São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
Things to do in São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
Before strutting Brazil’s 4,603 miles of soft sands, stop here to load up your iPod with bossa nova, samba, axé, and forró—any Chill: Brazil compilation will do. (Just don’t take anything with an apple on it to theft-prone beaches in Rio or Recife.)
A typical airport bookstore with a limited selection of English paperbacks and a lot of people flipping through Caras, one of Brazil’s best-known gossip rags.
This small artistic shop features a rotating selection of colorful wearable art and kitschy home wares, preserved in resin.
This tiny art gallery run by Brazil’s government-owned airport management company hosts small monthly painting, sculpture, and photo exhibitions from Brazilian artists, some of which, depending on their popularity, spill out into the terminals.
If you’ve been putting off a visit to the dentist, this spotless dental office will clean your teeth, whiten, and take X-rays for a fraction of the U.S. price ($40-$60). The doc is in from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
This small spa steeped in Asian aesthetics and L’Occitane products is the best (okay, the only) spot to relax away a layover with a shiatsu massage, reflexology, a new do, or even a Brazilian bikini wax. There is a smaller version in Terminal 2 near Gate 22. Treatments from $12.
Most international flights to Brazil arrive around sunrise: head out of customs and head straight ahead to start the day off with the country’s beloved pão de queijo (cheese bread), which marries blissfully with a strong cafezinho (small espresso).
Guarulhos Airport seriously lacks world-class shopping, something it must rectify before Brazil hosts the 2014 World Cup; but for now, this jewelry shop and art gallery is the best bet for coming away with some memorable items.
Brazil’s most recognized jeweler specializes in local gemstones, most notably the bluish tourmaline, a stone commonly found throughout Minas Gerais in Brazil’s interior. It’s also a smart spot to pick up a high-end watch that won’t require a second mortgage.
Quality condiments like artisanal tapenades and high-end cachaças, Brazil’s sugar cane–based firewater, as well as sustainable handbags from Mãos Brasil, top the duty-free goods at this Brazil-only shop.