More easily accessible than many of Goiás’s attractions, the thermal resorts of Caldas Novas, around 185km south of Goiânia, are incredibly popular with Brazilians from beyond the state. It claims to be one of the world’s largest hot-spring aquifers, a massive and very hot natural subterranean reservoir. The healing reputation and the sheer joy of relaxing in these natural spa resorts lure plenty of people from the urban sprawl of the São Paulo region. While some people do come for long, expensive courses of treatment, most visitors are simply here on holiday, relaxing, sunbathing and taking the waters for a few days or a week.
The bus station is just off the centre of town, a short taxi ride from the hotels. Tourist information is available from the SEBRAE office, on the Praça Mestre Orlando (daily 9am–6pm; t 64/3454-3526), and for banking needs, head to the Banco do Brasil at Rua Santos Dumont 55. For information on buses, go to the rodoviária or call t 64/3453-3591.
Hotel reservations are best made in advance, usually from Goiânia. Among the better hotels, Thermas di Roma, Rua São Cristóvão 1110, Solar de Caldas, on the exit for Morrinhos, has a beautiful location out of town with panoramic views, over two hundred rooms, nine thermal pools and a sauna. On the whole, it’s excellent value, as is Taiyo Thermas, in the town itself at Rua Presidente Castelo Branco 115, with three pools and a sauna. As for restaurants, the better hotels have their own, but you could also try the Restaurante Papas at Praça Mestre Orlando 12, which serves a wide variety of Brazilian dishes.