I had the chance to layover in São Paulo Brazil last week. After hearing all the crime warnings, I was hesitant to do anything at all on my 36 hour layover. But my adventurous spirit won out and I booked a city tour.
I used Viator which set me up with tour company, Vidaenergia. The majority of tour companies offer 3 and 5 hour city tours. There’s really not many other tour selections in São Paulo.
I opted for the three hour tour. The five hour tour included a trip to the market which kinda scared me. I figured with hotel pickups and traffic, the three hour tour might go longer as well. I’m so glad I picked the three hour tour because it ended up taking almost 6 hours!
The tour company contacted me within 3 hours of booking on Viator to confirm my hotel pickup. The driver, Mauricio arrived promptly at my hotel at 8:40am. It was a large mini van that sat the 5 of us comfortably. It could have probably held a few more passengers in addition. Everyone else spoke Portuguese so Mauricio has to tell me the same commentary twice but he included me with everyone and I didn’t feel excluded.
I have to say, the tour was a great way to see the city. Everyone told me there’s nothing to do in São Paulo but get massages and eat. And while I did enjoy those things, I also wanted to see something and learn about Brazil.
My tour guide was amazing. He filled in the gaps and I learned things I never knew. He turned a drab city into a wealth of knowledge.
So what did we see? We headed over to the first to the first train station in São Paulo. Next stop was the stadium where Pele played. Then we headed over to Paulista avenue to see the four remaining mansions from the early 19th century. We got a chance to walk around Casa das Rosas. Next stop was the Ibirapuera park, inspired by Central Park. Next we hopped back in the minivan and drove by Japantown and Chinatown and our last stop was the Old Town of São Paulo for the cathedral and Jesuit college. And during the drive our guide pointed out sights and explained the history of a variety of areas.
Although the tour quoted three hours, the tour lasted almost six hours due to traffic and hotel pickup and drop offs. But I have to say, it was a great way to sightsee and learn about the city. I would recommend this tour to anyone interested in sightseeing in São Paulo.