The Poco das Pulgas waterfall hike in Ponta Delgada Madeira is an 8 kilometre off the beaten path loop. You are completely immersed in Madeira’s jungle on the north coast and will pass along several waterfall and enchanting streams surrounded by lush greens. This hike is quite technical and challenging, so I would only advice it if you have experience with hiking. The waterfalls you will see along the way are stunning though, so if you’re in for a little adventure then this hike is a must do. Find all the information you need about the Poço das Pulgas waterfall hike in this blog post!

Poço das Pulgas waterfall hike key facts

Before you set off for this off the beaten path waterfall hike, check the key facts below!

Hike distance and time: If you do the loop like we did from Parque das Merendas to Poço das Pulgas waterfall and back to the car park it is a little less than 7 kilometres. This seems like a moderate hike distance. But because the trail is quite wild with lots of uneven slippery steps and narrow paths with a steep ascent and descent, the complete hike will take you about 3 – 4 hours depending on how long you take a break to enjoy the waterfalls.

Hike difficulty and incline: In terms of difficulty this hike is quite difficult and I would only advice to go if you’re a more experienced hiker. The hike is very technical and you have to walk with care and attention. There is a part where you need to climb up a rock via a rope. It’s nothing too serious but you will need some basic core and arm strength. The total incline is about 600 meters.

How to get to the Poço das Pulgas waterfall hike

Poco das Pulgas is located in Ponta Delgada, on the beautiful green north coast of Madeira. The hike starts at the Parque das Merendas picnic area which offers free toilets, waste bins, a bbq area and seats. There is enough parking space here and its right around the corner of the trail. On maps.me you can easily see how the trail goes, but it’s also clearly marked along the way. If you follow Estrada das Fontes (Cova do Bardo) you will first have a bit of incline on a paved road along some mountain bungalows before you enter the forest where the real trail starts. From this part there are signs along the way, and you can always follow maps.me which shows the exact route on the map as well.

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Best time to do the Poço das Pulgas waterfall hike

Basically every moment of the day is a good time to do this hike. But one thing I would advice is to not do this hike after days of rain. The ground then will be impassable with too much mud. We went when it had been dry for some days, but we could still see some puddles of water and mud from the rainy days before. Also you don’t want to have rain along the way, so check the weather forecast of Madeira’s north coast so you’ll be sure and safe during your hike.

What to expect during the Poço das Pulgas waterfall hike

When you start the Poço das Pulgas waterfall hike from Parque das Merendas you have to walk to the right to get to Estrada das Fontes (Cova do Bardo). This is a paved road which you need to follow all the way up until you reach the forest trail. You’ll pass some mountain bungalows, and maybe this sweet cat comes to say hi as he did to us.

The first waterfall stream already makes it appearance before you enter the forest trail. With a bridge connecting the two sides of this little river you’ll have a beautiful perspective on this small water stream. It already feels as if you’re immersed in Madeira’s jungle but the real trail didn’t even start yet! Definitely take the time to check out this first point of interest along the trail.

Soon after this little waterfall stream you will dive into the lush vegetation of Madeira. The first blue sign of Poço das Pulgas will be visible and you will see these sign throughout the hike as well. It’s obvious that the main waterfall of this is Poço das Pulgas, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lot to explore along the way!

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After you’ve had the first part of the Poco das Pulgas waterfall hike on the paved road, it gets very interesting as soon as you enter the forest. It looks like the trail is a dried up stream with lots of rocks which now act as stairs. This is the first part where the incline starts. It’s not that difficult to cover this part, you just have to pay attention to where you put your feet. Slowly you’ll make your way up until you reach the second sign which leads towards the first big waterfall of this hike!

Cascata do Rabo do Burro waterfall

The second blue sign you’ll see leads you to the Cascata do Rabo do Burro waterfall. This is the first main point of interest on this hike and you will definitely want to check out this waterfall! The beautiful straight stream of water surrounded by ferns made us feel far away from civilisation. It might be even the prettiest waterfall of this hike, but that’s our opinion! There are many interesting angles to capture this beautiful waterfall from. There is also an old tree branch laying in front of the waterfall which creates a beautiful leading line if we’re talking about composition for photos. We spend about 20 minutes exploring this place, taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful green scenery.

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Poço das Pulgas waterfall

After the Cascata do Rabo do Burro waterfall you’ll walk a bit on the same path back until you get on the initial Poço das Pulgas waterfall trail again. This is just a few hundred meters so don’t worry about adding extra kilometres. You will pass another waterfall along the trail and you even have to cross it on top which feels quite adventurous! After this, there’s a small wooden stair waiting for you to be climbed. This fun attraction adds extra adrenaline to the hike is almost feels like an outdoor playground! You will now continue on a narrow path so make sure to pay attention to every step you take! From here it’s just about 2 more kilometres until you reach Poço das Pulgas waterfall.

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Poço das Pulgas waterfall

After the Cascata do Rabo do Burro waterfall you’ll walk a bit on the same path back until you get on the initial Poço das Pulgas waterfall trail again. This is just a few hundred meters so don’t worry about adding extra kilometres. You will pass another waterfall along the trail and you even have to cross it on top which feels quite adventurous! After this, there’s a small wooden stair waiting for you to be climbed. This fun attraction adds extra adrenaline to the hike is almost feels like an outdoor playground! You will now continue on a narrow path so make sure to pay attention to every step you take! From here it’s just about 2 more kilometres until you reach Poço das Pulgas waterfall.

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When you’re 100 meters away from Poço das Pulgas waterfall, you’ll see again a sign pointing you towards the right direction. You have to climb a few rocks again, cross a little stream, and then you’ll see Poço das Pulgas waterfall in all her glory. Hidden in a kind of canyon and surrounded by vines, ferns and lots of other green vegetation, this is a beautiful reward for the effort of the hike! Multiple tiers of water cascades down in this little canyon with ferns and hanging vines creating a beautiful serene place. You will definitely want to enjoy this place for some time. Eat a snack, your lunch, or when it’s really hot you might even want to take a dip in the crystal clear pool!

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The way back from Poço das Pulgas waterfall 

After exploring the beautiful Poco das Pulgas waterfall it’s time to head back to the parking. Don’t expect it to be easy or downhill from this part! You even have to climb a bit via a rope that’s attached to the rock wall. This requiers some basic core and arm strength, but is nothing too scary. It adds some extra fun and exercise to the hike. The main part of the way back is downhill, however this doesn’t mean it’s easy. We experienced the downhill part maybe even more exhausting because you engage your quads constantly and there are parts where it’s really slippery! Especially with leaves on the ground which can be a bit wet and little branches which roll easily when you step on them. It’s obvious that this hike requiers your attention all the time. But it’s absolutely worth it with beautiful waterfalls along the way! We would definitely recommend to do this hike if you have experience hiking the wilder paths.

Even in the last meters of this hike you’ll be treated with beautiful views on the mountain behind you. These final meters of the hike makes you look back on this crazy little adventure in the mountains to some of the most beautiful waterfalls of Madeira. It was for us a fun half day adventure, let us know if you hiked this trail as well and how you experienced it!

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