When most travellers think of Brazil, they automatically think about Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, Ipanema Beach, tiny bikinis and gorgeous women, but that is just a very narrow view of this beautifully diverse country. There are miles and miles of deserted, white sand beaches all over the country, beautiful mountains, historical architecture, undisturbed habitats, and modern, cosmopolitan cities. There are beautiful women and men, but let’s face it, not all women in Brazil are Gisele Bunchen or Adriana Lima and some definitely should not be wearing tiny bikinis.
When most travellers hear about Sao Paulo, the first reaction is “Where’s that?” and if they have visited it, it has been for business. Most have never been to the coast of Sao Paulo. It’s harder to get to, there are only a few B&Bs and it’s usually not close to any major town, making it isolated and pretty deserted during off-season, which sounds perfect to me!
Here is the skinny, the coast is divided into North and South coast and to get to either you have to do some driving or riding, which if you are visiting Sao Paulo, then you will be sick enough of the traffic in a few days to want to drive away in a heartbeat. The drive itself can be quite an experience, tons of lush, green and serene Atlantic forest. If you don’t want to drive or are looking for a cheaper way to get to the beach, taking the bus is a great option. There are several buses that leave Sao Paulo city and cost around R$35 each way.
High season is around the Brazilian summer (Nov-March) and school holidays which are December through Feb and July. During these times, forget about going to the beach unless you know someone with a beach house or are willing to shell out a lot of money. Rates for rental houses or B&Bs more than triple around holidays.
If going down in a group, I would advise to rent a house or condo. Homeaway.com has bought the Brazilian version of the website and now hosts several properties to rent. One thing you will notice is that most Brazilian property owners do not list the price for the night and week and require a price request by e-mail or phone call. This is customary in Brazil as price tends to change for person to person. It’s also customary to ask for a discount or deal. Sometimes, the proprietor will tell you the price and automatically already give you a discount. A common negotiating tactic in the country. Makes you feel special, if you don’t know any better…
So enough talking or should I say writing. If you are in Sao Paulo for any reason, usually business or major sporting event, take a side trip and visit the coast for a little R&R.