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Children (Aged 3-12) €17.50
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|Benagil Caves & Coast||35.00€|
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Trip report by Algarve Fun’s writer Vicente Lourenço. Having spent most of his life in the Algarve, Vicente knows most of its secrets and loves to share it with newcomers. He likes travelling, outdoor sports and exotic food.
The Algarve is one of the most famous touristic regions in the world, not only because of its fantastic climate, but also because of its stunning coastline filled with cliffs, caves and beaches. Joining the spectacular rock formations, there is a sea of crystalline waters that invites you on a boat trip to unravel its secrets. Luckily there are several companies that organize boat trips around the Algarve coast and which depart from Vilamoura Marina, providing an unforgettable experience for the thousands of tourists who visit the region every year.
I arrived at Vilamoura Marina half an hour before the boat was set to departure, as it is requested to passengers. “My” catamaran had a wide deck with sofas lined along the rail and an open space in the middle so that passengers could move freely. I was offered a glass of white wine (for the children there was fruit juice) as I boarded the catamaran and as soon as the boat’s engines began to run, the captain addressed the passengers, going over safety procedures and introducing the crew members. The boat also had a bar, which served drinks and food, as well as bathrooms.
Among the crew members there was a marine biologist. The marine biologist ended up being quite useful when a group of bottlenose dolphins surrounded the boat. After about thirty minutes cruising through the ocean, a group of dolphins started following the boat and jumping out of the water. Their natural curiosity compels them to approach boats. In addition to dolphins, it is sometimes possible to find whales or even killer whales, and there are certain boat trips that take people to the spots where you are most likely to see these cetaceans. After this delightful surprise, we continued our journey.
The first cave I saw was the Cave of the Swallows, also called the Swallow’s Nest, since it is a cave without light on the inside, ideal for swallows to nest. Then we passed by the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rock, built in the 17th century on a beautiful promontory which is often used to celebrate weddings.
After crossing paths with the famous ship Amorita, the ship used by the former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, its former owner, to escape from Cuba and come to Portugal, we arrived at one of the Algarve’s best-known rock formations – the Yellow Submarine Rock. With the appearance of a submarine above the water, this is one of the most bizarre rocks on the Algarve coast, attracting several hundred tourists.
I also got to see the Cave of the Birds, which, like the Cave of the Swallows, has no natural light and is used by different species of birds to build their nests. It is at the end of one of the rocks that form the Cave of the Birds that stand the mythical profile of King Neptune. This rock that has the profile of a human being has long enchanted sailors and fishermen who believe the rock to be a sculpture of the god of the oceans, King Neptune.
I also saw the famous rock Arc de Triomphe, so named because it looks like the Parisian monument Arc de Triomphe. Then the boat stopped at the Captain’s Cave, where a huge rock resembles the head of a crocodile, and we were shown Cupid’s Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve with thin golden sand and which can only be accessed by boat. Cupid’s Beach is sometimes used to host wedding receptions because of its heavenly appearance and its remote location.
The last cave to be visited was also the most known in the Algarve – Benagil’s Cave, also called the Benagil Cathedral because of the arches that resemble a cathedral. This beautiful cave was considered the 15th most beautiful cave in the world by the Michelin Guide and Windows 10 used a photo of the cave to create a wallpaper. It is difficult to describe the explosion of sensations I felt when I first saw the cave. Its monstrous size, the array of colours that vibrate inside and its beautiful beach are some of the characteristics that make it a must-see landmark.
On the way back, the boat stopped near Albufeira so that the passengers could dive and swim. The swim stop was the perfect way to end an amazing afternoon. The trip took a total of four hours, but it can be the case that it has a different duration or route, depending on weather and tides.
In addition to this trip, Algarve Fun also has other boat trips departing from Vilamoura Marina so do contact them if you need any help choosing.
Explore the beautiful Algarve coastline departing from Vilamoura marina and exploring west including the famous Benagil caves.
This brand new (2018) catamaran provides the perfect setting for a cruise you won’t forget. The legal capacity is 115, however the captain has taken the decision to limit this to 100 to ensure the maximum comfort and space for passengers. The boat is well equipped with high quality facilities, a bar and toilets.
In addition to exploring the caves and rock formations you will also have the chance to try some traditional sweet delicacies during the cruise.