IPA Magazine-Luxury Travel Reviews

Benagil Boat Tours to Spectacular Sea Grottoes

IMG_0117The enchanting coastal area of The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is the country’s most famous tourist magnet, drawing millions of visitors annually.  Here one finds championship golf courses, bustling marinas, fascinating limestone caves and picturesque grottoes stretched along nearly one hundred miles of enthralling coastland.

But sea grottoes—small, picturesque caves along the shoreline—are not all visible from beaches or cliffs.  Some of the better ones are inaccessible to visitors from the land.  Miles of high cliffs soaring steeply above the sea hide entrances to grottoes hundreds of feet below.

This means one must be able to find these entrances from a boat on the ocean.  In the Algarve, many of the finest sea grottoes are only visible and accessible from the sea.

Fortunately, there is a way to visit Portugal’s majestic sea grottoes located midway between the coastal towns of Portimao and Albufeira.  In the tiny seaside fishing village of Benagil, Taruga Tours makes it possible to visit about twenty of these grottoes, all during a spectacular one hour tour.  Taruga’s tour captain takes out about ten persons at a time, providing an unforgettable experience that allows you to capture pictures of some of nature’s most beautiful and rare treasures.

Some of the sea caves are dark upon entering, only to reveal a huge underground cavern with a beach inside.  Some of the sea caves have very lowIMG_0116 and narrow entrances.  The skilled pilot navigates carefully, squeezing the vessel into a hole in the cliff that, moments before, seemed impossible to enter.  A couple of the grottoes have keyhole openings in the top, allowing sunlight to pour in from above, illuminating the walls with a sometimes eerie, golden glow.  In every instance, there are plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” from your shipmates as they enter a new grotto experience.

If you absolutely cannot find it possible to go on this incredible journey in person, you can have a vicarious experience here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8Uvzv9jSdg   However, watching a video and experiencing the real thing are as different as night and day.  This is truly an unforgettable experience.

We found the tiny village of Benagil by plugging its name into our handy Garmin Nuvi GPS, an indispensable tool for driving throughout Portugal.  Prior to our flight to Portugal, we downloaded the most recent maps of the country.  Our handy navigation unit helped us easily find Benagil after a series of twisting and turning roads and roundabouts.

Once we parked our car on the road and headed down to the beach, the little kiosk for Taruga Tours was easy to find.  We met Ruben J. Costa, the owner, who booked us on the next boat going out.  The fare of €17.50 per adult is probably the best value for the money you will find in Portugal.  This is a must-see experience of a lifetime.  The journey begins from the beach where, once loaded inside the boat with your life vest secured, a crew helps push you out into the sea.  An hour later your boat captain speeds your vessel right up onto the beach where it stops abruptly after hitting the sand.  Catching your breath, you find you’ve just taken one of the most exhilarating excursions of your life.

Taruga Benagil Tours

“We’re Open All Year!”

Praia de Benagil, Algarve, Portugal

www.tarugatoursbenagilcaves.pt

rubenjcosta@gmail.com

Cap. Ruben  00351 969 617 828

Lat. 37° 5’ 16” N   Long.  8° 25’ 35” W

 

 

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