2 day accidental layover in Sao Paulo.
July 28, 2006 9:39 AM   Subscribe

2 day accidental layover in Sao Paulo due to Varig and Llodd Aereo Boliviano airline bankruptcy. Suggestions on a cheap place to stay or what to see? Recommendations on a particular guidebook?

I´m currently in Bolivia and returning home to the USA. I have two separate tickets with two seperate airlines (the reason for this is complicated, and they are unconnected tickets and unconnected flights) - one from Bolivia to Sao Paulo, one from Sao Paulo to New York City. Due to the fact that I managed to book them on two airlines (Varig and LAB) that are now somewhat defunct, I have a two day layover in Sao Paulo.

I have a guarenteed way to get to the USA - Varig switched my return flight from Sao Paulo to New York City to a United flight since they are going under.

I also have a guarenteed way to get to Sao Paulo from Bolivia courtesy of Lloyd Aereo Boliviano - but unfortuntaely it put me in Sao Paulo two days before my flight to NYC.

Being that i havent had a way home on either airline for the past few weeks (both have been going through bankruptcy), I´m just happy to have a way home.

So I have two days in Sao Paulo. I speak very little Portuguese, but decent Spanish (have spent a total of about 5 months abroad in Spanish speaking countries). Any suggestions on where I should stay cheaply and what to see? (I´m a student and short on money, so buying a different plane ticket is out of the quesiton, and Im wanting somewhere cheap to stay. A hostel is fine.)
posted by jare2003 to Travel & Transportation around São Paulo, Brazil (8 answers total)
Hi there.

You want to stay in one of the following districts: Moema, Ibirapuera, Brooklin (yes we got one too), Vila Olimpia, Itaim Bibi.

Some cheap hotels at these locations:
Itaim, Berrini is also ok.

As this is a business city, don't expect many tourist attractions, but there are some notable exceptions: here. Also, if you're into it, there are couple of huge soccer stadiums: Pacaembu and Morumbi.

The nightlife is one of the best in the world, with lots of bars, night clubs, strip clubs, music concerts, etc. Be sure to check local hotels for information, and also to check out Vila Madalena district.

Everybody in the hotels speaks English; most of the other people understand a few words, but nothing elaborate. Your decent Spanish will come in very handy in these situations :)
posted by dcrocha at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2006

I don't know much about Sao Paulo, since I've only spent one day there. But you might be able to catch a short (and not too expensive) flight to Foz de Iguazu. There are few places in the world more wonderful.
posted by einarorn at 10:44 AM on July 28, 2006

Things I have done on a 2-day blitz to SP:

Old Quarter and surrounding area, including...
-the building where the city was founded
-Mercado Municipal
-the observatory from the top of the Banespa, building which is free

-Ibirapuera park
-Instituto Butantã - the world's oldest snake farm, run by the Red Cross for education and anti-venom production. (The second oldest is in Bangkok, and is awesomer, imo.)

Be sure to eat the pastel de bacalhau in the Mercado Municipal. Go to a rodizio, where the meat never stops coming to you (our hosts from USP unanimously took us to Baby Beef). The paulistanos also all claim the city has great pizza, but I wasn't that excited by it.

The night life there is apparently fantastic, but you should get someone else's opinion on that.

And honestly, this is a city that's worth paying a little more to stay in a better neighborhood - take drcocha's advice above. I don't have any more specific advice on this.
posted by whatzit at 10:45 AM on July 28, 2006

Response by poster: Sounds good. I´ll be coming in GRU. Could someone clarify which might be the best place to stay, given that i dont want to spend too much on a taxi?

Also, how concerned should i be with safety? Ive spent a week in Rio (all over the place) but i´ve heard Sao Paulo can be a bit more dangerous.
posted by jare2003 at 11:55 AM on July 28, 2006

Sao Paulo resident here.

Slow paced spanish will be enough for everyone to understand 90% of what you say. Converesely, if you tell people you know spanish, they'll talk to you in slow paced "portuñol", from which you'll be able to catch about everything that is said.

You want a nice neighbourhood to stay: Downtown is beautiful, but you don't want to walk there by night (crack addicts, bums, etc, and not much to see). So, I'd recommend staying in a hotel in the west side (from Pinheiros to Brooklin). The recommendations so far (Itaim, Brooklin, Moema) are good neighbourhoods. Anything near Avenida Paulista is also good.

Go to downtown by day, have lunch at Terraço Italia (a restaurant at the top of the highest building in town), take a stroll at Avenida Paulista (If you're from NY, it's no big deal, but people from elsewhere seem to enjoy the sckyscrapper-canyon appearance there). Then, at dawn, go get something to drink in a boteco in Vila Madalena. At night, head to a dance club in Vila Olimpia.

Hotel rates in Sao Paulo are lower in weekends (this is a business city). If you're staying the weekend, you may get a good enough rate in a 3-star hotel (sorry, can't offer you my couch).
posted by qvantamon at 12:01 PM on July 28, 2006

GRU is outside Sao Paulo. A taxi from there to Sao Paulo will cost you some 80 reais (more depending on the driver's ethics). You can catch a shuttle bus from there to Praça da Republica (which is in downtown) quite cheaply (certainly less than 20 reais/10 dollars). From there you can take the subway to the station nearest to your hotel, and then a taxi.

Poverty and crime in Sao Paulo are more localized than in Rio. The places cited in this thread are quite upper-middle class, so it should be safer than Rio. Of course, walking alone late at night is still not recommended.

I've sent you an email (at the address in your profile) with my contact info.
posted by qvantamon at 12:18 PM on July 28, 2006

Here is the website for the shuttle bus service, with routes, schedules, prices.

From GRU, Ii you head out the main "ground transports" doors, and turn to the right, you buy the tickets at the third outside booth from the doors. The booth is plastered with the same logo as on the website. Buy ticket there, wait for bus to show up. When you return, you buy the ticket on the bus. In March, I paid R$24 one-way from GRU to Shopping Eldorado.
posted by whatzit at 1:09 PM on July 28, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your suggestions. They´ve been so helpful.
posted by jare2003 at 1:12 PM on July 28, 2006

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