Likes & Dislikes


São Paulo was a pleasant surprise. I’d pictured a polluted, ugly megacity. In fact, though, while there are no sea breezes, the air quality isn’t so bad for a major city. There are a lot of boring parts of town, but also a lot of interesting, exciting, fun parts too.” (k.j., 2018)


“São Paulo’s an interesting place, but I’d still rather be in Rio. The people in São Paulo aren’t as beautiful as in Rio.” (K. A., 2016)


“São Paulo is Brazil’s largest city, but I have to say, it didn’t make a great impression on me. True, we ate well, but that doesn’t count for much. I didn’t really feel safe in the city, nor did I particularly enjoy it. It’s big, dirty, noisy, smelly, and a bit scary too. There are a lot of poor people everywhere, a lot of run-down parts of town, and hardly anything noteworthy to see. I can’t in good conscience recommend it to any traveler, though of course I could be wrong. It may be a great city, and we were just unlucky enough to see its bad side.” (M. G. 2015)


“While it’s the natural environment that impresses you in Rio, in São Paulo it’s the human landscape – a vast concrete jungle. If Rio is the diva beauty queen, I thought. then São Paulo is her hulking boyfriend. Those who work day and night don’t have time for elegance. But raw strength and determination can still be appealing, despite not-so-attractive looks and not-too-sophisticated manners. All in all, there’s something here to fall in love with, even if not at first sight, or perhaps even second sight, but all the more deeply when it comes.





Sao Paulo - metro - v.g. photo

Sao Paulo - metro scene - Krista photo



Sao Paulo - Centro - pedestrian walkway - Krista photo



Sao Paulo - Pinheiros neighbourhood - Krista photo

Public safety

If you are mugged, do not fight under any circumstances. That would surely be the best way to get yourself killed or injured.

Don’t wear a watch or jewelry of any kind on the street

Avoid using your cellphone on the street. Be attentive to bikers; many thieves that ride bikes to steal people's phones.

Unlike Rio de Janeiro, the poor neighborhoods and favelas are located very far from the tourist areas, and it is impossible to end up inside one by accident. Avoid the run-down historic center around Luz station and Sala São Paulo as drug addicts, and beggars strongly populate it.


"The other day, a thief on a bicycle snatched an iPhone from a member of our family. This is quite common in the city and occurs many times a day. Think carefully about taking out your cell phone or camera on the street.” (2017)
“We decided on whether an area was safe or not based on how many people we saw on the street either hiding or visibly carrying their cell phones. Still, we never saw any dangerous-looking characters or gangs of determined teens like we did in Rio. Our relative here said that compared to Rio, they just steal here, while robbery at gunpoint or knifepoint is very rare. So you may lose valuables, but your physical safety is not in great danger.” (aji, 2018)

Sao Paulo - armed to the teeth



Sao Paulo - a street art mural in downtown - Proibido proibir - "It is Forbidden to Forbid" - Krista photo


Sao Paulo - Monument to the Independence of Brazil - v.g. photo

Destination in brief

Sao Paulo is the name of both the estate and the city. Those born in the town are called paulistas, those born in the estate are paulistanos. Calling a paulista paulistano would be huge trouble.

Population (in 2020): 10 million (city area) and 22 million (urban area, agglomeration included) - 65% White, 27% brown or mixed, 6% Black, 2,5% Asian

Among the Whites inhabitants of Italian descent are double as many as Portuguese descent.

Sao paulo is the largest Italian, Japanese and Lebanese city outside their home countries.

Sao Paulo receives about 11 million tourists per year.

Religions: 64% Roman Catholic, 22% Protestant

The city may have all four seasons of the year in one day. It’s always wise to take a jacket and an umbrella with you.


SP t is located on the hilly plateau of the southeastern Brazilian Highlands.



Sao Paulo - low class - v.g. photo


Japanese Quarter

“The bustling main streets of Liberdade are lined with supermarkets selling mainly Japanese products, there are so many kinds of sake I couldn’t count them (of course, there are all kinds of Japanese food and pre-packaged sushi, but I went straight to sake), and no end of Japanese canteens. There are also many smaller shops here, where you can buy all kinds of household appliances, like in the Chinese shops back home. Of course, there are also Japanese souvenirs, tableware, and artificial bonsai. Japanese-looking shopkeepers ask in Portuguese if they can help (and it confused me that they didn’t speak in an Asian accent); it’s true that in some places Asian words are also mixed into the Portuguese.” (2017)

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