Before I left for Brazil I was speaking with a Brazilian colleague and I was telling him I was going to Rio. He asked if I had considered Sao Paulo and, honestly, I hadn’t. The only thing I knew about Sao Paulo was that it had one of the biggest cathedrals in the world.

I started to look in earnest for flights between Rio and Sao Paulo. The flight was just under an hour and I figured why the hell not. I get to see a different city and I get to add to my 2022 flight list. I found some flights with LATAM and they were only around £70 return. I went ahead to try and book it and every time I went to pay it said that there had been an error and the payment didn’t go through. I checked the bank and there was no attempt at payment. I switched to the UK version of the LATAM website and the price had shot up to around £300 – a massive 400% increase. I asked them on Twitter why this was and they said it was due to different taxes and fees in each location (I didn’t buy this). I had a look on a broker’s website and was able to book them for £80.

I decided I would book for towards the end of the Rio trip. I booked for 18-21 November so it would mean I get a few hours back in Rio before I fly out on the 22nd.

The airport I was flying from was a twenty-minute walk from the hostel and on the other end was a ten-minute Uber to the hostel. These are some of the busiest airports in Brazil and there are at least 12 flights per hour each way between the two cities.

One of the other reasons I wanted to go to Sao Paulo was because of an Air Crash Investigation that I had seen. It was TAM Airlines flight 402 from Sao Paulo Congonhas to Rio Santos Dumont. It crashed just after taking off into the Jabaquara neighbourhood. It happened on October 31st 1996. I decided that I would go to the neighbourhood and see if there was any kind of memorial. You can read more about the crash here.

It was an early start as I had booked the flight for 08:15 (I don’t even know why – I guess I just wanted maximum time in Sao Paulo). It was an uneventful flight into Congonhas. I got an Uber to the hostel and as I was so early I was unable to check in for a few hours so I decided I would just drop my stuff off and head for something to eat and drink and then onto the metro. More below.

I will say that Rio is not a hugely touristy city – unless you like museums. It is more of a working city and lots of offices and office workers.

  • I found a convenience store and got some fizzy drinks and water and some chocolate and then had a wander around in the direction of the metro. It was nice and warm and clear skies and the neighbourhood was a pretty clean and decent one.

    I found the metro and went to go get some tickets. I was hoping I could just get a card that I could load money onto and then travel away. I found someone that speaks English and the only way to get a card was to apply online and wait three days – I would be heading back to Rio by the time it was arriving. The other option was to buy paper tickets with QR codes on them that you held on a reader at the gate. I figured I would use the metro quite a bit so I bought ten of them and the guy at the window was shocked. I just wanted to get them so I didn’t have to faff about each day buying them and trying to communicate with the workers.

    I had been looking at the map whilst on the platform and I decided that I would head to Sao Bento as it looked like a lot of stuff was around there. I got off the metro and the first place I had seen was Mosteiro de São Bento. I decided to go in and have a look around to see what it was like. It was very ornate and had signs everywhere that you couldn’t take pictures but the workers weren’t stopping anyone so I decided I would take some too.

    After I was done there, I went to see if I could find some souvenirs. It was really difficult to find them here. I headed across the Santa Ifigenia viaduct and the thing that struck me the most was the number of homeless people there. They had tents set up everywhere below the bridge (which was dangerous as it was right on the main road). It was sad to see.

    Once I was across the viaduct, I went to where it showed some shops that looked like they would sell souvenirs but sadly that was not the case. I stopped at Paróquia Nossa Senhora da Conceição – Santa Ifigênia and sat inside. It was nice to sit there in the cool and it was quiet too even though several roads converged outside of it. As I was getting up to leave I dropped my bottle of water and the bottle split and the water went everywhere. I was gutted as I was desperate for a drink so I had to find a convenience store to get another drink.

    After I was done there, I was still on a mission to find souvenirs. I had a look on the map and saw a stand in a shopping mall so I made my way there. I was going to walk but it was an hour’s walk and I was feeling quite lazy. The stand was at Shopping Mall 3 just outside of Consolação station. I went to have a look at the map again but for some reason, my phone wouldn’t connect to a network so I stood there like a fool for 20 minutes trying to get it to connect. I turned it off and back on again several times. It finally allowed me to set the network selection to manual so I could then connect to a network. It turns out the shopping mall was right across the street from where I was.

    I headed there and tried to find the stand but couldn’t find it. I then went downstairs and walked around and I was beginning to give up hope but I then saw it and got my magnet. That is all they had sadly. I then went to the Carrefour there and got some food to take back to the hostel.

    I decided that I would head back to the hostel as my bed would be ready at this point and I could just chill. I sat out on the balcony and, like the nerd that I am, sat and watched the planes coming in to land at Congonhas. I really enjoyed that. I sat out there for about 4 hours. I then decided I needed some sleep as I was shattered.

    Total steps: 10,469

    Total miles: 5.13

    Below are some pics from today

Today I decided I would get up and ready in time for checkout. I didn’t have anything to do so just decided to sit at the hostel until it was time to leave for the airport. I went to the garage and got some food and drink first.

I sat in the hostel for another 90 minutes and then decided to just head to the airport. I got an Uber and got to the airport and just sat and chilled for a few hours before heading to security and sitting on the other side. It was great because I had a good view of the runway. I then went downstairs to wait. I was looking at FlightRadar24 to see which plane we would be using and as I was looking, it stated that the flight from Rio to Sao Paulo had been cancelled and I was starting to panic as I didn’t want to be stranded in Sao Paulo as I needed to be back in Rio for my flight home tomorrow.

As I was looking at the app, it showed that a plane had been sent from the main airport here in Sao Paulo to Congonhas. That was a relief. I got a row to myself on the plane and decided to sit at the window. It was a nice calm flight back to Rio. I was going to walk back to the hostel but decided to just get the tram as I was super tired.

All in all, Sao Paulo was good. If you love museums then you will love it here and will want to stay for more than a few days. If not, a couple of days is ample enough.

Total steps:

  • São Paulo: 33,979
  • Overall: 240,051

Total miles:

  • São Paulo: 16.93
  • Overall: 69.32

You can view all of my São Paulo pics here