Salgado Filho International Airport serves all of Southeast Brazil, including Porto Alegre. Travelers flying into this airport can enjoy an array of amenities in its terminals from food shops to banking facilities. There are also numerous rental car agencies inside the airport including Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, and VIP Cars.
From Porto Alegre you can drive to some of Brazil’s most desired attractions. With a rental car you can take a trip to the mountainous region of Serra Gaucha or tour the wineries of Bento Goncalves. On the drive you can enjoy lots of scenery. Along with enjoying the area’s rich history, you can shop at the gigantic public market, relax at the hot springs, or go river rafting.
Electronic speed traps are common around Porto Alegre and Brazil. Some are pretty big, so look out for them. There is also lots of fog in the mountainous areas near Porto Alegre, so you might want to do most of your driving during the day since seeing at night can be a challenge.
You’ll mostly drive on the highway on your trip to Porto Alegre. During your stay, you’ll find that traffic jams are pretty common during rush hour in the city’s center. Rush hour runs from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the morning and 5 to 7 p.m. in the evening. Traffic is also busy around the beach at night during the summer months.
Because of the cost of gas, lots of Brazilians drive cars that run on flex-fuel. You can discuss this option with your rental car agent. Manual transmission cars are also more common at car rental agencies in Porto Alegre. So, if you want a car with an automatic transmission, you’ll need to book it in advance and should also expect to pay more.
On the highways, the maximum speed limit in Porto Alegre is 65 mph (or 104 km). In the countryside you can drive as fast as 31 mph (or 50 km). If you are visiting a friend in a residential neighborhood, you’ll have to slow down to speeds of 18 mph (or 30 km).
Parking in the city center can be hard to find, especially on weekdays. However, there is some street parking available in the commercial districts. If you are parking on the street, you’ll likely need to parallel park because of the narrow streets. You can also park your rental car in a parking lot or garage such as the Parai Park or Sao Pedro Parking Garage and then walk to your desired destination.