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Touch base with Sao Paulo's origins

Head into Sao Paulo's downtown district, Centro, to see the pre-20th-Century historic remains and beautifully restored buildings. As you walk the streets, passing the Neo-Gothic Sao Paulo Cathedral and the Municipal Theatre, you're stepping through areas that have existed since the city's first days.

If you find yourself falling in love with Centro – it has happened to many visitors – you can stay at either the Bourbon or Novotel Jaragua. The former is a modern hotel with delicate wooden finishes and a good proximity to nightlife, while the latter has been open since 1954 and now features a theatre and spacious apartments.

A park of many fascinating styles

Sao Paulo's smaller, yet just as popular equivalent to New York's Central Park, Parque Ibirapuera is a sunny weekend hotspot for locals and visitors. Upon stepping into the park, you'll encounter plenty of ornamental plants, local and imported nature, and open grassy areas perfect for taking a mid-day snooze.

Accommodation near Parque Ibirapuera includes the visually jaw-dropping Unique Hotel that looks similar to a boat with cylindrical windows and has a rooftop bar, restaurant and pool. You might also want to stay at the Grand Mercure, which prides itself on enabling guests to relax within its swimming pool and beauty parlour.

Carnival in the northeast

Once a rural area, Sao Paulo's northeast region is now one of the city's main event centres, hosting the Sao Paulo Carnival Parade. Along with the festivities, this area is known for its urban parks including one of the world's largest, the Parque Estadual da Cantareira. There are also numerous places to shop, eat and drink in this region.

For lodging, you may want to check out the Hotel Luni, positioned right amongst popular dining options. The hotel itself is a blend of simple and sophisticated living with some rooms featuring spa baths. Alternatively, you can stay at the Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi, which keeps you close to all the convention and exhibition centres, and comes with a classy restaurant and bar.

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