Barueri is a city in the São Paulo metro area, São Paulo state. Barueri holds the highest GDP per capita among the large cities of the state, thanks to its strong economy based on industry and services. Its growing financial center makes the city an increasingly important international business destination.
Barueri is divided by the Tietê river into two distinct "cities" with very little in common:
- The left (southwest) shore of the river, commonly called simply as Barueri, corresponds to the old part of the city (founded in 1610 as an indigenous village) mostly low-rise and residential, with predominance of low to middle class households;
- The right (northeast) shore of the river, often called as Alphaville-Tamboré, Alphaville Barueri or simply Alphaville, is a planned urban area that mostly emerged after 1973. It was modelled to mimic a typical American city, with a dense and high-rise center, a periferical industrial park, and sprawling suburbs with large houses and lots of green. The difference is that in Alphaville, the suburbs are all gated communities with strong security measures. However, Alphaville also contains in its vicinity a slum-like neighborhood, Parque Imperial.
Despite the high inequality between the two sides of the city, Barueri has been able to use its high tax revenue to improve infrastructure and social conditions in the poorer (southwest) side, which is also starting to become attractive for economical investments.
By far the best way to get to Alphaville from São Paulo is by car, by taking BR 374 (Rod. Castelo Branco). Toll payment is required.
From São Paulo, the Alphaville center can be reached by metropolitan bus (EMTU). There are several options of buses (check the EMTU website ), but they typically take 2 hours and cost between R$3.10-R$6.85. The bus lines that depart from metro stations in São Paulo are 116, 818 (Armênia station), 378, 378PR1 (Paraíso) and 524 (Barra Funda). With exception of 818, most of these buses do not have the Alphaville center as final destination.
The Barueri city center contains the Barueri station of CPTM Line 8-Diamond. The trip from the Barra Funda metro station takes around 78 minutes and costs a regular CPTM tariff.
Both the Alphaville and Barueri centers are compact enough to be explored on foot. Public transport consists of buses, operated by Benfica . A car is generally the most convenient way of moving from one part of the city to another.
Other than the skyscrapers and the "artificial urban feel" of Alphaville, there are a few places in Barueri worth visiting.
- [dead link] Igreja da Gruta (Igreja Nossa Senhora de Lourdes), Praça Oiapoque - Alphaville. A cave-like construction that is actually a church, located in the middle of a pleasant public square in Alphaville.
- Parque Ilha do Tamboré (Parque Ecológico do Tietê - Núcleo Ilha do Tamboré), Avenida Doutor Dib Sauaia, 1600 - Alphaville, ☎ . 08AM-05PM. Public park with 1.5 million square meters in the right shore of the Tietê river, although 1/3 of the park is not normally visitable. It contains a lake (which contrasts with the toxic Tietê river), forest trails, animals such as capybaras, sport facilities, BBQ areas and a sort of museum of random curiosities.
- Fonte Cunhatã, Praça Lelita Bittencourt - Centro. Fountain made of brass and basalt, representing three women. The word "cunhatã" means "women" in the tupi-guarani indigenous language (Barueri was originally inhabited by Native Brazilians).
- Igreja Matriz de Barueri (Igreja São João Batista), Avenida Henriqueta Mendes Guerra, 245 - Centro. Located in the main shopping street of Barueri. Obviously not a historical construction, but has an interesting modern architecture.
Alphaville is a typical business tourism destination, with not much to do besides shopping, drinking and dining. Sports are mostly done inside the gated communities, and cultural activities are few (mostly children-oriented) as they tend to be absorbed by nearby São Paulo.
- Boulevard Central, Boulevard Arnaldo Rodrigues Bittencourt - Centro. The main shopping street of Barueri (i.e. left side of the Tietê river) is a simple but charming place, filled with palm streets and containing an arch and an Ancient Roman-style water fountain.
- Centro Comercial Alphaville. The artificial but pleasant "shopping district" of Alphaville, composed of several pedestrianized streets with shops, services, restaurants and green squares. Parking is cheaper or free outside regular shopping hours.
- Iguatemi Alphaville, Al. Rio Negro 111 - Alphaville. 11AM-10PM. With a beautiful facade and a nicely decorated interior, Iguatemi Shopping was considered the best shopping mall of the São Paulo metro area by the Estado de São Paulo newspaper in 2012. Its cinema was considered the best by Época magazine in 2011. The mall ontains about 200 shops and 10 gourmet restaurants.
- Shopping Tamboré, Avenida Piracema, 669 - Tamboré. Contains some nicely decorated internal gardens, but its selection of shops is not particularly special compared to other large shopping malls.
- Parque Shopping Barueri, Rua General de Divisão Pedro Rod. da Silva, 400 - Nova Aldeinha (Near Antonio João station). The only shopping mall in the Barueri (left side of the Tietê), focusing on low to middle class consumers. 170 shops.
As one may expect, Alphavile is the center of high-end gastronomy in Barueri. There is no shortage of choices of restaurants, but there isn't much authenticity either - the best restaurants in the area are native from São Paulo or other cities.
- Almanara. The traditional Lebanese food restaurant chain has two branches in Alphaville. Worth tasting are the fishing skewers.
- Alphaville, Alameda Rio Negro, 1456 - Alphaville. sun-thu 11:30AM-11:30PM, fri-sat 11:30AM-00AM.
- Iguatemi Alphaville, Alameda Rio Negro, 111 - Alphaville (Iguatemi Alphaville - Piso Lazer). sun-thu 11:30AM-11PM, fri-sat 11:30AM-11:30PM.
- [dead link] Bendita Hora, Avenida Copacabana, 561 - Alphaville (At 18 do Forte Empresarial). Pizzeria based on crispy pizza crust. It is originary from the nearby city of Santana do Parnaíba, being some sort of "native" restaurant.
- Freddo, Alameda Rio Negro, 111 - Alphaville (Iguatemi Alphaville - Piso Rio Negro). mon-sat, 10AM-10PM, sun-11AM-10PM. Argentinian chain of handmade ice-cream.
- Galeto's, Alameda Rio Negro, 111 - Alphaville (Iguatemi Alphaville - Piso Lazer), ☎ . The roasted chicken restaurant chain commonly seen in São Paulo's business areas.
- General Prime Burger, Alameda Rio Negro, 111 - Alphaville (At Iguatemi Alphaville - Piso Lazer), ☎ . Burger shop with some unusual hamburgers, like the boar burger and the crusty Picanha burger filled with mozarella.
- Novilho de Prata, Alameda Mamoré, 843 - Alphaville, ☎ . Churrascaria rodízio restaurant.
- Si Señor, Av. Piracema, 669 - Tamboré (Shopping Tamboré - Piso Térreo), ☎ . Branch of a Mexican restaurant chain.
- [dead link] Deck Bar e Restaurante. As the name says, it is both a bar and restaurant. With live-music after 7PM between Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Alphaville I, Alameda Grajaú, 321 - Alphaville, ☎ . With both indoor and outdoor areas.
- Parque Shopping Barueri, Rua General de Divisão Pedro R. da Silva, 400 - Nova Aldeinha (At the ground floor of Parque Shopping Barueri), ☎ . With an indoor area.
- The Black Horse, Avenida Copacabana, 148 - Alphaville (at 18 do Forte Empresarial), ☎ . mon-sat, 12PM-03PM and after 06PM. English pub with furniture brought from England and an Irish as chef. In the upper floor there are billards, darts and other games.
- HB Hotels Alphaville Sequóia, Alameda Madeira, 292 - Alphaville. Offers flats equipped with kitchen. Breakfast included. From R$201.
- Bourbon Alphaville Business Hotel, Alameda Cauaxi, 223 - Alphaville. Rooms with wi-fi, amenities include outdoor swimming pool, gym, sauna and restaurant. From R$201.
- UP2U Coworking. Calçada das Hortênsias, 12 - 3 andar. Barueri/SP - Centro Comercial Alphaville. Coworking space with wi-fi, coffee, candies, air conditioner, work station, coworkers network. 11 2755-2051/ firstname.lastname@example.org From R$ 12,00
The small and charming Santana de Parnaíba, northwest of Barueri, contains a formidable heritage from the colonial period and holds important cultural festivities.