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Poço Das Pulgas Waterfall Hike On Madeira Island


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Gwyneth Felker



Welcome to the enchanting world of Poço Das Pulgas, a hidden gem tucked away on the beautiful island of Madeira, Portugal. Nestled amidst lush greenery and surrounded by untouched nature, Poço Das Pulgas is a mesmerizing waterfall that offers an unforgettable hiking experience.


Named after the Portuguese phrase “poço das pulgas,” which means “pool of fleas,” this cascading waterfall boasts crystal clear waters that beckon adventurers and nature lovers alike. With its tranquil ambiance and breathtaking natural beauty, it’s no wonder that Poço Das Pulgas has become a popular destination for locals and tourists seeking to escape the bustling city life.


Located on Madeira Island, renowned for its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity, Poço Das Pulgas serves as a refreshing oasis that showcases the island’s innate charm. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a nature enthusiast looking for a picturesque spot to relax and unwind, this hidden waterfall is sure to capture your heart.


As you embark on your journey to Poço Das Pulgas, prepare to be enthralled by the lush vegetation, towering cliffs, and the soothing sound of cascading water. Each step will lead you deeper into an untouched natural paradise, where serenity and tranquility prevail.


This article will guide you through the exhilarating experience of hiking to Poço Das Pulgas, providing essential information about how to reach the waterfall, trail descriptions, difficulty levels, safety tips, what to bring, and important information that will make your adventure seamless and enjoyable.


Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of Madeira Island and discover the hidden wonders of Poço Das Pulgas.


Getting to Poço Das Pulgas

Reaching Poço Das Pulgas requires a bit of effort, but the journey is well worth it. The waterfall is located on the eastern coast of Madeira Island, near the village of São Jorge. Here are a few options for getting to the starting point of the hike:

  1. By Car: If you have access to a car, the most convenient way to get to Poço Das Pulgas is by driving. From Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, take the highway towards Machico. Exit at the São Jorge sign and follow the signs for Poço Das Pulgas. The journey will take approximately 30 minutes.
  2. By Public Transportation: If you prefer to use public transportation, you can take a bus from Funchal to São Jorge. Buses run regularly, but it’s wise to check the schedule in advance. Once you arrive in São Jorge, you can either take a taxi or walk to the starting point of the trail, which is approximately 2 kilometers away.
  3. Guided Tours: Another option is to join a guided tour that includes transportation to Poço Das Pulgas. This can be a great choice if you prefer a hassle-free experience and want the expertise of a local guide to enhance your hike.

Regardless of the method you choose, ensure that you have precise directions and a map to avoid any confusion along the way. The starting point of the trail is easily accessible and well-marked.


Remember to check the weather conditions before heading out, as heavy rain can make the trail slippery and unsafe. It’s best to embark on this adventure during the dry season to fully enjoy the beauty of Poço Das Pulgas.


Once you arrive at the starting point, you’re ready to begin your adventure to discover the captivating Poço Das Pulgas waterfall. Lace up your hiking boots, take a deep breath, and get ready to explore the wonders of Madeira Island.


Trail Description

The trail to Poço Das Pulgas is a picturesque journey that takes you through a captivating landscape, offering stunning views and a sense of tranquility. Here’s a detailed description of the trail:


The hike starts at the entrance of a small village near São Jorge. From there, you’ll follow a well-marked path that winds its way through a dense forest, filled with a variety of endemic plant species that thrive in Madeira’s unique climate. As you venture deeper into the trail, you’ll be immersed in the sights and sounds of nature.


The path gradually descends, leading you towards the sound of rushing water. As you approach the waterfall, you’ll catch glimpses of the cascading water through the dense foliage. The trail continues along the edge of the river, offering opportunities to pause and admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape.


As you near the end of the trail, you’ll encounter a series of natural pools carved by the waterfall’s water over time. These pools, known as “poços,” are perfect for a refreshing swim or a moment of relaxation. The crystal clear water and the peaceful ambiance create a truly magical experience.


The hike to Poço Das Pulgas is approximately 5 kilometers round trip, with an elevation change of about 300 meters. The trail is rated as moderate, suitable for hikers with a decent level of fitness.


Throughout the hike, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the lush mountainside, rolling hills, and the glistening ocean in the distance. The combination of natural beauty and the invigorating exercise makes this hike a memorable experience.


It’s important to note that the trail can be rocky and uneven in some sections, so wearing proper hiking shoes and using caution is essential. Additionally, be prepared to navigate a few stream crossings, especially if there has been recent rainfall.


Take your time to enjoy the journey, capture the mesmerizing moments with your camera, and immerse yourself in the serenity of Poço Das Pulgas.


Difficulty Level

The hike to Poço Das Pulgas is considered moderate in terms of difficulty. While it does not require advanced hiking skills or technical gear, a moderate level of fitness and agility is recommended to fully enjoy the experience. Here’s an overview of the difficulty level:


Elevation Gain: The trail involves an elevation gain of approximately 300 meters. This means you’ll encounter some uphill sections that may require a bit of stamina and endurance. However, the gradual ascent allows for a manageable pace, ensuring you can take breaks and enjoy the stunning scenery along the way.


Trail Condition: The path to Poço Das Pulgas is well-maintained and clearly marked, making navigation relatively easy. However, there are some sections where the terrain can be uneven or rocky, requiring careful footing. It’s important to wear sturdy hiking shoes and use caution, especially during wet or slippery conditions.


Distance: The hike is approximately 5 kilometers round trip. While not too long, the distance can be challenging for those who are not accustomed to walking longer distances. It’s important to pace yourself and take breaks when needed.


Time: The hike to Poço Das Pulgas typically takes around 2-3 hours to complete, depending on your pace and the amount of time you spend at the waterfall. It’s advisable to start early in the day to allow ample time for exploration and relaxation at the destination.


Overall, while the hike presents some moderate challenges, it is accessible to most people with a reasonable level of fitness. If you’re a beginner hiker or not confident in your abilities, it may be helpful to go with a group or hire a guide who can provide assistance and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


Remember to always assess your own fitness level and listen to your body during the hike. Take breaks when needed, stay hydrated, and enjoy the journey at your own pace. With the right preparation and mindset, the hike to Poço Das Pulgas will reward you with incredible views and unforgettable moments in the midst of nature’s beauty.


Safety Tips

While the hike to Poço Das Pulgas is a memorable adventure, it’s essential to prioritize safety during your journey. Here are some key safety tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:

  1. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction to navigate the terrain safely. This will help prevent slips and falls, especially on uneven or slippery surfaces.
  2. Check the Weather: Before embarking on the hike, check the weather forecast for the area. Avoid hiking during heavy rain or storms, as it can make the trail slippery and increase the risk of accidents.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Carry an ample supply of water to stay hydrated throughout the hike. This is especially important during warmer months when the sun and physical exertion can lead to dehydration.
  4. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. The trail offers limited shade, so it’s crucial to shield yourself from potential sunburns.
  5. Keep a Safe Distance: While swimming or relaxing near the waterfall’s pools, be cautious of slippery rocks and fast-moving water. Do not venture too close to the edge of the waterfall, as it can be dangerous. Respect your own limits and personal safety.
  6. Stay on the Trail: Stick to the designated trail and avoid taking shortcuts or branching off onto unmarked paths. Straying from the trail can lead to getting lost or encountering unsafe terrain.
  7. Inform Someone: Before heading out, share your hiking plans with a friend or family member. Let them know the estimated duration of your hike and when you expect to return. This ensures that someone knows your whereabouts in case of an emergency.
  8. Pack Essentials: Bring essential items such as a first aid kit, snacks, a map or guidebook, insect repellent, and a fully charged cell phone. These items will come in handy for any unforeseen circumstances or emergencies.
  9. Respect Nature: Preserve the natural environment by not littering and practicing Leave No Trace principles. Leave the trail as you found it, respecting the flora and fauna that make the area so special.

By following these safety tips, you can enjoy your hike to Poço Das Pulgas with peace of mind, knowing that you have taken necessary precautions to ensure your safety and well-being.


What to Bring

Proper preparation is key to having a successful and enjoyable hike to Poço Das Pulgas. Here’s a checklist of essential items to bring with you:

  1. Hiking Essentials: Wear appropriate clothing suitable for hiking, including moisture-wicking layers, hiking pants or shorts, and a lightweight, breathable shirt. Don’t forget to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  2. Hiking Shoes: Invest in a pair of sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction to navigate the trail safely. Make sure they are broken in and comfortable to avoid blisters or discomfort during the hike.
  3. Water: Carry an adequate amount of water to stay hydrated throughout the hike. It’s recommended to bring at least one liter of water per person, more if hiking during warmer months.
  4. Snacks: Pack some lightweight, nutritious snacks to keep your energy levels up during the hike. Granola bars, trail mix, and fresh fruit are excellent options.
  5. Backpack: Use a comfortable backpack to carry your essentials. Make sure it has a waist strap and adjustable shoulder straps for a proper fit and weight distribution.
  6. Navigation Tools: Bring a detailed map or a guidebook of the trail to ensure you stay on course. If you prefer digital navigation, a GPS device or smartphone with a reliable hiking app can also be useful.
  7. First Aid Kit: Pack a basic first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic ointment, blister pads, and any personal medications you may need.
  8. Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF, a hat, and sunglasses. The trail offers limited shade, so it’s crucial to shield yourself from harmful UV rays.
  9. Insect Repellent: Apply insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitos and other insects that may be present along the trail.
  10. Camera: Capture the stunning scenery of Poço Das Pulgas by bringing a camera or smartphone to document your journey. Don’t forget to charge the batteries and bring extra memory cards.

It’s essential to pack light and only bring what you truly need to avoid unnecessary weight and discomfort during the hike.


By being well-prepared and bringing these essential items, you’ll have a more enjoyable and comfortable experience as you explore the beauty of Poço Das Pulgas.


Important Information

Before embarking on your hike to Poço Das Pulgas, there are a few key pieces of information that you should know:

  1. Trail Hours: The trail to Poço Das Pulgas is accessible year-round. However, it’s advisable to start your hike early in the day to allow ample time for exploration and to avoid hiking in the heat of the day.
  2. Weather Conditions: Check the weather forecast before heading out. The trail can become slippery and unsafe during heavy rain, so it’s best to plan your hike on a day with clear weather.
  3. Swimming: The natural pools formed by the waterfall offer a refreshing opportunity for a swim. However, be cautious of your swimming abilities and always exercise caution in the water. It’s important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty.
  4. Litter: Help preserve the pristine environment of Poço Das Pulgas by practicing Leave No Trace principles. Please pack out all your trash and dispose of it properly.
  5. Wildlife and Flora: Madeira Island is home to a variety of unique plant and animal species. Respect their natural habitat and observe wildlife from a distance. Avoid feeding or disturbing any wildlife you may encounter.
  6. Emergency Services: In case of an emergency, dial the appropriate emergency number in Portugal, which is 112. Save this number in your phone or have it readily accessible.
  7. Respect the Local Community: Remember that Poço Das Pulgas is located near a small village. Be mindful of local residents and their property. Keep noise levels down and leave gates and fences as you found them.
  8. Guided Tours: If you prefer to have a more structured experience or want to learn more about the area’s history and biodiversity, consider joining a guided tour. Local guides can provide valuable insights and enhance your overall experience.

Respecting the environment, local community, and following any posted rules or regulations will help ensure that Poço Das Pulgas remains a pristine and enjoyable destination for future visitors.


Now that you’re equipped with this important information, it’s time to embark on your adventure to Poço Das Pulgas and witness the magic of this hidden gem on Madeira Island.



Congratulations! You’re now armed with all the information you need to embark on an unforgettable hiking experience to Poço Das Pulgas on Madeira Island. As you journey through the enchanting forests, listen to the melodies of nature, and witness the majestic waterfall, you’ll understand why this hidden gem captures the hearts of all who visit.


From the moment you arrive at the starting point of the trail, you’ll be immersed in the awe-inspiring beauty of the surrounding landscape. The lush greenery, towering cliffs, and the sound of cascading water create a sensory experience that is truly mesmerizing.


As you make your way along the well-marked path, take the time to appreciate every step. The gradual descent, the rustling leaves, and the anticipation of reaching the final destination will heighten your sense of wonder and excitement.


When you finally arrive at Poço Das Pulgas, allow yourself to be captivated by the majestic waterfall and the inviting natural pools. Take a moment to dip your toes in the crystal clear water, swim in one of the pools, or simply sit back and bask in the serenity of the surroundings.


Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the environment and local community throughout your journey. Preserve the natural beauty of Poço Das Pulgas for future generations to enjoy.


Whether you’re an avid hiker or just beginning to explore the wonders of nature, the hike to Poço Das Pulgas offers an adventure that will leave a lasting imprint on your soul. It’s a chance to disconnect from the noise of everyday life and immerse yourself in the tranquility and raw beauty of Madeira Island.


So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and embark on this extraordinary journey to Poço Das Pulgas. Allow yourself to be enchanted by the sights, sounds, and sensations as you discover the magic of this hidden waterfall in the heart of Portugal’s captivating landscapes.


Get ready for an experience that will not only invigorate your body but also nourish your spirit, leaving you with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.