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How to get to Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira - Everything You Need to Know and Photos

Detailed Guide on how to visit Salto do Patagarro - one of the most impressive waterfalls on Madeira. This article features helpful tips and photographs from the trail.

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira
Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Madeira is an island full of surprises, and some of its greatest gems are still well hidden, waiting for only the most dedicated travelers to discover them with their own eyes. One such marvel is the spectacular three-level cascade waterfall known as Salto do Patagarro. Tucked away far from civilisation, reaching it involves a real Indiana Jones-like adventure.

If you're planning to embark on this journey, be aware that it's not for everyone. There's no established route, so you must navigate based solely on guesswork. However, there's little chance of getting lost, as the path winds through a narrow valley with no alternative routes. Still, without a designated trail, the hike is quite challenging, particularly on rainy days, and we recommend it only for experienced hikers.

Check our Travel Guide to Madeira Island

If you lack the confidence to venture alone, there's another option. You can hire a professional mountain guide who will lead the way and ensure your safety.

As avid outdoors enthusiasts, we tackled this hike on our own, but we're never hesitant to seek assistance when needed. For those keen on exploring off the beaten path in Madeira, we highly recommend our friend Marcio, a professional mountain guide at @madeirawonderhikes. He guided us to some of the island's most incredible spots! Get in touch with him, and you're sure to have the ultimate adventure on Madeira!

Informations about Salto do Patagarro hike

I use Strava to track all my hiking activities. Here's all the info from this hike:

Distance there and back: 9.33 KM

Moving Time: 2H 10MIN (It took us about 3h both ways + some free time at the waterfall)

Elevation Gain: 821 M

Difficulty: moderate/difficult

Date: January 15, 2023

Make sure you're well prepared for this hike. Hiking shoes are essential! I can't imagine walking there in sneakers. The temperature might get a bit chilly as you approach the waterfall, so be sure to have something warm with you.

And, of course, pack some water and snacks - they'll come in handy along the way!

How to get to Salto do Patagarro Waterfall

You can reach Salto do Patagarro using public transportation from downtown Funchal with Funchal City Bus number 20 (30 minutes) and get off at the Coruj Dentro Reforço S bus stop. From there, it's a 10-minute walk to reach the trailhead. The most convenient way to get to the Salto do Patagarro trailhead is by car or taxi. We simply typed "Caminho da Levada dos Tornos, Funchal" into Google Maps and found our way there without any trouble.

There's no official parking available at the location, and the locals aren't really aware of any waterfall in their area, so you're essentially on your own from the very beginning. We parked our car on the side of the road in front of a closed workshop. The area appears to be generally safe, but I wouldn't recommend leaving any valuables in the car when it's left unattended there.

The Hike to Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

The street where you parked your car is a dead end, so you can't drive any further. Walk to the point where the asphalt ends and the paved road begins. From there, you'll be heading in the direction of Levada dos Tornos, which you'll follow for some time.

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

So far, the road is very wide and pleasant, and you can clearly see your way ahead. Although the road isn't secured, we felt very safe here the whole time. During the first kilometre, you'll pass a short tunnel and reach a bridge, next to which you'll encounter the first waterfall on your journey. We did this hike a day after a brief rainy period on Madeira, but unfortunately, this wasn't enough for the waterfall to display its full power. At this point, we also began to have doubts about the mission. If the first waterfall is essentially just a wet wall, why should we expect anything more from Salto do Patagarro?

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Keep moving forward, and you'll soon reach Levada dos Torres, which you need to follow all the way to the water station. The route remains very pleasant, and you can still enjoy some beautiful views over the valley.

Once you reach the water station, take the path to its left. This is where the route ends and the adventure begins. Shortly afterward, you'll come to a metal bridge that you need to cross to the other side. Here, you'll also encounter the first cement barrier. In total, there will be four of these barriers along your path. It seems like the trail's level of difficulty doubles after passing each barrier.

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Head towards the first barrier. The best way to pass it is on its left side, as the other side is heavily overgrown with plants. You'll need to step on some small rocks over a gently flowing river. From here, the path becomes less clear. Continue in the direction of the next barrier, staying on the left side of the valley. You'll need to climb over stones from a dried-out riverbed. Since there are no signs to guide you, previous hikers have stacked rocks to mark the path. Once we noticed these markers, navigation became easier. We also added one of our own.

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

There was ankle-deep water along the second barrier. Fortunately, those who came before us left some stepping stones, allowing us to cross without getting our shoes wet. The area here becomes a bit more open, so be sure to look carefully for the best way to walk and keep an eye out for the stacked rocks. Now, we're starting to see more water in the riverbed. You'll need to cross the river here and there several times from side to side before reaching the waterfall.

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

The third barrier should also be passed from the left side. From here, you can truly feel the power of the river. The route becomes more challenging if the rocks are wet. Make sure to check the weather before your trip as you don't want to hike this trail after rainfall. We encountered some light rain on our way back, which slowed us down considerably. We had to be cautious with each step we took.

The fourth barrier must be passed on its right side. From here, you'll need to climb over some large boulders. No climbing skills are necessary, but it's quite uncomfortable to traverse such a route. However, if your determination has brought you this far, you'll manage just fine, as you're almost there already. Look out for white and black tape hanged on tree branches, which now marks the best path. After climbing the first few boulders, you should catch a glimpse of the waterfall peeking out from behind the bushes, as it's barely 300 meters away from the last barrier.

There's a path up the first cascade on the left side. We didn't venture closer to the second cascade because, after flying the drone there, we realized that the surrounding area wasn't as picturesque as where we were at the time. Besides, it started raining, so we didn't have much time for further exploration. Unfortunately, we had to move on.

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

Our Experience on the Hike to Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

We did this hike in January 2023. At that time, we couldn't find any written guides in English to help us plan our trip to this waterfall, which inspired us to create this article.

Salto do Patagarro instantly became our favourite waterfall on Madeira. It's a true hidden gem of the island, and it will likely remain so for a long time. We found the route can be quite challenging for a person which doesn't hike much and isn't familiar with such wild environment. We were grateful to have our waterproof hiking shoes, as we slipped a few times on the wet rocks and dipped our feet into the water during multiple river crossings. This waterfall is massive and powerful. We're confident that you'll see its flowing water at any time of the year, unlike many other waterfalls on Madeira that usually dry out in the summer. We spent about an hour at the site and decided to head back as it started to get dark and rainy. Navigating back at night would have been very difficult, so we opted not to risk it.

Photography tips for Salto do Patagarro Waterfall on Madeira

We found that using a 24 mm lens worked best for photographing the waterfall vertically, while a 16 mm lens captured the entire scale horizontally. We also flew the drone, but we struggled to find a good composition. The best picture we captured was when we pointed the camera upwards. I regretted not bringing a small tripod with us, as it would have allowed us to take some shots from a very low angle.

Other Articles about Madeira you'd might like

Madeira is such an amazing place to visit, and we still can't believe we've been able to call it home for the past two years. During our stay, we explored all the best spots on the island and tried all the most exciting activities, many of them more than once! This helped us create these comprehensive guides that will help you plan your own trip to Madeira.



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