A 40-minute flight (270 miles by road) southwest of Rio, São Paulo is Brazil’s largest city, with a population of more than 12 million. This sprawling concrete metropolis is primarily a business center and of relatively little interest to leisure travelers, although its partisans make great claims for both the city’s art galleries and its food (D.O.M., where chef Alex Atala serves a contemporary version of Brazilian cuisine, is widely regarded as the best restaurant in South America). The city’s sheer size means it has hundreds of fine restaurants, and its ethnic diversity guarantees that virtually every imaginable culinary tradition is represented. To escape the concrete jungle, head west two hours to the countryside resort of Fasano Boa Vista.

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