Sao Paulo (Brazil): My tips for travellers!
Sao Paulo Travel Blog› entry 4 of 5 › view all entries
what are my tips for travellers to
(1) BEST TIME TO VISIT
The wettest time of the year is mid-summer which is from November to February.
(2) GETTING THERE
Many of the major European and US airlines fly direct to
Getting in and out of
It usually takes a good while to get through the rather unwelcoming and abrupt Immigration. Then is then difficult to retrieve your cases as there are so many people bustling around the luggage belts crammed in to the space and then you shuffle through a very slow customs line.
It such a frustratingly slow process to get through the airport largely it seems to me that they are just not geared up for the volume and don’t seem to be tackling the issue by streamlining it. Getting out is also quite slow and the facilities are not very extensive.
The airport is about 20 miles from the city but that can take anything from 30 minutes on a Sunday morning to a few hours to get there in rush hour – meaning that you need to build in a lot of time to get there. And also have to accept that if you have many hours to kill at the airport that you will not find a lot there to keep you occupied!
The public transport networks of rail, busses and metro are not all that great, though the guidebooks claim that the metro system is good but I did not try that out so you will have to take their word and give it a go. I suspect though that if the public transport system was reliable so many people would not be out in cars and taxis shuffling through the city but zooming around on the metro or trains!
Anyone who knows, my usual tips will include a “do the standard open top bus tour” around the city to familiarize yourself with the place and the history. However, I was unable to find a regular multi-stop scheduled bus trip that runs continuously like most major tourist cities have.
I had searched online before going and found a company that offered tours of the city for half a day (which seemed to be all they felt was needed to get to “do” the city!), but they did not have a regular schedule and it was “on demand” and so I thought I would find one via the hotel concierge. Interestingly they were unable to offer any and suggested an ad-hoc guided tour as the best and again confirmed that a 3 or 4 hour tour (even with traffic) was going to be all that was needed to see things. If there are 3 or more of you this is also the most cost effective option.
(4) CITY VIEWS
It seems that one of the most popular and most recommended to me sight seeing attractions (even the official Sao Paulo city site has this as one of the top things to do) is to go and look at a view of the city, especially at night.
I am not sure if this is because there is not a lot of tourist fare on the city as it is really more of a commercial centre, but it was a very consistent recommendation.
Probably the best place to go and see the city is from the “hotel Unique”. This is a very funky and trendy hotel that was designed by Philippe Stark and looks a bit like a “Noah’s
There are also a number of other places to see the views like the Edificio Italia (skyscraper with observation deck open to the public) and the Banespa Building (which also has an observation deck) – but the Hotel Unique is the best.
This is a really lovely park, and although it is actually only the 3rd biggest in the city (Parque do Carmo is the biggest), it is the one most worth a visit – especially on the weekend when it is like a magnet for locals eager to get out into the open spaces to enjoy the sun.
This huge park, which is near to some of the large hotels like Sofitel and Ramada, has a number of museums like the Oca and also the Ibirapuera Auditorium designed by the famous designer Oscar Niemeyer. It also has a Planeterium, bike riding circuit and nearby is the lovely monument called Bandeiranies. There is even a Japanese garden in the park.
The best museum to visit if you want to immerse yourself into the history and culture is the Museum Paulista. This museum was built in honour of the creation and development of
(7) FOOTBALL (SOCCER)
(8) GO ALL AROUND THE WORLD
With the huge diversity of population, the city is very rich in different cultures. You can, therefore, see and experience these by visiting the suburbs and areas where each tends to be concentrated. This may be a more interesting tour or addition to any driving tour you book. Some of the most popular areas to visit include Bela Vista (an Italian neighbourhood), Liberdale (Japanese) and areas like 25 De Marco (Arab).
I mentioned earlier how fashion and the like can be very expensive, but despite that shopping is big in Sao Paulo and there are at least 42 huge malls around the city and many are worth visiting even just to admire the design and style of the people strolling through them – limiting yourself to sit at the many coffee or coffee and chocolate cafes.
(10) DAY TRIPS TO THE BEACH OR EVEN TO