Sao Miguel Waterfalls: All You Need To Know
📅 11 December 2020 | Guides, Portugal | ⌛ 15 mins
Sao Miguel’s waterfalls have become quite famous, especially after the Azores have been named Europe’s most beautiful islands. That is no surprise since Sao Miguel is so rich in natural wonders that it is hard to pick what to explore first!
But, if you are a sucker for waterfalls like me, it will be easy to pick. The waterfalls on Sao Miguel can be found almost everywhere in all sizes, shapes and types, which makes them so unique.
However, chasing São Miguel’s waterfalls is no easy job and you should always be well-prepared!
To make your trip easier I have structured this guide for visiting Sao Miguel’s waterfalls in the following way:
Sao Miguel Waterfalls Map
Things to know before you go
Before exploring any of São Miguel’s waterfalls it is good to be aware of a couple of things:
✖ Check the weather! Always! I mean, the weather on Sao Miguel can be quite unpredictable, thus it is recommended to check it before heading anywhere.
✖ Research the hiking trails and paths to the waterfalls. It is good to get familiar with the pathway that you will be hiking, so that you don’t get lost.
✖ Dress properly for exploring the waterfalls! This means – comfortable touristic shoes and clothes. Additionally, pack some warm clothes, so that you are don’t get cold if the weather changes.
✖ Fill up a water bottle and pack some snacks. That is in case you get hungry while exploring 🙂
✖ Inform your host or the hotel’s personnel where you are heading. Just in case.
Sao Miguel Waterfalls
Of all the Azores islands, Sao Miguel definitely has some of the most beautiful waterfalls spread all over the island. The island of Sao Miguel will surprise you will all types of waterfalls and even such that pour hot water, which is quite uncommon for a waterfall, right?! Nevertheless, all of them are incredibly picturesque, but sometimes are hard to reach. However, this should not stop you from trying!
Hot Waterall of Ribeira Quente
The first waterfall on this list is the Hot waterfall of Ribeira Quente. The king of all the waterfalls in São Miguel and probably the Azores!
The Hot Waterfall as it is known by the locals is located in the southeast part of Sao Miguel island near the city of Ribeira Quente. It is considered to be one of the hardest to reach, due to its location, which is between two tunnels.
The only way to reach the hot waterfall is by going to Furnas and from there keep driving on the EN2 road. It takes less than 10 minutes to get near the tunnels on that road, so keep your eyes on the road. Once you see the only tunnels on that road, you can pull before them and park your vehicle on the left. Then, very cautiously go between the two tunnels and follow the path on the right side. It will lead you to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Azores!
Before heading for this adventure, make sure that you are wearing proper shoes and clothing, as it can be quite muddy there. Also, take the upper path, so that you can get a better view of the hot waterfall of Ribeira Quente. If you plan to get closer to the waterfall, you can choose the lower path. Then, follow the tiny stream that will lead you directly to the hot waterfall.
Salto do Prego Waterfall
Salto do Prego in Sao Miguel is one of the most captivating waterfalls on the island. It is situated in the village of Faial da Terra and walking to it is quite exhausting, but absolutely worth it!
The trail to the Salto do Prego waterfall starts at the end of the village and is usually referred to as the Sanguinho hiking trail. The path is following a small stream and is surrounded by lush vegetation. During the hike, you will have to deal with lots of muddy and slippery terrains, thus you have to be very cautious. Eventually, you will reach Salto do Prego in less than an hour, depending on your pace.
Once there you will be swept by the serenity that reigns from one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Sao Miguel. Salto do Prego is harmoniously encircled with lush tropical flora and accompanied by the chirping of the birds. However, it is usually packed up with lots of people. Thus I would advise you to get there as early as possible if you want to experience its serenity!
In case you would like to explore more, you can head to the next waterfall – Salto do Cagarrão. As you can imagine, the path to it is not so easy but is worth the try. It is taking around 30-40 minutes to get to it and leads you to a secluded and crowd-free waterfall. Thus, I would encourage you to embark on this adventure!
Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões
If you have never been to a waterfall park, now is your chance! Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões is located in the northeast part of Sao Miguel island in the Azores. It is one of the protected areas on the island and is home to various endemic species. However, it is mostly known as the park housing most of the waterfalls on Sao Miguel. The park is also housing 5 mills, which are of public interest and date back to the 16th century.
The Natural Park of Ribeira dos Caldeirões is a very nice place for unwinding after a long day of hiking. Its trails are easy to hike on and it does not take much time to get from one waterfall to another. Usually, it takes less than an hour to explore the park, but if you wish to spend more you are absolutely welcomed. There are lots of places for rest or picnics, so if you want to add some peace and quiet to your lunch, feel free to do so.
Salto da Farinha Waterfall
Salto da Farinha is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Sao Miguel. The path to the waterfall is no easy job and requires some effort. Nevertheless, it will reward you with some of the most scenic views over the north part of Sao Miguel.
To embark on this 2-hour adventure you should go to the village of Achadinha and start off at the Alminhas monument. Once on the trail, you will certainly lose track of time as the picturesque vistas will blow you away! However, do not forget to follow the signs and eventually, you will reach Salto da Farinha. While there, you can take a good rest looking over the Atlantic Ocean from one of the gazebos in the area.
The waterfall is 40 meters high and is one of the biggest waterfalls on Sao Miguel. However, it is good to know that it is not always so majestic.
🧐 Tip:During the summer months, there is usually no trace of a waterfall, thus it is best to visit it during the spring months.
Poço Azul's Waterfalls
Poço Azul is a chain of little waterfalls and natural swimming pools where you can take a dip in the ponds. It is located near the village of Achadinha and happens to be on the road to Salto da Farinha. Thus, you can visit both by just walking on the same hiking trail.
While hiking on the Padrão das Alminhas – Salto da Farinha trail to get to Poço Azul, it is good to be prepared with comfortable shoes and clothes. The path down to the waterfalls can be quite tough and slippery thus it is good to be prepared.
Nevertheless, I can guarantee you that going down to Poço Azul and witnessing these beautiful waterfalls will make your jaw drop! The crystal blue waters of the pools along with the lush tropical vegetation all around makes it look like an out of this world place! Absolutely magical!
Salto do Cabrito Waterfall
Salto do Cabrito in Sao Miguel is situated near the city of Ribeira Grande, which is prominent for its hot springs.
The path that leads to Salto do Cabrito starts near the hot springs of the city. From there, follow the path to Lombadas, until you see the asphalted path and follow the sign to Fajã do Redondo Dam.
At some point, you will encounter Ribeira Grande’s hydroelectric power plant. Right behind the plant, you will find a long way going through a huge gorge leading you to Salto do Cabrito.
Once there, you can enjoy Sao Miguel’s most mesmerizing waterfall!
Parque Natural da Caldeira Velha
Caldeira Velha Natural and Regional Monument in Ribeira Grande is a well-known biosphere reserve in the Azores. It holds one of the greatest diversity of species and tree ferns on São Miguel island. Along with that, there are many hot springs and waterfalls around it known for their healing powers. The best thing about Caldeira Velha is the biggest hot waterfall and its basin where you can take a dip and enjoy the serenity of this place.
Parque Natural da Caldeira Velha is easily reached by car, which can be parked next to the reserve. Each visitor has the right to stay there a maximum of 2 hours for a fee. This is done to avoid the place being crowded and ruining its biosphere equilibrium.
Parque Natural da Caldeira Velha Overview:
🎟️ Price: 8 EUR
⌚️ Working Hours:
November to March: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
April to October: 9:00 – 8:00 PM
🧐 Parking Tip: Parking space can be limited. Thus, it is recommended to go early in the day or park down the street and walk.
Sao Miguel Waterfall Activities
The Azores are considered to be one of the best islands to do water sports on. Whether it be surfing, canoeing or diving you will be for sure entertained. Sao Miguel island is no exception and there you can take upon many water sports to boost your adrenaline!
While hiking around in the search for one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Portugal you can also go for some sports activities around them:
Caldeirões Canyoning Experience: Caldeirões park offers its visitors canyoning on the waterfalls to rush your adrenaline and have some fun! Caldeirões park is perfect for beginners in canyoning!
Salto do Cabrito Canyoning: If you want to level up in canyoning, then you can try climbing Salto do Cabrito!
São Miguel’s Hidden Gems: Fancy seeing more hidden waterfalls around Sao Miguel? Then, you should definitely check this guided tour!
Where to stay in Sao Miguel
If you plan on staying near the waterfalls of Sao Miguel, then you can check these places:
Casa de Pedra: This country house will astonish you with its architecture combining old and modern styles. Plus, it is near the Hot Waterfall of Ribeira Quente!
Aldeia do Sanguinho: This tiny house in Faial da Terra is the perfect place to stay if you plan on exploring Salto do Prego! It is near the hiking trail and makes you feel like you are in your own home.
Casa do Pico Arde: I truly believe that this is the most perfect place to stay on Sao Miguel! It has everything, plus you will easily navigate to Salto do Cabrito or Caldeira Velha.
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Did you visit any of the waterfalls in Sao Miguel?
Which one was your favourite?