09 Feb São Paulo Brazil Travel Guide
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and the third largest in the world. It may not be the most beautiful city you will ever come across but it certainly is very diverse. It is an economic powerhouse helping Brazil to grow to the ninth largest GPD economy in the world. São Paulo was once one of the most dangerous cities in the world due to the extreme gap between rich and poor but its crime levels are getting lower and lower every year and is now on the same level of crime as New York which is a positive for the city. It has a lot of beautiful art scenes such as Beco do Batman, amazing cuisine and exciting fashion scene. I wouldn’t say São Paulo is a cheap destination to travel through but I will share with you below some awesome budget saving tips to add to your São Paulo Brazil Travel Guide.
São Paulo Typical Costs:
For a dorm room in a good hostel (10-12 beds) prices start around 30-40 BRL (10-12 USD) a night. Private rooms start from 140-145 BRL (45-47 USD) a night.
For a decent private 1 bedroom Airbnb place for yourself prices start around 120-130 BRL (38-40 USD) a night. If you are a solo traveler, travelling with a partner or don’t mind sharing a bed with a friend Airbnb is the best option in my opinion as you can get a fully equipped apartment including all cooking facilities, washing and drying facilities all in your own private apartment.
If you are looking for a hotel option in São Paulo you can get decent 3 star hotel for around 130-140 BRL (42-45 USD) a night. If you are wanting more a hotel experience than anything else then it’s not that more expensive than your own Airbnb place.
If you are after some luxury in São Paulo then you won’t be disappointed. The Hilton Morumbi starts around 600 BRL (192 USD) a night and looks amazing.
Cheap locally owned eat outs will set you back around 25-35 BRL (9-12 USD) for a meal and a drink. Mid-range restaurant you are looking at 50-80 BRL (16-26 USD) and if you want to dine at an expensive top restaurant in São Paulo you are looking to spend around 100-200 BRL (32-65 USD). Grocery’s for the week you are looking at around 150 BRL (50 USD) a week. All of these prices above are per person and for grocery’s it can range a lot due to what you eat and how much you eat.
São Paulo isn’t the easiest city to get around. In fact when I visited São Paulo in 2016 I got lost so many times. Peak hours are generally 6am-9am and 4pm-8pm so if you can avoid these times catching transport otherwise be prepared to feel like a sardine and encounter long delays (depends on what areas you are in) but in saying that the best and cheapest options to get around would have to be the subway/metro trains and buses. One way on the bus is around 3.80 BRL where you can board up to 3 buses and be on the route for up to 3 hours before being charged again. With the trains its 3.80 BRL for a single trip. Taxis are pretty cheap and there is no shortage of them in São Paulo. Prices are around 5 BRL starting costs with every km is about 3 BRL. Please be aware not many cab drivers speak English. Bikes are another great option to explore the city as 50km of bike paths have been created in São Paulo. Prices cost around 5-10 BRL per hour to rent a bike.
Low cost budget would be around 170-220 BRL (55- 70USD) a day. This budget assumes you stay in a dorm, use public transport, eat out in cheap restaurants or buy your own food. Mid-range budget would be around 250-400 BRL (80-130USD) a day. This budget assumes you stay at an Airbnb or good 3 star hotel, use public transport including taxis, eat out at mid-range restaurants. Luxury stay budget would be around 900 BRL (290 USD) and above which would include a 5 star hotel, taxi’s or shuttle services and top restaurants in São Paulo.
Money saving tips:
Bring a friend:
Bringing a friend would definitely help the budget especially since single dorm rooms are expensive.
Agree on taxi prices:
This is a big must. A lot of taxi drivers here rip off tourists so it’s important to agree on a rate before you hop in.
Due to the fact that São Paulo isn’t the cheapest destination, I recommend couch surfing. Since the city is so large local knowledge can definitely help you navigate to all the best spots at the best price.
Top things to see and do in São Paulo
Hiring a bike is a great way to see São Paulo’s Ibiraapuera Park. The park is equivalent to New York’s central park and London’s Hyde Park. The park is around 2km long and is a great place to explore, relax, jog or simply just enjoy the surroundings.
If you are a football fanatic then you will need to check out the football museum which is housed within the cities art-deco Pacaembu Stadium. The museum begins with a greetings from a futuristic hologram of Brazil’s most famous football icon Pele, which then takes visitors through an interactive journey through the history of the football.
Watch a sunset from sunset square:
I would have to say this is a hidden gem in São Paulo. It is located in the Pinheiros neighbourhood in São Paulo. Sit back, relax and enjoy the natural beauty.
São Paulo’s art museum:
If you are into art then you won’t be disappointed. São Paulo’s art museum has the best art in South America. This is a must for art lovers.
Cathedral Metropolitana de São Paulo
This beautiful piece of Architecture isn’t as old as you would think. It started construction in 1912 and wasn’t finished till 1967 due to two wars. This incredible building can hold up to 8000 people and more than 800 tons of the world’s finest marble was used to create this masterpiece. This cathedral is the 4th largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Religious or not, this is an amazing Cathedral and is definitely worth a picture.