São José do Rio Preto, or just Rio Preto was founded in 1852 during the expansion of the coffee farming in São Paulo state. When the railroad reached the region, Rio Preto became an important trading point. This importance was intensified when the BR-153 (a major highway that crosses the brazilian territory from south to north) was built. Nowadays the city is an important place because of its location, connecting the greatest industrial center of Brazil (Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo axis) and the coast and Santos seaport to the Center-West region (huge agriculture zone).
São José do Rio Preto's Airport (IATA: SJP), formerly Professor Eribelto Manoel Reino International Airport, is the main airport in the northwestern region of São Paulo state. It's located within the city's urban zone, almost downtown.
Even though it's said to be a international airport, international flights to this airport are rather uncommon, but there's a lot of regional flights departing from and arriving here. The fastest way to get to Rio Preto is by plane from São Paulo or Brasília, but check the timetable first, as there's not so many dialy flights.
Buying your ticket in advance will cost you around R$150 (approx. US$75 - november 2012).
Check the main flight companies for tickets and timetables:
Bus is certainly the main option used by locals to travel due to its low price, comfort, practicity and flexibility. Buses from many states in the country arrive in and depart from the Rodoviária de São José do Rio Preto (São José do Rio Preto's bus terminal) daily.
Since travelling by bus is really common in Brazil, big companies' buses are often very clean and comfortable. Bus terminals in Brazil are usually located close to the city center and are served by taxi companies. Rio Preto's bus terminal is located downtown. Access to the terminal is easy, but it lacks information in English. Also it's a pretty nasty and dirty place with all kinds of people around and not the safest place in town (especially at night). Luckly, many big companies have their own garages, which are much cleaner and quieter.
There are lots of buses connecting the city to São Paulo everyday and anytime, making this route a great option for international visitors. Although the 5:30 hour trip may seem long, it may be the quickest choice because buses depart more than once hourly, when there's about two flights from São Paulo daily. Plus, tickets can be bought anytime prior to the departure (even AT the time of departure, since it's common for buses's departures to delay a few minutes in Brazil) in the Bus terminal at no additional costs or taxes. Usually no reservations are needed, but watch for national holidays when lots of people travel (extra buses are often added to the main routes).
Night buses are very comfortable and may be a great choice for the traveller.
Regular buses ticket prices may range from R$50 to R$70, and shoudn't be more expensive than that. Night buses fares start from R$90 and up to R$120.
If you'd like to buy your ticket in advance, just check the main companies websites for online tickets and reservations:
When travelling alone, travelling by car is not a great option. Even though Rio Preto is connected to São Paulo through 450km (280mi) of some of the greatest highways in the country, this trip is REALLY expensive. Toll fees are skyrocketing and you'll spend the same amount of money with them as you'll spend with fuel. Today, this trip (one way) should cost you impressive R$200 (fuel+toll), not to mention the car rental. May be a good option when travelling in groups.
Travelling by car from Brasilia is discouraged due to the poor quality of the highway connecting both cities (BR-153, a cross-country major highway), which is single-laned and packed with trucks. Travelling by car from other international airports is also not encouraged because of the great distances and poor highway conservation.
Rio Preto is a mid-sized city with great nightlife, but it's not a historical city nor a turistic place. Bars, pubs and nightclubs are the main entertainment in town. Museums are virtually inexistant.
The city's lakes named Represa Municipal (lit.: Town's reservoir) are a great place to chill and to go for a stroll. A popular jogging place among Rio Preto's citizens. Beside the running track, the lake is also home for lots of capybaras  (capybara is the world's largest rodent), that became one of the symbols of the city, and that live freely and are commonly seen swimming or roaming around the lake and the track. They are harmless, but even though there's no report of attacks, it's advised not to touch them. You may also see other animals living in the lakes, like geese and tiny monkeys.
The Alberto Andaló avenue is the main avenue in the city and is historically where the bars and pubs are concentrated. But nowadays many of the city's great bars and pubs are located elsewhere. Independência street and Saldanha Marinho street have some good options of entertainment as well. Bars are usually open everyday, but are usually packed with people from Thursday to Saturday.
A popular place is the Vila Dionísio, a pub with beers from all over the world and daily rock concerts. There's also Cervejaria Rio Pretana, a local brewery with a built-in bar, located in the city's outskirts.