Is São Paulo (Brazil) Worth The Visit?

I hesitated going to São Paulo for a while because of all the bad things I kept hearing. The traffic is horrible, it’s dirty, it’s too big, it’s too hard to know where to go, it’s expensive, etc., but I’m the kind of guy that needs to check things out for himself. Since I was close I had to stop by and visit the largest city in the Americas after Mexico City.

The size is quite impressive. A city like New York is separated by all those dirty rivers, but São Paulo is just one huge concrete salad. I still can’t get over it, and that alone is almost worth a visit.

Someone in the forum took the trouble of breaking down the city so I won’t do that, but you can’t go wrong staying in the Vila Madalena area, which is reasonably close to a lot of popular clubs. The city is so big that cab rides at night can demolish your budget, so when it comes to lodging your main criteria should be how close you are to the nightlife (during the day you have the subway).

What I like about São Paulo over Rio is that you have your normal tribes, making it easy to fit in if you have a unique style. For example, there are many pseudo-rock clubs where I would do well at, but in Rio that was a lot harder to find because almost everywhere caters to the mainstream crowd. São Paulo has a ton of variety in types of clubs, bars, and restaurants for more specific tastes, while Rio is more of a one-size-fits-all type of place.

Unfortunately the girls are not as pretty as the ones in Rio. They’re lazier with their appearance while lacking the carioca sexiness. In Rio girls refuse to go out without heels, but in São Paulo I saw more of that Argentine trend of going out with dirty Converse shoes. That’s not to say that there aren’t tons of beautiful girls in São Paulo, but per capita I saw a decrease in quality. Also for a big city, there’s a surprising number of fatties walking around. I guess that puts a kink in the argument that people are skinnier in big cities because they have to walk so much.

A lot of Brazilians say that “São Paulo never sleeps,” but that’s not exactly true. In a city of almost 20 million people, there were two clubs listed on a popular nightlife guide for Monday. Tuesday wasn’t that much better. Until Thursday, you don’t have many options besides some sit-down bars. This is not Vegas, and it’s not New York either. On the bright side, girls are more curious about your gringo status and a surprising percentage speaks English. For some guys it will be easier to pull here than Rio.

I recommend you come for a weekend, not necessarily for the girls but just for the travel enjoyment. São Paulo is arguably the most important city in South America and it’ll definitely keep you busy and interested for a few days. My Danish roommate fell in love with the place and I understand why—it’s more progressive than Rio and simply has more to see.

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Dr. Sexual
Dr. Sexual
10 years ago

So where would you go for the girls? Where would gringos be the biggest novelty?

The G Manifesto
10 years ago

“Until Thursday, you don’t have many options besides some sit-down bars.”

That is very surprising.

– MPM

The G Manifesto’s last blog post: The Man Who Made it Snow.

DB
DB
10 years ago

progressive as in liberal/swpl?

Papillon
Papillon
10 years ago

There are some damn good restaurants in SP, including great sushi thanks to a huge 3rd generation Japanese population.

ElGuapo
10 years ago

I actually liked Sampa. True, the girls are a bit different than the typical Carioca (less tanned, thinner, more European looking) but there’re some gems to be found here and there.

I was there twice for a total of only four days, but next time it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stay for few months.

And a hipster type person from San Francisco or whatever would probably pull much easier in Sampa than in Rio’s beach culture.

ElGuapo’s last blog post: Living Series: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Rookie
10 years ago

Definitely marking it as a destination.

The Rookie’s last blog post: Anticipation.

Richard
Richard
10 years ago

Sau Paulo girls are thinner, less tan, more European looking? More hipster/cool, and less mainstream? Sounds like it’s way better than Rio to me. But I admit that’s just my tastes.

Personally I don’t like places that have only mainstream clubs – all the girls wearing dresses and heels, like in Las Vegas – so vanilla and bland and I don’t really think that look is so sexy. I enjoy a mainstream club occasionally, every now and then, but the complaint I have against so many cities – especially in Asia – is that they don’t have a sophisticated nightlife with layers and options but just the blandest, lowest common denominator mainstream.

This is particularly a problem in Asia outside of Japan – where EVERYTHING is relentlessly mainstream. Hideous.

sloopJohn
sloopJohn
10 years ago

Like a lot of big cities true nightlife takes some getting to know, if you lived there a while I suspect you would find a lot more going on. Also it is supposed to have a ethnic Japanese population of somewhere around 20%, would love to meet some Japanese/Brazilian women.

observing
observing
10 years ago

I like how the rookie replies on every one of Roosh’s posts, but rarely adds anything to the discussion. Habitual “that’s awesome” or “I need to do that.” To me it looks like he is using the comments to advertise his own website.

He spents more time writing in “The Rookie” and his website than the actual reply. Case in point:

Definitelymarkingitasadestination.
TheRookiehttp://therookiedc.wordpress.com/

gringoed
gringoed
10 years ago

It’s gotta have something for every taste just based on its sheer size. I’m definitely going there, just not in the middle of winter, along with Porto Alegre and Florinopolis.

Mike
Mike
10 years ago

I’ve heard this city is pretty dangerous, even by South American standards. Kidnappings, wealthy people taking helicopters everywhere to stay alive. You have to dress down to keep from getting mugged. How accurate is this?

ElGuapo
10 years ago

Sao Paulo thoughts kinda touch on something else I’ve been thinking off lately: that there’re two kinds of Brazil: the beachy, shallow kind which includes Rio, Vitoria, and the NE coastal areas, and the more urban, sophisticated side that includes Belo Horizonte, SP, possibly Brasilia, etc.

My three weeks in the latter side (after one year in Rio) proved to be very interesting from gaming, making friends perspective.

Where as I made a ton of Carioca friends in Rio, I really do not foresee keeping in touch with any of them other than an occasional FB update. While in BH, I felt I’ve made stronger connections.

I believe that looks matter huge in Rio, Vitoria, etc, but less so in the more inner areas.

Overall my biggest mistake (I feel that I’m repeating myself) was spending an overwhelming amount of time in Rio, and less so in BH and SP.

ElGuapo’s last blog post: Living Series: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

alchemist
alchemist
10 years ago

Sao Paulo is definitely underrated. Yes, it’s expensive, polluted and quite ugly, there’s no beach and there aren’t a lot of must-see things there, but there’s just something about it I really liked.

I was there over the weekend so the nightlife I experienced was great and it’s definitely less touristy than Rio which is an advantage. I also couldn’t get over the sheer size of the place – standing on top of a building and seeing the skycrapers going on for miles into the distance is amazing. Sampa is more “cultural” than Rio in terms of the variety of things to do and the food is first class.

Most people I spoke to didn’t like Sampa though. I think it must be due to the sheer scale of the place – it takes some getting used to. I was lucky enough to meet some cool locals who I hung about with. I stayed in Vila Madelena as wellwhich was good for nightlife etc.

If you’re touring southern Brazil, you’d definitely be daft to miss out Sao Paulo in my opinion.

Bob
Bob
10 years ago

@ Mike there’s a film called “Manda Bala” or “Send a Bullet” that shows what your saying. It won the Sundance Film Festival in 2007 & is banned in Brazil. Wouldn’t stop me from going to SP.

speakeasy
speakeasy
10 years ago

Sampa is so big it indeed does look frightening. I only rode through on the bus and it looked intimidating. At least though they keep the favelas on the outskirts.

Beebopaloo
Beebopaloo
10 years ago

People are genuinely nice and friendly in Sao Paulo.

But a shame the nightclubs are so damn expensive! And the taxi rides can kill you financially.

And yes, Roosh is right, there is a drop in quality with the women in SP.

They look a lot more like eastern europeans.

But still you do see stunners.

I just went out one night, but managed to hook up twice, and almost missed my plane home next day, due to sleeping too long in some chicks appartment way out in the suburbs.

George
George
10 years ago

This is very confusing to me –

A lot of you are saying that the girls in Sao Paolo look more European and less “ethnic” than those in Rio, and are thinner as well, and then say they are less good looking.

I suppose it comes down to a matter of taste, but to me, thinner and more European looking is undoubtedly better looking than darker and fatter, so this is confusing to me.

Are you guys saying Sao Paulo girls are uglier BECAUSE they are more European and thinner, or are the two things totally separate observations 1) They are thinner, more European looking, and 2) They are uglier?

I need to know how to fit these things into my own tastes.

Jess
Jess
10 years ago

You don’t really see hot girls around and about like in Rio. You only see hot girls in SP in certain areas–around Rua Haddock Labo (expensive shopping street), Iguatemi Shopping Mall, clubs (Pink Elephant, Disco, Mokai, Heaven). Basically in SP, if you’re beautiful you’re rich, so you see hot girls in expensive places or in their expensive cars. They’re not on the buses or walking on streets.

sloopJohn
sloopJohn
10 years ago

the girls in Rio have bigger, rounder bundas. they are famous for that.

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Rivelino
10 years ago

Roosh, I can’t wait for your trip to Romania and Bulgaria. You gotta scout out that place for me, cause that’s where I want to go. Love their dark, sultry coloring.

Rivelino’s last blog post: Young and sweet only seventeen.

Rivelino
10 years ago

Roosh, let’s plan your trip to Romania. The dark and sultry girls live there.

Rivelino’s last blog post: Young and sweet only seventeen.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

I had a different experience with hot girls, I thought it was just as good as Rio..

What’s the big deal with heels? That’s about as accurate a measurement for a girl’s style as men’s shoes for wealth.

Argentine cities are a lot like new york in the 90s with real hot girls with a sort of rock and roll fashion.

Lika
Lika
10 years ago

Of course Rio is more beautiful than São Paulo but you missed the main difference for a gringo:

– in Rio you will automatically be labelled a sex tourist

– in Sampa, it’s not the case

That Alone makes a huge difference for your game.

When you say São Paulo is fun for a few days, it’s quite ridiculous. Traveler who know the town well can tell that you can go out in a different bar / night club every night for 6 months and you will still not know all good places…

Mrs. Chocolate
Mrs. Chocolate
10 years ago

About the girls: You are looking into the wrong places. All Star converse? Hunnn Augusta St., right?
GO to Vila Olimpia to see the stiletos coming and going.
Mulatas? Samba school reharsal, outside the slum, don’t worry.
Asians? Liberdade Square/ Bom Retiro
College Material? Faap, Mackenzie Univ.
I agree with lika, you can come to SP and spend not only a weekend without being bored.
@Roosh: Had you gone to CB in Barra Funda? There is a nice night scene in there. Pin ups kind of girls, good beer and music. A place to chill, but still a night club looking.