Is it safe to travel to Sao Paulo Brazil?

Reader question: I am going to Sao Paulo for work in May for two weeks and I was wondering if anyone here has ever been there? Let me know your good and bad experiences. Thanks.

While searching this blog I was surprised to see an old Brazil travel plan from 2005. I had also forgotten about this one that’s more recent.

I was able to speak with 4 people, two who went there on business, one who knows someone who went there on business, and one who lives there. Interestingly it’s the guy who has never been there who has the most negative opinion (although one guy who has been there seems pretty down on it as well:

1: I was there in February for 3 days, my company has an ongoing project. I found it very industrial and nice. I was told to keep my phone and laptop out of sight but I enjoyed the restaurants and the people in the hotel were very friendly.

2: Sao Paulo is pretty industrialized, lots and lots of traffic. My company hired us a driver and pretty much told us not to go out that it can be very dangerous. I only went out with the folks from Brazil that I was with. As for the dangerous part, our driver would not allow us to use or even display or phones/laptops etc. in the car. Guys on motorcycles drive past and will look in windows, smash them, and rob you of all your equipment. Everything had to remain in the trunk.

3. My buddy is down there a decent amount for work and is terrified every time he has to go down there. Be very very cautious. Its 80x worse than Rio. His company’s policy doesnt let them bring down laptops because of two stabbings over them.

4: A resident of São Paulo here 🙂

I’m from São Paulo and the violence – it’s not even close from what happens in Rio. Of course, we have problems with violence but it’s not an outlaw city where criminals reign. lol

It’s a big city, the biggest in Brazil. There are some problems with traffic and public transportation but nothing out of the acceptable, much like the Los Angeles traffic.

Since you’re coming in autumn, the rain season is over so the traffic is much better than would be in summer.

Like I said it’s a big city so there are many options for entertainment, restaurants, sports and other things. In your free time you probably will not stay with nothing to do.

By the way, about 2.5 years ago I mentioned a friend of mine and I were talking about a business where we would offer tours to Brazil. People want to see Carnaval but they just don’t know if they’ll be safe. Plus we want to show people the less touristy carnavals outside of Rio. I’ve never even been to Brazil – My friend is the expert and the one with connections so it’s up to him to design the product (while I would help market it). He did tell me recently that he’s working on getting a few tours up and running…

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  1. Lotus says:

    I wouldn’t worry that much. Driving in a car would be more dangerous than just travelling. But it’s best to be safe.

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