South America

Finding those Holes in the Wall

Last year LAN airlines cancelled one of our flights to Iguassu Falls on my South American trip, then for compensation offered us a free round trip flight from any US destination to any South American destination, the catch: it had to be completed by Nov 30, 2012. Well, what sane travel junkie person would turn down a trip like that? Not me.

I wanted to use the most out of this pass, so I decided three week would be a significant amount of time to travel around Brazil. I would be joined by my sister, Stephanie, as well as fellow travel writing colleagues Maggie and Ashley for the first few days of our trip.

Now for those of you who don’t know Brazil is HUGE, and most of it is covered by think forests. So while three weeks seems like an extended period of time, it’s not when getting to those places takes several days by bus. So to accomplish this task we purchase an airpass through TAM, which allowed us to book multiple flights for cheap. (More on these passes in detail later.)

This would be our schedule. Beginning in São Paulo and ending in Rio de Janerio.

For our trip we also had the privilege to partner with HostelBookers, who provided us with accommodation in some wicked local hostels.

Like the Tu Casa Hostel in São Paulo, which had amazing wi-fi. Yes, I get excited by the little things.

Sao Paulo

With one day in São Paulo we were faced with the age old travel conundrum : What do we do?

So we figured hit up the top recommended tourist spots. I mean, they must be popular for a reason? First stop:

Parque do Ibirapuera
Parque do Ibirapuera - Sao Paulo, Brazil

The biggest green space in central São Paulo and basically the equivalent to Central Park for New York.  Now this park was recommended to us by several sources, books, tourist centers and our hostel. Let’s just say that when we got there, we were a bit underwhelmed.

Parque do Ibirapuera - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Although there were jogging trails, outdoor exercise equipment, wildlife, bridges, gardens, museums and man-made lakes, at the end of the day it was still simply a park.

Parque do Ibirapuera - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Historic Sampa

So for a more cultural experience we decided that it was best to go see the heart of São Paulo,  the historical center and downtown core.

Historic Sampa - Sao Paulo, Brazil

A walking tour seemed to be the best way to accomplish this task. Starting at the Catedral da Sé we walked down the Rue Boa Vista through the financial district and then past the Theatro Municipal and back to the cathedral.

Historic Sampa - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Historic Sampa - Sao Paulo, Brazil

The walking tour, while nothing too special did teach us a valuable life lesson: Weekend are either hit or miss when it come to walking tours. This was a miss due to all the shops being closed on weekends.

After our long and uneventful day we decided that it was time to step it up a notch in the class scale and visit a rooftop bar call Skye. As long as you purchase one of the  expensive $30 BRL drinks you can sit and enjoy the views overlooking the city at night.

Sao Paulo - Sao Paulo, Brazil

The following day we met up with some friends of Ashley and Maggie, Levi and Marcelo locals from São Paulo, who introduced us to a wonderful thing called Açai and juice bars. (more on this later)

Beco do Batman

They then took us to a wonderful gem of a spot called Beco do Batman or Batman’s Alley, a neighborhood in West São Paulo that attracts sprayers and stencilers from all over the world. Literally an alley covered in street art. Colourful, vibrant, expressive and unique.

Batman's Alley - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Batman's Alley - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Batman's Alley - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Batman's Alley - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Now this is what I love, hidden gems, hole-in-the-wall places that you don’t expect to be amazing but seem to always blow you out of the water. This is what I travel for. This is what makes it all worth while.

São Paulo, your growing on me.

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