5 Tips For Living in Sao Paulo
Expats in Sao Paulo find themselves living in one of the most important cities in South America. Technology, finance, and services drive its economy, and that of Brazil as a nation. Influences from all over the world have shaped its culture.
Expats in Sao Paulo live in southeastern Brazil on a plateau a little more than 40 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil's economy is among the top 10 biggest in the world, and Sao Paulo's economy is the biggest in Brazil and one of the biggest financial centers in the world.
Basics For Expats in Sao Paulo
Expats should know Sao Paulo is a city and a state. The city is not only the largest city in Brazil, but also the largest city in South America.
Restaurants in Sao Paulo include, apart from Brazilian cuisine, all kinds of other options. There are European, African, Amerindian and Asian influences that abound in the many restaurants expats will find throughout the city.
An article on Forbes offers some compelling reasons why Sao Paulo is one of the great food cities of the world.
Healthcare in Sao Paulo
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The health care system in Sao Paulo is considered the health care center of South America.
Here are some recommendations from one expat for hospitals in Sao Paulo: "[I] can tell you that in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro there are 'state-of-art' medical services, such as Albert Einstein hospital (Sao Paulo) , Sirio Libanes hospital (Sao Paulo) and Copador (Rio), which are referenced for all Latin America.
Hospital Quick Reference For Expats:
- Hospital das Clinicas da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo
- Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, Sao Paulo
- Hospital do Servidor Publico Estadual, Sao Paulo
Cost of Living in Sao Paulo for Expats
The cost of living in Sao Paulo is more than 50% less than the cost of living in New York City, and is also far less than London.
On our Brazil Forum, one expat wrote about the cost of living in Sao Paulo: "you can easily have a nice living, even in a big city like Sao Paulo for $1200... especially now that the Reais has crashed against the dollar. I spent 3 months in Sao Paulo around the World Cup 2014 and then $1 USD was good for 2.2 Reais... a simple apartment will be around 1000."
Culture Shock in Sao Paolo, Brazil
While acknowledging the "beauty of the country and friendliness of the people," one expat in Sao Paulo reported that "the people - in general - are not very honest. You have to watch your back in almost all transactions... Plus, everything takes forever... terrible bureaucracy."
Another expat in Sao Paulo shared: "Honeymoon phase: Starts immediately, when you go out and you see the bars full of nice women smiling. Brazil is definitively the country to find your partner (women).
"The irritation-to-anger stage: When you are continuously checked that you are not borrowing anything from a hotel, or you are requested to pay in advance almost anything.
"Rejection of the culture stage: When your colleagues from Europe have to go back home because they don't find a job and don't get any visa. They have to leave Brazil after 90 or 180 days as maximum...and you can not just leave the country and enter again...you have to wait one year!
Cultural adjustment phase: You go back to your country for holidays, but miss the caipirinhas and the beached, the women....everything."
Submit Your Own Expat Culture Shock Report!
Expat Housing in Sao Paulo
One expat who has lived in Sao Paulo for 14 years reported: "I live in an apartment. I cannot recommend a house due to security concerns. None of my Brazilian coworkers live in single family homes and my employeer recommends against it. Almost all apartments are built for families not for singles."
The expat added: "I choose Jardins because it is one of the few places where you can walk to the pharmacy, supermarket, etc. The downside is that I spend 3 - yes three - hours a day [going] to and from the office... My office is in a commercial area and living there would be depressing."
"Also if you rent an apartment, it is very difficult to convince the owner that you are taking care of the flat, and they take a lot of warranties and paperwork and photos to ensure that you will not damage anything. At some levels that is absurd."
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.
Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.
- Expat Guide to Sao Paulo
- Discover the Best of Sao Paulo, Brazil
- 5 Tips For Living in Sao Paulo
- Healthcare & Health Insurance in Brazil
- Real Estate in Brazil
- Pros & Cons of Living in Brazil
- Understanding the Health Sytem in Brazil
- What It's Like Living in Sao Paulo
Excellent article. This is information that I can use. Nice job Joshua. When I go to a new country, I already am wearing my rose-colored glasses. I need to see and hear the truth. People thinking of relocating to countries like this need to hear these things and insights. The feel-good stuff is easy to find. Thanks.