See Senna Tributes – and More – in São Paulo

May 1, 2024

Thirty years have passed by since Ayrton Senna’s tragic death on May 1, 1994, but it is said his legacy is stronger than ever, both through his charitable foundation’s work and the number of fans who use their travel insurance as peace of mind during a trip to his home city of São Paulo.

In this Brazilian city, if tourists take the right precautions, they should be able to stay safe and see some of the tributes to this F1 hero, as well as other sights.  Europesure Travel Insurance has taken a look at how to achieve both of these objectives.

Rodoria Ayrton Senna and the Ayrton Senna Transit Complex

As you leave the airport at São Paulo, you will instantly be immersed in Senna’s legacy, travelling along the Rodoria Ayrton Senna and then entering the Ayrton Senna Transit Complex.  This comprises two tunnels, stretching for 2,991.4 metres, connecting the south of Sao Paulo to the city centre.

Praça Ayrton Senna do Brasil 

This 15,000 mspace, sits next to the beautiful Iberapuera Park, a place with three lakes, running trails, yoga and capoeira sessions, cultural spaces and museums, free music concerts and even scheduled water and light shows.  Outside the park, on Saturdays, there is an organic food market.

Here a 25-ton, 5-metre long bronze sculpture, called ‘Velocidade, Alma e Emoçao’ (Speed, Soul and Emotion), sits in the centre of two concentric circles and honours the three-time World Formula 1 champion.  The accompanying plaque reads, “I don’t have idols, I just admire hard work, dedication and competence.”  There is also a replica of Ayrton Senna’s racing helmet to be seen.  The sculpture originally sat by the entrance to the Senna tunnels.

Avenida Paulista

This bustling São Paulo street is home to a 17.5-metre wide and 41-metre high mural of Senna, created by the graffiti artist, Eduardo Kobra.  This is in the Bela Vista  (Bixiga) neighbourhood, brimming with Italian cantinas and the strains of Italian music.  In August, it is home to the Nossa Senhora Achiropita festival, to celebrate a miraculous image of the Virgin Mary that appeared in a cave in Italy.  In this area, you can also catch the antiquities fair held at Dom Orione Square on Sundays.

Jardim São Paulo – Ayrton Senna Station

You will find this subway station on the Blue Line 1, to celebrate the fact that Senna grew up in the northern area of the city.  The station was renamed in his honour in 2011, having previously just been known as Jardim São Paulo Subway Station.


This is Brazil’s largest go-karting complex, which opened in 2015 in the Tatuapé area of São Paulo.  Another Kobra mural can be found here and there is a revolving display of Senna career memorabilia, with a different item going on show in the Speedland lobby every month.


The FI circuit that is home to the Brazilian Grand Prix was influenced by Senna, who acted as a consultant for its design.  As any F1 fan will know, its includes a sequence of corners known as the Senna S, one of the sport’s most iconic overtaking spots.  However, the Interlagos circuit is also home to a third Kobra mural of Senna, with this one –  ‘Ayrton Senna - Overcoming’ - standing 27 metres high and 10 metres wide and being located close to the main straight at the circuit.   It was unveiled on May 12, 2020 and shows the iconic moment  on March 24, 1991, when, after driving the final stretch of the race with just sixth gear available, a totally exhausted Senna climbed on the podium and somehow found the strength to lift the trophy in his right hand. This was one of his two wins at Interlagos.

Senna’s Grave - Cemitériodo Morumbi Vendas (Morumbi Cemetery)

Paying tribute to Senna at his grave is a must-do for many F1 fans, although it takes some effort, with the cemetery being a good distance outside the city centre and requiring well over an hour to reach.  Taking an Über is often the best way to do so.  The grave is centrally placed within the cemetery and often surprises people with its simplicity.

Photo courtesy of Davidson Luna on Unsplash

What else to see in São Paulo

Other things that you may wish to spend time doing include exploring the Japanese quarter in Liberdade or the Muncipal Market of São Paulo – the Mercadão – which has every type of food imaginable, from tropical fruit and a wide variety of fish to the famous Mortadella Sandwiches, served at Bardo Mano or Hocca Bar.  The market can be extremely lively, so take care of your possessions and be aware of the risks of pickpocketing and theft.

You may also wish to visit a museum, such as the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), a striking modernist glass ‘box’ building on the Avenida Paulista, designed by Lina Bo Bardi and distinguished by its two bright red concrete supports. This is home to around 10,000 pieces of art from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas and boasts the largest collection of European art to be found in the southern hemisphere, including works by artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Goya, Monet and Cézanne.

Then there is the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, a museum of visual arts focused on Brazilian production.  This includes works by important Brazilian artists who include Anita Malfatti, Lygia Clark, Tarsila do Amaral, Almeida Júnior, Pedro Alexandrino, Candido Portinari and Oscar Pereira da Silva.

If you love theatrical performance, don’t miss the Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, modelled on Paris’s Palais Garnier and an extraordinarily beautiful venue with its gilded balconies and  rich red seats and curtains inside and its glorious external Renaissance,  Baroque, Neo-classical and Art Deco façade.  It is home to the city’s orchestra and ballet company but be slightly careful about this neighbourhood, if you visit.

If it’s sport you love, you may wish to grab a selfie at the Neo Quimica Arena, otherwise known as the Corinthians Arena, which hosted the World Cup’s opening ceremony and events for the 2016 Olympics.  Tours are available.

Or, if you love to visit cathedrals, São Paulo’s is very centrally located and features beautiful marble and stained glass windows.

Photo courtesy of Mariana Santos on Unsplash

Staying safe

Whilst deemed safer than Rio de Janeiro, this city still has it risks. It is recommended that you do not carry your passport with you and leave it in a hotel safe, just taking a copy of it out and about. Leave your laptop in a safe too and do not carry large sums of money with you.  Wearing jewellery is not advisable.  

Keep your phone and camera discretely hidden on your person and do not flash these around.  Robberies – particularly on buses -  are commonplace and phones are a top target.  Be very cautious about people who approach you and strike up conversations.

Do not wander alone at night or head to a park after dusk.  Check with your hotel or another reputable source as to which areas are safe and which are not, by both day and night.  Favelas – shanty towns – exist in all Brazilian cities and to wander in to them can be fatal.  If pavements turn to cobbles or unpaved streets, that could be a sign that you are entering a favela.  Do not be tempted to book a ‘favela tour’ either.

Bank and credit card scams are also common, with card cloning taking place at ATMs and shops, so be careful.  Should you find you have cash with pink marks on it, speak to a bank or police officer immediately, as it could be counterfeit.

Do not accept any free rides and steer clear of any political rallies that may be taking place.  If wanting what is deemed a safe form of transport, use an Über service.

Should you be attacked, do not resist.  It is far safer to allow a mugger to take your possessions and replace them.

If you have the right travel insurance – and perhaps a gadget insurance addition to your policy – you should be able to cover any losses of money, passport and gadgets through your insurance cover.  Choose the right cover limit for your possessions but remember that it can be far safer to leave them behind and travel light.

For help in finding the right travel insurance for your trip to Brazil – or anywhere else in the world – whether single trip or for multiple trips in the year, visit

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