Rio de Janeiro vs Sao Paolo: Which is Better?


Sasha Cooke, Greenheart Travel’s homestay teacher in Brazil, had some time to explore a few of the major cities in Brazil, including Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, from her suburban location of Pindamonhangaba. She explains that people often asked her which location is better.

Two of the largest cities in Brazil, it is natural for residents and foreigners alike to argue about which city is better. Similar to the U.S.’s East Coast vs West Coast debate, except that Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo are practically neighbors, less than 300 miles apart!

Rio de Janeiro 

Perhaps more famous, the city of Rio de Janeiro offers stunning views, rolling mountains and beautiful white sand beaches. Plus one of the 7 wonders of the world is situated there! However, this also means more tourists. Surprisingly, Rio is able to maintain its charm despite the flocks of annual visitors and is known for its friendly and laid-back culture.

Selaron starway


Sao Paolo

The largest city in South America, Sao Paolo offers an experience of new urbanism with a reputation for its inhabitants being workaholics. You’ll be surrounded by a concrete jungle, but Sao Paolo offers an interesting mix of European and modern architecture. And don’t forget the local culture, with a funky art scene, cool hipster hangouts and over 100 different museums to explore.

Which does Sasha prefer?

Sasha states that “Being the diplomatic Canadian that I am, I can’t say that one is better than the other, as they both have their own personality and charm. However, I can say that they are very different cities that represent two very different Brazils: whereas São Paulo is city, rock, and hipsters, Rio is nature, samba, and beach boys.” Find out which location ultimately won over her heart on her blog “Tango del Momento“.

Are you hoping to score a homestay in Brazil, just in time for the 2016 Olympics? Apply now for this program here.


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