Only 3 stars because the pre tour communication was so poor. The telephone number on the voucher was not in use and emails received no response. The tour company finally made contact at 6pm the night before to provide pick up details.
Picked up at 8.40am.. walk started at 10.40am. Not surprisingly wed been delayed because of a pick up mix up.
Its a nice waik and the tour guide, Gloria, was excellent. Got off to a slow start due to two unfit americans who only just about managed the first 2 kms on a paved path before giving up and getting in the rescue van. Main problem with the walk is that its overcrowded...its way too busy. Also helps if youre okay going close to 6 hours without atoilet.
to be honest, this walk can be done by yourself with the necessary research and willingness to drive around the island to get to the walk. this tour is good for pple who don't drive, don't do much researching and solo pplein a way. it's nice to the someone pick you up and just guide you along the paths so you don't have to worry if you get lost, etc. if you are fast and adventurous, you may feel held back and you generally have to go at the pace of the slowest member in the group. also the first walk idea is not exclusive to any tour company as i found out. there were already a lot of other tour groups and independant trekkers there already. it all boils down to who has less and easier members to pick up and of course, who has the faster vehicle. the guide did give certain information during the walk but i felt that more information could have be shared. the infos given were basic and could be read up on your own in the internet if you want.
This was our first trip to Madeira so we thought it would be a good plan to go on a guided walk or two rather than set off independently straight away. The added bonus of a guided trip is also the transport being laid on, avoiding the need to negotiate the winding roads and enabling drop off and pick up at different locations at the beginning and end of the walk. When we booked this one, we didn't quite appreciate that it was one of the most popular of the guided levada walks and that it would be quite as busy as it was. Our day began when we were picked up by the minibus at a pre-arranged spot. Our guide for the day was Rita, who proved to be well-informed, knowledgeable and concerned for our safety, wellbeing and enjoyment. We were a group of 10, mixed in terms of nationality, age and walking experience. It was a good size of group, unlike some of the other guided groups we met. Our first stop was at a small village supermarket, with a cafe and toilet facilities. Rita also took the time to show us our route on the map, which was helpful. Our route from there was up a steep road to the Paul de Sierra. The sun was shining, and it was magnificent. We set off from where the minibus had dropped dropped us off, our driver having ensured we all had torches for later in the day. The first part of the route was down a tarmac road, leaving it to descend on a cobbled path. The native woodland was beautiful, and Rita was great at pointing out flora and fauna. The walk to the waterfall was lovely, and a welcome stop there allowed for a snack, before we headed down to the levada leading to 25 Fontes. This section was quite slow, mainly because of the need for care because of the narrow path, and also because of the number of people coming back from the 25 Fontes. When we got there, we were out of the sun so it was quite cool. Loads of people having lunch. No toilet facilities of course. We stopped for 45 minutes, possibly slightly longer than needed, but not a problem. Setting off again, it didn't seem to take us long to retrace our steps on the levada, before taking a new stretch along to where a very long tunnel cut through the mountain. We were glad of jackets and needed the torches for the 700 metres, moving from the north side of the island to the south. Having been in sun or able to see the sun through the trees for most of the day, we were surprised to come out of the tunnel into cloud and mist. A relatively short walk led us to where the minibus was waiting for us. Down the mountain, a very welcome stop allowed bathroom visits and drinks, some of us sampling the local Ponchas. It was also nice to have time to chat further to others in the group. Back in the minibus, it was about 30 minutes back to the first drop off point on the outskirts of Funchal. All in all, a very good experience. Big thanks to Rita. Also very grateful for the way staff dealt with walking poles left in the minibus - a phone call and clear explanation of when they would be dropped in at the office and could be collected. We have booked another two walks during our stay in Madeira.
Fantastic day on this Levada walk led by Denis who was very entertaining and informative. Lovely walk to and from dramatic lake with many streams flowing down but very busy area so you need to prepare yourself for that. 4 stars as admin was hopeless. No communication until late afternoon day before.
We were picked up promptly at our hotel by the mini bus driver and tour guide.
Had a comfortable journey to the start of the walk via a stop for coffee/picnic things/toilet.
Our guide was keen for us to have a great walk but was also to have a safe walk so stressed the right way to walk a levada. Very reassuring. He was very knowledgeable about the area and knew his plants and wildlife. A very enjoyable walk even providing torches when going through a tunnel. Would thoroughly recommend this trip.
This was a very nice tour. The guide made enough stops to enjoy the views and timed the tour so that we arrived before the other groups and had time to enjoy the fountains by ourselves. During levada walk you have to keep your eyes on the ground to stay safe. So making enough stops is essential. Even though our guide did not have a big script for the tour, but he has good humor and always answered the questions about history and nature.
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