Sao Paulo 22nd – 26th September
We arrived at around 7pm and caught a taxi to our Hostel. We first thing we realised was that it was about 40x bigger than Perth city. Just from going through the airport to getting our taxi, we realised that it would be harder than we thought to get around with minimal Portuguese. It’s a little bit of a culture shock going from Perth to Sao Paulo, as every building has high gates/barbed wire.
We stayed in Soul Hostel which was really nice. It was right around the corner from the major street (and shopping centre) so the location was great. We were greatful to one of the staff members at Soul as she spoke English fluently and was able to tell us the safer routes to get around.
Because we had just endured 30+ hours of flying and airport waiting we had a quick shower and found a Mexican place to eat down a popular restaurant strip (Rua Augusta). One of the guys in our dorm snored ridiculously loud, so bad that $40AUD ear plugs didn’t stand a chance.
That pretty much fucked up our sleeping pattern for the whole 3 nights we were there.
What we ate
Sao Paulo is quite expensive compared to other cities, so to keep costs down we cooked most of our meals, except for the first night where we went to a Mexican restaurant. Apart from that we also tried street tapioca and a few burger trucks.
The first grocery store we tried to find was in a very dodgy neighbourhood, however we ended up stumbling across some nice ones close to the hostel. Definitely better asking the locals as Google won’t always give you the closest places. We wouldn’t recommend walking around really late or early as some parts can be dodgy, but just don’t bring a lot of cash with you and never take your card. During the day however it’s a good idea to screenshot Google maps of where you want to go and the directions as this is super helpful (even leave the browser open and if the map has downloaded your GPS will still give you the location).
Sao Paulo attractions
We tried to go to the Football, and Ricky spent most of the afternoon trying to buy tickets on-line however to open an account you need to be Brazilian and have CPF number. After taking the taxi out to Morumbi, the atmosphere was awesome (and super dodgy), people everywhere trying to sell stuff and you could hear the chanting from outside the stadium, made us super excited!
We would have loved to Go Pro the outside, however we probably would have been shivved for it. Can’t explain how electrifying the atmosphere was but unfortunately we didn’t get to experience it all. When we tried to book the tickets my Citibank card was declined (only place it has happened) so that was super dissapointing for me, but mostly Ricky (from now on leaving the card at home and only bringing cash … as Ricky suggested we should do).
He was extremely disappointed as it was the team he wanted to see (SPFC) and they won 3-0 against Vasco…. at least he got to see 2 of the goals on the 3.5″ monitor in the taxi, and the taxi driver was super excited.
We only really trained, walked around and ate while in Sao Paulo, so we would only recommend 3-4 days as it’s just a big city!
Apparently there is a big 6-storey nightclub there but it only starts at around 2am, so we didn’t end up going. We asked friends at CrossFit and they said it’s mostly for druggies.
We didn’t make it out to the massive park in the middle of the city (can’t remember the name) however after seeing photos on the last day we were there, it did look beautiful. Since it was raining we had no way of going however if we go back we’ll definitely visit it.
The biggest bit of advice we would tell you is A. get a Citibank card and B. Make sure you speak some Portuguese.
BJJ, Judo & CrossFit
While we were there I trained at CrossFit Templo and Ricky trained at Alliance HQ for Jiu Jitsu and Judo at Academia Shoorikan.
Sao Paulo tourist tips
- Avoid walking through small streets really late or early as some parts can be dodgy,
- Leave your passport and cards at the hostel, only take enough cash for the day.
- When arriving in a place after a long flight, spend the extra $$ on a private room.
- Street food is okay just make sure that locals are buying from them
- Always check if the hostel has a airport shuttle – Soul had one for $42R compared to the taxi fare of $140R.
What Travel Card we used
The Citibank card is definitely the best for overseas, so far haven’t had an ATM with fees and we get an exchange rate only slightly less than market rate. You can see which ATMs are fee-free on the website, even though it doesn’t say Bradesco, we didn’t get charged there either. Sao Paulo did have Citibank’s everywhere though (unlike Fortaleza).
Also finding a laundromat in Sao Paulo seemed near impossible, so we saved our washing for Fortaleza.