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5 Reasons Why This Bustling Latin America City Is Surging In Popularity

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Some destinations have struggled to make a comeback in recent years, but travelers are doing their best by continuing to forge their own paths in 2024.

Many of the household names around the globe have maintained their claim to fame, but there are some still rising to the occasion.

tourist selfie at sao paulo cathedral

Even the biggest cities in the world have slowly progressed back to tourism levels seen in pre-pandemic years. Or at least that's the case for one of Latin America's most bustling cultural cities.

That's right, the phenomenal city of Sao Paulo, sometimes confused as the capital of Brazil, is really more like the heartbeat of this massively diverse nation.

Brazil saw over 6 million tourists cross their borders by air, land and sea in 2023 with Sao Paulo leading the way as the anchor for tourism.

Here are 5 reasons why this bustling Latin American city is surging in popularity:

Cheapest Gateway Into Brazil

scenic view of sao paulo airport

Sao Paulo was founded in the mid-1500s and has developed into a gargantuan concrete jungle over the years.

While Rio de Janeiro may offer iconic sites and world-famous beaches, Sao Paulo has been underestimated…until now.

In fact, Americans lead the way as the driving force for tourism to Sao Paulo, believe it or not. Even with Brazil having an iffy reputation in terms of safety, travelers are packing their bags to perhaps the most diverse country in South America.

gol plane in sao paulo

One key reason Sao Paulo is leading the way is because of incredibly cheap flights from the U.S. Travelers can find nonstop flights from multiple cities or short layovers with airfare rivaling other popular destinations much closer to home.

As recently as Valentine's Day, TravelPirates published some crazy good deals with round-trip flights in the $400s from Florida and in the $500s from the West Coast.

Never A Dull Moment

Travelers looking to be on the go with nonstop action will never have a dull moment in Brazil's most multicultural city.

street artist in sao paulo

Sure, it would be great to sip Caipirinhas on a well-deserved beach day in Rio, but Sao Paulo is perfectly suited for an unforgettable cultural trip.

Home to a population of 20 million people, Sao Paulo is a perpetual playground of new sights and experiences.

Sao Paulo may be viewed as just another financial hub, but that would be like going to New York City and only basing your trip on Wall Street.

Travelers willing to give this grand city a chance will find beauty, charm, and lively entertainment throughout this melting pot of cultures with large Japanese and Arab communities, for example.

festival in sao paulo

Avoiding Visa Confusion

No matter which side of the tracks you're on, the U.S. and Brazil have found themselves in an unwanted, and some would say unnecessary, back-and-forth match of issuing visa requirements for each country's citizens.

In response to the U.S. requiring visas for Brazilian tourists, Brazil flipped the script for U.S. tourists. The problem is Brazil can't seem to make up its mind when to begin enforcing the latest entry rules.

Travelers have decided there is no time like the present. More travelers are checking off Brazil from their bucket list by making their way to Sao Paulo before Brazil gets serious about the new visa, which is expected to be an extra $81 rather than the initial announcement of a $160 fee.

traveler holding United States passport at airport

A Digital Nomad Hub

Perhaps no type of traveler knows more about visa issues than digital nomads. Fortunately for them, Brazil does offer a separate digital nomad visa to clear things up.

Digital nomads love visiting Brazil, but Sao Paulo takes the cake. As a highly affordable place to live with plentiful cafes and co-working spaces equipped with speedy internet to ensure work deadlines will always be met.

Factor is fun things to do year-round and ease of getting around; it's easy to see why Sao Paulo makes for a great base.

digital nomad with laptop and coffee

Although some say Sao Paulo's safety is questionable; many nomads know someone who has been a victim of crime.

Much like Medellin, where it's undoubtedly a hugely popular digital nomad hub, some cities' alluring edginess can result in keeping your head on a swivel as a way of life.

Easy Connectivity

As fun as Sao Paulo is to visit as a mainstay, many are exploring beyond the concrete jungles and into the vast diversity within Brazil's border.

tourists at iguazu falls

In fact, even though Rio is fairly easy to reach with direct flights, making a stopover in Sao Paulo is often cheaper to reach your final destination.

Sao Paulo is the most visited destination in the country, followed by Rio. After that, the lesser-known state of Rio Grande do Sul comes in third, where travelers surely fly through Sao Paulo.

With many more destinations well worth visiting such as Minas Gerais, Salvador and the magnificent Iguazu Falls, Sao Paulo can easily make for a cheap base with endless streets to explore and a gateway into one of the most fascinating countries in Latin America.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


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