Areas and suburbs in Sao Paulo

areas and suburbs of Sao PauloFinding a home in a new country is never easy and in a city the size of Sao Paulo, the challenge becomes even harder. For newly arrived expats, choosing the right property in the right area or suburb of Sao Paulo will be an essential factor to them having a pleasant experience in Brazil.

In an ever-expanding megacity like Sao Paulo, every expat is sure to find a neighbourhood that has an accommodation option that meets their budget and requirements. Here are a few areas and suburbs of Sao Paulo that are particularly popular amongst expats.

Areas for families in Sao Paulo


One of the major draws of Morumbi is that it is a lot less polluted than areas close to the city centre. It's also home to a number of lovely green areas such as Alfredo Volpi Park and Burle Marx Park, so it is a great location for those with children. The area is particularly popular with expat families as there are two international schools in the area. Morumbi has plenty of facilities such as shops and cafés and is also close to one of Sao Paulo’s top medical facilities, Albert Einstein Hospital.

However, Morumbi is often cited as one of the city's most obvious examples of social inequality. While it is mostly rich residential suburbs full of large high-security housing complexes, one can’t fail to notice the extreme poverty of the neighbouring favelas.

Chacara Flora

Chacara Flora is the exclusive part of Santo Amaro, one of Sao Paulo’s largest suburbs. It is particularly popular among expats working at one of the international bank headquarters or multinational company offices located nearby. This is a family-friendly area with secure housing options and ample green space. Like Morumbi, Chacara Flora is home to a number of good international schools, which accounts for its popularity amongst expat families.

Residents have easy access to supermarkets, restaurants and retail facilities. Public transport links are good, which makes getting around easy. Furthermore, Chacara Flora is close to Condonhas Airport in neighbouring Campo Belo, which makes it a convenient area for executives who need to take domestic flights for work.


This is a gated community located about 20km outside Sao Paulo. Over the years, Alphaville has developed into a small city in its own right, as it has over 20,000 residents, 11 educational institutions, a large shopping mall and a hospital. There is a large expat community here and the suburb has a very American feel to it. Furthermore, it is home to lots of different types of expats such as families, young professionals and retirees. Much of this is due to the fact that the type of housing available in Alphaville is very varied; everything from luxury apartments to functional single-family homes can be found here. Many properties in the area come with a swimming pool and large outdoor areas.

While Alphaville is a very safe and pleasant place to live, residents are somewhat isolated. Public transport links in Alphaville are limited and even commuting by car to Sao Paulo can be frustrating because of traffic on the Castelo Branco highway.

Areas in Sao Paulo for young expats

Brooklin Novo

Brooklin Novo is popular with younger, open-minded expats who want to have a more authentic Brazilian experience in Sao Paulo, rather than living in one of the more popular expat neighbourhoods. Brooklin Novo is a middle-class neighbourhood located in the south of the city where the German expat community has a particularly strong presence. Most of the area is residential and retail facilities mainly consist of local shops rather than big chain stores. There are a few parks and lots of green spaces, which make the area great for expats with pets. It's also great for those that want to interact with the locals. Brooklin Novo is generally quite safe, but expats are advised to be careful in places close to Buraco Quente favela.

Santa Cecilia

Expats looking for cheaper property in an area full of historic charm should consider living in Santa Cecilia. This neighbourhood, close to the centre of Sao Paulo, is full of old-style churches and buildings. Santa Cecilia has traditionally been popular amongst Sao Paulo’s artistic community but it is now becoming popular with young expats who have moved to the city to teach English or do volunteer work. There are downsides to living in the area such as the high number of homeless people sleeping on the streets, noise and pollution. However, many residents are willing to overlook these factors because of the neighbourhood's bohemian atmosphere and in order to save on accommodation costs.

There are lots of lively bars and restaurants in the area and being so centrally located means easy access to facilities within Sao Paulo’s city centre. Expats looking for property in Santa Cecilia should not expect any of the luxuries one would find in other parts of Sao Paulo, such as apartment complexes with swimming pools and gyms. Property here is a bit rough around the edges, but adequate for those on a budget who do not plan on settling in Sao Paulo in the long-term.

Vila Madalena

Vila Madalena is Sao Paulo’s most bohemian neighbourhood and home to many of the city’s artists and musicians. Again, it is popular with young expats and international students thanks to the area's great selection of bars and clubs. The area gets very noisy, especially in the evenings and on weekends, so it is not particularly suitable for expats moving to Sao Paulo with children. Vila Madalena is well-connected to other parts of Sao Paulo by public transport. Anyone who owns a car should note that traffic congestion in this part of the city becomes a problem at times.

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