A canyon filled with flowering bushes and green shrubs

Canyoning in The Azores – the Ravines of Nordeste

Canyoning in The Azores is not only an exciting activity, it is also a a great way to see hidden parts of the island of São Miguel…

Another fun activity to do on Sāo Miguel is canyoning. This was our second time canyoning – the first time we did it was in Jordan. This time, it was a lot more exciting and also a little less scary – mostly because we knew we were in good hands – in Jordan, we were mostly left on our own.

We went with a couple of guides from the Azores Adventure Island Tours, and I can say they were truly amazing. The guides were all very experienced and also super fun to be with. They were also part of the island’s mountain rescue service – which certainly helped made us feel safe during our trip.

Man and woman canyoning in a tropical canyon
Taking a break from all the canyoning action to pose for a photo

A Different Perspective of The Azores

Canyoning is a a really great way to get to see some parts of nature we otherwise would not. It also gives us the opportunity to experience it from a different perspective.

Our experience was the half day Nordeste tour at easy to medium difficulty level. Personally I thought it was pretty easy – I wasn’t very experienced out in nature when we did it, and I still managed without getting into any accidents.

A Confidence Building Activity

Personally I felt this canyoning experience brought up my confidence level out in nature – I initially thought I would have a hard time doing the jumps and I was quite scared when it came to my turn to abseil beside one of the waterfalls, but I did it – although they looked difficult at first, with proper direction, they really were quite manageable.

Our guides of course were doing all sorts of hair raising tricks, like jumping off a ledge and bouncing off cliff faces and such. Like most people from the Azores, they were born and bred in nature and spent their lives adventuring and this activity was second nature to them.

A pond in the middle of a volcanic forest
The start/end point of the canyoning tour was in this pristine park. I loved how the thick, green forests surrounded us everywhere inland on São Miguel

Exciting Moments to Remember

There were two points on the hike through the canyon I remembered very well. One was a jump from what felt like three stories – I think it was actually only 6 meters – and another was an abseil beside a gushing waterfall. The jump was scary because, well – it was a jump into a dark pool that was pretty far down below. As for the abseil, how shall I put it… you basically have to trust a length or rope tethered to a rock and tied around a harness on your waist as you lean back and start descending, parallel to the waterfall. To be honest, it looked scarier than it actually was. The hardest part was the first few seconds between gathering the courage to lean back into the abyss and actually doing it. Once I did it, the rest came pretty easily.

Palm trees and blue skies on the island of Sao Miguel, The Azores
We were so lucky with the amazing weather during our entire stay

Would I Go Canyoning in The Azores Again?

Canyoning in the Azores was one of the most fun things I’d done in my life – it really made me feel alive and pushed the limits of my courage. If I was ever back in the Azores, I would certainly do more canyoning activities with our guides from the Azores Adventure Island Tours.

a small, artificial waterfall in the Azores
This cute waterfall is actually “artificial” – created by splitting and diverging a river that feeds it