São Paulo Off the Beaten Path
Being a city of over 10 million people, São Paulo can be daunting to navigate; as a visitor you may feel a little intimidated to venture beyond a few blocks of your hotel. Granted, the city’s traffic jams are infamous and its public transportation network woefully inadequate, but São Paulo has much to offer the adventurous traveler willing to venture off the main tourist track. Sometimes, all you need is a little coaxing (and a little cab fare), and you can experience a side to one of the world’s largest cities that many people, aside from São Paulo’s many residents, rarely get to see.
While they may lack some of the flash and glamour of the more renowned Rio samba schools, São Paulo’s schools take the tradition just as seriously -- and their rehearsals are no less exhilarating for it. Lots of tourists visit city champs Vai-Vai, located near Avenida Paulista, but underdog Tucuruvi always puts on a spectacular show of glitzy costumes and glittery floats during the big Carnival competition, and its out-of-the-way practice space makes for a more authentic samba experience.