Why stay in Guarulhos… and other places to discover in southern Brazil

 How can I translate this title?

Well, ‘Why choose Guarulhos over São Paulo’ and highlights from the South Region (like Brazilians call it)…  

All good? …or should I say ‘Tudo bem?’…?


We flew to and from Guarulhos in January 2020, we found inexpensive fares around Brazil (from there) and also to neighbouring Argentina (we were actually on the inaugural flight from Buenos Aires).

When this virus situation is over (and it will someday!), I am sure that travellers will return to the South American giant. Then, my suggestions would again be useful for all those wondering whether to choose Guarulhos or not.

Enjoying a delicious açai in Guarulhos, Brazil

A short ride from/to GRU

With Brazil’s largest airport located only about 20-30 minutes from downtown Guarulhos (depending on the traffic), it is very convenient to stay there. A R$ 25 transfer away.


A safe city centre, full of life and exquisite food

Unlike São Paulo’s reputation (the difference in the number of inhabitants is huge and also a factor!), Guarulhos’ reputation is of a more tranquil city. The city centre was vibrant when we visited, with clubs full (oh, how I miss those old times!), restaurants serving amazing food (like Macaxeira; hmmm… I’ve just remembered how much I love Brazilian food), and a general feel-good vibe. With pink lemonades. 

Pink lemonades in Guarulhos, Brazil

One of the best salads of my life; Macaxeira, Guarulhos, Brazil

Charming accommodations

Like Casa dos Gattos (en-suite double room, R$ 108/night), full of colours, character, and cats. It felt welcoming and snacks were (cutely!) included in the room rate.

Designed by two architects and partners, Casa dos Gattos is a very colourful space

Quaint streets

Up and down, up and down, but nice. Colourful. Not always easy to climb in the noon heat, but fun and familiar.


Shops with Brazilian goodies to take back home

Cocoa, cashews, powder açai… or maybe some cachaça? There are so many Brazilian products famous all over the world. Why not spend time to buy some for home, especially if you’re about to fly back.  



I was telling you something about highlights, about the places that I truly loved in southern Brazil…


Staying in Campeche, Florianópolis

It is a fantastic area: safe, lively, with laid-back restaurants, a short walk to shops and the beach, which is wide and wild. Definitely my favourite part of Ilha da Magia.

Campeche, Florianópolis, Brazil


Downtown Florianópolis

The statistics show that Florianópolis is one of the safest cities in Brazil. Curiously enough, downtown Florianópolis felt a bit sketchy. Still, I loved my time spent there, walking the streets, sipping sugarcane juice, and enjoying the overall charm.

Downtown Florianópolis, Brazil


Parque Casa na Árvore

Probably my favourite of this list. Possibly because I am still a kid, crazy about treehouses, slides, and swings. Loved the area, the vibe, the welcome – I also wrote about it here (in Romanian, though); it’s a spot for children of all ages (entry fee: R$ 15). J Expect to pay about R$ 25-30 for an Uber/taxi ride from/to Bento Gonçalves, the charming Italian-flavoured town.

Like a kid in a swing, Casa na Árvore, Bento Gonçalves, Brazil

Like a kid in a treehouse, Casa na Árvore, Bento Gonçalves, Brazil


Canela, on the whole

Fascinating little town in the German-heritage area of Rio Grande do Sul, with a beautiful cathedral and wonderful Christmas traditions celebrated all the way into the first two weeks after New Year’s. Lots of memories that can be made in Canela. And it’s easily reachable by taxi/Uber from Gramado (R$ 7-14, depending on the area).  

Christmas decorations in Canela, Brazil


Cascata do Caracol

It was crowded when we got there (we did pay R$ 20 as entry fee), but there were many things to see and do, apart from the waterfall. We were, however, set to admire Cascata do Caracol from all angles, hike to the source, and enjoy it as much as we could. We were staying very close to the park, so getting there by Uber (R$ 11-12) was the most convenient way.

Cascata do Caracol, Canela, Brazil

Cascata do Caracol, Canela, Brazil

One more thing!


Hydrangea all around

The perks of visiting southern Brazil in summer? The hydrangea that you find all around, as there are entire parks full of these elegant flowers. They are special and will make your trip feel the same way. ♥     

Hydrangea in Parque do Caracol, Canela, Brazil

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