This blog post was updated on October 12, 2018.
As the largest city in South America, it is no wonder many
flock to Sao Paulo for business or pleasure. Brazil’s main financial hub is
home to roughly 20 million people. And amongst the millions of locals, Sao
Paulo receives its fair share of visitors too. If you want to blend in in this
urban city, you are going to have to take note of how not to look like a
tourist while in town. From avoiding getting robbed to what to wear to your
business meeting, here’s how to look a little bit less like a tourist while in
Don’t Be Bland:
As a whole, Brazilians aren’t afraid to wear color and lots of it. Sao Paulo is
no different where you can expect to see colorful outfits, usually a bit more
formal than the rest of Brazil. Travelers wearing a wardrobe of all neutral
colors like blacks, whites and tans will have giant tourist stickers on their
backs. If you don’t want to stand out as much, try being a bit Brazilian and
adding pops of color to your outfits while in Sao Paulo.
Don’t Do Business
Casual: Business casual doesn’t really exist in Sao Paulo. Compared to
other parts of the country, Sao Paulo is decidedly more put together and
formal, especially in a business setting. If you are in town on business, you
will stand out like a tourist if you don’t look the part of businessman or businesswoman.
Suits and dresses tend to blend in better with the locals with whom you are
doing business. Travelers should always keep things polished in business settings
and dress conservatively.
Don’t Flash Your
Valuables: Many tourists become the target of scams and robberies while in
Sao Paulo. To avoid falling into that category, you can avoid looking the part
of tourist by not flashing your valuables. Tourists are often wearing more
jewelry than locals. You also might be sightseeing around Sao Paulo with a
giant SLR camera and thus telling the thieves to come talk to you. Travelers in
Sao Paulo shouldn’t resist taking photographs or pulling out their smartphones
but you also have to be smart. On public transport or down isolated stretches
and in bad areas, leave your valuables behind so that you don’t attract the
wrong kind of attention.
Don’t Flip-Flop About
Havaianas: Brazil is known all over the world for its very colorful
flip-flops called Havaianas. While many tourists head to Sao Paulo to pick up a
pair, you will be blending in with the locals too. Havaianas are standard beach
footwear in Brazil. Sao Paulo is even home to the brand’s flagship store where
you can be tempted by all sorts of colorful soles.