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  • Writer's pictureRita Cardoso

S. Miguel, Açores | Mata do Canário - Lagoa do Canário - Grota do Inferno - Lagoa de Santiago

Inside Caldeira das Sete Cidades, in addition to Lagoa das Sete Cidades, we also find Lagoa de Santiago and Lagoa Rasa, which, although smaller, also have their beauty. There are also in the Serra Devassa massif, southeast of the caldera, several other lagoons that are also worth visiting, notably the Lagoa do Canário (Canary Lagoon), because it was the only one I visited, as many of the paths to visit the other lagoons were blocked (perhaps due to the pandemic, there wasn’t much information available).

Also, within the Protected Landscape Area of ​​Sete Cidades, there is the Grota do Inferno viewpoint, a privileged viewpoint for the Lagoa de Santiago, the Crater of the Sete Cidades and the Serra Devassa. Perhaps also among the most popular, but I believe that sometimes it goes unnoticed because it is necessary to take a short 15-minute walk (or less) and the path is not as obvious or as signposted as others.

Mata do Canário is a forest park where the typical Macaronesian endemic flora predominates, such as Lactuca watsoniana (alfacinha), Angelica lignescens (angélica), Rumex azoricus (labaça-das-ilhas), Euphorbia stygiana stygiana (trovisco-macho), Portuguese names inside the brackets. There are also vast areas of forest planted with the large Cryptomeria japonica (criptoméria), it’s a type of wood that was worth a lot of money a few years ago.

In non-pandemic times, it is possible to enter this park with your car and near the picnic area there is a car park, but as I mentioned earlier, many of the entrances were blocked, but this park had an alternative entrance, I am not sure if official or done Portuguese style. However, we parked the car in the car park next to the main road, right in front of the entrance to Mata do Canário and got in. This park has reddish orange dirt roads, and the big cryptomeria to all around the paths, also with reddish trunks.

As soon as we enter and walk a little, there are some marked trails on our left. In fact, you can choose any of them, they are all of little difficulty, although narrow, and they all go to the same place, the beautiful Lagoa do Canário. This lagoon has now gained a new prominence, because its shape seen from above, looks like a logo of an application of a social network, Snapchat, all surrounded by forest (snapchat photo).

After visiting this beautiful lagoon, it was time to look for the path that would take us to one of the most anticipated views, the view from the Grota do Inferno viewpoint, or Boca do Inferno. We went back up to the main path and when we are facing the parking lot and picnic area, we follow the path on the left, a wide road, straight ahead.

You walk about 5, 7 minutes until you reach a place where you cannot walk further, I think there is also a car park here, and we follow a narrow path on our left, we also saw people following inside of an area on the right, like a picnic area, but it seemed easier to go this way. You walk for another 3, 4 minutes on this narrow path and with some steps until you find a kind of raised earth tongue heading towards the lagoon. From there it is always improving, as we get closer the view is getting wider and we can see Lagoa de Santiago, Lagoa Rasa, part of Lagoa das Sete Cidades, Lagoa Azul, and to our right we still see the Serra Devassa massif. Luckily for us, we were able to be at the viewpoint absolutely alone for a few minutes and there was no fog or clouds. The way back is done through the same route through Mata do Canário.

Lagoa de Santiago - green one.

Lagoa das Sete Cidades - You can only see the Blue Lagoon.

Lagoa Rasa - the blue one, smaller one, on the left.


  • Check the weather before you go, Spotazores with live cameras, and if you get to the viewpoint and there are some clouds, wait a little bit, there is always a chance that they will dissipate and provide you with a beautiful view.

  • Take comfortable walking shoes, the road is made of dirt and then there is the narrow path with steps.

  • Do not leave garbage or signs of your presence, in such natural and beautiful places.

  • In normal times, the Parque Florestal da Mata do Canário has opening and closing times, check the website for the schedule.

Click here to check the post with my location suggestions to visit at S. Miguel.

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