I recently spent a week in Sao Paulo. Before I try to dig out all my pseudo local wisdom, I should disclose I went for work and spent most of my time in meetings or staring down a spreadsheet til my head hurt.
Sao Paulo is a cool place, although from the outside it seems little more than a gigantic business hub made up of chunky, grey skyscrapers. Disclaimer: it’s also pretty dangerous. I was told to get taxis everywhere, take off my watch in public and watch out where I go.
The old city centre is basically a no-go zone, nicknamed Crackland for obvious reasons. Banks are protected like casinos, with airport type security doors and armed guards inside. It’s weird. On the bright side, Uber is cheap and reliable so you can cab everywhere. Now the obligatory warning’s out of the way, I had a pretty good time! There are plenty of nice hotels around – I stayed at the Melia Jardim Europa which was great.
Sao Paulo is renowned for its vibrant night life, and there are lots of cool bars around. My Brazilian colleagues say the parties there are better than in Rio. I would recommend Skye Bar, a great rooftop spot to appreciate a nice view of the city as it lights up at night. And it’s free entry.
It’s also worth noting that while carnival officially lasts a week in February, there are countless pre and post celebrations so it’s definitely worth coming down outside that narrow window. Yep, they have parties to celebrate parties – fun bunch!
Brazilian people are very welcoming, even to those of us whose embarrassing Portuguese vocab goes as far as ordering still water and fries. I’ve been told I have a ‘Brazilian face’, which I certainly took as a compliment especially coming from a local girl. On the other hand, it meant a lot of people spoke to me expecting a regular conversation. What a let down that must’ve been.
Finally, shout out to Brazilian girls, quite possibly the best looking I’ve seen. Worth the trip alone in my opinion! 🙂
Next stop Rio de Janeiro, for some actual holidays!