Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and an excellent tourist destination for its celebrated culture and rich history. The native language is Portuguese and the locals are affectionately known as “paulistanos.” Here is a short list of just some of the great ways that you can blend in with the population and enjoy an authentic experience in this fantastic city.
1. Drink a Caiparinha (or Two)
Concocted with a local spirit derived from sugar canes called Cachaca, a caiparinha is more-or-less the Brazilian equivalent of a mojito. It starts out with muddled limes and sugar in the bottom of a tumbler, followed by crushed ice and is finished with a healthy pour of Cachaca. Caiparinhas can be a considerably strong cocktail, but when prepared correctly, they are an excellent source of refreshment and relaxation to begin your journey. Caiparinhas are a nationally adapted cocktail, so you should have no trouble ordering one in any bar in Sao Paulo. Just remember the phrase, “Uma caiparinha, por favor.”
2. Enjoy some “Salgados” from a Street Vendor
Salgados are little snacks that you can find in any one of the numerous street vendors often referred to as “lancheonettes” in Sao Paulo. Some of the more popular ones include;
Coxinhas, which stands for “little chicken legs,” are deep fried croquettes shaped as their name implies and can be made with pulled chicken, beef or hearts of palm.
Pasteis are also deep fried, but have a thinner, crispier outer pastry-like shell and can be filled with chicken, beef, cheese (typically mozzarella) or hearts of palm.
Pao de Quiejo translates in English to “cheese bread.” Paes de Quiejo (the plural pronunciation) are served in round rolls that are generally served in sizes no larger than that of a golf ball.
3. Go to a Live Futebol Game
Soccer, or “futebol” as it’s known in Brazil, is highly revered as the top sport of the country. Brazil is the only country to win the prestigious World Cup five times, and they still continue to produce some of the best players that the international sport has to offer. The premier league in Brazil is named Liga do Brasil and Sao Paulo is home to four of the most popular teams in the league. They are Corinthians, Sao Paulo Futebol Clube, Palmeiras and Santos FC (where the legendary Pele got his start).
4. Attend an Authentic Churrasco
Brazilians take pride in their barbeque, and one of the many ways that they like to gather with friends and family as well as extending hospitality to visitors is by hosting their own form of barbeque known as churrasco. One of the most popular types of meats that Brazilian churrascos are known for is called “picanha,”which is a prime-cut of top sirloin. Caiparinhas are an excellent cocktail accompaniment for Brazilian churrasco. And just in case you haven’t met a welcoming new group of friends at the futebol game, Sao Paulo is lined with restaurants called “churrascarias” that prepare picanha and other barbeque favorites of the country in a table-side, all-you-can eat format.
5. It’s Sao Paulo, Go to the Beach!
After all of the excitement from a wildly supported futebol game, in addition to the stomach full of great cuisine and refreshing cocktails, you will no doubt need to take a moment to just unwind and reflect while enjoying the positive atmosphere of this exciting city. The beaches in Sao Paulo are breath-taking and are usually filled with some of the most beautiful people on the planet. Very revealing bikinis are a staple of the beachgoer scene in Brazil and a prior note to the gentlemen travelers ‘” it is customary for the male population to wear Speedos, so be sure to hit the gym in advance if you need a last-minute confidence booster.
It is important to note that Sao Paulo has a subtropical weather pattern that isn’t optimal for bikini-clad trips to the beach year round, so be sure to check the local forecasts before you travel if enjoying the ocean is a priority.