Cave kayaking for everyone

A seascape of grottoes, there´s more to see from the sea

It’s a common human pastime to sit by water and enjoy its peaceful motion and the calming reflections. Inside Carvoeiro thought it was about time to get out of our comfort zone and join one of the local, beautiful seacave kayak tours. Egged on by images of the now world-famous cave in Benagil, we set ourselves the challenge of finding other less known secret spots.

The first trip we took in this series was the two-hour kayak trip with Wildwatch in Ferragudo. We embarked the RIB at Ferragudo harbour with our marine biologist guides for a lovely, mini-coastal cruise west past Portimão, Praia da Rocha and Praia do Vau, stopping at Praia de João de Arens, where we placed our kayaks into the sea and took off in group formation.

It was lovely to see families, couples and friends of all ages enjoying the low- impact, sightseeing activity together. Owner André Dias told us: “This kayak tour is perfect for anyone really, as we are always close by with the boat and you have a guide in the tour with you, so if people get tired, it’s not a problem. We can stop for a while and just float through the rock formations or even return to the boat where you can enjoy sunbathing, refresh yourself with a dip in the crystal blue sea and a cool drink.”

The rock formations around Praia de João de Arens are stunning and easy to navigate. It’s a special sensation to actually go inside the caves and be able to reach otherwise inaccessible beaches. André explained: “It’s a pretty unique experience in which you can admire, up close, the beauty of the coast and unravel the mysteries of caves and beaches inaccessible by land. This is our beginners’ level – not too demanding so that all the family can enjoy the beautiful landscapes and have lots of fun!”

Wildwatch also has a three-hour kayak tour that is a little more challenging and leaves around 8.30am, passing the famous beaches of Praia Grande, Caneiros, Paraiso, Carvoeiro, Centianes and then into the very popular Benagil Cave to enjoy the calm before the storm when the boat loads of visitors start to arrive after 9am.

With Benagil ticked off the to-do list early, the group heads east and can cover as many as two nautical miles as far as Senhora da Rocha, depending on the group’s pace and strength; this is definitely for the more experienced kayaker. Cliff and rock formations are spectacular across the whole of the Algarve coast, but particularly so in this zone, with so many variations and small, secret beaches you would never have known existed. As with the two-hour tour, the boat is never far away and your knowledgeable guide will keep with your pace to ensure you have an enjoyable, informed and safe adventure. The kayak tours end with a coastal boat trip back to base at Ferragudo where the team offers some quick refreshment before waving you off to enjoy the rest of your day. There are a few things that make Wildwatch stand out in their field including taking videos of the experience and later emailing them to clients – a lovely keepsake and something to look forward to in your inbox when your holiday is a distant memory.

Wildwatch also offers a one-hour cave trip that, for the less active, doesn’t require leaving the comfort of the boat; wonderful dolphin-spotting trips; coastal cruises; snorkeling trips and full-day sailing trips.

Wildwatch charges €35 for the two-hour tour and €55 for the three-hour tour |
Text: Mia Wallace | Photo: Anabela Gaspar & Wildwatch (Benagil cave)

Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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