Even in a pandemic: Nature in Madeira can be enjoyed in full

After months of confinement, I returned to travel by plane. I already missed. Under the pretext of launching the new Madeira brand, I ventured. A lot of people still lack confidence. But with a negative test and observing all safety rules, porque não? More day, less day we will all go back to travel, mainly for destinations considered safe.

I was confined to the hotel, não? Nature in Madeira can, even in these pandemic times, be enjoyed in full. Tourist entertainment companies are operating and making us feel safe. They continue to offer a wide variety of experiences on land, no mar e no ar, in the mountains, with history and culture, with more or less adrenaline. It just depends on our imagination. Your guides are still experienced and are there. Know the region like no one else. Just bookmark and enjoy, whether on half-day or full-day tours. What was still forbidden was the famous descent from Monte in basket carts. But everything else just depends on the tourist's imagination.

We left the hotel early (06h00) heading to Pico da Areeiro, one of the tallest on the island of Madeira, with an altitude of 1818 metros. The views are fabulous, with the clouds hovering over the fantastic rock formations - a scenario impossible to describe. Is cold, but arriving in time to enjoy the sunrise from one of the highest points in Madeira makes us warm up.

The company that provided us with this experience was Discovery Island, which organizes a series of island tours, at prices ranging from 35 euros 55 euros por pessoa, and we were guided by Marco Davide.

It is worthwhile to feel embraced by an untouchable nature, for example from the Laurissilva forest here and there, for the tropical flowers and fruits that lurk by the side of the road and get us drunk with their smells.

It was a beautiful day out. After the dazzling sunrise, and we were not alone, because there were more tourists than, being on the island, did not want to miss this wonder of nature, this tourist entertainment company even allows us a healthy breakfast, in the picnic park of Chão das Feiteiras, an agreement with The Vantastic.

Nobody is fasting anymore. It's time to discover Ribeiro Frio, famous for its many attractions. Here the visitor finds a beautiful visitable garden, a famous trout pond and the departure for two extraordinary hikes, as well as prove (can not lose) the famous pingado made up of sack coffee and Madeira wine (I swear it warms up those who want to climb the mountain) and then start a peaceful walk through the Levada dos Balcões until you reach your biggest viewpoint, a paradise for lovers of bird watching in Madeira.

Getting there costs absolutely nothing, this because the Levada dos Balcões is really easy, probably the easiest of all Madeira Island. Surprise! We were blessed by a dazzling rainbow that flooded the sky with all the fullness of its colors.

Hear the waterfalls and discover the Madeiran flavors

It's April. Time changed our laps. But accompanied by an experienced guide, the changes to the tour were happening throughout the day. Nobody lost, pelo contrário. We saw and heard the laughter of the waterfalls along the way, that descend without rest from the mountains bringing the freshness of the waters and feed an unparalleled flora. We went to the viewpoint of Forte da Faial, place simply to hold your breath, for before a big lunch at Quinta do Furão, time to visit Santana and its typical houses. In addition to those preserved by the, there is still (few) families who keep these houses in the same way as they were built and lived 200 anos.

On the balcony of the Quinta do Furão restaurant, where the beauty of the gardens and vineyards of this hotel are merged with the blue of the ocean and with the indentation of the entire Northeast coast, where the Ilhéu da Viúva stands out in the Rocha do Navio Nature Reserve, lunch was served with the most typical Madeiran flavors. Mais uma vez, we were not alone. Families with children, locals and foreigners went to prove what the island knows best.

The rain gave no respite. The program included the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço. It lasts for 2h30 (round trip over a distance of eight kilometers), in an undulating path that allows you to observe the landscapes of the cliff at the eastern tip of the island, baptized with the name of the caravel of João Gonçalves Zarco, one of the three discoverers on the island of Madeira. At the end of the route there is a small construction called ‘Casa do Sardinha’ (family name of the former owners), giving support to the watchmen of the service of the Natural Park of Madeira.

All the way, the wide landscapes on the peninsula are unique, being possible at the end of the route, visit the IFCN Reception Center and get to know in detail the natural species that inhabit Ponta de São Lourenço. You can also take the opportunity to cool off and take a dip in the clear waters of Cais do Sardinha, as well as climbing to the highest point of the peninsula and observing in 360 graus, all the coastal surroundings. At the end of the route there is an area where you can rest and have a quiet lunch.

The return is made by the same path to the starting point. Anyone who does not want to make the same return journey can return to Funchal by boat.

We did not make this path. We had just a little smell to catch a glimpse of the mythical Ponta de São Lourenço from afar, how far vehicles can get, but we promise to go through it in an already Madeira.

Carolina Morgado