Kart In Speed demons

It’s the best of both worlds: all the thrill and speed of car racing with all the safety of a children’s playground. Kart In covers an astounding 45,000 square feet and includes the 36,000 foot “Super” track, although the slightly less adventurous might prefer the 2,600 foot “Kart In” or even the 980 foot “Kart In Jr” (mainly for the under six crowd). To keep things fresh, the tracings are changed every six months.

Go-karters craving some Michael Schumacher-style glamour are invited to join groups of 15 to 20 people in a miniature Grand Prix, complete with a podium awards ceremony. Champagne not included—but obligatory equipment such as helmets, gloves and various protective padding is provided free of cost.

Circo no Beco Make 'em laugh

Children, circus fans and artists often gather at this unofficial rendezvous point in an otherwise unremarkable Vila Madalena alleyway.

Clowns, jugglers, conjurers, trapeze artists—the whole spectrum of circus art—train, perform and otherwise make their entertainment magic here.

These open air activities are all free, but in accordance with street performance custom, a hat is often passed around to collect contributions at the end of the shows.

Since these mini circuses take place right in front of the Cidade Escola Aprendiz, an NGO dedicated to teaching art to kids from all social classes, it is common to see scores of these young “apprentices” mingling with the cheerful circus crowd.

Luisa Sato Heaven is shiatsu

Shiatsu, traditional Japanese physical therapy, involves finger (shi) pressure (atsu) massage. The treatments aim to alleviate the symptoms of ill health and injury.

After training with the shiatsu master Zenzo Yamamoto, Luiza Sato opened her first clinic in Moema in 1980: now the chain boasts 25 locations.

The goal at Luiza Sato is to relax—a process instigated by the minimal Japanese-style decor and harmonious ambience. After taking off their shoes and stepping onto the tatami mats, guests are offered a steaming cup of green tea. Then comes the therapy… And when it’s over, when every pressure point has been probed and the good energy is flowing uninhibitedly again, a farewell cup of missoshiro soup sends the starry-eyed customers on their way.

Sensus Day Spa Spoil yourself

Renewing energy and relieving tension are Sensus Day Spa’s main areas of expertise. This classic pampering center provide an irresistible range of health and beauty treatments, from a mouth-watering selection of massages (ayurvedic; deep tissue; with hot rocks, bamboo, shells etc) to baths, facials, acupuncture, body posture correction—and much, much more.

You may not look quite like a king (or queen) while wearing a silkworm mask or while immersing yourself in a colorful, scented bath, but you will certainly feel like one. Your mind and body will thanks you later. And there are even “Yin-Yang” treatments for couples in search of a new way to reconnect…

Praça Benedito Calixto Oversized sunnies and vintage vinyl

On a slow, sultry Saturday morning in São Paulo, toddle on down to the fleamarket at Praça Benedito Calixto. You may not be able to move for all the hip young misses and ironically moustachioed monsieurs, but it’ll be well worth the jostle. From second hand fashion to strange paintings, it’s a scavenger’s paradise: if you sift around for long enough, you’re sure to find a brilliant book, frock, lamp, toy truck and record or two.

Praça Benedito Calixto may not attract quite such crowded the rest of the week, but its galleries, shops, bars and cafés are always worth a look.

Localiza Getting behind the wheel

The traffic can be awful in São Paulo, but if you steer clear of rush hour, it’s wonderful to explore this wild jungle of skyscrapers by car, especially at night. It’s also really useful to have a set of wheels available for a long weekend at the beach: there aren’t any nice stretches of sand in the city, but many beautiful ones are within driving distance. And, since São Paulo public transport leaves a lot to be desired, sometimes its necessary to have your own vehicle (be it an auto, a moped or a helicopter) just to get from point A to point B

Localiza rents cars for business or leisure on short-term leases. The organization has 312 agencies in 222 Brazilian cities—including the always-convenient São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport—so you won’t have trouble dropping the car off when you’re finished with it.

Jardim Botânico In the jungle

With its wild, beautiful vegetation, its tropical trees sprawling out of many a nook and cranny, it might seems like São Paulo doesn’t need a botanical garden. But the Jardim Botânico is something special: spread across more than 350 acres of lush land, it boasts two greenhouses, a library and a museum as well as thousands of extraordinary species of tropical plants—including some extremely rare orchids.

The brainchild of naturalist Frederico Hoehne, the Jardim Botânico opened it doors to the public in 1928. Its most thrilling feature is the jungle trail, a wooden walkway through an exotic wilderness. With a bit of luck, you’ll even spy the occasional monkey flying from tree to tree…

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