Close to São Paulo lies the city of Campinas, vibrant and alive, with its great nightlife, daring cuisine, and world-renowned chefs as well as beautiful parks, colonial architecture, and welcoming people. Much of the city pays homage to its roots as a major coffee producer and brings in the Brazilian culture through performances, operas, and events.
Brazil is famous not only for its grilled meats, but also for its eclectic mix of Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, and Latin American-influenced dishes like torta holandesa and coxinha.
Since the weather's always fine in Campinas, there are tons of outdoor venues that put on performances. Casa do Lago is the place to be for free exhibitions and outdoor showings of old movies.
Besides the plethora of shopping enters and malls that dominate Campinas, you can also have fun at the Hippie Fair and the Central Market, a prime spot for the best local eats.
Parque Portugal has a beautiful lake known as Lagoa do Taquaral, which is perfect for relaxing; an electric tram tour; and the Campinas Planetarium.
Once a coffee farm called "Mato Dentro", Monsenhor Emílio José Salim Ecological Park today has been redesigned to include trails, an artificial lake, sporting facilities, and an organic agriculture fair.
The Jequitibá Woods Park is an urban space in Campinas that is your so-called "one-stop shop" for all things natural in the city. Easily accessible and beautifully designed, this park is a shimmering example of successful urban planning. Besides being a prime space for park strolling, jogging and simply reading beneath the shade of the numerous trees, it also houses a children's playground, a zoo and snack stands. So go ahead, make a day of it: spend time with the animals and then feed your little animals while enjoying this forested area.
Standing 2,411 feet above sea level, this 88 foot water tower standing watch over Campinas is the city's highest point. Climbing to its summit is also one of your best chances to earn a panoramic view of the city as you've never seen it before. The Torre de Castelo was planned as a "landmark" in the middle of the city and was built as both a functional water tower as well as a monument to the city. On Saturdays and Sundays, the tower opens up to the public in a "Meet Campinas" initiative, so be sure to visit and take stock of the museum housed within its circular design.
Hopi Hari's worlds - 5 separate and specific attractions, to be precise - promises a world of fun for visitors looking to get away from the chaos of the city. Just 18 miles from the city, it will occupy your entire day - and then some. Hopi Hari's 5 worlds include Kaminda Mundi, with "European" style rides; Mistieri, dedicated to a more Latin American vibe; Infantasia, a park geared entirely towards kids; Justice League, where comic book characters rule and, finally, Wild West, an old, Western-frontier themed section. Of particular note is Montezum, the largest wooden roller coaster in Latin America that whisks riders half a mile in less than two minutes at speeds of up to 64 mph!
It's easy to see why this gorgeous green space deserves to be Campinas's Central Park. While it's no doubt a beautiful place to stroll and relax, the park offers so much more. Its picturesque and calm lagoon offers activities such as paddle boat rentals and stand-up paddle boarding. Besides the four historic and vintage tramcars that run along the well-preserved tracks in the park, Lagoa do Taquaral also boasts an indoor sports stadium and swimming pool, a science museum, a planetarium, kart racing and model airplane areas as well as restaurants.
The Naga Cable Park is a unique "playground" for adults. Built solely out of floats, cables, obstacle courses and water, this park and its courses will test everything from your agility, strength and stamina to your ability to simply let loose and have fun.
Campinas' temperatures remain steady through the year, as does rainfall. In the summer, the temperature rises to about 72 while the coldest month (January) is a mild 64.
Getting in via plane, travelers will land at Viracopos International Airport (VCP), which is around 13 miles from downtown. To get from the airport to downtown, you can use a taxi, a local bus for R$4.50, or a Lirabus shuttle for R$9, one way.
Depending on your point of origin, there are several routes to get to Campinas. Use the SP-330 Anhangüera or SP-348 Bandeirantes highway when coming from São Paulo, or the SP-91 if coming from southern cities like Valinhos and Vinhedo.
Buses from other cities arrive at the Terminal Multimodal Ramos de Azevedo in Campinas. There are multiple companies like Lirabus that serve various cities like São Paulo. Fares start at R$25.
For luxury accommodations, check out Ibis in Centro. Travelers will also appreciate the Hotel Village Campinas, which is easier on the pocket. Budget travelers will find Cambuí Hostel perfect for their needs.
Parque Ecológico - this area in Campinas has been specifically designed to incorporate an ecological perspective to urban planning. Everything - from the plants to the construction materials used - is eco-friendly. Come relax by the artificial river, the amphitheater, and pavilions for performances and events.
Centro - the "center" or downtown core of Campinas features all its most popular restaurants and commercial buildings, as well as historical architecture like the Catedral Metropolitana de Campinas and the Rua Treze de Maio outdoor shopping street.
Taquaral - this beautiful neighborhood features residential buildings and many independently owned restaurants and eateries. But its biggest draw is the Lagoa do Taquaral, which is a picturesque and large lake situated in the center of Parque Portugal.
Buses (or BRT system) are the major form of public transport. A single adult fare costs R$3.30.
Taxi drivers can choose to agree on a fixed price or they can use the meter. Fares start at R$4.85 and it's R$1.83 for each mile thereafter.
Ace, Alamo, and Hertz are popular options for car rentals. Fares start at R$92.86 for a standard, compact 4-seater.
Like any popular Brazilian city, Campinas' main shopping district is downtown. Check out the pedestrian-friendly Rua Treze de Maio with major brand stores and the Hippie Fair, a great spot for arts and crafts, souvenirs, and fresh Brazilian street food.
A quart of milk costs R$3.27 and a dozen eggs cost R$6.68.
When in Brazil, eat as the Brazilians do. Campinas is the place for coxinha, incredibly seasoned, flavored shredded meat and veggies wrapped in soft dough balls. The best coxinhas are at Estação Barão Bar, where two can eat for R$15.