Posted by: Josey | March 18, 2009

A São Paulo Travel Idea: Rent a Bicycle in Parque do Ibirapuera, Part One

“The Liberdade Japanese neighborhood is only fun on Sundays during the Feira da Liberdade street market. You don’t want to go there today. Why don’t you rent a bike in Parque do Ibirapuera instead?” the concierge at my São Paulo hotel suggested.

“Is it safe?” I asked.

“Absolutely. It’s very popular with foreigners.”

Usually when a local, particularly a concierge, directs me towards a tourist attraction, it’s my cue to think, note to self: don’t go there. But, whenever I’d asked friends at home for Brazil travel tips, they’d warned me that it was dangerous for anyone, let alone a female spending her days exploring alone. Being around other tourists might not be a terrible idea. After all, just because there would be fellow tourists doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be locals to interact with, too.

Despite warnings that taxis would drive around in circles to run up my tab (or much worse), my driver seemed to take the most direct route; in fact, it was a lot quicker and considerably cheaper than the concierge’s estimates. He even seemed to be looking out for me: Instead of dropping me off outside the park, as he easily could have done, he drove me inside the park and pulled up directly in front of the bicycle rental stand at portão four (gate four). And 10 minutes later, for 5R an hour for two hours paid in advance (a grand total of approximately $4USD), I pedaled off into the massive oasis, shaded by an overcast São Paulo sky.

Women in brightly colored workout wear jogged and caught up on local current events. School-aged kids good-naturedly teased and chased each other up and down the tree-lined pathways. Middle-aged men sold Nestle’s sorvete bars, toys and the ubiquitous whole coconuts (they hack off just enough of the native fruit to puncture it with a straw and access the refreshing, cold coconut water). And I leisurely weaved in and out of the bike lane, admiring the skyline protectively watching over the central, large lake and its white, winged inhabitants.

It wasn’t long before I was hungry—and craving a fresh coconut water of my own.




To be continued…

Update: Read part two here.



  1. […] some excitement? Well, there is never a dull moment in Ibirapuera Park. Fly a kite, go for a jog, ride down the many bike paths or skate inside the roller rink for endless fun with the family. Once you’ve tired yourself out, […]

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