First founded in 1554 by the Jesuits, San Paulo, Brazil is located on a plateau that sits 2,493 feet above see level and 45 minutes from the coast. Considered a mission center years ago for Indians and early settlers, San Paulo was for a long time, a small, sleepy town. However, sometime around 1850, the city began to expand, due primarily from high yielding coffee plantations. As the revenue from coffee export skyrocketed, the population grew to where it is today, a large financial and industrial center and more than 20 million people calling it home.
Because San Paulo manufacturers so much and is also a successful exporter, it is a very wealthy state with a Gross National Profit of $350 billion, more than one-third of Brazil’s $1.1 trillion Gross National Profit. All around San Paulo are very affluent areas that are truly beautiful. Interesting, many of these smaller towns were settled by Europeans and have the charm and sophistication of the European architecture and style. Two of the most important cities along the shoreline of Sao Paulo are Santos and Guaruja. In fact, Guaruja is kind of touristy while Santos features one of the world’s largest ports.
San Paulo, Brazil is a dynamic place again, known as South America’s financial center and second worldwide. What is so interesting about San Paulo is that instead of importing things such as planes, cars, computers, clothing, and so on, they manufacturer their own. The agribusiness there is also very strong where you will find some of the most impressive and modernized farms ever, growing everything from sugarcane, oranges, coffee, fruits, and vegetables.
Another fascinating aspect of San Paulo, Brazil is that more than one million of the population is the Japanese, making this the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. However, the population as a whole is comprised of more than 70 different nationalities from Europeans to Koreans to Hispanics to Jews and Africans, among others. Because of this, the food in San Paulo is absolutely wonderful and diverse. Therefore, if you enjoy dining out and experiencing authentic ethnic food, you will have your choices of thousands and thousands of fabulous restaurants.
Like Rio de Janeiro, San Paulo is a city that never sleeps. Therefore, if you have trouble sleeping, just walk to the 24-hour bookstore. If you want to see a movie at 3:00 in the morning, no problem and the same is true for shopping malls, restaurants, bars, and so on. In addition to the shops, you will also find exciting street fairs and exhibits located throughout the city. Other popular activities include a trip to one of the 15 zoos, botanical gardens, the Jockey Club, one of the world’s most famous Formula One race tracks, museums, excellent historical sites, every possible type of nightclub imaginable, and the list just goes on and on.
The architecture in San Paulo, Brazil is also quite fascinating in that you will find everything from traditional style building to ultra modern. If antiques are one of your favorite hobbies, then you want to visit the Ipiranga Imperial Museum, which has one of the largest art collections from the Brazilian imperial era to include paintings, furniture, gardens, and sculptures. The parks in San Paulo are also magnificent where you will often find lakes, planetariums, museums, sports complexes, restaurants, and gardens as apart of the design.
Keep in mind that most people say unless you have to travel to San Paul on business, stay away. The reason is that it is so gigantic, and the people are so business focused that it is not necessarily a place you would enjoy visiting. Most people feel a state of culture shock when they fly into San Paulo, completely swallowed up by size and activity level.
However, if you enjoy fast-pace life and are interested in seeing many of the great things San Paulo has to offer, then you would probably enjoy it. Just remember, it is a site to see and a city that requires a little getting used to. Therefore, plan accordingly and expect to be busy.