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São Paulo: Cultural center of Brazil
São Paulo owes its great economic importance to coffee cultivation, but today this has taken a back seat, as visitors come to the country for its cultural diversity and also like to be swept away by the lively lifestyle. In addition to a wealth of cultural highlights, the city also scores with numerous shopping opportunities and lively festivals.
São Paulo is a destination that can be visited year-round; however, spring and fall are ideal times to visit. From November to March there is a lot of rainfall, but this does not stop visitors from celebrating the holidays with the locals. São Paulo celebrates the founding of the city on January 25, but the highlight is the Carnival, which is celebrated annually in February with a large parade of samba schools. Things get sporty in November, when the Formula 1 circus makes a stop in the city and the "Brazilian Grand Prix" takes place, among the city's biggest events.
Sao Paolo: most important travel preparations
For US citizens, there are only a few preparations to make, as entry is visa-free for 90 days. However, travel documents must still be valid for at least six months upon entry. Those who also want to explore the surrounding areas of the city may need to have a yellow fever vaccination.
As a general rule, unsafe areas of the city such as the old town should be avoided at night, as muggings can occur here time and again. Tourists are generally advised not to resist in such a situation and to hand money over to the thief.
Guests should consider the Liberdade district for accommodation: visiting the area is almost like a trip around the world, because the neighborhood has the largest Japanese community outside Japan. Typical handicrafts can be bought there, and traditional dishes can be eaten.
Food in the city is inexpensive and a meal in a restaurant can be had for about 25 BRL, a beer costs from about 6 BRL, soft drinks about 4 BRL.
The easiest way for visitors to get from Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) to downtown is to take the airport bus service for about 45 BRL in about 40 min. The fastest way for visitors to get from place to place is also by public transportation, such as by subway, for which a one-way ticket costs just under 4 BRL.
A double room in a 3-star hotel costs from about 150 BRL/night. However, during peak travel times such as during Carnival, prices can be higher.