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Overview

“Sampa” is the proverbial concrete jungle. Sprawling, vertical, crowded, and traffic-jammed, this city of 18 million would be hard-pressed to win any urban beauty contests. However, viewed as a patchwork of diverse and distinctive village-like neighborhoods, it slowly seduces. It’s famously said that São Paulo is all about work while Rio is all about play. The adage may be true. However, when Paulistanos – as residents of Latin America’s largest metropolis are known – have finished greasing the wheels of the continent’s financial, economic, and cultural powerhouse, they have a limitless array of recreational and gastronomical (not to ...

“Sampa” is the proverbial concrete jungle. Sprawling, vertical, crowded, and traffic-jammed, this city of 18 million would be hard-pressed to win any urban beauty contests. However, viewed as a patchwork of diverse and distinctive village-like neighborhoods, it slowly seduces. It’s famously said that São Paulo is all about work while Rio is all about play. The adage may be true. However, when Paulistanos – as residents of Latin America’s largest metropolis are known – have finished greasing the wheels of the continent’s financial, economic, and cultural powerhouse, they have a limitless array of recreational and gastronomical (not to mention shopping) options at their disposal.

Creative and cutting-edge, with a unique and thriving arts scene, Sampa lures people and energy (as well as money) from all over Brazil, and the world, to participate in one of the most dynamic – and least boring – cities on the planet. And in the event you start to suffer from urban overload, within a two-hour radius are some of Brazil’s most idyllic mountain and beach getaways.

Michael Sommers
About the Expert

Michael Sommers is the author of Moon Brazil and Moon Rio, as well as the blog Thrill of Brazil. He has been living in Salvador, Brazil since 1999.

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Michael Sommers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: São Paulo is the capital of the state of São Paulo, Brazil's most populous state. It exerts strong regional influence in commerce, finance, arts and entertainment and a strong international influence. The name of the city honors Saint Paul of Tarsus.
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Currency: Brazilian Real
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Weekends and holidays are quieter — and accommodations are cheaper — due to the absence of business travelers and the exodus of Paulistanos. Summer rains (December-March) can cause flooding and wreak havoc.