São Paulo: Hub of Diversity
São Paulo is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere—more than eleven-million people live within its limits, along with another ten-million populating the surrounding areas.
While over a quarter of these residents are of Italian ancestry, São Paulo is also home to large Japanese, African, Korean, Jewish, and Arabic communities.
It’s not uncommon to find ramen shops, trattorias, and falafel stands on the same block.
Most visitors arriving by air are awed by the city’s endless canyons of skyscrapers. Although it is enormous, the city is surprisingly accessible when focused.
For multi-day visits, the Paulista Avenue, Jardins and Parque Ibirapuera sectors are ideal.
Here, the city’s famous design hotels, boutiques, performing-arts venues, restaurants, and nightclubs are within easy reach.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo
São Paulo’s museums rival the best in Latin America. The Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) houses one of the world’s greatest collections of Latin American art.
MASP houses works by Diego Rivera, Bruno Giorgi, and Ernesto de Fiori, alongside pieces by European masters including Rembrandt, Botticelli, Degas, Renoir, Modigliani, and Picasso.
Other worthwhile São Paulo museums include:
- Museu da Imagem e do Som (photography, cinema, and music)
- Museu de Zoologia da USP (taxidermy)
- MuseuAfroBrazil (one of our favorites)
- Museu do Ipiranga (cultural artifacts)
- Museu de Arte Moderna
During off-peak hours, visitors to São Paulo can reach the Atlantic coast in about an hour. The best beaches lie another sixty miles northeast, near Ubatuba and on Ilhabela and Ilha Anchieta.
Having traveled this far, you’ll find yourself within close reach of the beautiful colonial port of Paraty; a destination well worth the trip.
Helicopter charters from downtown São Paulo to the coast and countryside are a popular alternative to the crowded roadways.
Getting to São Paulo
São Paulo is served by Guarulhos International Airport, Brazil’s primary arrival point for international flights.
Overnight flights from most US departure points reach Guarulhos in ten hours or less.
Congonhas, the city’s other large airport, mostly receives domestic flights.
“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”