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Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

The Hague, The...
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Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

I have searched a little for posts about safe areas in SP, but nothing much to be found here, which surprises me in comparison with a city like Barcelona (Spain) where on the TA Forum there are hundreds of posts about street crime and safe aeas.I have been there myself and was scared there at first but it turned out OK (except my stolen mobile phone)..

How about this in Sao Paulo ? Is it safe to walk in the centre and other business hotels areas? In a trip report (not here) about Buenos Aires I read that thieves ever enter hotel lobbies to steal bags before guests checked in and another had her videocamera ripped of her shoulder. Is there a big risk like that in Sao Paulo too and where the least? Thanks for any help .

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1. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

Dutchguy.

Here's the lowdown on Sao Paulo. It has 18million people and the vast majority of them live below standard wages with a good chunk in poverty. Where's there's poverty, there tends to be crime. You will find pickpockets, muggings, carjackings, and kidnappings. How likely will a visitor encounter this? Probably less than a resident since most visitors go from hotel to work or hotel to museum, all by taxi. Still, there are things to be aware of. Around Avenida Paulista you are not likely to be mugged during the day, simply too many people around. At the same time, I was almost run down by a police car racing to a bank that was robbed 1 block from I was. I walked past the doors and saw the shotgun shells still on the sidewalk. This happened twice in 18 months. I was pickpocketed walking down the steps to the subway in the historic center, but lost nothing since I swung my elbow behind me and smashed the dude in the face while his hand was stuck in my jeans. But in the many hours I rode the subway, took the bus, walked around after dark, nothing ever happened to me.

Jardims is very safe. The historic center is less safe only because a lot of drug addicts and street kids live down there and look for easy prey. The best thing you can do is dress down, leave your passport in the hotel safe, carry 20 reais in your shirtpocket as easy money to hand over, and put the rest of your valuables in a money belt. It's a dangerous city, but a safe one too. That's the contrast of Brazil. The things about the hotels I've never heard about in Sao Paulo. After dark, only take a taxi, I often took a taxi for the half-mile walk from the subway to my apartment.

Good luck.

The Hague, The...
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2. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

Thanks, Ashim, for your fast reply.

What you write is all quite imaginable but I just wanted to hear from someone who has been there or lives there. About Barcelona one can find even a website with some 140 stories of what crimes happenend to people on the streets and if it happens there it of course happens much more so in South America, where I have never been yet but am going because I HAVE to see the Iguacu Falls and am going to Ilhabela as hiking in nature and waterfalls are my hobby and the art museums and opera in SP. About Brazilians I hear or read stories of their incredible hospitality but of course crime too.

Thanks, I'll keep your comments in mind.

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3. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

Hi Dutchguy,

Please keep in mind that I used to live there and now go back once or twice a year, so my perspective is both as a former resident and visitor.

Let me know how you're planning on getting around, I've been to both Igaucu and Ilha Bela. The music scene is pretty good in SP, you can see great shows for little money. I saw Pinchas Zuckerman by waiting in line right before the show and got a no-show ticket for 10USD that was in a great section.

The Hague, The...
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4. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

Hi Ashim,

How I am getting around to Iguacu and lhabela? Well by plane from Sao Paulo after staying there hoping to see the opera Condor by Gomes around my birthday early december, then flying to Iguacu for 6 days. then back to SP and overland to Ilhabela for a week of hiking. I love waterfalls and Ilhabela has many. The thing I wonder though, will December be too hot for both regions or will the only problem on Ilhabela be the burrachudos? Have you hiked there and how is that? Are the only trails the ones to the waterfalls or are there also trails to the top of the highest mountains? And maps to find them?

My favourite hiking is on Madeira, but that has a very extensive system of paths along levadas (water channels) that is unequaled in the world.

Is it easy to go to Ilhabela by bus? I can get a private transfer but my travel agent says it is expensive.

What accomodation do you know on llhabela? I was recommended Pousada Tamara because the owners are very friendly and German and English speaking like me.

Thanks,

Ton

vanderveldenton@yahoo.com

New York
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5. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

December is fairly hot, especially in Foz, but you have the rains to break up the heat. The rains only hit for about 2 hours, like 4-6.

The bus to Ilha Bela is not bad, if I remember right you have to connect with a ferry to get to the island. I haven't hiked around there, so nothing to pass on.

CA, USA
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6. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

That's right, you do need to take the ferry from Sao Sebastiao over to Ilha Bela, but it's a quick one (maybe 15 minutes?).

As far as hiking, yes it will be hot, and borrachudos will definitely be a huge issue, go prepared with tons of repellant.

São Paulo
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7. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

I'm a brazilian who lives in Brasil, in São Paulo and I do not recommnend you to stay in the centre or jardins.

If you are coming to work stay near Berrini avenue .There you will find good places to stay like Grand hyatt hotel,The blue tree hotel and others.

This area is much beter to say considering the safety.

Camille

DJ
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8. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

Dutchguy,

Don't be scared off by Cluz. There is absolutely nothing dangerous about staying near Avenida Paulista or Jardims. The only reason the other place might be safer is that "Nobody lives there!" and "nobody stays out there!". It is a wasteland of buildings, hotels, 1 mall, and that's it. Whereas Paulista and Jardims have residences and cafes, and bookstores, and theatres, etc. You are much closer to the municipal theatre and concert hall and everything else. I spent hundreds of hours around Paulista and Jardims, day and night, and never once had a problem.

Good luck.

CA, USA
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9. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

I'm also a Brazilian, no longer living in Brazil but I have to say, no matter where you are in Sao Paulo, you gotta be careful. Paulista and Jardins are overall nice areas, but I wouldn't walk around anywhere at night. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

Having said that, use your commom sense and take cabs at night, and you'll be fine and have a great time.

No need to be 'scared off', but do use caution.

The Hague, The...
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10. Re: Safety and street crime in Sao Paulo

Thank you for everybody's answers. I will stay in Moema, near Ibirapuera Park. And I WILL be extra careful, knowing from stories about Buenos Aires and Barcelona, Spain, what can happen.