Sao Paulo City Guide
OVERVIEW: The largest and most "Americanized" city in Brazil. It is hard to comprehend the vastness of this city; the photo shown here doesn't even begin to do it justice. It is the hub of all economic activity in Brazil, aside from tourism. A first time visitor to Sao Paulo is likely to be throughly overwhelmed and impressed by an imposing and intimidating metropolis.
WEATHER: Humid subtropical (17-28 °C). Similar climate to Sydney, Australia.
SAFETY: Contrary to belief, Sao Paulo is a safe city...just kidding! But dangerous areas (there are many) are usually well-defined, and a tourist would have to be pretty ignorant to wander into one without knowing it. Still, don't walk around too much after dark.
MUST DO: Avenida Paulista. Basically a micro city in itself. Bars, shops, restaurants, museums, hotels. Everything.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN SAO PAULO: $800.00. This is a major international city, so there aren't too many bargains to be had in terms of apartment rentals. However, if you're savvy and can get a pad in a pre-gentrified area, you might be able to swing something for half this price.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $16.00 and up.
NIGHTLIFE IN SAO PAULO: 10/10
It would be downright foolish to give Sao Paulo anything less than a perfect 10 for nightlife. There is a bar for every kind of person in this city - it's just a matter of knowing where to look. As a tourist, you'll need to pick a very small area of the city to focus your attention on. This is the only way you'll be able to make sense of the place and come away with any sort of opinion. And even though this opinion will be heavily biased, at least it's an opinion. I'm going to have to Alpha you on you're decision here: if you're a first-time visitor to Sao Paulo, stay and do all of your gaming in Pinheiros. Is it the best spot for nightlife in the city? Who the hell knows. I certainly don't. It is, however, a spot for nightlife and if you're going in with nothing, focusing solely on this district is going to make things easier. Nightlife in Sao Paulo is among the best of any city I have been to.
I recommend: Quitanddinha Bar. A good spot to hang out for the night. Only problem is the bar is very social circle oriented, with lots of tables. If you don't have a group to go out with and and uncomfortable going at it solo, a better option is the Casa Club Bar. Hell, chances are that you'll be sleeping here anyway so it will be a short walk home.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $2.00
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN SAO PAULO: 7.5/10
Believe it or not, you have just as good of a chance of hooking up with a girl here in Sao Paulo as you do in Rio de Janeiro, maybe better. The move here is to be aggressive and direct. Don't feel the need to lie about how long you'll be in town, because the girls here aren't looking for a longterm relationship or a sugar daddy. Sao Paulo is no different than New York or Los Angeles. The girls are busy, career-oriented and hook-up for a release or to feel something, not because they need to be "saved" by a rich, exotic foreigner. These are not naive favela girls. Chances are their bank balances will be larger than yours, so don't bother throwing money around or getting bottle service or anything of the sort. If the girl wants to bang you, she'll bang you for herself and on her terms, knowing full well that you'll be gone by next week. This is the best way to hook up with a girl in Sao Paulo.
*If you plan on using online dating in Brazil, I recommend Brazil Cupid as your best option for meeting trustworthy local women.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN SAO PAULO?: 9/10.
No one will believe me, but I don't care: Sao Paulo has the hottest girls in Brazil. It's a complicated and mysterious kind of hotness that has to do with a mix of affluence, self-assuredness and just plain sexiness. But I'll scrap the adjectives and try to explain why the girls here are the hottest by comparing them to other Brazilian cities using Freud's psychic apparatus:
1) Rio de Janeiro: In Rio, the girls speak to the reptilian brain. You see a fine mulatta dressed in high heels and a tight dress and you think, "right, I'm having that." These girls satisfy your id.
2) Florianopolis: Girls in Florianopolis activate your socially-conditioned notions of female hotness. The media tells you that tall, tanned, young and lovely blondes that you see in the magazines are the standard to which all other women shall be judged. You have no choice but to lust after these types of girls because you have been conditioned your whole life to do so. These are the girls you know you can bring home to Mom. These girls satisfy your superego.
3) Sao Paulo: The girls in Sao Paulo are hot. And, they pose a conflict to your psychic apparatus because they physically represent both extreme sexiness (id), as well as culturally-determined ideals of beauty and social status (superego). This cuts out the middleman (ego) which acts in accordance to the reality principal. In other words, your ego is what stops you from sexually assaulting the girls from Rio because it isn't socially acceptable, and what stops you from worshipping the girls from Florianopolis and asking them to marry you because it won't get you pussy. Because girls from Sao Paulo don't require any moderation from the ego, it makes them more desirable on a fundamental level.
Now, I'll tell you what milk costs.
If you want to make the most of your time in Brazil, you will need to speak some Spanish. Rocket Portuguese is the best resource for learning Portuguese quickly and easily.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.30 Loaf of Bread= $2.00 Eggs= $2.00 Water (1.5L)= $1.20 Cigarettes= $2.75
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Unless you've been transferred here by your home company, don't count on being able to find work.
TAXI: Traffic is horrendous. Could cost you over $10.00 for relatively short distances. During the day, take the subway instead.
NOTES: A bustling metropolis if there ever was one and a truly fascinating city. If you're a big city lover, you'll love Sao Paulo. If you couldn't get enough of Mexico City and Bogota, Sao Paulo should be your next stop because in many ways it is even more epic than the Mexican and Colombian capitals. On the outside, it is a charmless concrete jungle, but on the inside it has all you'd ever want in a city: both anonymity and community. I expect to get a lot of hate for the way I praised the girls here. But this is my blog so there's not much you can do about it.
OVERALL RATING: 9/10
Recommended Resources: Brazil Cupid & Rocket Portuguese
Want More Information About Latin America? Check Out My City Guides
*More city guides from Brazil here!