article, and really is all you need to know about getting around in Brazil. The prices are so reasonable, it’s hard to even justify public transport.
While Uber in Brazil is awesome, I find that Rappi is usually a little bit cheaper, but possibly not as nice. I’d say I generally use both.
Did I say Rappi? I mean 99. 99 is generally cheaper than Uber and equally reliable.
Hi I been having an problem with Uber here in Buzos. The service isn’t good I am working on an project of retirement home and I use Uber almost two to four times per day
I got into an car and the driver refused to take us 25 minutes away in an house that we were renting
We had to get out and call for 2nd car and one minute before it was to pick us up they cancell
So I just downloaded. 99. And hope to get better service
How long did the drive take? Were you chewing the rag with the driver?
There is also Cabify and at least one more major player (Beat?). I used Cabify with similarly positive experiences. Cabs parked up in taxi ranks should also be absolutely fine, as they tend to be fixed bases for drivers in the local neighbourhood- they aren’t open to any cabbie who happens to be around.
Scratch that- Cabify withdrew from the Brazilian market a few months ago. Cheers, Covid!
I used Uber extensively on my trip to Brazil in 2018 and was extremely pleased with it.
I found that most drivers in Sao Paulo spoke at least some English, a handful in Rio did, but not a single one in either Salvador or Recife. However, all of them were happy to use Google Translate’s conversation feature and we had some fascinating real time chats with the drivers through our respective phones!
You only tip 10%? Is that for Uber or all around? I tend to tip 15-20% for a good server in a restaurant. Especially for great service. I’ve never “Ubered” so not sur how that works.
Depends on the country. In Brazil I tip 10%. Im the USA, usually 20%. In Germany, I round up. In Japan, obviously no tip.
SP Uber drivers almost never follow the route to the airport. They seem to believe they can do better on the little streets with traffic on the highway. You can certainly insist on a route. Isn’t the price is the same, regardless, these days?
I use Uber all the time in Brazil from the NE to Rio to S.P to the South. Never had any issues and it’s perfectly fine. I actually have more issues in Europe in comparison.
One thing to be aware of is that a “Black” car is NOT a true sedan. More like a newish Camry. Chose accordingly and many times you get the same car and driver if you choose an ‘X” at half the price. They will straddle both levels.
Also, if the driver is using Waze do run Google maps on your phone. I have no idea why but Waze tends to go crazy with some of the Brazilian directions (and they love to use it there). I have often cut out 20 minutes on a route by showing them Google maps and the better route they suggest.
Oh, and don’t be surprised when the driver has soap operas running on the screen. It’s a thing, Brazilians like to have TV running in their cars. And they do watch it. I find it funny and charming and it’s amazing how easy the dramatic dialogue is to keep up with. You will be hooked within a few minutes!
Despite I rarely use Uber, I had bad luck with them in Sao Paulo and Lima: both times, I was assigned to drivers, but they kept lurking near where I was, but never gotten close enough for me to reach their cars. They both cancelled several minutes later,then charged me no show fees. I was at hotels both times, big enough to be able to select on Uber app with big signs on street, but small enough that they had only one entrance so there was no way they couldn’t find me.
Of course I filed disputes with Uber, but they only issue credits good only in those countries, and never the refund to my credit card. They were useless because both times happened on my way to the airport, and I left the countries.
I think John from Loyalty Lobby got same scams in Brazil.
Between GRU and the center, I’ve been taking bus to Metro Tatuape then Metro, but Google Maps tell me now CPTM Line 13 goes to near the airport, and connects to a shuttle bus, for a total of an hour to Luz.
It also tells me 99 charges around R50, which is much cheaper than what Matthew paid. Of course I imagine their prices are dynamic, but I’ll definitely try them next time.
Had excellent experiences with Uber in Salvador, Bahia and I highly recommend it.
Uber is really a hit or miss in Brazil. If you get a driver with bad intentions you are in trouble. Many are great. I still prefer to use taxis that belong to a Coop. They are registered and inform their central station where they are going and confirm they have the passenger in the car. Much safer although more expensive.
I have lived in Brazil for 6 months this year. UBER is ridiculously cheap most the time here in Brazil. I have used UBER in Para, Piuai, MG, SP and RJ. I have noticed here in SP it’s been a little expensive at times.
Most Brazilians use an app called 99 which is a little cheaper than Uber. I honestly never used 99 myself.
Maybe a tip for you Matt. If you ever fly out of VCP again most the airlines offer a FREE bus ride from SP. My last flight I took the free bus it was a nice bus. It took about an hour.
It’s so strange because I have to go home to the USA this weekend and I can’t imagine not being here in Brazil.
Maverick I had one driver cancel on me last week. I disputed the charge and was refunded immediately. I did have a driver tonight in SP who asked me to cancel the ride because he drove by me and it was to difficult to come back. I told him to cancel the ride or I would be charged. So he did cancel the ride.
Do people go to Brazil for any reason other than to buy drugs or pay for sex? Seems like a horrible unsafe place for normal Americans.
There’s so much more to Brazil than that. Did you see this report?
I did when published, crooked fruit dealers, keeping your phone in your pocket, no thanks.
To each his own but my original point stands. Seems like being an American makes you a target.
I can’t believe how narrow minded and idiotic this comment is. Brazilians are warm and welcoming and it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. But that’s fine, please stay away and wear your socks and sandals in Paris. Or better yet, Pensacola. The rest of us who actually understand what a special place it is, because, unlike you, travel to Brazil, are happy to have the hordes at bay.
I missed where I was the one who wrote about crooked fruit peddlers and the warning about cell phone safety.
Sounds very warm and welcoming. And no, you wouldn’t find me in Paris France, the one is Las Vegas is good enough for me to see the main attractions.
General rule of thumb is I won’t go places where the “people” don’t speak our language. And I’m fine if they don’t come here, we did fine without them the past 18 months, one of the better Covid benefits. Cheap b#stands barely tip and many don’t understand basis hygiene.
As for Pensacola, now that’s great American living and part of why millions visit Florida monthly. Check out the Florabama bar next time you are in the Redneck Riviera.
“Normal Americans” are the ones who buy drugs, and believe they don’t need to go to Brazil. Brazilian people are hard workers and nice people, your distorted view of South America makes you exactly a typical example of the garbage that lives in North America! Btw, people like you believes the USA is the best country of the world, but sorry, you are wrong! Actually, Americans are among the most hated people around the world! Guess what? In your comment there’s the answer!
Typical anti American jealousy. Of course people in third world countries like Brazil hate Americans because we have what they want. You don’t see Americans illegally crossing the border to Hispanic countries do you?
I’ve lived in Brazil and in the USA, and I can tell you that Brazilians have nothing to be jealous about. The average Brazilian living in a big city enjoys a much higher quality of life than the average American in the same situation, is far happier, enjoys life far more, and lives in a much more beautiful place with better climate and with much more friendly people who rarely suffer from the widespread neuroses of too many Americans who live as slaves to high taxes and big mortgages to eke out some joy in their joyless part of the world.
Are you serious? Leave the rock you live under and go explore the world. You definitely skipped school since you know nothing about geography, history or economy. 9th largest country in the world by GDP, larger than the US in continuous land, largest producer of almost every food you eat. Drugs are not produced in Brazil although like every country they reach there. You described yourself incorrectly, you are not a normal American. You have never left your basement.
What a load of nonsense! Brazil is definitely worth visiting, it is a huge and fascinating country, and most parts are fine in terms of security as long as you apply a bit of common sense.
I know you’re just being a jerk, but Brazil is one of the most pleasant places on earth to visit. There is something for everyone, and the convenience and affordability of ridesharing, as pointed out, is one of the myriad things that makes Brazil great!
Uber is really recommended facility, My driver last time was humorist. Brazil is definitely worth to visit, fascinating country. the most unforgetable moment when the local people greeting Me friendly
Brother, believe me, Uber in Brazil can only be cheap if you get paid in dollars. As local gas prices skyrocket (up 73% this year – yes 73%) the vast majority of the population is stuck with the very limited alternatives of public transportation.
I’ve been using Uber in Brazil since 2017. It’s cheap but drivers cancel trips more often than in the US.
Add Vila Velha, ES to your list of cities.
I had an Uber driver in Rio who tried to take a longer route to where I wanted to go in order to make more money. I wanted to go to the feira de São Christóvão. This driver was going past that to almost the airport. When I asked him about this, he acted angry and like I somehow told him the wrong place to go. After the ride I reported it to Uber. I think this is what was happening to your friend. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the route on your phone.
Uber has been cheap for me. But I take the buses and metro when I can. Maybe because of that experience. The bus from São Paulo GRU to the metro was fine and cheap.
Before Uber, taxis had become quite expensive in Brazil, with typically poor service, and tourists being “taken for a ride” was an everyday experience. But Uber has completely destroyed the taxi cartel, and the taxis (and Didi) have stepped up to compete with their own apps. Place to place in large Brazilian cities is now inexpensive and excellent.
Of course, I have no way of knowing what happened in the negative second-hand anecdotes above, but given my own experiences I would discount them heavily because the probability of a miscommunication/misunderstanding/traffic issue is vastly higher than the chances that an Uber driver with a known identity would be willing to give up their Uber gig and go to jail to rip you off.
So you are lucky cause Uber service in Brazil is turning awful. Drivers used to come around 2 or 3 min. now is about 7 or even 10 minutes. After wait this eternity they just cancel the trip from nowhere, some of them don’t appear and wait for you to cancel it. Uber is not paying the same way to the drivers and they are not happy.