I just got back from a whirlwind of a trip throughout Brazil for the World Cup. I flew into Sao Paulo and spent a few days in the city before the World Cup home opener game between Brazil and Croatia. It was my first time attending a World Cup festivity in a host city and it was quite an experience. It was my 4th time in Sao Paulo and 6th time in Brazil. I learn something new about Sao Paulo every time I visit which is the 3rd largest city in the world. Here are 10 things I learned from my recent trip to Sao Paulo during the World Cup in Brazil.
1. The pizza is amazing – I didn’t believe it at first, but there is a huge pizza scene in Sao Paulo. The specialty pizzas are awesome and they even have toppings such as a fried egg.
2. Rua Augusta has great nightlife – My hotel was located on Rua Augusta and I spent three nights discovering the amazing restaurant and bar scene. There are also many pop-up and boutique shops on Rua Augusta. There’s a university on Rua Augusta and many of the patrons are young college students having a good time.
3. Traffic is horrible – Whenever the national team of Brazil is playing on a weekday (that’s not a holiday), employers let employees get off early to watch the game. This creates a traffic mess where it can take 1 hour to travel four blocks in Sao Paulo. Even when there’s no game, rush hour traffic is pretty bad. It can take up to three hours to get from GRU International Airport to the Grant Hyatt Sao Paulo Hotel in Morumbi.
4. You can get from the airport to the city for R$4.45 ~ $1.99 USD – This time I didn’t use the Airport Bus Service or a taxi to get from Sao Paulo International Airport (GRU) to the city center. I took the public bus from GRU airport to Tatuape Metro Station where I transferred onto the metro to get into the city center. It was much quicker this way and it’s the most economical. Taxis can cost 150-170 Reais ~ $67-$76 USD to get from Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport to the Sheraton WTC Sao Paulo Hotel in Morumbi.
5. The last bus to the airport is at 12:10am – I had a flight at 6am and I didn’t want to pay $70 USD for a taxi at 3am to get to the airport. Instead, I opted to take the subway to the Tatuape Metro station where I caught the last bus at 12:10am to Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport. I’ve always used a taxi or the Airport Bus Service to GRU, but this time I wanted to try something different. I had to spend 5 hours in the airport, but it was worth it.
6. FIFA Fan Fest can get crowded – I couldn’t get tickets to the World Cup home opening match in Sao Paulo, so I decided to join the FIFA Fan Fest in downtown Sao Paulo. I arrived two hours earlier for the scheduled match, but it quickly filled up. By the time the Brazil v. Croatia game started, Fan Fest was at maximum capacity.
7. Drones were being used during Fan Fest – I was amazed when I saw a drone being used at FIFA Fan Fest in Sao Paulo. I’ve never seen a drone live in person and everyone was just taking pictures of it. I read online that FIFA was also using drones in the World Cup Stadiums as well for security reasons.
8. Paulistas know how to celebrate a goal from the national team Brazil – When Brazil scored its first goal, the crowd went wild! Everyone was jumping up and down with joy and giving each other high fives. World Cup fever is pretty insane in Brazil! Here are some videos I took when Brazil scored three goals against Croatia.
9. The weather sucks during winter time – Many tourists think that June and July is summer time in Brazil and that is not the case. In fact, it’s opposite in Brazil since June is winter time where it considerably rains a lot in most parts of the country.
10. You can buy mixed drinks and beer on the streets – Anyone can set up shop on the sidewalks of Sao Paulo and sell beer. You don’t need an alcohol license to sell and the police don’t care at all.