We spent 10 days in Brazil and visited three cities. We were a little nervous since one hears so many bad things about Brazil but we had an amazing time with no problems. Everyone we encountered (save one bus driver we asked for directions in Salvador) was kind and helpful. With that, I thought I’d share a bit about where we stayed.
Sao Paulo –Gran Estan Plaza
Since this was our first stay in Brazil and we arrived at night we wanted something traditional. We chose a hotel with a good name and solid reviews in the financial district. It was a 45 minute cab ride from the airport. Ugh.
The hotel is right across the street from the Hilton and the mall. The service was great (they have a buffet every morning) and the room was comfortable (no bathtub though). There were two English-language channels. The only problem I had with the Gran Estan was the wall art.
There were images (it looked like from old engravings) of white people and their enslaved Africans. *blank stare* The purpose may have been to show that Brazil isn’t afraid of its history as the last country to ban enslaving human beings. It could be that someone thought that the images were “cool”. I have no idea, but as someone that would have been enslaved they made me very uncomfortable.
We found an AirBnB with a great view but small, European feel. An older couple rent it out and are very friendly. The first day I asked about ordering in and the woman spent some time finding a Chinese restaurant for me.
It had two bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms with a full kitchen and access to an amazing play area with a soccer field and a toddler area full of Little Tykes cars. The apartment is a ten minute walk to the local train station, comes with a doorman and has an amazing wall of windows that let you overlook the bay. The best part? It cost about US $120.
We only met one of the neighbors. He was playing with his son on the soccer field. While we were playing the toddler area, the dad comes over the gate and starts talking with us. He noticed our little one’s interest in his son’s soccer ball and passed one through the gate to us.
The baby was thrilled to be playing with the soccer ball and we all watched his giggles. After a while we wanted to go upstairs so we returned the soccer ball. It was really nice to have that interaction. It’s really nice to have that memory.
Salvador – AirBnB
We found a great AirBnb with a great view and a large kitchen right on the coast of Salvador. Talk about looking at an amazing sunset. We all loved it. The building has a doorman. The apartment has a great open floor plan with a large living room with a small balcony, a dining room, a large gallery kitchen with a washer in the laundry room, two bedrooms and two full bathrooms.
Of course, there was cable (with English-speaking channels) and internet. The real highlight of the apartment was the master bedroom with white wooden floors and a wall of windows that looked out onto the ocean. It was beautiful!
The host was very good about helping us when we wanted help and leaving us alone the rest of the time. We sent him a message asking what restaurants deliver.
He sent us a link to a Brazilian Yelp and we found …. Mexican food! It wasn’t the best I ever had but it wasn’t bad.
Sao Paulo – Panamby Guarulhos
On our last night in the country we stayed at the Panamby in the Guarulhos section of Sao Paulo. We didn’t take a photo. We arrived in the afternoon, availed ourselves of the minibar and headed out to the mall for one last Brazilian steakhouse adventure at Fogo de Chau.
The room was okay, the price was good and they have a shuttle to the airport. It was far away from the buzz of the city. We used Uber to get around. There was a restaurant on site but we didn’t try it. It wasn’t luxurious but it wasn’t bad. I’d stay again.