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  • Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Sao Paulo Info and Miniguide

    Bristling concrete towers extend interminably over Sao Paulo, an expansive, vibrant city located on a high plateau. The impressive number of immigrants settled in its many districts makes it the world's second largest metropolis. Its immense cultural diversity has blessed it with the liveliest and most creative artistic musical, and gastronomic scene in the continent. Sao Paulo has an incredible nightlife, with a bewildering choice of activities on offer.

    Read More about Sao Paulo

    São Paulo

    São Paulo, Brazil’s largest and the world’s 7th largest city is a financial powerhouse in the region as it is home to the BOVESPA (São Paulo Stock Exchange). São Paulo boasts of Brazil’s, most impressive skyline with sky-scrapers like the Italia building, Banespa Building and Mirante do Vale Building. The city offers an eclectic mix of music, arts, sports and cuisine. With strong influences of Portuguese, Latin, Italian, Japanese and Arabic cultures, São Paulo, or Sampa as it is informally known, is a truly cosmopolitan city.

    History of São Paulo

    São Paulo, founded by missionaries, Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta, in the year 1554, was then located less then 70 Km from São Vincente which was the first coastal Portuguese settlement in Brazil. Because of its proximity to the Tietê River, São Paulo’s fertile lands soon drew more people in and eventually became the richest city in the region. After it officially became a city in 1711, coffee plantations began blossoming all over São Paulo. When in the in the early 1900s, the coffee industry took a hit, sugar cane plantations began to grow. The mid-nineties saw large groups of immigrants, including, Italian, Arabic and Japanese, moving into São Paulo to invest in the city’s booming economy. Since then Sao Paulo has evolved into the country’s economic mainstay.

    Getting to São Paulo

    São Paulo has two main international airports- the bigger Guarulhos International airport and also the Viracopos airport. Apart from these two, there is also the Congonhas airport which usually has domestic flights flying in and out. Most international tourists fly into São Paulo through the Guarulhos International airport. From the airport, tourists can hire one of many Guarucoop cabs which are queued outside the terminals. Commuters must request to see the tabela (a fare information sheet) before they get into the Guarucoop cabs to get an idea of the fare; usually they can expect to pay R$ 75 to R$ 110 for a 25 Km journey into the city. Another way of getting into the city is by bus. São Paulo has three main bus stations- Terminal Rodoviário do Tietê, Terminal Rodoviário de Jabaquara and the Terminal Rodoviário da Barra Funda, of which the Terminal Rodoviário do Tietê is the largest. The Terminal Rodoviário do Tietê receives and sends buses to all part of Brazil. There are also a few international buses from Chile, Uruguay and Argentina from this enormous bus terminal.

    Paulista Avenue

    The Paulista Avenue is probably the most popular destination in the city of São Paulo. The bustling 2.8 Km long boulevard is the financial and cultural focus of the city. Dotted with business enterprises, TV stations, radio stations, museums and theaters, Paulista Avenue is amongst the most expensive pieces of real estate in the country. A good, convenient way to get to Paulista Avenue would be by subway; the Trianon-Masp (museum), Brigadeiro or Consolação stations would be the nearest stops. The business epicenter of the city morphs into a site of rich social life by night with its numerous nightclubs and restaurants

    Viewing points of Sao Paulo

    The City of São Paulo has a stunning skyline. Many tourists like to spend some time looking at the city from above and watch the activity unfold in the city. A few points from where this panorama can be witnessed include São Paulo Banespa Tower and the São Paulo Jockey Club. Most of these viewing points do not charge tourists for entrance or viewing alone. The best time to witness this panorama would be at sunset.

    Ibirapuera Park

    São Paulo has a reputation for being a city that does not blink and for being a city works even when the rest of Brazil is asleep. The location that these hard-working Paulistanos choose to relax is at the vast, 1.5 million square meters of sprawling greenery- Ibirapuera Park. With its jogging, walking and cycling paths, Ibirapuera Park attracts more than 150 thousand visitors over weekends. Also present here are lakes, wooded areas and sports courts. Often, platforms of artists and musicians are also set up at the Ibirapuera Park.

    Carnival in Sao Paulo

    The São Paulo annual carnival is an extremely popular attraction that draws mammoth crowds from the world over. The carnival is usually held between February and March. If plans are made to visit São Paulo during this time, it is recommended that tourists get tickets to witness the carnival from a huge gallery called Anhembi Sambadrome (can be reached by getting to the Tiete Metro Station). This gallery has a capacity of around 30,000 and is a prime vantage point from which the samba dancers and musicians in the carnival’s parade can be witnessed.

    Sao Paulo's Cuisine

    The cultural diversity of the city is reflected in São Paulo’s cuisine. A variety of Brazilian, Portuguese, Arab and even Japanese dishes can be found. The restaurants in São Paulo are generally considered very good value for money with prices ranging from under R$ 50 to over R$100. It is very common in São Paulo to drink beer along with snacks. Such snacks include Mandioca, batata frita and Pastéizinhos. São Paulo’s vibrant night-life makes it very easy to find good bars and pubs selling beer, cachaça or caipirinha and a type of draught beer called Chopp.

    Sports in Sao Paulo

    São Paulo is home to some of Brazil’s biggest sporting venues. From football and volley ball to motorsport, Paulistanos are ardent sport lovers. Some of the sporting events that the city has hosted in the past include the FIFA World Cup in 1950, the Volleyball World League in 1993, the World Cup in Artistic Gymnastics in 2005 and the city will be a part of the FIFA world cup in 2014. Apart from these sports, São Paulo’s Autódromo José Carlos Pace at Interlagos regularly hosts the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix.

    Theme Parks in Sao Paulo

    São Paulo has some popular theme parks that attract tourists and residents alike. Playcenter is the most popular of these amusement parks located near the Barra Funda Metro station. Wet n’ Wild São Paulo is another popular theme park in the city that also offers exciting water rides. Apart from amusement parks, São Paulo also has an aquarium and a zoo, both of which make great family outing destinations. The entry price for each of the above mentioned destinations can cost around R$ 25 for the aquarium and around R$42 to R$65 for amusement parks.

    São Paulo Cathedral

    The São Paulo Cathedral, a massive neo-gothic style edifice, was consecrated in the year 1954. This building, although constructed relatively recently, has a history that extends way back into the late 1500s. Back then it was known as the Matriz of the village of Sao Paulo. The São Paulo Cathedral is located in Cathedral Square (Praça da Sé). It is the largest and most active church in São Paulo. It’s beautiful Renaissance inspired dome and richly adorned inner capitols draw a sizeable tourist population as well.

    Getting around Sao Paulo

    Due to the bustling and chaotic nature of road traffic in São Paulo, especially during rush hours, tourists are generally advised to take the subway or even trolley buses. The São Paulo subway system is called the Metro and is a convenient and time effective way of commuting in the city. It has 4 operational routes that extensively cover the whole of the city. You can expect to be charged around R$2.55 for the Metro. There are also commuter train lines with tickets available for the same price at the Metro. Buses in São Paulo can be a good way to commute while soaking in the atmosphere of the city, although it can get crowded and delayed at times. Taxis may also be hired on the streets of São Paulo. The white and green taxis can be hired, although they can be expensive. Walking is another way to explore the city, especially the older, history rich neighborhoods like the Jardins and Centro.

    Sao Paulo's Climate

    São Paulo, because of its relatively elevated location, enjoys a pleasant temperate climate, although it can get very humid at times. Average temperatures during summers (November, December and January) are around 25 °C and during the colder months (June, July) around 20 °C. Although extreme temperatures of 35 °C and -0.2 °C have been reported in the past, it is very rare and highly unlikely to happen regularly. São Paulo is, however, a very wet city. It receives rainfall of up to 57 inches annually. January and February are usually the wettest months of the year.

    Safety Tips for Sao Paulo

    General tourist safety practices, like avoiding deserted streets at night, not withdrawing huge sums of money etc., must be followed. Traffic lights in São Paulo shift to blinking between 11 in the night to around 5 in the morning, therefore, one must be very careful while approaching traffic signals at night. São Paulo is also known to have variations in Voltage and frequency levels of it electricity; therefore it would be wise to check with a hotel manager or a local before plugging in a foreign electrical device in São Paulo. Travelers may find it useful to seek useful advice from the DEATUR police staff, present in all São Paulo airports, on how to stay safe in the city.

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