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The best places to live in Sao Paulo
Finding a home in a new country is never easy. In a city the size of São Paulo, the challenge becomes even harder. For newly arrived expats, choosing the right property in the right area or suburb of São Paulo will be essential to having a pleasant experience in Brazil.
In this ever-expanding city, every expat is sure to find a neighbourhood and accommodation that meet their budget and requirements. Below are a few areas and suburbs of São Paulo that are particularly popular among expats.
Areas for families in São Paulo
Chácara Flora is an exclusive area in Santo Amaro, one of São Paulo’s largest suburbs. This is a family-friendly area with secure housing options and ample green space. Like Morumbi, Chácara Flora is home to many 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 abundant. Chácara Flora is close to Congonhas Airport in neighbouring Campo Belo, which makes it a convenient area for executives needing to take domestic flights for work.
One of the major draws of Morumbi is that it is a lot less polluted than areas close to the city centre. It is also home to several lovely green areas such as Alfredo Volpi Park and Burle Marx Park, making it a great location for expats with children. The area is popular with expat families as it is home to many reputable international schools. Morumbi has plenty of facilities such as shops and cafes. It is also close to one of São Paulo’s top medical facilities, Albert Einstein Hospital.
Located about 12 miles (20km) outside São Paulo, Alphaville has a small-town atmosphere. The type of housing available here is varied. Everything from luxury apartments to functional single-family homes can be found in the area. Many properties come with a swimming pool and large outdoor areas.
While Alphaville is a safe and pleasant place to live, residents are somewhat isolated. Public transport links in Alphaville are limited. Even commuting by car to São Paulo can be frustrating due to the traffic on the highway.
Areas in São Paulo for young expats
Brooklin Novo is popular with younger expats looking to have a more authentic Brazilian experience, rather than living in one of the more isolated and exclusive expat neighbourhoods.
Most of the area is residential. Retail facilities mainly consist of small, local shops rather than big chain stores. There are a number of parks and green spaces, which make it an attractive area for expats with pets.
Expats looking for cheaper property in an area known for its historic charm should consider living in Santa Cecília. This neighbourhood, close to the centre of São Paulo, is home to many old-style churches and buildings. Santa Cecília has traditionally been popular among São 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 levels of noise and pollution. But most residents are willing to overlook these factors because of the neighbourhood's bohemian atmosphere and low accommodation costs.
There are many lively bars and restaurants in the area. Its central location also gives expats easy access to facilities within São Paulo.
Vila Madalena is São Paulo’s most bohemian neighbourhood and home to many of the city’s artists and musicians. It is popular with young expats and international students and hosts a sizeable selection of bars and clubs. The area can get noisy, especially in the evenings and on weekends. As such, it may not be particularly suitable for expats with children. Vila Madalena is well connected to other parts of São Paulo by public transport. Any expats looking to own a car should note that traffic congestion in this part of the city can be a problem during peak hours.
►Find out more about public transport in the city in Getting Around in São Paulo
"Many expats settle in Alphaville, which is a wonderful community, very American in feel. Some other favourable areas for families are Barao Geraldo, Gramado, or even Valinhos and Vinhedo, slightly outside Campinas. For singles or couples without children, or even one-car families with children, Cambui is a wonderful part of Campinas that has much to offer. Taquaral would also be good for families wishing to be in Campinas, rather than an outlying suburb." Read more of Heather's advice in her São Paulo expat interview.
Photo credits: Jonathan Borba and Vanessa Bumbeers, via Unsplash
Are you an expat living in Sao Paulo?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Sao Paulo. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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