Canyoning in Madeira

By Bo, co-founder of SeaBookings, working from Lisbon:

We had such a great time on our 3-day trip to Madeira Island this Spring! We did the trip to explore some of the best things to do on Madeira and then to share our experience with you. Well, if you love nature and some adventure, this pack that combines coasteering and canyoning in Madeira is a must. If you relate to the following, please read further! Adrenaline, nature, sea, mountains, cliff jumping, climbing, challenge, fun… 

Imagine doing rappel on this 28m waterfall!
Imagine doing rappel on this 28m waterfall!

Both experiences should be done in separate days, first because you’ll be tired after each of them and second because the canyoning can take quite some hours, depending on the level you choose. Our coasteering experience took about 2 hours while the canyoning in Madeira took almost 5 hours, excluding transport to and from the meeting points. 

The coasteering in Madeira usually takes place on the road to the famous Ponta de São Lourenço. The canyoning tour we did started and ended near Pico da Urze, where the Levada do Alecrim starts. You can meet the guides at the starting point of each experience or they’ll pick you up and drop you off after the experience. Let me tell you how our experience was:

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Coasteering in Madeira

As soon as we landed on Madeira Island, the guides, Fabrício, André and Francisco, came to pick us up at the airport to head to the best spot for coasteering in Madeira. With only 3 days on the island, we had no time to lose!

Coasteering Madeira
The gear is rather hot, but after your 1st jump, you won’t feel it anymore 😉

The gear you use for coasteering is very similar to that for canyoning, except that for canyoning you’ll also use a harness. Besides, you’ll wear a special wetsuit, shoes (I recommend to request one size above your usual size), life vest and a helmet. All the gear is provided, so you only need to bring sunscreen, swimsuit and a towel.

Once we were fully equipped, we walked for a few minutes to reach the shore. These few minutes were enough to feel the heat in our wetsuits. The first cliff jump into the Atlantic felt amazing! You immediately forget about the uncomfortable hot gear (the same applies for the first jump with the canyoning). 

We spent about 90min having fun while climbing, swimming, cliff jumping and exploring dark caves. Time flew by. Coasteering is a truly amazing experience as you feel a very strong connection to nature, to the sea.

Just don't think to much! And JUMP!
Just don’t think too much! And JUMP!

After a small hike up the cliffs, the van was there with Francisco, waiting for us. Damn, that was a great welcome to the island! We had a blast, we even commented that only for this coasteering experience in Madeira, it was worth it to fly from Lisbon for just one day! We were lucky enough to have two more days and the next one would be for canyoning!

The canyoning adventure started with a nice hike in the mountains
The canyoning adventure started with a nice hike in the mountains

Canyoning in Madeira

Canyoning in Madeira is what coasteering is to the sea, but for the mountain: a very strong connection. So, the combination of these two experiences, sea and mountain gives you a full immersion into Madeira’s stunning and pure nature!

For the canyoning, we drove to the meeting point with our own rental car. From there, we met the canyoning guides, Peter and André, and got geared up with the same gear as the day before plus the harness. This experience was done in a group, with a few more adventurous travelers. 

The hike on Levada do Alecrim was very pretty!
The hike on Levada do Alecrim was very pretty but tough, especially the way back!

For canyoning in Madeira, there are several levels. The levels are based on your level of experience, fitness and love for adrenaline. As we already had some coasteering experience, we joined a level 2 canyoning experience. It was rather tough and I’d say we’re above the general level of fitness. So, if you’ve got no experience and are not very active in your day to day life, you want to start with a level 1.

You'll be impressesed by such a pure nature
You’ll be impressed by such a pure nature

The main difference between our coasteering and canyoning experiences? The water in the mountain is waaaay colder! It was about 10-12ºC! Fortunately, the suits keep you warm but your hands will feel it! Another big difference was the jumping technique that is more “bomb-like” as the water is more shallow. Ah, and the highlight of the canyoning was definitely the rappel we did for about 28m along an impressive waterfall! And the highest jump we did was about 14 m high!

It's hard to take pictures of the immense beauty!
The guides will take some epic pictures!

On both experiences, we had a great time! We live in Portugal and had no idea that Madeira had these amazing experiences to offer. We feel like we lived the island, both the mountains AND the sea to the fullest. The next time we visit Madeira, we’ll surely do both experiences again, maybe at another location. So, if you’re an active-nature-loving person looking for the best things to do on Madeira, trust us: try coasteering and canyoning in Madeira!

It's hard to take pictures of the immense beauty!
It’s hard to take pictures of the immense beauty!

If you accept our suggestion, and you’re booking coasteering and canyoning in Madeira, don’t forget: request one shoe size above the usual and, even though a cereal bar is included, you might want to bring another one to keep your energy levels up (for the canyoning). Enjoy!

Bo Irik - Boosting Maritime Tourism in Portugal

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