São Bernardo do Campo is a municipality in the metropolitan area of São Paulo. Similarly to Santo André, it is divided into two districts:
The main district, or simply "the city of São Bernardo do Campo", an urban area with economy based on industry, and regarded as the birthplace of Brazil's modern labour movement. That is were the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), currently the largest trade union of Latin America, was founded.
The Riacho Grande district, predominantly covered by the Billings water reservoir and Parque Estaudal Serra do Mar (a preserved rainforest area). The district is the starting point of the Caminhos do Mar walking tour, that descends along the rainforest until the coast, offering breathtaking views and containing historical constructions from Brazil's Imperial era.
From São Paulo, the main district of São Bernardo can be reached by the metropolitan bus operated by EMTU, that departs from the Jabaquara metro and bus station. This bus is reasonably fast since it has a dedicated corridor.
The district of Riacho Grande is actually just next to São Paulo's Far South, and it is actually possible to go from one area to another, using either car or public transport. This ride is certainly an adventure on itself, and it is an excellent way to admire the beautiful nature that surrounds the urban area of São Paulo.
The journay begins at Av. Da. Belmira Marin, in Grajaú (that starts from Av. Senador Teotônio Vilela), and involves taking three ferry boats over the Billings Reservoir. The second ferry boat crosses the border between São Paulo and São Bernardo do Campo, and if you are going by bus, you need to go on this ferry boat on foot (although you may take another bus in the other side). The total length of the journey, from Av. Senador Teotônio Vilela to the main village of Riacho Grande, is about 30 km.
Caminhos do Mar route, Rodovia Caminho do Mar, Riacho Grande, ☎ 11 2997-5000, . A 8-km walking route that goes from the south of Riacho Grande to the city of Cubatão, close to the coast. The route goes down in a deactivated motorway, passing across Parque Estadual Serra do Mar, the largest patch of preserved Atlantic rainforest remaining in Brazil. The route offers amazing views of the mountain range of Baixada Santista, of the industrial complex of Cubatão, and it is possible to spot the sea on sunny days. It also includes 8 monuments constructed in 1922 to celebrate the Independence of Brazil, plus Calçada de Lorena, a road constructed in the country's Imperial era (1792). After reaching Cubatão, if you wish to go back by the same route, be prepared for a serious uphill.free. edit
Prainha de Riacho Grande (Praia de Paulista), Riacho Grande district center (From São Bernardo main district, take right on Rod. Anchieta after crossing the Billings reservoir). A freshwater beach by the Billings reservoir, located at the central village of Riacho Grande. It is currently under touristic revitalization; it is expected to be delivered in sep/2012.edit
Parque Municipal Estoril, Rua Portugal 1100, Estoril (Close to Riacho Grande district center), ☎ 11 4354-9318, . wed-sun, 09-17. The park and zoo has 373,000 square meters, mostly covered by Atlantic rainforest, and it is on the shore of the Billings reservoir. The park contains a zoo with 250 animals and various activites such as paddle boats and cable cars. Boat rides over the Billings reservoir are also offered. Another attraction is the sunset from the west side of the park. Also currently under revitalization.R$ 5 (free for residents of São Bernardo), +R$ 11 parking. edit
Rua Marechal Deodoro. Located in the center of São Bernardo, it is the main shopping area of the city. Unlike other central commercial streets in the metropolitan area, Marechal Deodoro is not pedestrianized.edit
Shopping Metrópole, Praça Samuel Sabatini, 200. edit
São Bernardo do Campo sits in a priviledged location, being the city of the metropolitan area of São Paulo closest to the beach. In good traffic conditions, the coastal cities Santos, Praia Grande, Guarujá, Bertioga and São Vicente can all be reached in 45-50 min. from the city center of São Bernardo by taking Rodovia Anchieta.
However, only Santos is reachable by the local intercity bus service, provided by Viação Cometa. To get to other coastal cities by bus it is necessary to go first to the Jabaquara intercity bus terminal, in São Paulo, or alternatively, take another intercity bus in Santos.