Sao Paulo, Brazil: A 1-Day Lazy Travel Itinerary | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Nov 13, 2019

Sao Paulo, Brazil: A 1-Day Lazy Travel Itinerary

From OC to Lazy real quick? Ed and I laughed at ourselves while we munch on pizza in our hotel room on our first night in Sao Paulo - our first night in South America to be exact. We arrived at Guarulhos International Airport past 5 PM and reached our accommodation in Avenida Paulista three hours later. The young receptionist suggested that we go to a pub street after we check-in, but instead, we called for pizza delivery. 

Lazy Travelers or have we become such a Tito and Tita? Hahaha.

I don't know how it happened, but I have developed a love for spontaneous slow travels. I no longer spend hours jotting down a packed travel schedule in Excel. And Ed who has always loved going with the flow excitedly embraced the idea of heading to Brazil without an actual day to day itinerary for his birthday.

Sao Paulo Travel Itinerary

So, we arrived in Sao Paulo with a hotel booking for two nights, but with no fix plans. Surprisingly, it turned out that being lazy - taking it slow - in a big, busy, ma-traffic metropolis is the best thing that we could do.

Here's our impromptu Sao Paulo 1-Day Travel Itinerary: 

Have breakfast in a local bakery
Complimentary breakfast was not included in our hotel stay, hence the first thing we did was to search for a breakfast place nearby. We ended in a local bakery which is just stone's throw from where we're staying. We ordered coffee and some traditional bread - pão de queijo (cheese bread) and coxinha (chicken croquettes) - and instantly fell in love with these Brazilian snacks. These two actually became our tawid-gutom staples; our emergency munchies when we were waiting for our flights or whenever hunger strikes and we couldn't find a decent and affordable place to eat.   

Brazilian Breakfast in local bakery
Left: Coxinha || Right: Pao de Queijo
Breakfast (2 coffee, 2 bread, 1 yogurt, 1.5: bottled water): 35 BRL

Feel the vibe of the city in a viewing deck
Having heard of a few horror travel stories from friends, I wouldn't deny that there were moments that I would be struck with paranoia. That's why we opted to stay in Avenida Paulista, one of the safe neighborhoods in Sao Paulo. And also the reason why I needed to feel the vibe of the city in higher ground, away from the crowd, right after breakfast.

So, Ed and I walked towards Mirante Sesc Paulista; a building with a viewing deck that I just came to know about on Instagram. There was a short queue at the ground floor when we arrived; a staff controls the number of visitors going in and out of the elevator heading to the deck. No entrance fee; we were just given stickers to be presented on the terrace.

And yes, it was a good way to start off a day in a place that excites and scares you at the same time. :) This is what greeted us at the top...

Polychromatic portrait of famous Brazilian Architect Oscar Niemeyer; a mural made by Eduardo Kobra
Lady in Mirante Sesc Paulista
Bird's-eye view of Avenida Paulista sans heavy traffic 
Ed and Lady in Mirante Sesc Paulista
Selfie spot! :)
view of skyscrapers in Mirante Sesc Paulista
Modern skyscrapers 
Lady in Avenida Paulista viewing deck
Obrigado for mornings like this!

Stroll in Avenida Paulista
Quite comfortable with the new environment and ready to explore, Ed and I headed down to Avenida Paulista. The avenue is a famous tourist attraction as it is Sao Paulo's financial center and cultural venue. The lengthy street is lined with skyscrapers giving me Makati-feels, and in-betweens are shops and museums.

Avenida Paulista is a busy business hub, but every Sunday and during holidays it turns into a pedestrian zone where people can take a stroll, bike in the designated bicycle lane, eat local street food from food trucks, shop local handicrafts in street stalls and listen to live music. It was Brazil's Independence Day when we were there, so we got to experience how fun and family-friendly it can be.

Honestly, this experience (and seeing policemen in every corner) felt like a warm hug telling me to loosen up a little and enjoy the moment.  

Lady in Avenida Paulista
The long walk starts from here...
continued to the bicycle lane...
Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo
down to Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo.
As you all know, we're not museum junkies, so we're ok with just admiring the modern architecture from the street. 
Lady in MASP
If you're into art exhibits, MASP entrance fee is 40 BRL/adult.
Free entrance every Tuesday

Have a full Churrasco lunch experience
One of the things we were looking forward to on this trip was to have an authentic churrasco dining experience. We have been to a churrascaria in Dubai and popular restaurants in Brazil also have branches in the UAE, but the feeling is always different when you're in the country where the cuisine originated.

So for lunch, we headed to the closest Fogo de Chao we found in Google Maps. 

A full churrasco dining experience includes an endless serving of fire-roasted meats carved at your table. Each diner has a colored card; green which says "Sim, por favor." on one side and red indicating "Nao, Obrigado." on the other. The colors basically signify if you want more meat or you had enough! Out of all the cuts I had, my favorite has to be the Picanha; the queen of steaks as they say.

Apart from the meats, we also enjoyed the generous serving of starters and side dishes at the gourmet Market Table. The Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew) is definitely not to be missed. In addition, pão de queijo, grilled banana, and some chunky fries were served tableside. 

Having this mind (and stomach)-blowing dining experience is best at midday. We had the time to burn the calories in the afternoon, and yet we still felt heavy and full at dinnertime.   

Market Table in Fogo de Chao
Market Table in Fogo de Chao
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fogo de Chao Sao Paulo
Green means Give me all the meat! :)
Picanha at Fogo de Chao Sao Paulo
I always had to flip my card to green every time I see this fine meat coming my way!
Churrasco lunch in Sao Paulo
Left: Blood sausage, anyone?
Right: Dry-cured ham at the Market Table
Feijoada in Sao Paulo
I fell in love with Feijoada!
Full Churrasco Experience in Fogo de Chao: 152++ BRL per person. Worth it. Promise! ;)

Get on higher ground at Edificio Italia
Right after lunch, we took an Uber ride to the Centro aka the downtown area. Our drop off point was Edificio Italia, one of the tallest skyscrapers with a rooftop observation deck. We went straight to the 42nd floor where the open deck is located. Entry used to be free, but now, the restaurant charges 30 Brazilian Reals per person, inclusive of one alcoholic beverage or fruit juice.

We paid the fees, asked for sparkling wine, and headed out to the terrace. The view is stunning from up there! We spotted Catedral da Sé, Edificio Copan (largest residential building of Latin America), and other historical landmarks.

The downtown is a massive concrete jungle; really overwhelming. I couldn't be more thankful that we opted to see it in a relaxed manner with a glass of sparkling wine in hand! 

Catedral da Se from Edificio Italia
Spot Catedral da Se?
view from Edificio Italia
What a view of towering skyscrapers!  
Ed and Lady in Edificio Italia
Wine o'clock! 
Ed in Edificio Italia
Perfect spot for a Sao Paulo souvenir photo, I must say.

Say prayers in Catedral da Sé
We couldn't end the day without visiting the largest Catholic Church in Sao Paulo. The cathedral is beautiful in Gothic and Renaissance style. We could have taken more photos of the facade if only we felt safe in the area, but honestly, we were not comfortable with using our camera and mobile phones.

We immediately went in and said our prayers. At that point, we were just immensely grateful for the opportunity to travel halfway around the globe and to be in a place we never thought we could set foot in. 

Catedral da Se
Catedral da Se
This photo was taken while inside our Uber ride.

inside Catedral da Se
Magnificent inside out!

Calling it a day
While inside the cathedral, we decided that we wanted to end our first day in Brazil that way... grateful, safe, and sound. We booked our Uber ride to the hotel and had a little sightseeing along the way. 

Since it was Ed's birthday and I think the receptionist noticed in his passport while checking us in, we were welcomed with a platter of fruits in our room. And that simply means, with all the meat we had at lunch, it's just going to be fruits for dinner... in bed... again! :)

streets of Sao Paulo Centro
streets of Sao Paulo Centro
Uber is safe and reasonably priced in Sao Paulo.
One of the impressive old buildings we passed by in Downtown.
Mercure Sao Paulo Paulista
We arrived at Mercure Sao Paulo Paulista before sunset.
Killed time at the art display in the lobby. 
Mercure hotel in Sao Paulo Brazil
Fruits for dinner. Thanks to Mercure for this wonderful gesture.

What do you think of our lazy itinerary?
Have you been to SP?
Share your experience in the comment section below.

0 Blogger Comments