Portuguese Language Blog

Rio de Janeiro vs. São Paulo Posted by on Oct 6, 2009 in Culture, Geography

One sure way to get Brazilians and Brazilophiles talking is by asking the controversial question: which city do you prefer, Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo? So for today’s interactive feature, that’s the question at hand!

The question isn’t intended to imply that one city is better than the other (although some people from each city have that opinion). It is simply a question about personal preference: the beach vs. the urban center, outdoor sports vs. cultural sites, etc.

It’s a tough question, but I want to hear from all of you!

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  1. Jalisa E.:

    Hmm, that is really a tough question. But I’d have to put my money on: neither! I love them both, but I prefer Brasilia, where my family is from. 🙂

  2. jaka:

    there are many cities like sao paulo in the world, but there is only one cidade maravilhosa.

  3. Ben:

    I lived in Sao Paulo from 2002 to 2006 teaching english, doing translations, voice
    over recordings and the like. Rio is undisputably the prettier city but it is hard to
    beat the 24/7 raw vitality to the economic engine of South America, better known
    as Sao Paulo or “Sampa”. The city really grows on you. Before long I was proud
    to call myself Paulistano (by desire and adoption). I miss it terribly and hope some
    day to go back. Ah, saudade!

  4. Robin:

    as an outsider and having only been once to each city I’d have to say Rio all the
    way – not much into the industrial-type cities 🙂

  5. Andrew Hoppe:

    They are both amazing cities and are completely different, so it is hard to compare. I recommend visiting both. The beach in Rio does give it a bit of an edge though.

  6. Andrew Hoppe:

    I am currently interested in moving to Sao Paulo as well. I lived and taught English in Salvador for six months, and I am currently back in the U.S. trying to find employment opportunities in Sao Paulo so that I can move there. Any suggestions?

  7. Curtis:

    I definitely love Rio…Sao Paulo is too big, too confusing…Rio has the beaches, the sun, the amazing history, the beautiful people scantily dressed….is screams relaxation and vacation while Sao Paulo makes you think of work and reminds you of all the huge cities in the US with plenty of crime, poverty and people

  8. Michael:

    Andrew Hoppe,

    Any luck? I’m doing the same kinda research. Did Ben ever get back to you??

  9. Appointment Setting Services:

    I bet Sao Paulo would be better to visit for business and shopping and Rio for pleasure and the beach. I plan a trip there next.

  10. Guilherme:

    The best is the Rio de Janeiro!

  11. Marcelo:

    São Paulo is better because its safer then rio and the richest city in brazil

  12. Kalani:

    The common debate among many things really. But I hate it when people try to tell me why their city is better or why it’s not interesting to see. Of course they’re doing nothing but giving their experience or opinion based on what they like or don’t like.

    What people need to learn to do is talk about what is there and what may seem to be good and bad, versus influencing us based on their own opinion.

  13. Mark Trinidad:

    I personally think Rio is better. People often tend to say that Sao Paulo is the unofficial capital of the South and Rio is the capital of the North (Sorry Bahia).

    The North of Brazil to my opinion is what makes Brazil Brazil. When a non Brazilian thinks of Brazil they often picture Northern Brazil with its Brown people, beautiful culture and colonial architecture. When people hear about the South of Brazil they think of Nazi Germany.

    And that’s why I like Rio and Northern Brazil. I think Sao Paulo and everything else at the bottom should be its own country because it doesn’t represent Brazil.

    Take a look at the results of the presidential elections in 2010. Look how divided the country is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_presidential_election,_2010