Canyoning São Miguel (Azores): The Best Tour in 2023

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If you’re an adventure seeker planning a trip to the beautiful Azores, you definitely want to add canyoning to your list of activities to experience. São Miguel island, in particular, is known for providing excellent canyoning routes that cater to people of all physical fitness levels and abilities.

Canyoning São Miguel is an exciting way to discover the stunning landscape and gorgeous scenery in more remote areas of the island while getting your adrenaline pumping. Expert guides and the latest technical equipment, including safety equipment, are provided to ensure your safety throughout the experience.

Everything You Need to Know About Canyoning São Miguel in the Azores

There are several canyoning routes available on the island, each with its own level of difficulty. The two most popular routes, Salto do Cabrito and Ribeira dos Caldeirões, attract people from all over the world.

Salto do Cabrito features a beautiful freshwater slide and several walking sections, making it perfect for those who are new to canyoning. Ribeira dos Caldeirões, on the other hand, offers a more technical experience with abseiling techniques and moments of adrenaline as you navigate the rocky terrain.

Before the canyoning experience begins, guides will provide all necessary technical equipment and a safety briefing. Those with medical conditions that may affect their physical abilities are advised to abstain from this activity. It is important to be in good physical shape to undertake canyoning in the Azores.

During the summer months, when the weather is dry, is the ideal time to go on this adventure. You should wear comfortable clothes, but you’ll likely be provided with a wetsuit for the adventure, so wear a swimsuit underneath. 

The hike to the beginning of the canyoning experience at Salto do Cabrito

Wait. What exactly IS Canyoning?

Have you ever heard of canyoning? If you’re headed to the Azores Islands, this adventurous activity is a must-try for adventure seekers.

Canyoning is the perfect combination of rock and water activities, where you will navigate through canyons, gorges, and ravines by walking in the water, jumping into crystal clear water pools, and sliding between rocks shaped by the flow of the streams. It’s an exciting and thrilling activity that requires a good physical ability to undertake.

The Azores Islands offer some of the best canyoning spots in the world. Two must-visit spots are Salto do Cabrito and Ribeira dos Caldeirões. Salto do Cabrito features a beautiful freshwater slide and several walking sections, making it the ideal route for those who are new to canyoning, while still getting the experience of abseiling (think rappeling) in a few sections.

Ribeira dos Caldeirões, on the other hand, can offer a more technical experience with challenges, moments of adrenaline, and navigating rocky terrain.

Canyoning is a wonderful opportunity to explore the stunning landscape and gorgeous scenery of the Azores Islands. The technique of abseiling is an essential part of this adventure, and you will learn how to safely lower yourself down rock faces and waterfalls. Get ready to face challenges, test your limits, and experience a true sense of adventure.

A look back up the canyon while on a canyoning Sao Miguel tour.

Canyoning Tours on São Miguel, Azores

São Miguel, the lush green island of the Azores, is a paradise for adventure seekers. With its rocky terrains, emerald forests, and cascading waterfalls, the island is an ideal destination for canyoning tours. A canyoning tour in São Miguel promises an exhilarating experience, and we’re ready to dive into the details of what to expect on a canyoning tour and some of the best options available on the island.

Salto do Cabrito (Ribeira Grande)

The highlight of this tour is the spectacular 20-meter-high Salto do Cabrito waterfall. Surrounded by lush greenery, it sets the stage for an adrenaline-filled day of canyoning activities.

We explored this area on this tour with Azorean Active Blueberry and had the best experience.

Since we rented a car in Ponta Delgada to explore the island, we were able to meet our tour guides and the rest of our group at a travel station about halfway from Ponta Delgada to the tour location and caravan the rest of the way.

Once you reach Salto do Cabrito, your guides will fit you with the proper equipment including helmets, wetsuits, harnesses, and boots. 

To begin this adventure, you’ll first get your blood pumping with a hike to the top of the route. On a hot day, you’ll want to keep the top of your wetsuit unzipped and around your waist. Even though the hike is less than 30 minutes,  those things get extremely hot, quickly!

Once you reach the top, you’ll follow your guides down to the waterway and begin your descent back to Salto do Cabrito, where you began hiking. You’ll end back at that waterfall for the grand finale.

Abseiling on a Sao Miguel canyoning tour
I learned abseiling techniques and the guides were extremely helpful.

Participants of all skill levels can enjoy scrambling over rocks, climbing, and abseiling down the waterfall. The guides are extremely helpful along the way, establishing routes and offering pointers at every step.

The minimum age to participate is 6 years old, and there is an upper age limit of 75 years old. There are also height and weight restrictions that we’ve included in the table below, which are in place to ensure properly fitting safety equipment.  Included in the tour price is the equipment distribution, safety equipment, technical equipment, lunch, and transportation.

Age6 years75 years
Height3 ft 11 in
(1.20 m)
6 ft 7 in
(2 m)
Weight44 lbs
(20 kg)
265 lbs
(120 kg)
Waist Circumference
(for properly fitting harness)
55 in
(1.40 m)
Restrictions for participating in Canyoning with Azorean Active Blueberry

Book A Canyoning São Miguel at Salto do Cabrito Tour here!

Safety is of utmost importance on this canyoning adventure. Participants will be provided with helmets, wetsuits, and safety harnesses to ensure their utmost safety during the excursion. Pregnant travelers, however, are not recommended to take part in this activity due to safety concerns.

Canyoning is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling outdoor activities that allow one to appreciate nature from a different perspective. Sao Miguel, the largest island in the Azores, boasts fantastic sites for canyoning, and Salto do Cabrito Canyon is one of the highlights of such an experience.

This tour is typically considered a full-day activity, lasting around 5 hours. While it can be completed by those with no canyoning experience (We did and didn’t have any difficulty, with the guides’ help, of course!), this is the more difficult of the two canyoning tours offered by Azorean Active Blueberry.

The final zipline on a canyoning tour in front of Salto do Cabrito.
Our final ride was a zipline down to the finish.

Ribeira dos Caldeirões (Near Nordeste)

If you’re an adventure seeker looking for an unforgettable experience, then Ribeira dos Caldeirões on São Miguel in the Azores is a must-visit destination for beginner canyoning tours. This stunning location boasts an exciting canyoning route, with tours typically lasting 2-3 hours.

The Ribeira dos Caldeirões canyoning route is packed with abundant smaller waterfalls, making it an exciting adventure that demands an appropriate level of physical fitness. Before setting foot on the trail, the canyoning equipment is provided, and safety guidelines are shared with participants. With everything in place, you’ll embark on the journey.

The canyoning trail includes a mix of jumping off rock formations, scrambling through muddy slopes, abseiling down small waterfalls, and climbing alongside them. Participants get the opportunity to take on a thrilling water slide, making for moments of laughter and excitement.

Overall, if you’re looking for the ultimate canyoning adventure, Ribeira dos Caldeirões is the place to be for a half-day adventure. The natural park’s beautiful surroundings elevate the experience to a whole new level.

The Ribeira dos Caldeirões Canyoning Tour is an unforgettable way to experience the natural beauty of the Azores while getting an adrenaline rush at the same time. The unique combination of adventure and scenic views makes it a must-do activity while on the island. Don’t miss out on the chance to tackle the stunning waterfalls of the Ribeira dos Caldeirões natural park.

We learned a lot on our first canyoning experience here in the Azores!

Azores’ Canyoning: Is it Safe?

Canyoning in São Miguel, Azores, is a thrilling and exhilarating experience that promises a unique way to explore the island’s inner rugged and stunning terrain. But as with any adventure activity, safety measures and precautions are essential to ensure a positive experience.

One of the essential safety measures is to go with a trusted and experienced outfitter. A reputable outfitter will ensure that all safety regulations are followed and provide quality safety equipment, including wetsuits, helmets, boots, and harnesses. It’s crucial to do some research before choosing a tour operator to avoid any poorly maintained equipment or substandard safety measures.

We’ve done the research for you!
Book your Canyoning São Miguel experience here!

Canyoning requires a certain level of physical fitness, and it’s recommended to be in good physical shape before undertaking this activity. Outfitters usually specify the required level of fitness on their websites or as part of the tour information. It’s essential to be honest with yourself regarding your abilities to ensure that you pick the respective option that is suitable for your physical shape.

The guides know the canyoning routes well and will instruct you on proper technique, offering corrections and feedback as you go. This was our first time trying the activity, even though we’ve done other waterfall adventures in the past. We never once felt that we couldn’t navigate the terrain with the guides’ help. 

You’ll likely have the chance to descend straight through a waterfall like we did!

Best Time of Year for Canyoning São Miguel, Azores

If you’re looking for an exhilarating adventure that combines nature’s beauty and heart-pumping adrenaline, canyoning and rappelling in the Azores should be on your bucket list. The archipelago’s mild temperatures and moderate climate make it an optimal destination for these activities year-round.

Although rainfall is more frequent during the winter months in the Azores, this typically doesn’t prevent adventure seekers from enjoying the thrilling experience of rappelling and canyoning. In fact, the abundance of water in the rivers during this time only adds to the excitement of exploring the island’s breathtaking landscapes.

If conditions are felt to be dangerous, the tour company typically will contact you to discuss options.

São Miguel, the largest island of the Azores, is one of the top localities for canyoning and rappelling. Its mountainous terrain, lush vegetation, and picturesque waterfalls provide the perfect setting for this activity. The island offers a wide variety of trails, with options for beginners and experts alike.

FAQs: Canyoning São Miguel

What do you wear to canyoning in the Azores?

You’ll be provided a wetsuit for canyoning tours, so it’s best to wear a swimsuit underneath your clothes to the meeting place for the tour. Bring a towel and a dry change of clothes for after you’ve finished with your adventure.

Is swimming necessary for canyoning?

During most of the year, you’ll more likely be wading through water rather than swimming. There are some opportunities to jump from rocks into deeper pools of water, but the distance required for swimming is short. Request a life jacket if you are unsure of your abilities.

Is São Miguel touristy?

São Miguel is the largest and most accessible of the seven Azores islands with popular attractions like natural hot springs, so it is the most “touristy” with a handful of tour operators and activities. With that being said, we still wouldn’t consider this island touristy like those in the Caribbean or Hawaii, where beaches are lined with resorts and trinket shops.

If you’re looking for an adventure that will take your breath away and get your adrenaline pumping, canyoning São Miguel is a perfect choice. With stunning landscapes, thrilling jumps, and unforgettable experiences, it’s the perfect way to explore the wild beauty of São Miguel in the Azores!