São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil has a city population of 11 million and even more than 20 million in the metropolitan region.
Many immigrants used to be attracted by this incredible city, so it is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Sao Paulo is the capital of rich people, nightlife and culture.
Although tourists who visit Brazil often prefer the beaches of Salvador de Bahia or Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo is surely a great tourist destination with its museums, restaurants or jovial nightlife. Some of the must-see sights of Sao Paulo are the Neo-Byzantine Catedral de Sé, the Municipal Market and São Paulo Museum of Art.
Warnings & Dangers in Sao Paulo
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
If you take into consideration all the possible dangers in Sao Paulo, it is an averagely safe city. As in any other city, some unsafe parts should be avoided, particularly at night.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transport in Sao Paulo can be considered unsafe. While the metro and buses are believed to be generally safe, buses and bus stops are risky, mainly at night.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Areas around Praca de Sé, the metro and bus and train stations, as well as crowded zones, are the main locations of the pickpockets. Thieves also operate in markets and hotels. Caution is compulsory when travelling at night through rural areas since a few precautions will minimize the chance of being pickpocketed.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Some natural disasters, like the flooding caused by the heavy rainfall, which affects the mud to rush down the mountains and destroy the towns by knocking down houses are possible in Sao Paulo.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Mugging and kidnapping is very common in Sao Paulo particularly in urban areas where tourists are forced to take their money from ATMs and give it to the kidnappers in order to be released. The best solution to avoid the risk of being kidnapped during the night is to travel in a private car.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
When the terrorism risk is concerned, Sao Paulo is believed to be a very safe city and it is marked as a low-threat location for terrorist activity.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Tourist places are locations where lawbreakers will try to scam you. In Sao Paulo, tourists should be extremely cautious around ATMs and avoid being surrounded by groups of teenagers with strange behavior or people who want to help them.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women are generally safe in Sao Paulo and can walk alone through the city, but still, nights are extremely dangerous, so it is not always advisable for a female to find herself alone on empty and dark streets.
So... How Safe Is Sao Paulo Really?
Brazil is the country which has some unsolved issues with crime and that continues to be the principal danger to its visitors. Fortunately, the crime rates are decreasing especially in Sao Paulo being a great tourist destination.
The West side of Sao Paulo is a center of business, nightlife and education, and it is safer than other parts, being the city’s richest area.
The police presence around Praça de Sé in the old city center makes this area safe, unlike the Crackland area near the Parque de la Luz that needs to be completely avoided by tourists due to the appearance of drug addicts, prostitutes and criminals.
Some areas are very dangerous for travelers as well as the citizens of Sao Paulo since robbery, assault, burglary, and theft happens at all times of the day. Violent crimes like murder, rape and kidnappings are attributed to street gangs and organized groups and they are not very frequent.
Regardless of all these dangers, Sao Paulo should not be taken as a city to be avoided. Quite contrary, it is a great city to explore, with its world-class restaurants and major cultural and historical attractions, as long as you remain vigilant while touring the city.
- Visas - Tourists from the US who want to visit Brazil have to pay a 160$ fee to get the visa. However, some other countries do not need visas if it is less than 90 days visit. Travelers can check the official Brazil tourism website to get the information about visas.
- Currency - Brazil’s official currency is the Brazilian Real (R$). Even though Brazil is one of the most expensive countries in South America, it is considered a relatively cheap tourist destination.
- Weather - Sao Paulo is the city which can be visited throughout the whole year considering the fact that winter temperatures range between 8 and 21 °C. The record high temperature was 37.8 °C and the lowest −2 °C .Because of its elevation, Sao Paulo has a temperate climate.
- Airports - There are two main airports in Sao Paulo, São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport and Congonhas-São Paulo Airport for domestic flights. The number of air passenger movements makes Sao Paulo one of the top 15 busiest airports in the world. Other alternative airports are Viracopos-Campinas International Airport, São José dos Campos Airport and Jundiaí Airport which can be used to avoid the crowds.
- Travel Insurance - When traveling anywhere in the world, accidents and illnesses cannot be predicted. So when traveling to Sao Paulo, it is suggested to have an international travel health insurance as well as the insurance in case of theft and loss of personal items.