A Guide to São Paulo & Paraty
A city listed as the 13th largest in the world by population, and with a regulation making advertising illegal. São Paulo has become a city sized canvas for artists to share their street art. As a result, São Paulo is a vibrant, and colourful metropolitan city, which holds a special place with us at Cloud Walks.
We hope this guide inspires you to spend at least a few days checking out the city too!
São Paulo has many delicious weekend brunch options, you can check some of the top ones here. We chose Julice Boulangère, a French-themed café near Vila Madalena with delicious warm breads, egg filled crepes, cheese, quiches and pastries. It also came with a hot drink and our favourite, a mimosa! Boozy brunch win! Costing around £30 for two, it was also a good price and it had us ready to take on the weekend!
Villa Madalena is filled with jazzy restaurants and bars with people pouring out onto the streets. Throw in plenty of street art and some funky retro shops, you'll find it hard to leave! In fact, we would highly recommend finding your accommodation here, we particularly loved our stay at the equally colourful O De Casa hostel.
...did someone say free welcome drink and caipirinha pong?!
Batman alley is a must-see for anyone that loves street art and should be on everyone's itinerary visiting São Paulo.
A cobbled street filled entirely with some of São Paulo's best work. It is also surrounding Villa Madalena, hence adding more reason to why it is a great location to stay in. Bonus points if you find all the batman logos in Batman Alley! If this doesn’t fulfil your street art fix, check out Aprendiz Alley, which is within walking distance too.
São Paulo is home to the largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan and as a result it has a huge Japanese Town called Liberdade. You’ll find an abundance of Japanese food and culture here to enjoy. Similarly, Mercado is a largely Arab populated area for your shisha and delicious meats. Whilst Bixiga is the Little Italy of São Paulo, most definitely your first stop if you fancy some authentic pizza or pasta!
As one of the largest urban parks in Latin America, Ibirapuera Park is also home to some of Oscar Niemeyers’ buildings, various museums and a music hall. If you enjoy shooting some ball, there is also a basketball court, a lake and some nice trails to enjoy by foot or bike. Treat yourself to a Caipirinha if you find the street art mural from Eduardo Kobra too!
Historic and Modern Areas
São Paulo's free walking tours are best to check out both of these areas. You’ll learn how São Paulo gained credibility as a major city when coffee became the most important export for Brazil, and when the King of Portugal made his home there. You’ll also discover a monastery of monks who still bake their historic and delicious cakes, biscuits and beer for all to enjoy!
In contrast, the modern area takes you along Paulista Avenue, the most important area for São Paulo's financial success. You’ll discover how they became the city with one of the highest GDP's in the world and also be able to check out the iconic MASP building too!
Each tour takes around 2-3 hours and above all, walking tours are a great way to visit any city when on a tight schedule. Click here for more info.
Skye Bar aka The watermelon!
If you’d like to add a little luxury to your stay in São Paulo, the Skye Lounge in the Unique Hotel should definitely be on your itinerary. Whilst we came in the evening to enjoy the stunning night skyline of São Paulo, this bar also has a pool filled with red water, which is best witnessed in daylight!
The cocktails are reasonable at around £7-8 and we also enjoyed a delicious snack of Brazil’s traditional stew dish, Moqueca made into small fried balls.
You could also get a brunch here too, or stay in the hotel if you’re feeling extra lavish!
If you’re looking for an electronic house night, your first stop should most definitely be D.Edge. Even if you’re not hugely into house music, the décor and experience in this club is like no other we have experienced.
The main room is essentially a light box, with lights in every wall and even the floor. A trip to the DJ box and beyond will make you feel like you’re falling down Alice in Wonderland's rabbit hole as the lines on the walls spiral around into a small door. Finally, the most incredible part of the night comes in the small hours of the morning, so wear your most comfortable shoes and enjoy living life ‘on the edge’ for the night!
We signed up to a guest list on the Facebook event page, which gave us free entry with 50 Reals each to spend inside. Consequently, this was definitely the best way to do it as our entry was then free and drinks were around 25 Reals each. Just make sure you don’t lose your drinks card!
A natural slip'n'slide
There is a cachoeira (waterfall) that has somehow formed into a natural slip’n’slide for tourists and locals alike to enjoy. It is great fun with the help of the locals, who pull you down from the top and aren't shy to show you their surfing skills as they go down it standing up and jumping over people! The only thing you'll need to brace yourself for is the freshness of the icy cold water!
You should also try to find someone who will help you disappear into the small waterfall behind the slide, and take the mini slide as you exit!
The cheapest way to visit is by bus from the main bus terminal, it goes every hour so try and ask your hostel to give you the timetable. We stayed at Canguru Hostel, which is a short walk into town and has a great chilled environment and a huge Netflix and chill room. What more could you ask for?
After visiting the slip 'n’ slide, to avoid any alcohol-fuelled accidents of course! There is a small distillery just opposite the entrance to the waterfall
called Alambique Engenho D'Ouro. It is as cheap as 3 Reals per person and you’ll be able to try up to 20 different Cachaça's and learn how each is made. It is most definitely worth a visit!
Gabriella is a unique blend of Cachaça originating from Paraty. We chose to buy one to take away as it's usually served with passionfruit, one of our favourite cocktail blends, but we think it'd also make a great hot toddy too!
Paraty has a beautiful colonial old town by the water, which also comes alive in the evenings with live music, bars, shops and restaurants to enjoy.
Furthermore, get lost in the magic watching the world go by on the small, cobbled streets sitting outside one of the lovely local bars or restaurants.
Kayaking is a great way to spend a morning in Paraty, as the water is beautifully still and the route takes you through mangroves and lovely secluded beaches. We did our tour with Paraty Explorer, Rodrigo, our guide was great at keeping us safe in the mangroves and also gave us fresh bananas from his home with cereal biscuits for
Furthermore, Kayaking added a great sense of adventure to this little colonial town, so it makes for a fab addition to the itinerary.
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