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Sao Paulo (City)

Travel Guide South America Brazil Sao Paulo Sao Paulo

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Introduction

São Paulo - Heavy Sky

São Paulo - Heavy Sky

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São Paulo is the capital of the state of Sao Paulo and Brazil's largest city with a population of over 10 million people. It is also the most populous city in South America and the southern hemisphere. Locals go by paulistanos and the stunning architecture, with many skyscrapers, can awe anyone.

São Paulo officially became a city in 1711 and the economy of the area grew fast. The city dealt with many economic changes during its life and continued to thrive, such as the dropping of coffee prices in the beginning of the 20th century. During the early 20th century, countless immigrants from Europe, the Middle East and Japan came to the city in order to find their riches. Today, São Paulo is considered the richest city in Brazil.

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Neighbourhoods

The city is divided into 31 subprefeituras, also known as boroughs. Each of these subprefeituras are further divided into two or three districts. The main districts are:

  • Se
  • Historical Downtown
  • Butanta

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Sights and Activities

Sala São Paulo

Sala São Paulo is a beautiful concert hall located in Julio Prestes Station. The station was constructed between 1926 and 1938 and served as a train station for several decades. Then in the 1990s the grand hall of the train station was turned into the current day concert hall. In order to honor the original design of the station even the sand imported in the restoration effort was brought in from the original source when the building was built in 1926. Today the amazing concert hall has amazing acoustics and can seat 1498 people making it a great place to check out a classical symphony or opera.

Sao Paulo Museum of Art

The Sao Paulo Museum of Art houses a huge collection of Western art, as well as a large collection of Brazilian art and smaller collections of African and Asian arts and collections of Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman antiquities as well as Pre-Columbian artifacts. Since 1969 the museum is located on the present location on the Paulista Avenue. The building itself is considered to be one of best examples of Brazilian modern architecture. Amongst the highlights are piantings by Raphael, Botticelli, Monet, Renoir, van Gogh and Rembrandt.

Ibirapuera Park

Ibirapuera Park is an amazing park located in the city centre. The park is home to many stunning sights including The Obelisk, a lake and many museums.

  • Grande Marquise is home to the modern art museum.
  • Cicillo Matarazzo Pavilion is home to the Contemporary Art Museum.
  • Manoel da Nóbrega Pavilion was the location of the city hall until 1992.
  • Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion is the home to the Air Force Museum and the Folklore Museum.
  • Planetarium and Municipal Astrophysics School was the first planetarium built in the southern hemisphere and has a dome with a 20 metre diameter.
  • Ibirapuera Auditorium is a modern building that is quite controversial because of its space age design.

Other Sights and Activities

  • The Municipal Theater. Check out this old theater.
  • School Yard (Páteo do Collégio) is the place where São Paulo was founded.
  • Paulista Avenue (Avenida Paulista).
  • Se Cathedral (Catedral da Sé).
  • Copan Biulding (Edifício Copan).
  • Luz Station (Estação da Luz).
  • Municipal Market (Mercado Municipal).
  • Ipiranga Museum (Museu do Ipiranga).
  • Museum of the Portuguese Language is an interesting museum located in the Luz Station.
  • Pinacoteca do Estado.
  • Liberdade - Home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan.

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Events and Festivals

World Cup 2014

Australian Fans

Australian Fans

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The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. It takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in 1950. The national teams of 32 countries will join the second biggest sports event in the world (after the Olympic Games). A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil, with the tournament beginning with a group stage. For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches will use goal-line technology. Twelve locations will be World Cup host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. They cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil provided, when matches were concentrated in the south-east and south. As a result the tournament will require significant long-distance travel for teams. Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia, played in Sao Paulo on the 12th of June, and the final will be played on the 13th of July in Rio de Janeiro.

  • Anima Mundi - An animation film festival held in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro every July since 1993.
  • Formula One´s Brazilian Grand Prix. October 31st, November 1st and 2nd at Interlagos race track.
  • São Paulo Art Biennial - Founded in 1951 by Ciccilio Matarazzo, one important Brazilian industrial of Italian background. Held at Ibirapuera Park since 1957 on a pavilion projected by Oscar Niemayer and Hélio Uchôa.
  • São Paulo Fashion Week
  • São Paulo Gay Pride Parade - One of the biggest parades in the world. More than 2 million people participates every year. It is an almost out seasoned carnival.
  • São Paulo International Film Festival or "Mostra Internacional de Cinema de São Paulo" has been held since 1977, in October and November.
  • São Silvestre International Race or Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre - Every December 31, Paulista Avenue is full of people to celebrate the new´s year eve running at the streets of São Paulo. Since 1924 until 1990, the athletes used to run at night.

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Weather

The city has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate. In summer, mean temperatures are between 17 °C and 28 °C, and 32 °C on the hottest days. In winter, temperatures are between 11 °C and 23 °C, and 6 °C. on the coldest days. The highest temperature recorded was 35.3 °C on November 15, 1985 and the lowest recorded was -2 °C on August 2, 1955. Rainfall is abundant, amounting to an annual average of 1,454 millimetres. It is especially common in the warmer months and decreases in winter. During late winter, especially August, the city experiences the phenomenon known as "veranico" or "verãozinho" ("little summer"), which consists of a bout of unusually hot and dry weather, sometimes reaching temperatures well above 28 °C. On the other hand, relatively cool days during summer are fairly common when persistent winds blow from the ocean. On such occasions daily high temperatures may not surpass 20 °C.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max27.3 °C28 °C27.2 °C25.1 °C23 °C21.8 °C21.8 °C23.3 °C23.9 °C24.8 °C25.9 °C26.3 °C
Avg Min18.7 °C18.8 °C18.2 °C16.3 °C13.8 °C12.4 °C11.7 °C12.8 °C13.9 °C15.3 °C16.6 °C17.7 °C
Rainfall238.7 mm217.4 mm159.8 mm75.8 mm73.6 mm55.7 mm44.1 mm38.9 mm80.5 mm123.6 mm145.8 mm200.9 mm
Rain Days181613996779111316

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Getting There

By Plane

Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) is the busiest airport in Brazil and located about 25 kilometres from the city centre. This airport is a major hub for South America making it possible to fly almost from any major city in South America and Brazil to and from here. The passenger traffic is split between two terminals and has over 260 check-in counters. Around 40 airlines from this airport serve dozens of cities in Brazil, and countries in South America and beyond. Some of the main international cities served are Buenos Aires, Mexico City, New York JFK, Amsterdam, Toronto, Beijing, Madrid, Paris, Miami, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Seoul, Lima, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, Chicago, Lisbon and London.

To/from the airport

  • Bus: There is a public bus that runs every 30 minutes and travels to the city center of Sao Paulo. Counters at the airport for this bus service can be found at the Arrivals area of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. From the airport, there is also a shuttle bus that stops at many places as well as the main beaches in the area.
  • Car/Taxi: Taxis are available at both terminals, or bookings prior to arrival can be made as well. A taxi from Sao Paulo airport can take up to 2 hours in peak hours, or as little as 45 minutes early in the morning or late evening. Car rental is available from the airport, although traffic in Sao Paulo is very bad and driving in the central city is not recommended. By car take either the Ayrton Senna highway or Presidente Dutra highway to the airport.

Congonhas-São Paulo Airport (CGH) only offers domestic flights with around 5 airlines serving several dozens of destinations throughout Brazil. Taxis are available outside of the airport, keep in mind that not all international credit cards work in Brazil so it's useful to have local currency to pay for your journey when you arrive. A taxi from Sao Paulo Congonhas airport will take around 40 minutes to most hotels in the downtown area.

By Train

  • Luz Station is one of the main train stations in the city.

By Car/Taxi

Taxis are available outside of both airports, keep in mind that not all international credit cards work in Brazil so it's useful to have local currency to pay for your journey when you arrive. Keep in mind that Sao Paulo has very bad traffic and journey times can increase dramatically if travelling to or from the airport in peak hours.

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Getting Around

Transport in São Paulo can be anything from complicated to hellish. Peak hours are normally roughly 6:00am-9:00am and 4:00pm-8:00pm, but since city roads are constantly on the edge of their capacity, any little incident can cause major queues and delays. The cheapest way for tourists to get around is to use the subway/metro, trains and trolleybuses as much as possible, and then take a taxi for shorter distances.

By Car

Due to constant traffic jams, driving at rush hour is not advisible.

By Public Transport

The city has 61.3 kilometres of underground and light rail systems. With 4 lines operating and 55 stations it is possible to get to many tourist locations in the city by the public metro. Check the Metrô - SP page for more information. The three companies operating the rail network are Metrô, CPTM and ViaQuatro. There are the lines which are more likely to be useful to a visitor:

  • Line 1 (Blue) - The first metro line built runs from North to South, passing through the Historical Center. Tietê and Jabaquara bus terminals are also reachable through via Line 1 (Blue). Operated by Metrô.
  • Line 2 (Green) - The Green line runs from West to East, passing through Avenida Paulista. Operated by Metrô.
  • Line 3 (Red) - One of São Paulo's busiest lines, it runs from West to East (north of Line 2 (Green), and far more extensive), passing through the Historical Center. The Barra Funda bus terminal is on the west end of this line. Operated by Metrô.
  • Line 4 (Yellow) - Connects the Historical Center to the West (mostly south of Line 2 (Green)), passing through Avenida Paulista. It will be fully operating in 2012. Operated by ViaQuatro.
  • Line 9 (Emerald) - Runs from North to South (west of Line 1 (Blue)), crossing the entire West. Operated by CPTM.

The Bilhete Único is a transport smartcard that is used for paying fares on buses, subways, and trains. In essence, a single billing of the card grants a person up to four trips in São Paulo's public transportation system with free transfers between the subway system and buses within 3 hours. Fare charging rules are as follows:

  • On buses - upon boarding a bus, you'll be charged R$3,00 and can board up to three other buses in a three-hour period without being charged a second time.
  • On the Metro or CPTM trains - for a single trip in the underground train system, you'll be charged R$3,00.
  • First Metro/CPTM train then bus - you'll be charged R$2,90 when passing by a Metro or CPTM station's turnstile. Once you board a bus, you'll be charged an extra R$1,20 and will be able to board two other buses in a two-hour period - starting from the first validation at the train station - without any further payment.
  • First bus then Metro/CPTM train - once you board a bus, R$3,00 is charged from your card. Upon entering the Metro or CPTM systems, you'll be charged a further R$1,45. It's possible, after leaving the Metro or CPTM system, to board up to two other buses without any further payment in the two-hour period that starts from the first validation, depending on whether you boarded one or two buses before entering a train.

By Foot

Although required by the national transit law, pedestrians are definitely not the priority in Sao Paulo, where cars dominate the streets and roads. Take care whenever crossing the streets, watching out for cars that may come unexpectedly, even if the pedestrian lights are green. Do not try to cross large roads with a high volumes of car traffic: usually there will be a pedestrian viaduct or bridge at some point in the sidewalk. Despite the aggressiveness found in the transit, one can still have peaceful walks across town. The Historic Center area and Avenida Paulista are definitely places to be explored on foot. Check the individual district listings for other nice walks.

By Bike

Only a few places in the city have segregated cycle facilities.

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Eat

  • D.O.M. - D.O.M. is a Brazilian restaurant run by Alex Atala. It is considered to be the best restaurant in South America. It was ranked #4 in The World's Best Restaurants list sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. Address: Rua Barão de Capanema 549 Jardins, São Paulo, 01411-011, Brazil, Phone: +55 11 3088.0761, Hours: Lunch Monday to Friday 12:00pm-3:00pm. Dinner Monday to Saturday 7:00pm-12:00am.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
3Dogs HostelRua Cel. Artur Godoi 51Hostel82
4 Friends HostelCristiano Viana , 448 Street Pinheiroshostel-
Atma HostelRua Leopoldo Couto de Magalhaes Junior, 1195Hostel-
Beats Hostel Sao PauloAlameda Ribeirao Preto 258 Bela VistaHostel83
Casa Club Hostel BarRua Mourato Coelho 973 - Vila Madalena - Sao PauloHostel76
Gol BackpackersRua Sao Carlos do Pinhal, 461Hostel80
HI Praça da ArvoreR Pageu 266, Chacara InglesaHostel85
HI SampaRua Girassol, 519Hostel86
HI São Paulo DowntownRua Barao de Campinas, 94 - CentroHostel-
Hostel AliceRua Harmonia, 1275Hostel90
Hostel Bem te Vi - Brazilav.Benedito J. da Silva 840 Sertaozinho Santo Antonio do Pinhalhostel-
Hostel VergueiroRua Vergueiro.434Hostel77
Hotel Rojas All SuiteAv. Sao Joao , 1399Hotel85
LimeTime Hostels Sao PauloRua Treze de Maio, 1552 Bela VistaHostel78
Loisuites Belgrano HotelRua Marques De Paranagua 88 Consolacaohotel-
Ô de Casa HostelRua Inacio Pereira da Rocha, 385 Vila MadalenaHostel85
Oca HostelManuel de Paiva ,147Hostel74
Okupe Hostel - JardinsAvenida Rebouas, 990 So Paulo - SPHOSTEL84
Okupe Hostel - Vila MarianaRua Sud Mennucci, 159 Vila MarianaHostel-
Olah HostelAlceu Wamosy, 40 Vila MarianaHostel86
Pauliceia HostelR. Herculano de Freitas, 250 Bela VistaHostel86
Pousada dos FrancesesRua dos Franceses, 100Hostel-
Pousada e Hostel São Paulo - Jardim AméricaRua Cristiano Viana, 448Guesthouse-
Pousada e Hostel São Paulo - Jardim PaulistaAvenida Reboucas, 1015Hostel-
Pousada PaulistaAv Helio Lobo 450 Campo Belohostel-
Saci HostelVerissimo Gloria SumareHostel-
Santana Gold FlatR. Dr Olavo Egídio, 170 Santanahotel-
Sao Paulo Global HostelRua Ea de Queiroz 560 - Vila MarianaHOSTEL81
Starlight HostelRua Alberto de Oliveira, 62 Bela VistaHostel-
Telstar HostelsRua Capitao Cavalcanti, 177 Vila MarianaHostel87
Tu Casa HostelRua Eng. Joao Monteiro da Gama, 92Hostel89
Vila Bonita HostelRua Franca Pinto, 978, Vila MarianaHostel-
Vila Madalena HostelRua Francisco Leitao, 686Hostel89
155 HotelRua Martinho Prado, 173Hotel-
Santa Maloca HostelRua Rodesia, 140 Vila MadalenaHOSTEL83
Escambo HostelRua Coronel Oscar Porto, 33 - ParaisoHOSTEL85
Flat Central Park JardinsAlameda Ministro Rocha Azevedo, 523 JardinsHOTEL-
Uvaia HostelRua Morgado de Mateus, 273 - Vila MarianaHOSTEL85
CityLights HostelR. Padre Garcia velho, 44, PinheirosHOSTEL89
Dom HostelDoutor Marrey Junior, 127HOSTEL81
Hey HostelRua Bartolomeu Zunega, 43 - PinheirosHOSTEL89
Giramondo HostelRua Girassol, 471, Vila MadalenaHOSTEL-
WE Hostel DesignRua Morgado de Mateus, 567 Vila Mariana - São PauloHOSTEL89
Nahu Hostel ButantaRua Marinha de Moura Pimenta, 354HOSTEL-
Green Grass HostelRua Herval , 427 BelemHOSTEL82
Easybed HostelRua Barata Ribeiro 96, Bela VistaHOSTEL-
Guest 607Rua Joao Moura, 607 PinheirosHOSTEL-
Pousada PerdizesAv Pompeia 1408DHostel-
Mi Casa Su Casa Aero HostelRua Tapes 740 Campo BeloHostel-
FriendstelRua Dr. Penaforte Mendes, 228 Bela VistaHOSTEL-
Sao Paulo LodgeRua Sena Madureira 42HOSTEL-
Vila Rock HostelRua Cardoso de Almeida, 2277HOSTEL87
Casarao do BixigaRua 13 de Maio, 734 Bela VistaHOSTEL-
Palacete dos InglesesRua dos Franceses, 04HOSTEL-
Alto do Ipiranga HostelRua do Lago, 22 - IpirangaHOSTEL-
Hostel Jardim São Paulo AirportRua Visconde de Itaborai, 245 TatuapeHOSTEL-
Tah! HostelRua Sud Menucci, 159 Vila MarianaHOSTEL-
Hostel Casa BrancaRua Raul Pompeia, 887HOSTEL-
Morumbi HostelAv. Padre Lebret, 822. Jardim Leonor.HOTEL-
Bella Paulista HostelRua Maestro Cardim, 1260 Bela VistaHOSTEL-
Girassol Hostel Vila MadalenaRua Purpurina 199 F, Vila Madalena.HOSTEL-
Mooca Atlantica HostelRua Padre Raposo, 563HOSTEL85
El Visitante HostelRua Humberto I, 486 Vila MarianaHOSTEL-
Aquarela SP HostelRua Jose Antonio Coelho, 504 Vila MarianaHOSTEL86
Hostel Jardim PaulistaAl Joaquim Eugenio de Lima 180HOSTEL-
Paradiso Hostel Sao PauloRua Chui, 195 Vila MarianaHOSTEL-
Pousada LesteRua Henrique Lindenberg, 28 TatuapeGUESTHOUSE-
Pousada WestRua Cristiano Viana, 188 PinheirosGUESTHOUSE-
Gorgeous Penthouse With Private PoolAv Prefeito Fabio Prado, 110 Apt 121APARTMENT-
Uvaia HostelRua Morgado de Mateus, 273 Vila MarianaHotel-
The Hostel PaulistaRua Pamplona, 793 JardinsHOSTEL86
Que Tal Hostel e ArteRua Vergueiro, 3393HOSTEL-
Don Valente PousadaRua Capote Valente, 696 PinheirosGUESTHOUSE-
Che Lagarto Suites Sao PauloRua Humberto I, 745HOSTEL-
Brazilodge All Suites HostelRua Rio Grande, 167HOSTEL86
Mama Brasil HostelRua Itapeva, 88HOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes (Lan houses) are increasingly common, and even small towns often have at least one spot with more or less decent connections.
An increasing number of hotels, airports and shopping malls also offer hotspots for Wi-Fi with your laptop computer or of course smartphone. Sometimes it is free, sometimes you need to register and there is a time limite and sometimes you need to pay a small amount for (day) use.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Brazil is: 55. To make an international call from , the code is: 0014. All cities use the following emergency numbers: 190 (police), 192 (medical) and 193 (fire department). However, if you dial 911 or 112 while in Brazil, you will be redirected to the police.
Brazil uses two-digit area codes, and phone numbers are eight digits long. Numbers beginning with digits 2 to 5 are land lines, while eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 6 to 9 are mobile phones.

Public payphones use disposable prepaid cards, which come with 20, 40, 60 or 75 credits. The discount for buying cards with larger denominations is marginal. Phone booths are nearly everywhere, and all cards can be used in all booths, regardless of the owner phone company. Cards can be bought from many small shops, and almost all news agents sell them.

Brazil has 4 national mobile operators: Vivo (Telefónica Group), Claro (Telmex/América Móvil Group), OI and TIM (Telecom Italia Group), all of them running GSM and HSDPA/HSPA+ networks. Pay-as-you-go (pré-pago) SIM cards for GSM phones are widely available in places like newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, retail shops, etc.

Post

Correios is the national postal service of Brazil. It is a government run postal service and overseen by the Brazilian Ministry of Communications. Post offices are generally open from Monday to Friday from 09:00am to 5:00pm, although post offices located in shopping malls have their own opening hours, usually from 10:00am to 10:00pm. There are no set opening hours at weekends and as post office owners can choose when to open and close. More and more post offices are open until 1:00pm on Saturdays though. You can check things at the nearest post office.

Sending postcards, letters and parcels is a rather straightforward process and services are reliable, though not overly fast when sending post internationally, mostly taking about a week to the USA and Europe, and there is a track-and-trace service for this as well. Domestically, there are both next day as well as more expensive same day delivery options. Stamps are available at post offices, as well as some kiosks or other places where they sell postcards.

For sending packages internationally, you can also used competitively priced private companies like TNT, UPS or DHL. They are generally much quicker and not much more expensive.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -23.548943
  • Longitude: -46.638818

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This is version 186. Last edited at 10:30 on Jan 21, 14 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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