Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Levada dos Marocos Experience

Length -  6 kilometers
Hike Duration - 2 hours
Grade -  Easy
Highlight - The view over Machico and Atlantic Ocean

About the Levada

Levada is an irrigation system typical to the island of Madeira. In the 16th centuries because of Madeira´s ridge landscape, the Portuguese started building the levadas to carry water to agricultural regions in the island. Nowadays levadas have still the same agricultural function and serve as one of the popular tourist activities in the island. The Madeirans have built  approximately 2500 kilometers of  levadas.

The Levada
Our experience

The guide was already waiting at the hotel door. We were the last couple they have been waiting for. Our guide for this hike was very friendly. I sat next to him in front of the van. He was a joker and a talker. Well I think that is a part of their job!

Before we started the walk, we have got a short briefing about the do's and don'ts during the walk. A reminder for our safety.

When I first saw the levada, I thought about the way to Taytay Falls in Majayjay, Laguna.  The only difference is that the levada is narrower and longer than the irrigation in Majayjay.

The Levada - Marocos Trail is a short hike. It is easy. So it is very suitable for beginners and senior citizens too. The main highlight of this hike is the view of the Atlantic Ocean and the town of  Machico. It was in Machico that the first Portuguese landed in the island. João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira are the two explorers who discovered the island.

Where the first Portuguese explorers landed.

The guide told us about geological history of Madeira, about how the Levada works, how much the farmers pay and how many cubic meter water they get. How it is to live in Madeira, the development that happened in decades in the island, the present political issues and many more. He showed also the fauna typical to the island. Honestly, though the trip was short, it was very educative. I have learned so much. 

View of the town Machico

Before lunchtime we were already at the pick-up point, while resting we still did enjoy the  surrounding. Because of this short trip, I have missed hiking in the Philippines.

Madeira Explorers

Because our tour guide was very good and trusted. I like to give him a special mention to my entries about Madeira. His name is Alvaro Freitas, I can say he was the best tour guide I have ever met. He is from Madeira Explorers, a company that offers guided tours to the levadas and mountain ridges in the island. We have a very positive experience with him as our tour guide and I think most of tourists enjoy his company. If ever you would like visit the island and explore their rich mountains, choose Madeira Explorer and hope you will meet also Mr. Alvaro Freitas. :-)

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