Skip Sao Paulo, a mistake?

May 6th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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Skip Sao Paulo, a mistake?

I am working on an itinerary to South America. I intend to fly to Rio and from there make my way down to Iguaszu Falls. I am debating if I should just fly from Rio to the falls or I should make it a point of visiting Sao Paulo. SP sounds like a business city with little in the way of tourist attractions. If I add SP to the itinerary I will spend two days/three nights there after spending five full days in Rio. Is SP worth the effort? If so, how should I travel to SP from Rio, by air or by bus (maybe via Paraty, Paraty is not a priority the only reason I mention it is to break up the travel time between Rio and Sao Paulo). The Brazil portion of the trip will end in at the falls from here I will travel to Argentina, to continue my trip to South America

Any comments/thoughts on Sao Paulo from fodorites who have been there will be appreciated. Thanks.
RJames is offline  
May 6th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Where are you coming from, flying into Rio? U.S./Europe or from another South American country? And when? Weather is quite different from one part of the country to another.
Paraty, and nearby Ilha Grande, are quite nice if you want to devote the time after doing some research online to see what they might be like, if they suit you. (YouTube videos are actually a pretty good resource to see destinations.)
Sao Paulo is as you describe it, with a few museums (not of the quality expected in a city of that size, IMO, but a good intro to Brazilian art and artists), expensive restaurants and clubs, and some mildly interesting city neighborhoods if that's your thing. I am not a fan, prefer to spend limited time elsewhere.
If I had to recommend where to spend a few days in Brazil, I'd suggest either Salvador (fly from Rio because of limited time, or fly in from U.S.) or a couple of the historic Colonial mountain towns of Minas Gerais (Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, etc., by bus from Rio or fly to Belo Horizonte and then bus).
VidaNaPraia is offline  
May 6th, 2012, 02:16 PM
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Thanks for the reply, VidaNaPraia.

I will fly from Canada to Rio (probably with a connection in the US). I plan on spending about a month travelling around South America in September and October, 2012.

I had considered Slavador but choose against it, solely because it is in the opposite geographic direction of where of I will be travelling. I will look at flight possibilities from Canada directly to Bahia. At this time I have not bought my international flights and I'm working out my itinerary before I commit to flights.
RJames is offline  
May 7th, 2012, 04:29 AM
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There is an American Airlines flight to Salvador direct from Miami. But anyway, it's only about an hour and a half from Rio on a domestic flight. And absolutely unique culturally.
VidaNaPraia is offline  
May 7th, 2012, 12:21 PM
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Thank you, VidaNaPraia.

I am currently reading a guidebook and working on the details of my Brazil itinerary. I think I would like to include either Salvador or Preto Ouro as part of the trip. Undecided about Sao Paulo - still debating whether to include it in the itinerary.

I will post a possible itinerary in day or two once I've finished reading the guidebook and have spend sometime working on the logistics of getting around Brazil.
RJames is offline  
May 7th, 2012, 10:54 PM
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Rio is a great city and so much to explore, and lots of places for sight seeing.
Sao Paolo is a fine a city, but a bit expensive too.
Rebelfone_Inc is offline  
May 8th, 2012, 04:15 AM
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Well, if you need help with the logistics, please post and I'd be happy to try to help. I have a lot of personal experience with that type of thing in Brazil.
There's lots of info online. I find YouTube videos are a good resource to see what places look like.

I love Salvador...the music, the architecture, the beaches, and most of all the lovely, sunny people. Take a look at hte informational site for a good basic orientation.

If you are thinking about Ouro Preto, you could fly from Salvador to Belo Horizonte. O.P. is a 2 hour bus ride into the beautiful mountains and can be done as a long day trip from B.H., but also as an overnight. While in the area, you could also see Sabara, another interesting Colonial town which has become a suburb of B.H. (20 minutes by local bus). If you are in B.H. on a Sunday, there is a terrific street fair (feira) that has clothes, furniture, jewelry, food and much more. Also there is a famous park with some older Neimeyer (most famous architect) buildings around a pleasant lake, and some good places to indulge in the locally brewed cachaca (sugar cane liquor), a specialty of the region.

Lots to consider. Have fun with the planning.
VidaNaPraia is offline  
May 8th, 2012, 07:08 PM
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Rebelfone_Inc, thanks for your reply.

Thank you for your offer of help, VidaNaPraia.

I have spend the evening looking at flight schedules for international flights and flights within Brazil. If I use mileage to fly to Brazil from Canada, I would have to fly to Rio de Janerio, the other destinations (Salvador and Belo Horizonte) aren't available for award redemtion.

I have looked at domestic flights, both in terms of costs and schedules and I am surprised that all three airlines (TAM, GOL and Azul), have some flights arriving at the oddest hours of the day. I have seen flights arriving just past midnight to Sao Paulo (where I would need to connect to fly to IGU) and Iguacu. I wasn't expecting this and as I fine tune my itinerary I will do my best to pick flights that are during the day time.

Salvador has definitely piqued my interest, and I am debating about Ouro Preto. My thoughts on Ouro Preto are that it is a a much smaller city than Salvador, and a day is enough to see the town. Not sure if the travel time required to get there is worthwhile (in terms of my overall itinerary in Brazil), as I'd just be flying to Belo Horizonte solely to visit Ouro Preto. Very reluctant to travel by night bus from Rio to Belo Horizonte. Still working on the logistics.

I will spend a maximum of twelve days in Brazil, I understand in that time I can't see all that the country has to offer.
RJames is offline  
May 10th, 2012, 08:33 PM
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I have given a lot of thought to my itinerary and I have decided not to visit Ouro Preto. I will include Salvador in my travel plans, here's a rough draft of the itinerarybr />
day 1 arrive Rio de Janerio,
day 2, 3 and 4, Rio de Janerio,
day 5, fly to Salvador,
day 6, Salvador,
day 7, fly to Sao Paulo in the evening,
day 8, Sao Paulo
day 9, fly to Iguacu,
day 10 Iguacu, leave Brazil for Argentina.

How does this look?

I am debating if I should add a day in Salvador.

I have included Sao Paulo as my flights from Salvador to Iguacu go via Sao Paulo and while I do not intend to see all of the city sights in just one day I think in one day I will have a very good idea of what the city of Sao Paulo is like.
RJames is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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If you like big cities, you will love Sao Paulo. Rio kind of bores me after a couple of days, but Sao Paulo is such a great city. The old cliche that Sao Paulo is just a business city is really, really stupid. No city of 20 million people is just a business city. There are a lot of interesting and beautiful places in Brazil, but ultimately, there is nothing to compare with Sao Paulo.
Andre1324 is offline  
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