Caldeirao Verde

The walk to the Caldeirão Verde is one of the most famous Levada walks. It is situated on the north side of the island and goes through a "tropical" forest. The north side of the island has a microclimate, which is much wetter than in the southern part. There is a lush vegitation too. And that it's wetter, we will indeed experience. We start the walk under a cloudy sky with some brightening in the north (above the sea), which however quickly disappears and is replaced by light drizzle during the day and intense rain in the fall. The owner of the cafe at the start of the walk tells us (at the end) that they expect three more days of rain in the area. A real microclimate sure, because the next day the weather turns out better than expected (especially on the south side of the island).

The actual tour starts in Queimadas, but our starting point is still a few kilometers before, near a small holiday village, where the bar provides also something to eat and drink. We took care of rainwear, but in the hustle and bustle we forgot our lanterns, something we later will realize on the walk. The flat run-up to Queimadas passes through beautiful woodland. At the Casa das Quiemadas, a beautiful country house with a thatched roof, (in het Nederlands staat er DANK) it's just finding the right track, but after several attempts, we find the correct path. Probably that is a little easier in high season when there are more walkers. We are however in winter and apparently few people want a rain walk along the levadas.

The path now begins to rise slowly. We get a view of the coast (where we still catch the last rays of the sun). The path continues along a first waterfall. A little further we come to a first tunnel. Damn, we have forgottten our lanterns! The tunnel is fortunately not too long and straight, so that we can see the light as a beacon at the end. A little further yet another tunnel. Pitch black this time. We start out by touch, but must soon admit that this is not really feasible. We decide to halt and eat our sandwiches in a gap of the rock. And we are lucky, there are still a few walkers along, with lanterns. We join silently and yet get again a bit further. The path along the Levada now takes spectacular proportions: a path of about 15 inches wide, located on the hillside, with on the right a precipice of dozens, in some places even several hundred meters. Fortunately there are some steel cables stretched which give some sense of security. Those, however, who suffer from vertig can better stay away.

 

We still have another tunnel to get trough before we ultimately come to the Caldeirão Verde (green boiler). The waterfall is surrounded by steep rocky slopes. At the end of it a waterfall pours into a small lake. Despite the rain falls it doesn't come up to our expectations. It is not the splasching waterfall that flings down feet wide.

Caldeirao Verde

From here you can continue climbing to the Caldeirão do Inferno, the Hell Cauldron, but we have had enough and start the way back. We were totally soaked when we finally arrived at our starting point. Because of the poor visibility we have probably missed a lot of beautiful views over the valleys, but we are so impressed with this walk that we no way wouldn't have missed it.

Highly recommended !