Sao Paulo is a massive city in Brazil, even larger than New York City. While you’ll need more than one day to explore all the sites the metropolis has to offer, here is my suggested itinerary for those with only a short amount of time to spend.
Getting There: For affordable comfort, convenience, and peace of mind, take the Green Toad Bus. I had been in Paraty before Sao Paulo, and a luxurious bus picked me up right from the bus station. I simply showed my confirmation and passport and was given a ticket. The bus was air conditioned, spacious, and even had a board you could pull off the back of the seat in front of you to turn your seat into a slanted “bed.” I also enjoyed having multiple rest stops to stretch my legs and get a snack.
Hostel: Stay at Beats Hostel near Avenida Paulista. The hostel is only a few months old, and is very clean and fun with friendly and helpful staff. There is an onsite bar, self-catering kitchen, free wifi, and free breakfast each morning. It’s also in a safe area, and a 10 minute walk from an enormous 24-hour grocery store called Extra.
9:00 am: Enjoy a free breakfast at the hostel, including fruit, bread, spreads, coffee, cheese, and ham.
9:30 am: Take the subway to the San Bento station and walk the 25 de março street. Here people come from the whole country to buy cheap stuff goods. It is also near the Mercado Municipal on Cantareira street, where you can see all kinds of fruits, cheese, meats, breads, oils, wines, chocolates, and more. If you want to buy something special to take home with you, like cachaça, this is the place. On the second floor, you can have a mortadela sandwich for lunch. It´s huge, so you may want to ask for a half portion – “meia porção”. Also try a “pastel de bacalhau,” which is like a fried salt cake stuffed with codfish.
1:00 pm: Since you’ve already had lunch, make your way to the Luz subway station. In this area, you’ll find two great museums, the Museum of Portugese Language and the Pinacoteca, an art museum. I especially loved the art museum, which was like a giant maze filled with air conditioned rooms of Brazilian and international sculptures, paintings, and photographs. While some pieces seem more abstract, there are also period pieces, portraits, landscapes, and old photographs of the city.
3:00 pm: Take the subway to Ana Rosa. To do this, take Luz in the direction of Jabaquara and get off at Paraiso to get on the green line. Ana Rosa is the stop after Paraiso. From here, it’s about a 20 minute walk to Parque Ibirapuera, a massive park right off Manuel da Nobrega. It’s beautiful with a lot to experience inside, like gardens, museums, lakes, pavillions, and more. On the way, make sure to stop at Frutos do Cerrado on the corner of Rua Joaquim and Rua Aurea, as there are ice pops and gelatos with flavors from myriad fruits from all over the world.
6:00 pm: Make your way to Extra, an enormous supermarket with everything you could want. Since Avenida Paulista and the area is so expensive, and the Beats Hostel has a kitchen, I recommend cooking dinner for yourself.
10:00 pm: Pre-game at the hostel (get a free shot from 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm and cheap drinks all night) and then head over to the nearby Rua Augusta, a street lined with myriad bars and clubs for every style.
This post has been made possible by Green Toad Bus