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.


  1. Dr. Sexual May 28, 2010 at 9:03 am

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

  2. The G Manifesto May 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

    “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.

  3. DB May 28, 2010 at 10:59 am

    progressive as in liberal/swpl?

  4. Papillon May 28, 2010 at 11:36 am

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

  5. ElGuapo May 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

    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.

  6. The Rookie May 28, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Definitely marking it as a destination.

    The Rookie’s last blog post: Anticipation.

  7. Richard May 28, 2010 at 11:57 am

    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.

  8. sloopJohn May 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    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.

  9. observing May 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    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:


  10. gringoed May 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    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.

  11. Mike May 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    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?

  12. ElGuapo May 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    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.

  13. alchemist May 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    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.

  14. Bob May 28, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    @ 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.

  15. speakeasy May 28, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    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.

  16. Beebopaloo May 29, 2010 at 5:08 am

    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.

  17. George May 29, 2010 at 11:30 am

    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.

    1. Roosh May 29, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      I think when guys say “more european looking” they mean whiter. I wouldn’t say Sao Paulo girls are skinnier, but they do seem more cosmopolitan. In Rio sometimes all the girls care about is the beach and getting her hair and nails done. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  18. Jess May 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    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.

  19. sloopJohn May 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

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

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  21. Rivelino May 30, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    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.

  22. Anonymous May 31, 2010 at 12:23 am

    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.

  23. Lika May 31, 2010 at 3:17 am

    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…

  24. Mrs. Chocolate May 31, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    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.

  25. JotaB June 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I do not know what crack you are smoking. The women in São Paulo are much prettier than Rio. I am an expat that has lived in Brazil for 2 and a half years. São Paulo and Rio are very different cities.

    1) São Paulo has a much lower violence rate than Rio. If you are a tourist, you are much safer in Sampa than Rio. There are not enough tourists in the city to make a living stealing from them. You are not going to be kidnapped. They kidnap people from well known, wealthy families. Organized crime has no idea who the fuck you are.

    2) Sampa is an expensive city. It is the richest city in Brazil and the richest in LatAm. Brazilians like to flaunt their wealth. Therefore going to a top club will set you back R$300-500. The women that go to these clubs are either patrizinhas (rich Brazilian girls) or social climbers. Thus you need to roll G-manifesto style. Or hang out in Brooklyn/Vila Madelena/ Rua Augusta where it is the alternative crown.

    Addendum – Mokai/Pink/Lions Club – All the women will be in high heels. But once again you need to throw some dough.

    3) Game. Sampa is similar to New York in that people from all over Brazil come here to try to “make it”. Brazil is a very class conscious society. The wealthy people from other states moved here to work in finance/industry. Beautiful women move here to meet rich husbands. Poor people move here to work as maids/manual labor and send money back to the Northeast. People want to move up in class.

    Patrizinhas are virtually impossible to game if you are a tourist in for a few days.

    Middle class girls are much more open, but you
    will need to speak portuguese (most likely)

    Lower class girls are the easiest, most likely to be impressed by your gringo status. However, portuguese is a must.

    4) The ethnic profile of most Paulistas is Italian and Portuguese. They are European. The pardos and black people migrated to Sao Paulo in the last 50 years to work in factories. True Paulistanos blame most of the cities problems on the Nordestihnos who moved to their town. I am not sure this is true, but they believe it.

    As a final note, if you want to amp up the power of your gringo status, head to the interior of SP. Riberão Preto, Campos Jordão, Sorracaba, etc. You will be the center of attention.

    Good luck!

  26. Playa June 4, 2010 at 2:08 am

    I’m guessing most of the girls that Brazil is so famous for are at the high end nightclubs or the beach, just like any other major city, am I right?

    Playa’s last blog post: Being In State – Savoy + Moxie.

  27. Timothy October 16, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I have an internet friend that lives in Sao Paulo, and even she says there isn’t much to see there. She says she’ll meet me over in Salvador, where her mother used to have property. I live in NYC, and SP is like many big cities. The lack of nightlife throughout the week is surprising though. Vegas is truly the only city that doesn’t sleep, and NYC goes most nights until 4am, with after-hours action from Thurs. to Sunday until the sun comes up. Also, the dispelling of the myth that big city folks are thinning because they walk more is accurate. NYC is one of the fattest cities in the country (according to the Board of Health, 50% of New Yorkers are overweight according to the body-mass index, and a decent percentage of the overweight are obese), and people don’t walk as much in the outer boroughs of the city because things are more spread out and you need a car or public transportation to get to what you need. Manhattan is a fast-food culture where people work late hours, thus they order lots of take-out and eat at their desks. They also hit a lot of happy hours, so poor eating habits, no exercise and lots of alcohol is the perfect formula for getting fat.

  28. Timothy October 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve only been to Rio, but from the comments here I think there’s more VARIETY of women in Rio, which I agree with. Whatever your favorite look or “thing” is, there’s are plenty of women that fit that description in Rio. And of course there will be a large difference in the culture, in that Rio is a beach culture, while Sao Paulo is a big, metropolitan city.

  29. James T March 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Definetely SP is worth to visit!!
    With Sao Paulo Fashion Week done and over with, it’s time to celebrate the ever-progressing gastronomy of the Brazilian city. Behold Millesime Sao Paulo, a culinary conference and fair taking place March 22nd-24th. The three days are sure wet the appetites of any fine cuisine enthusiasts.



  30. BRAZILIAN August 31, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Sao Paulo is ugly because for the past years many favelas grow in everywhere. So the city of Sao Paulo bacame like a big dump where most of the population live very bad. In Rio de Janeiro is the same. Thare are many favelas. The number of fevelas are growing in Brazil year after year.

  31. BRAZILIAN September 1, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Many people, specialy brazilians (you guys can call them “brasilóides” – is the correct way to call a brazilian), say that São Paulo is like New York. Whenever I heard this I laugh loud. They say that because they fell good, like “Wow man! São Paulo, the Brazilian New York”. But, actually São Paulo is a big messy city where most of people live a very bad stressul life. The city in general is dirty, messy, stinking, dangerous, ugly and full of dumps and ugly people in everywhere. There are people who live like humans there, I mean, with very good quality of life, but they are the minority. To sum up: São Paulo is like a ocean of poverty with a few island of richness for those who can pay for that.

  32. Anonymous September 14, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    It’s funny because your description of the girls in Sao Paulo doesn’t quite match the stereotype here ,girls from Sao Paulo ,and men for that matter , are known to dress a lot like people do in NY , with dresses and heels , you just went to a not very good place , Vila Madalena is a nice place if you don’t have much money to spend,it’s a little underground and far from mainstream , hence why you found the type of girls you described , if you go to a rich neighbourhood like itaim , you’re in for a lot of fun with some of the most beaultiful girls you’ll ever see , of course that’s a bit off of what you’ll find in the rest of the city , but if you want the best , that’s where you’ll go for your nightlife , I speak as a citizen of sao paulo.Some of the best restaurants in the world are in the Jardins.
    Also rio girls are known to be more lazy with their clothes and appearence ,but they tend to workout more , due to the city being a coastal one so they have more voluptious body and would look like the stereotype of a brazillian girl , tanned , big booty etc , while in sao paulo they’re slimmer and look more like european girls.

  33. Anonymous September 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    @Playa you’re absolutely right , if you want to know where these places are I can give you some tips. (:

  34. Anonymous September 14, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    @Mike It’s not accurate at all , look at JotaB description it’s veeery spot on , and I’ve lived in sao paulo for 21 years , so you can trust me.

  35. Anonymous April 6, 2012 at 2:36 am

    seemed like the girls were hotter in Sao Paulo than in Rio when i visited a few weeks back. definitely nicer bodies in Sao Paulo. redgardless, both places, with almost every girl they just don’t speak english…

  36. Anonymous June 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Wow. I came across this article while looking at information on Sao Paulo. And I think this site is a true testimate to why any guy reading this shit would need a 98-page guide to fuck a women. Thanks for the laugh…and keep up the good work!

  37. Oscar Iván Hernández Ledesma July 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Woow, thank you all for all the information… I guess we could never get to an agreement about all of this:

    It is very interesting how the subject turned from “SP vs NY” to “SP vs Río” and “SP girls vs USA’s and their style, etc” so that makes me think about SP being such a cosmopolitan diverse city where you can find just whatever you’re looking for…

  38. james October 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

    This review is way off the mark. The city is full of beautiful girls, I’m almost coming in my pants on a daily basis.

  39. Dave November 15, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I’m not doing well financially in Canada. Why not come to a place and be poor and feel like I fit in. The girls in Montreal are beautiful but the society is too nEed a lot of dough to be fluid in Canada. The setting isn’t efort

  40. Mark Trinidad November 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I live in New York and by the way I see Sao Paulo it looks just like NY. Hence I can save my self the expensive by not visiting Sao Paulo. Sorry LOL.

    Know what, I’ll just skip Sao Paulo and everything else below. Southern Brazil seems like an entirely different country because everyone down there is bloody white. No lie. I thought Brazil was all about booty and brown people. But I was dead wrong.

    When I hopefully visit Brazil during the 2014 World Cup I’ll stick to sexy Rio and the North.

  41. Cris January 31, 2013 at 7:29 am

    just for the record. You were in the wrong places in São Paulo or your travel happened 20 years ago. I am from Rio and me and all my friends only wear heels in weddings. In São Paulo, women wears heels for shopping in the morning.
    You are really very poor soul, using your “gringo” status to be accepted. It makes me laughing. You remember a french guy who traveled besides me from Paris to Brazil, when I said that I was brazilian, the guy starts flerting with me really hard, I changed my place and left him alone.

  42. yb13 February 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    @ Cris – Brazilian guys do the same thing when visiting the US as they swoop like crazy here. Then again, I’m not the judgemental devil you are so I could care less about Brazilian guys boning American chicks bc it makes me laugh. Have fun being lonely & miserable with that attitude of yours.

  43. Tdotgurl July 27, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    That’s sad you go to a country to exploit women. No wonder people hate foreigners.