Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Why You Should Give São Paulo A Chance

São Paulo's charms take time to discover...
Within Brazil, São Paulo is something of an ugly sister when compared to the country’s other cities. Rio takes much of the tourist spotlight, perhaps boosted further still by the Rio 2016 Olympic games.

But is this a fair characterisation? Having visited 'Sampa', as it’s affectionately known, I can safely say there is way more to this city than it’s grey, dusty appearance. And it’s not just me: a great many expats in Brazil will also tell you that, having spent a good amount of time in both Rio and São Paulo, they have fallen more for this gigantic city of some 20m people than the marvellous city of Rio.

My own opinion is somewhat split, because Rio does hold a special place in my heart. Initially, I disliked São Paulo. It reminded me of all the reasons I wanted to leave London - big, unfriendly, smelly and disorganised.

As travellers with a keenness to see the whole world, we rarely have the opportunity to see a city more than once. But São Paulo is also a city where I’ve done a lot of business (it’s the business capital of Latin America), so I’ve had to visit it a few times. This is fortunate, because it’s a place that has grown on me more and more on each visit to the point where, four trips later, I absolutely love the place.

Here’s the thing with São Paulo: once you start to get to know it, you let your guard down. This is when it starts to pick you up and carry you off into its infectious flows. The beauty of São Paulo is truly its diversity and many different types of people.

The many bars down Rua Augusta, for example. The nightlife in this part of town is unrivalled anywhere in the world. You’ll start to become less intimidated, go into these bustling centres of nightlife, meet the locals and, boom, it’s 6am and you’re arriving home to your accommodation with the sun already up, reflecting on the night of your life.

Once you start to spot the many different types of cultures and people that make up São Paulo, you’ll also start to be seduced by the many different types of food. Lebanese, Italian and Japanese immigrants all played a vital role in the upbringing of this megacity and nowhere is this more evident than the food.

I’ve put together a series of vlogs about São Paulo (peppered through this post). Check them out. What I’m trying to get across with this post is a simple point that, on your next trip to Brazil, don’t think that Rio is the one place that will make your Brazil trip complete. Consider São Paulo because you may find yourself similarly swept up by this vibrant, exciting and 24/7 city. It might not happen immediately, but you’ll be glad you gave São Paulo a chance. Don't judge this book by its cover. Allow yourself to be swept up by the city and go with the flow.

Make sure you check out my #ShaunVlog YouTube series on São Paulo <<<



  1. Hey Shaun. Love your videos and just saw about the blog. All the best from São Paulo!

  2. A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Antipodes

  3. Wish I'd known you were here! We have a great Scottish group in Sao Paulo and could have put on a great party for you! Next time come to Campinas...we have warmer weather just an hour away from Sao Paulo and full of sunshine.


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