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Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

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Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

Hi,

4 of us are planning to come for 10 nights to Rio for the World Cup and have started planning for the trip. I know its a bit early but we want to be prepared for everything when things are likely to come on sale from June onwards.

We are going to apply for matches in Rio but would also like to go and see some games in other relatively close areas. We are thinking of Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte. Are both places, places we could drive too? How long would it take and is it safe enough for tourists to do. Our first choice is to fly to these areas but we are thinking by the time we find out if we have tickets local flights would have rocketed in price to take advantage of the World Cup so driving would be the only option for us.

Any advice would be grateful.

Thanks

Sunny

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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1. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

In general, we advise foreign tourists to avoid driving by here, mainly beacause of the violence of our drivers and the bad conditions of our roads... That is really disapointing... But I know that driving usually enhances the travel experience and being as you are, in a group of four, can be a very nice experience!

The distance between these 3 cities (actually, the biggest ones in Brazil), as they make a kind of equilateral triangule, is almost the same, ranging around 420km.

I would go by plane, but if you do insist to drive, choose the Rio Santos to do the leg from Rio to SPaulo. It is a very beautiful scenic ocean drive (it is not the fastest, neither the shortest path, but worth it!), whose most interesting spots on the way are Ilha Grande, Angra and Paraty.

From Rio to Belo Horizonte, do not miss the following towns, in order of appearance from Rio: Petropolis, Tiradentes-MG, Ouro Preto-MG, Mariana-MG, Congonhas-MG, Sabara-MG (the last ones, truly treasures of the brazilian barroque architecture).

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2. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

Driving in Brazil can be kind of dangerous, unless you are accustomed to drive in Portugal and Paris.

Rio São Paulo is very doable. Over the Highway it's 5 hours, give or take. The scenic route is great if you have some time on your hands and can stop at those places Gus mentioned.

Rio - Belo Horizonte is somewhat more challengeing, and I would not advice to travel at night, especially if it's raining.

On the other hand, haven't we been promised a bullet train?

3. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

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Removed on: 11 December 2012, 10:35
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4. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

Thank you for the above advice. As mentioned plane would be our first choice but we have a gut feeling prices will be very high by the time we can book making it not worthwhile for us. The matches we are planning to go see finish by 3pm so it would leave us plenty of time to drive back avoiding the late night drive.

We have driven in Portugal and Paris. In fact we went to the Euros in Portugal in 2004 and travelled the whole country by car with no issues over a 10 day period

I did read about a bullett train between Rio and Sao Paulo but it seems to have been postponed till 2016 now!

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5. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

This train is not available and it is hard to believe it will one day!

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6. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

I think it's OK to drive to São Paulo, as Via Dutra (the road that connects both cities) is a good toll road. As for Belo Horizonte, I am not sure, but there are always cheap tickets to go there by plane (like R$ 99), so if you find a good deal, it might be a good idea to go by plane. I know travelling by car is fun, but maybe rent a car in Belo Horizonte and try to visit one of the historic cities nearby, such as Ouro Preto (UNESCO world heritage site).

Edited: 11 December 2012, 16:05
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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7. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

JG you *really* think there will be R$ 99 tickets from Rio to BH during the world cup???

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8. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

I am expecting R$250 one way as a minimum price. They will all want to cash in on this event.

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9. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

There is also an excellent bus service from Rio to São Paulo (Itapemirim company, trip takes 6 hours. Three classes: Convencional, Golden Bus and Leito, which is the sleeper service. One stop.) The price was R$ 70 the last time I travelled, two months ago.

If you do drive along the Dutra (the inland road), a good stopping place is Lorena, almost halfway between Rio and São Paulo. See the historic buildings and wow at the majesty of the Mantiqueira Hills. You can stay at either the Olympia Hotel or the Dom Apart Hotel, and have a good meal at several por-kilo restaurants near São Joaquim College.

The coastal road, as mentioned, is scenic but takes much longer. Allow 9 hours for Rio - SP along the coast road, plus any stops you may make.

Not familiar with Rio - BH link, but from SP to Belo Horizonte there is the Fernão Dias (BR-381), another excellent road but with heavy traffic. Allow a 9-hour drive for this trip. SP-BH also doable by bus (Gontijo company)

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10. Re: Driving to Sao Paulo & Belo Horizonte

"This train is not available and it is hard to believe it will one day!"

I agree, it now seems we get 800 airports...

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