Santo André is one of the municipalities that composes the metropolitan area of São Paulo. The municipality is divided into two districts roughly of the same size:
- The main district in the Northwest, predominantly urban and more commonly referred simply as the "city of Santo André";
- The Paranapiacaba district in the Southeast, predominantly covered by the Atlantic rainforest. The district contains the historical village of Paranapiacaba, covered in a separate article, and is a major destination for ecotourism.
Line 10-Turquoise is the main rail connection between Santo André and the city center of São Paulo. The quality of the trains of this line is good, similar to the metro. The main station Prefeito Celso Daniel-Santo André is located in the city center of Santo André.
To go to the Paranapiacaba village, you need to get off at Rio Grande da Serra station, and take a bus to Paranapiacaba next to the drugstore.
It is possible to go to Paranapiacaba directly by train using a touristic train operated by CPTM, but only on Sundays (except the 2nd Sunday of each month). Check the CPTM website [dead link] for exact dates and detailed information.
Intermunicipal buses operated by EMTU go from the Jabaquara metro station to the city center of Santo André. As with most intermunicipal buses, you cannot use a Bilhete Único and no discount is given if you have used other forms of public transportation.
The city centers of São Paulo and Santo André are connected by Avenida do Estado. To get to the village of Paranapiacaba, it is possible to take local roads from Rodovia Anchieta.
The two districts of Santo André are separated by the Billings reservoir, and hence there is no direct connection between them. To get from the city center of Santo André to Paranapiacaba, it is necessary to pass through Mauá, Ribeirão Pires and Rio Grande da Serra.
- Central Park (Parque Central), Rua José Bonifácio.
- Santo André Municipal Theater (Teatro Municipal Santo André), Praça IV Centenário 1.
- Paranapiacaba village. The historical village was built by the English company São Paulo Railway, around the train station Alto da Serra. The architecture and many constructions of the village have been preserved until nowadays. Although the train station has been rebuilt twice, it still contains the original clock made by Johnny Walker Benson. Paranapiacaba maintains its original function of a railway village, but now only cargo trains pass through it (with exception of the touristic train operated by CPTM). The rail yards are somewhat of a train graveyard, with many rusting old wrecks that one can look through. The railroad museum gives a privileged view of the village. The village can also be used as a base to explore the exhuberant Atlantic rainforest of the district of the same name.
- Hiking at Paranapiacaba district: the rainforest surrounding the Paranapiacaba village is a State Park and offers many excellent hiking opportunities, including a 15km hike right down to the coast, through the Vale do Quilombo. The hiring of guides is a good idea, since the rainforest is dense and people have been known to get lost; you can do this through the Paranapiacaba Environmental Monitors' Association, (11) 4439-0155, or ask around in the village. Paranapiacaba is familiar enough with tourism and the locals are friendly and happy to help; though as with most of the area, English is not widely spoken.
- Trem dos Ingleses (at Museu Ferroviário, Paranapiacaba village). sun, 10-16. Steam locomotive ride in part of the original train line of São Paulo railway. Takes about 20 minutes. R$ 3.
- Federal University of ABC (UFABC), Avenida dos Estados, 5001 - Bangú (Near Prefeito Celso Daniel/Santo André station). One of the two campi of UFABC is located in Santo André. UFABC is a recently created and growing federal university, focused on applied research and technology. It is the best evaluated Brazilian university in terms of impact factor, with all its docents having a PhD, and thus, despite being new, it is an extremely promising research institution.
- Rua Coronel Oliveira Lima, Centro (Near Prefeito Celso Daniel/Santo André station). The pedestrian street and its surrounding area is the main shopping area of Santo André.
- Grand Plaza Shopping (ABC Plaza Shopping), Av. Industrial, 600 - Bairro Jardim (Near Prefeito Celso Daniel/Santo André station). A shopping mall also close to the central station, which has become quite large after several expansions. As leisure options, it features 24 bowling tracks and 10 cinema rooms. About 305 shops
- [dead link] Shopping ABC, Avenida Pereira Barreto, 42, Vila Gilda. Shopping mall more distant from the center of Santo André and with more upscale profile. About 265 shops.
In Paranapiacaba there is a nice & simple self-service restaurant in the village called Beija Flor where you can observe hummingbirds. Another options is Casa do Tio César (Rua Antônio Olintho, 489 - Parte Baixa - Vila de Paranapiacaba Telephone: (11)4439-0281 c/ Cesar).
Most nightlife is concentrated in Bairro Jardim, near the center of Santo André.
There is no budget hotel in town. A possibility is to go to a motel and negotiate a daily rate.
From Santo André one can easily take Rodovia Anchieta and reach the coast of São Paulo.