Okay so, I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, aka Sampa! This may be the reason of my favoritism. To me it is so easy to talk about this city. Sampa is flourishing with gastronomy, culture, art, etc. The city is amazing!
The numbers are quite impressive… There are more than 12 million people living in Sao Paulo, making it one of the biggest cities in the world. Within that 12 million, there are more than 40 colonies of immigrants with the biggest population of Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Lebanese out of their countries of origin. Also, there’s a big population of Brazilians from the North and Northeast regions. For sure, Sao Paulo is the most multi-cultural city in Brazil. Let’s add more, there is also 12,000 restaurants, 100 museums, 60 parks, etc. the list goes on!
You definitely can’t explore the entire city in a single trip. My suggestion is the same I have for NYC, select a region and explore that “little” area. In Sampa the traffic is chaotic and the public transportation is very poor. Not a good idea decide to commute from North to South or East to West.
Personally, I like the neighborhoods in the West area, as Pinheiros and Vila Madalena. Another trendy area is Ipiranga, one of the oldest neighborhood that is becoming a local hot spot. There are also the classics as Itaim and Jardins, traditional areas full of good things to do.
Some people say that Sao Paulo is just a big financial center with few options for tourism. This of course is not true. Of course, since its foundation, in 1554, the city always had importance for politics and economy. With the coffee cycle and industrialization, Sao Paulo grew and turned into the biggest city in the country and to this day continues to hold that spot. But for sure a place with 12 million people can’t be only a financial center, right? One more stereotype to be eliminated.
As everywhere, Sao Paulo has good and bad things. Violence? Yes, violence is an issue. Not as much as some people say, but you need to be careful. Traffic? One of the worse in the world. Cool? Sure! With so many cultures and influence, there’s options for everybody.
I can tell you that Sao Paulo is the city of richness, poverty, stress, relaxing, luxury and trash. There’s a Brazilian famous singer, Caetano Veloso, who said that Sao Paulo is a city from the inside out that we love so much!
Have you ever been there? Please, share your experience!