São Paulo getaways

May 18, 2009 | By More

So you’ve been posted to São Paulo or are attending a congress at the city and have a few days in your hands? Here’s a few ideas of what you could with with your spare time.


1.1 Santos
SantosSantosSantosMuseu do Café / Bolsa do Café, Santos
You could go and visit Santos historical centre, where you shouldn’t miss the excellent Museu do Café (Coffee Museum) – and take a ride on the streetcar/tram too! You could drive to Santos (between an hour’s drive and two hours depending on where you are in São Paulo). Alternatively, take one of the frequent buses running from the Terminal Jabaquara bus station (at the end of the blue line of São Paulo’s subway). The bus will leave you within walking distance of the centre of Santos.

1.2 Zu Lai Buddhist temple
templo Zu Laitemplo Zu Lai, São Paulo, BrasilTemplo Zu Laitemplo Zu Lai
If you have your own transportation you could spend the morning at the Zu Lai Buddhist temple. Getting there following the Raposo Tavares motorway is a piece of cake – look for the signs when you approach km 25.

1.3 Valley of the Temples
templo Kinkaku-jitemplo Kinkaku-jitemplo Enko-Jitemplo Enko-Ji
With a bit more time you could make an extension to the previous visit and reach the Vale dos Templos (Valley of the Temples) in Itapecerica, where you can find a real-size replica of Kinkaku-ji golden temple – minus the gold, of course. Get to Itapecerica and then follow the signs.

1.4 Embu das Artes
Embu das Artes is a town on the outskirts of São Paulo where every weekend takes place and incredibly popular and open-air arts and crafts fair. Follow the Regis Bittencourt motorway until you reach Embu and then ask for directions. The fair takes places on Saturday and Sunday, no point in going to Embu any other day of the week. You could possibly get there by bus (have a look at EMTU; if you’ve spent a bit of time in São Paulo you’ll know information on public transportation is anything but cryptic).


2.1 Campos do Jordão
Campos do JordãoCampos do JordãoHorto Florestal, Campos do JordãoCampos do Jordão
A piece of Central Europe a couple of hour’s drive from São Paulo, that is what Campos do Jordão looks like. Don’t be put off by the fact that Campos is where the well-off go to show off their motorbikes, imported cars and winter clothing. There’s more to Campos than that – including some great nature walks and excellent local beer too. You can get to Campos by car or by bus from Terminal Tietê bus station (line blue of the São Paulo subway). Campos looks its best during the winter months, when it can get really chilly – zero degrees temperatures are not unheard of.

2.2 Costa dos Alcatrazes
MaresiasBarra do SahyCamburisaíra-sete-cores / green-headed tanager (Tangara seledon)
All right, a freezing-cold weekend up in the mountains is not what you were dreaming of when you headed for Brazil. Do not despair as we have excellent news for you: there are some stunning beaches just a couple of hour’s away from São Paulo. They are found along the Costa dos Alcatrazes, a stretch of road at the foot of the Serra do Mar, the mountain range that goes along the coastline and provides a fantastic landscape of mountains, rainforest and beaches. Choose a place to stay and then get to know the different beaches nearby. Barra do Una, Juquehy, Barra do Sahy and Camburi are our favourite beaches. Not forgetting the most famous of all, Maresias, to which we devoted an entire blog post. You can reach the Costa dos Alcatrazes using the bus, but if you have your own means of transportation you will make the most of your short time there.

2.3 Ubatuba
Domingas Dias, UbatubaIlha AnchietaDomingas Dias, UbatubaLagoinha, Ubatuba
A bit further north, where the state of São Paulo meets the state of Rio de Janeiro, you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in the south east of Brazil. Have a look at the blog post we dedicated to Utatuba for more information. If you drive, it will take you at least three hours to reach Ubatuba.

If pot-holing is your thing, then you should head to the PETAR caving complex in the south of the state of São Paulo. Although we haven’t been there ourselves we left some basic information at PETAR, a pot-holer’s paradise.


3.1 Paraty
Paraty, BrasilParatyParaty, BrasilParaty
Excellent news. If you can take at least three days off you couldn’t go anywhere more beautiful and spectacular than Paraty, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. You could take the bus to Paraty (5 hours, leaves from Terminal Tietê bus station in São Paulo) or drive along the beautiful Rio-Santos motorway. Paraty is one of our top-three destinations in Brazil, shall we say more?

São Paulo’s top ten
five reasons to love São Paulo
five reasons to hate São Paulo
youth hostels in São Paulo
Destination: Maresias
Accommodation in Barra do Sahy and Barra do Una
terminal Tietê bus station in São Paulo
Brazil in pictures: Kinkaku-ji temple
PETAR, a pot-holer’s paradise
Embu das Artes
Beaches on the state of São Paulo
Brazil in pictures: Zu Lai temple
São Paulo traffic images live on the Internet

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Category: Destination: São Paulo

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  1. Nan says:

    I have a friend who is moving to Sao Paulo from the US. I’d like to get him and his wife and Christmas gift that either might be traditional or helpful/useful for the move. Does anyone have any suggestions and where I might purchase such a gift?