Just beating São Lourenço for the title of nicest of the smaller spas, CAXAMBU was a favourite haunt of the Brazilian royal family in the nineteenth century. The Parque das Águas (7am–6pm; R$3), in the centre of town, is delightful. Built in the last decades of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth, it’s dotted with eleven oriental-style pavilions sheltering the actual springs and houses an ornate Turkish bathhouse that is very reasonably priced – R$15 gets you a bath in early twentieth-century opulence, and there are also various kinds of sauna (R$12) and massage (R$30–45) available. The bathhouse, which has separate facilities for men and women, is open Tuesday to Saturday 8.30am to noon and 3 to 5pm, and on Sunday 8.30am to noon.

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