Sao Paulo, Brazil – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Updated in 2022.

The largest and most economically important city in Brazil.

It is hard to comprehend the vastness of this city; the photo shown here doesn’t even begin to do it justice. It is the hub of all economic activity in Brazil, aside from tourism. A first time visitor to Sao Paulo is likely to be throughly overwhelmed and impressed by an imposing and intimidating metropolis. 

POPULATION: 12,000,000


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RENT AN APARTMENT IN SAO PAULO

$800.00. This is a major international city, so there aren’t too many bargains to be had in terms of apartment rentals. However, if you’re savvy and can get a pad in a pre-gentrified area, you might be able to swing something for half this price. Luckily things have gotten a bit cheaper in recent years.

 

 COST OF LIVING IN SAO PAULO

The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

You’ll need a minimum of $1010 USD/month to live in Sao Paulo, Brazil

cost-of-living-sao-paulo

BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN SAO PAULO

10/10

It would be downright foolish to give Sao Paulo anything less than a perfect 10 for nightlife.

There is a bar for every kind of person in this city – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. As a tourist, you’ll need to pick a very small area of the city to focus your attention on. This is the only way you’ll be able to make sense of the place and come away with any sort of opinion. And even though this opinion will be heavily biased, at least it’s an opinion.

I’m going to have to Alpha you on you’re decision here: if you’re a first-time visitor to Sao Paulo, stay and do all of your gaming in Pinheiros. Is it the best spot for nightlife in the city? Who the hell knows. I certainly don’t. It is, however, a spot for nightlife and if you’re going in with nothing, focusing solely on this district is going to make things easier. Nightlife in Sao Paulo is among the best of any city I have been to.

My Latin Life recommends:

O Pasquim Bar Vila Madalena: Cool classic boteco. You’ll want to roll with friends, but you’ll undoubtedly make friends too.

Quitandinha Bar Vila Madalena: Realistically any bar on this street is pretty good.

D-Edge: A good spot to hang out for the night. A rock club. Usually a pretty big crowd.

 

LEARNING PORTUGUESE IN SAO PAULO

If you want to make the most of your time in Brazil, you will need to speak some Spanish. You can get by in Sao Paulo without Portuguese, but you’ll be stunned at the low English levels. Rocket Portuguese is the best resource for learning Portuguese quickly and easily.

 

IS SAO PAULO SAFE?

Contrary to belief, Sao Paulo is a safe city…just kidding! But dangerous areas (there are many) are usually well-defined, and a tourist would have to be pretty ignorant to wander into one without knowing it. Still, don’t walk around too much after dark.

 

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT SAO PAULO?

Try not to visit in the middle of summer (December/January/February). It’ll be very hot and humid, and lots of people will be out of town and down by the beach. Spring and Falls are the best seasons to be in Sao Paulo.

 

THINGS TO DO IN SAO PAULO

Visit the Beco do Batman, a safe, artsy district with graffiti murals and hipster bars.

Go up to the Sampa Sky observation deck for some of the best views of the city.

Visit the Japan House, a cultural center with tons of cool events.

If you like soccer/football, be sure to visit the Museu do Futebol.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

A bustling metropolis if there ever was one and a truly fascinating city. If you’re a big city lover, you’ll love Sao Paulo. If you couldn’t get enough of Mexico City and Bogota, Sao Paulo should be your next stop because in many ways it is even more epic than the Mexican and Colombian capitals. On the outside, it is a charmless concrete jungle, but on the inside it has all you’d ever want in a city: both anonymity and community.


OVERALL RATING: 9/10


Have questions?  Skip the guesswork…

Schedule Your Personal Consultation With My Latin Life