Salgado Filho International Airport
(29:59:39S, 51:10:17W, Elev 11 Ft)
International Civil Aviation Organization - ICAO: SBPA
International Air Transport Association - IATA: POA
Porto Alegre (Brazil) has a perfectly modern airport that attends national and international flights. Compared to major European airports, it is, of course, small, but just as well planned and just as beautiful. Unlike the European airports I know, it has a cinema, where you can watch a movie for a very good price, if your flight is delayed.
The Salgado Filho International Airport has a site in English and in Portuguese that you can find here, thus I am not going to repeat all the ways you can get to the city or what kind of services are available in the airport – I thought it would be much more fun to give some insight information for those of you traveling on budget!
Useful information for backpackers
Porto Alegre is a relatively small and safe city (I can’t believe I am saying this, considering I grew up in a city of 15 thousand people in the safest country in the world), compared to many places in Latin America. Thus, the last thing you need to do is worry about being kidnapped or worse.
To get to the city, take the bus T5 (the airport site doesn’t mention that line for some reason, but it goes from right in front of the airport arrivals exit). The ticket currently costs 2,85 BRL (about 1,40 USD our 1,15 EUR), kind of pricy for Latin America (or even Europe), but a reasonable price in Brazil. The bus will not take you to the center, unfortunately, but quite near. Check the route here.
About the taxi – if you take the taxi to the center, it should cost you (at the moment, July 2012) around 25 BRL. With bad traffic conditions, perhaps 30… If they ask more than that, look at them with angry eyes and say “gurí, que sacanagem!” (it’s something like “you’re trying to fool me!” but in a funny and Brazilian way). The airport taxis and the regular taxis all supposedly have the same rate, and you can find one anywhere in the city at any time. Don’t worry, it’s ok to take one on the street. I do this all the time, at any hour.
In Brazil it is not common to sleep at the airport, or bus station, or in the metro (Trensurb Company), or in the park, like backpackers might do in Europe. Here, this is considered a behavior of the homeless (and for the locals here there is no other reason for why anyone would want to camp out in such a place), and is forbidden in middle and high class places, such as the airport. In other places, it is simply dangerous.
Reference: Procempa Map
Reference: Procempa Map