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Sao Paulo A huge city full of restaurants, nightlife and accomodations.
São Paulo, or Sampa as it is also often called, is also probably one of the most underrated cities tourism-wise, often overshadowed by other places in the Brazilian sun & beach circuit such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. It is in fact a great city to explore, the exquisite way of living of its inhabitants, not to mention the world-class restaurants and diverse regional and international cuisine available to all tastes. If there is a major attraction to this city, it is the excellent quality of its restaurants and the variety of cultural activities on display.
Note: the region of Avenida Paulista is partly in the Center, West, and South-Central, and its number of attractions, as well as its peculiar characteristics, justifies it having its own section.
São Paulo, together with Rio de Janeiro, is the spot where most visitors from abroad land in Brazil. While a complete experience of the city would take a few weeks (since the lifestyle of Paulistanos and every-day routine in the city are huge attractions in themselves), it's possible to visit all major sites within three days. Staying a little longer than that is always a nice idea. As the financial and cultural center of the country, the city is a sea of possibilities. Sightseers will be disappointed however, because the city does not have a single major tourist attraction.
The city has a so called clean city law that prohibits advertising such as billboards. Likewise, heavy trucks are not allowed on most streets except during the middle of the night. These are small but constant improvements which make the city more beautiful and pleasant to live in.
The citizens of São Paulo have a reputation as hard-working and industrious or shallow money-grubbers. It is common to hear that the people in São Paulo work while the rest of Brazil relaxes; even though many say this, it is plainly wrong. It is a fact, nonetheless, that the city of Sao Paulo alone actually contributes with 15 percent of the country's gross national product (45 percent if the entire São Paulo state is taken into account).
But when Paulistanos are not working, they are clubbing. The city nightlife is as intense as it gets, which makes going to a club a total must-do. Everything is possible in a city that doesn't dare to blink.
Locals are often friendly, and will try to help visitors, but language difficulties can offer a barrier. It's a good idea to print out some key phrases.
A good tip is keep your destinations and addresses on paper, in case you cannot find anyone who speaks, you can show them the note.
Many electric outlets will accept both the U.S. / Canada type plugs and the parallel twin round pins used in many countries in Europe (low current "europlug"). It is helpful to carry a world-travel adapter in any case, since other countries in South America vary in electrical plug formats and shapes. Some outlets for computers have the USA two flat pins and one round ground pin. A new, exclusive to Brazil shape of plug with 3 rounded pins (similar to the Euro one, but with another pin in the middle, slightly above) was introduced in 2009 and became the standard for newer electronic equipment. However, and likely to the fact that numerous people bring their electronics from abroad to avoid the heavy-taxed price of the imports, it's still pretty common to find the older outlets or ones that can fit several kinds (the outlet for the new 3-pin Brazilian plug is naturally compatible with Europe's twin round pins).
Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
Congonhas Airport (CGH)
Even these means of transport can be uncomfortably crowded during peaks, and only a very limited carry-on is recommended. You can check the SPTrans website, which is the city's transport administration department. There you can get itineraries using all the city's public transportation options.
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.
By metrô and train
The rail network, composed of metro (subway) and surface trains, is the method of transportation a tourist is likely to use the most while visiting São Paulo. The metro is modern, safe, clean and efficient; the quality of surface trains varies, but those in more touristic areas area as good as the metro. An update-to-date map of the rail network can be found in this link.
What to see
The avenue and its surroundings, such as Rua Augusta, Alameda Santos and Rua Oscar Freire, contain numerous shop galleries, art galleries, theatres, movie theaters, pubs, hotel, coffe shops, bookstores, and gourmet restaurants. Gay nightlife is intense on Consolacao and Haddock Lobo Streets.
Regarded as an "ugly and gray concrete jungle" even by many Paulistanos, São Paulo's city center indeed does not conform to a standard definition of "beauty", but nonetheless, it has become a source of inspiration for countless artists and photographers who can see on it much of the personality of the city.
Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo (Morumbi), Brazil's third largest football stadium.
Estadio de Morumbi is not easily reachable from the center (e.g Av. Paulista) by public transport. A taxi from Av. Paulista costs about 50 R$ (Nov. 2014). Invest this money instead of splitting the trip to Morumbi into metro and Taxi combinations, it will only save you about 10 R$. If you want to watch a game.
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