Weekend trips from Sao Paulo & tips for 1 mth holiday & more questions
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Feb 17, 2013 12:10 AM Last Post By: saopedro
Feb 16, 2013 4:10 AM
Weekend trips from Sao Paulo & tips for 1 mth holiday & more questionsHi everyone,
I might get the chance to work in Sao Paulo for 6 months starting in October. I've never been to South America and don't speak Portugese (yet ;)), but I am really excited about going there. As I'll be in Brazil for Carneval 2014, I think I'll take the chance and go to Rio to see the parade.
It would be great if you could help me with a few questions. I have done some research, but would like to hear your thoughts without pointing you into a specific direction yet. I'll ask some more specific questions about specific locations later on.
1. Which weekend trips can you recommend from Sao Paulo? When is the best time to visit the places you recommend? Do I have enough to see both the Brazilian and the Argentinian side of the Iguazu Falls if I leave Sao Paulo on Friday night or early Saturday morning and need to be back in Sao Paulo by Sunday night?
2. What would be a nice trip for Christmas / NYE in your opinion? I'm not too much into really crowded places so I guess the famous beaches won't be my destination of choice during holiday time...
3. After finishing my job assignment probably around Easter 2014, I'll have about a month to travel within Brazil. Assuming I already visited Rio (probably for Carneval and maybe another trip for a few days), which destinations (and activities) would you recommend and how long would you stay there?
4. I would love to see marine sea turtles, ideally either little ones hatching or mums coming to the beach and laying their eggs. Is that at all possible, if yes at what time of the year? I know I might see them in Fernando de Noronha, but it seems to be quite expensive to get there and also to stay there. Has anybody been there? Is it worth the price and how much did you spend for plane tickets and accommodation? Any good alternatives?
5. When should I start planning my trip to Rip for Carneval? Can you recommend somewhat affordable and safe places to stay?
6. Regarding my stay in Sao Paulo, I would like to know whether you have any suggestions about where to live in a somewhat safe neighbourhood (my employer has an office within the main business district) and whether you by any chance know somebody that might be interested to teach me Portugese (on a flexible schedule) while I'm in Sao Paulo?
Some facts about me: I am into photography and would love to see nature, wildlife and some nice cities, maybe also spend a few days or a weekend on a nice beach to relax. I don't mind getting up early or staying out late if sunrises / sunsets are spectacular or if I can only see some wildlife during specific times of the day. I don't need to go partying during my weekend trips / final 1 month long trip as I'll probably do enough of that in Sao Paulo (and Rio) before ;) I'm a 28 year old female travelling either alone or sometimes with a friend. I'm a budget traveller and don't need fancy hotels but am happy with hostel dorms - however I can afford to splurge a little if it is really necessary or recommended, i.e. I know that accommodation in Rio during Carneval can get costly and I'm willing to spend some money on good tours / guides e.g. in the Amazon region / Pantanal if it really improves my experience as I'm not sure when I'll be back and want to make the most of my time in this wonderful country!
Thank you very much in advance for your help, it's very much appreciated!
Feb 16, 2013 5:40 AM
1. the good thing about SP is that there are plenty of places to visit nearby on a weekend break: beaches (the Northern Coast of SP state is nicer), mountains (Campos do Jordão, Monteverde, São José dos Pinhais, Gonçalves, etc - each with its own character); spectacular caves in Petar state park; history in Paranapiacaba and Paraty, adventure sports in Brotas, etc. In addition to that, all state capitals is the South / Southeast are also nice for a weekend break and planning ahead place tickets can be affordable: Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Vitoria, Curitiba, Florianopolis, etc. A weekend in Iguaçu is fine to see the both sides of the Falls.
2. stay away from the beaches or head for a more remote one (plenty of options between Trindade and Paraty.
3. Must sees are: Rio, Salvador, Iguaçu, Pantanal, Amazon, Chapada Diamantina, beaches in the northeast, Recife / Olinda, Ouro Preto and other mining towns, etc.
4. Everybody says Fernando de Noronha is superb, but as it's quite expensive I never had the chance to go there. All I can say is that nobody comes back complaining about the bill :)
Nevertheless, you don't need to go all the way there to see sea turtles: look for conservation project bases of Tamar. I've been to one in Northern Espirito Santo (Itaúnas - beautiful place!) and Praia do Forte (north of Salvador) and even Ubatuba (3 hours by car from SP) has a visiting center (good to learn about the project and see some turtles, but not on the wild)
5. You should probably head to a hostel when you'll find plenty of company for the street parties, that are there real thing about carnival. The parade is awesome, but the real partying is on the streets! I can recommend you Zebra Hostel and Lemon Spirit in Leblon are, but there are plenty of other good options around the city. By the time you see an affordable ticket offer, you should buy them with as much advance as possible, as prices get really high closer to carnival dates.
6. there's no such thing as "main business district" in Sao Paulo: that could be a description for Av. Paulista, Faria Lima, Vila Olimpia or Berrini areas. If it's not in Berrini which is further to the South, I recommend living in Pinheiros neighborhood: plenty of things to do / buy on the streets, public transportation (incl. subway) to everywhere in the city, lively nightlife and restaurants at walking distance, etc. Don't know of an individual that could help you with Portuguese classes, but can vouch for the Polygot Portuguese school, they're very good!
Feb 16, 2013 5:52 AM
2Hi Backpacker 007,
- Places close to São Paulo. You'll get there by road. A weekend is enought.
2) PETAR, in Apiaí: Caves activities.
3) Beaches: Ubatuba and Ilha Bela. There are beaches closer, but I think they are better.
- Places to go for a weekend, but you will need to fly:
- Places you could go for a weekend, but you'd better stay more days:
2) Paraty, in Rio de Janeiro State.
3) Historic cities in Minas Gerais State: Diamantina, Ouro Preto, Mariana, Sabará, Tiradentes.
You'd better spend more days in
- Two full days are enough to spend, but you it will take you a long time to get there (so you will need more than two days, maybe 3):
- Places for 4 days-1 week:
2) Chapada dos Veadeiros, in Goias State
3) Jalapao, in Tocantins State
4) Fernando de Noronha
5) Lencois Maranhenses
I don't know for whom you are working, but there are some holidays in Brazil:
- November 20 th
- Christmas and NYE.
- Carnival- in 2014 it'll be on March 04 th (but the festivities begin on March 01, or even earlier).
Feb 16, 2013 1:33 PM
I live in Sao Paulo and I think that #1 gave you good suggestions.
#2 also pointed great places here in Brazil (amasing places) but I think that it is not possible to visit these places with the time #2 suggested. It would be very very squeezed.
About some topics that you mentioned:
1) Iguazu falls > It is possible to do it in a weekend, but you should flight to Iguazu at friday night and get back at sunday night.
5) The rule here is simple: the earlier you start it, the cheaper you will pay your flights and hostels. If you decide to book it for example 3 months earlier, you will find only the expensive hostels / flights. If you want to do it in a budget, you can start it now or no longer than april. (At least for flight and hostel).
Feb 17, 2013 12:10 AM
The posters above have answered your questions really well but I thought I'd add a bit about learning some Portuguese . If you can learn some language before you, go you will find it incredibly usefull.
I have Portuguese lessons online (I live in australia) via SKYPE to stop myself getting rusty. My teacher is Brazilian but lives in London. I book her through a website called verbal planet and pay about $21 per 45 minutes lesson. The lessons are amazingly effective and it is just like having a teacher in front of me. She sends me material ahead of time which I do and then we go through it together and do some practice. I can highly recommend this method. If you want more info, please send me a private message.
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