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Explore the clear waters of Lagos with a guided kayak tour of the coast and caves in this spectacular area of natural beauty. Come and try the Lagos Kayak & Snorkeling Trip to Caves today!
You need no previous experience to be able to paddle a kayak and all equipment and training will be provided by the professional, multi-lingual team before you set off on the three hour tour.
Paddle off from Praia da Batata in Lagos in the large and stable kayaks suitable for two adults or for two adults and a child, and paddle gently along taking in the views before stopping at a secluded beach only accessible by sea.
Take a break from the kayak and snorkel along the shore or enjoy a cooling swim in the sea before heading out onto the open sea to catch some waves to round off an unforgettable kayaking experience.
Book now to reserve your seat! Spaces are limited and advanced booking is essential so book now.
Please quote Reference X117.
Junior (up to 17 years and booking with an adult) €28
Spectator (on boat only) €20
|Coastal Kayak Cave & Snorkeling Trip||35.00€|
All bookings are subject to availability and to confirmation.
Trip report by Algarve Fun’s writer Annemarie van der Zwet. After moving from the Netherlands to the Algarve some years ago, Annemarie has taken it upon her to explore all the area has to offer and loves to share her stories. Next to surfing and exploring, she spends most of her free time socialising, cooking, reading and making music.
It is 12:10 when I walk up to Cais da Solaria in Lagos. After a few years here I have seen the famous cliffs from various angles, but I have never been on an actual tour so I am very excited to join the Lagos kayak trip to finally get up and close with the cliffs and caves by kayak.
The Lagos kayak trip departure point is located to the right of the Ponta da Bandeira fortress. I booked myself in for the 3 hour trip that starts at 12:30. I was advised to be there a good 15 minutes in advance to get ready to start on time. And it’s good to be on time because if you do arrive late, chances are the tour has left without you.
Before we go, the team offer me a dry bag so I can bring things with me in the kayak. They told me to at least bring water and a light shirt along. The shirt comes in handy on the way back as the chilly north wind might pick up a bit in the afternoon. I can leave the rest of my belongings safely behind in their lockers.
While everyone gets ready I get introduced to our guides Nuno and Henrique, two young Portuguese men who speak perfect English. Nuno will be heading my group by kayak while Henrique stays nearby with his motor boat, in case anyone needs help down the road. As we are with roughly 20 people in total, we are split into two groups. I have signed up alone, and kayaks are normally shared, so I am paired with English gal Josie. It shows that this is a great way to meet people when traveling alone. And I’m happy we hit it off straight away, as we will be sharing a quite wobbly vessel for most part of the next 3 hours.
We each grab a paddle and a life jacket before Nuno leads us to the kayaks for quick instructions on how to go forward, backward, brake (which proves to be very useful later) and steer (also quite handy). The strongest person usually sits in the back where most of the power and steering comes from. Note that this person will also have a chance to sneak in a few quick paddle breaks without the front driver noticing. Nuno emphasizes that we have to follow him closely as he knows exactly where to go and, more importantly perhaps, where not.
And then we get to jump in. Which looks to be easy enough as everyone fluidly flows into the water. But leave it up to two blond girls to almost go upside down. Luckily these kayaks are made to accommodate the less gracious seafarers as well and with a little help from boat man Henrique, we are soon on the way. The start beach is located in a closed off area just off the side of the harbor mouth. We take a little practice round in here before we head into the Atlantic ocean, which luckily is almost always calm and waveless in summer. Everything is set for a smooth ride.
It doesn’t take long before the first ooh’s and aah’s can be heard. As soon as we head out the harbor mouth we get a panoramic view of the cliffs. And once again it is clear to me why this remains one of Lagos’ biggest tourist attractions. Especially from the low angle of the kayak the sight is mesmerizing and the water is so clear, you can see the fish pass underneath your kayak. We pass the first small beaches, and our navigating skills are immediately tested when Nuno leads us through a small arch below one of the rocks that sticks out. I’m a bit apprehensive but Josie and I make a good team and just like the rest of our group, we pass underneath with ease. On the other side, we see a man-made arch high above us and Nuno stops us for a moment. He explains us that this arch, as well as the wall we see behind the small beach next to us are the remainders of a 16th century military fortress. It dates back to the seafarer times, where Portugal, and Lagos, played a significant role.
Nuno also tells us that the coast is made of lime-stone, which has weathered and crumbled during centuries of rains, storms and battering waves, leaving us with this mighty scenery of cliffs and scattered rocks sticking out of the ocean. It has also created the caves which we are about to explore. The tour always goes from the starting beach to Ponte de Piedade and back, but because of changing tides, group dynamics and other influences, no tour is ever exactly the same. Today, the water is extremely calm and we get to pass by the coast closely, finding many nooks, and crooks and caves along the way. One even prettier than the other.
We take up the pace a little bit and pass by the beach called Dona Ana heading into the direction of the smaller Praia do Camilo. Nuno stops us again and tells us to follow him closely, one by one. Before he disappears into what seems to be an impossible small hole in the cliff, he tells us to keep our paddles inside the kayak, lean back and get ready to use our hands. And there we go. Into a small tunnel inside the rock. As wide as our kayak and as high as, well… just a bit higher than our kayak. It’s not just a beautiful sight, but a little adventure along the way as well. I am almost expecting us to get stuck halfway through, but clearly our guide knows what he is doing and we all come out the other side with massive smiles on our faces.
Another cave that takes my breath away is called the Love Cave. These names have been given to the caves by the fisherman of the old days, and are still used by everyone. This cave again starts with a small opening into the rock and a seemingly pitch black hole behind it. But once we paddle through, I realize there is a hole in the top of this cave and when my eyes have adjusted to the light, I see that the small entrance, opens into a wider cave, giving us enough space to circle around. I’ve seen this cave from above before, but never knew you could access it by water. I feel a light chill go down my spine to realize that I am underneath an actual cliff. It is strange and beautiful.
After Praia da Camilo, where we pass underneath the large ‘arc de triomphe’ which seems to be randomly sticking out of the ocean, we pick up pace again. A few more beaches and a few more corners and suddenly the cliffs open up. Nuno stops us. We have been on the way for about 1,5 hours now and arrived at Ponte de Piedade where the caves called Kitchen and Living Room can be found. They are larger than the caves we have seen before. The Ponte de Piedade is basically the point of the headland on which Lagos is located. This point, and the way towards it, is what more or less started tourism in Lagos, when fisherman in the 50’s and 60’s started taking visitors aboard to show them this area, Nuno explains us.
We enter the Living Room and come out the other end, this time there are no tiny openings to go through, we just have to make sure to follow Nuno so we don’t get in the way of others or head into rocky territory. If we would continue on the other side, we would basically be heading in the direction of Luz. I’m not sure about the rest, but I am starting to feel my arms burn, so I am happy when we head back around the point and aim for the nearest beach: Praia Grande. Nuno helps us pull the kayaks on shore and pulls out a bag of snorkeling masks. Meanwhile Henrique anchors his boat and paddles towards us on a large surfboard; a Stand Up Paddle board, which we are allowed to take turns on as well.
Praia Grande is a small beach that can only be reached by water or by daredevilling your way down the steep cliffs from above. Therefore it is nice and quite down here, even when the second tour group arrives there as well. We are told that we will have about 30 minutes break time. A bit less for those who choose to paddle back with Nuno. Those who have had their share of paddling (moi included), can stay on the beach a bit longer and latch onto Henrique’s motorboat to get a pull back home.
I decide to grab a snorkeling mask and go for a swim. I swim out into the ocean a bit and turn back around to the cliffs. Another breathtaking panorama spreads out in front of me and I realize that I should have taken this tour ages ago. I was a bit scared it was a tourist trap, with so many boat trips, kayak trips and what nots around the cliffs. But even with other ‘traffic’ around, it didn’t feel too crowded and the views, the caves and the stories are so worth it. From the faces of the others in the group, I get the feeling they experience the same. I even spotted our youngest member (a boy of around 8 together with his dad) staring around with his mouth hanging wide open half of the time.
The way back is easy peasy lemon squeezy. We hook ourselves behind Henrique’s boat and from that point I just sit back and let the last views sink in. Back on shore we bring back our life vests and paddles before retrieving our belongings. Josie and I decide to head into town for an after-kayak drink, which we feel is well deserved after about 2 hours of exercise. But if I could do this ‘work-out’ every day, I sure would.