São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)

São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Travel Guide

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).

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.)

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

This small artistic shop features a rotating selection of colorful wearable art and kitschy home wares, preserved in resin.

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.

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.