Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party

Kayak Explorer from Ferragudo to Benagil

Watch the video for this trip.

If you want to experience a tour of the Algarve coastline but are looking to get as close as possible, then take part in a  kayak experience, combining both a boat trip and time to paddle yourself into the caves and coves of the coast.

The unique three hour tour go up to Benagil where it stops, for the kayaks to go in the water. This discovery journey stats in the amazing algar of Benagil “Catedral” exploring the  breathtaking caves and beaches.

Starting the trip at 08h30 you will have the opportunity to see the amazing caves and Algar’s with all their magic and wonder. Suitable for people with a adventures spirit and some experience of Kayaks, and if you get tired, you always can go back to the boat, that will always be around, where you can enjoy a sun bath, refreshed by a dip in the crystal blue and a cool drink.

  • 4 hours trip – departure from Ferragudo – arrive 15 min early
  • Coastal ride to Benagil – the kayak experience site
  • Video of the trip
  • Experienced guide and skipper
  • Sit on Top Kayaks
  • Family friendly – tandem kayaks


Trip report by Algarve Fun’s writer Sara Fernández. Sara is a marine biologist and sea-lover that has been living in the Algarve and spent a long time working on dolphin watching boats. Continuously amazed by these magnificent creatures, she strongly believes that tourism is a powerful tool towards conservation. She loves sailing, diving and showing our visitors the spectacular marine life of the Algarve.

 At 8:15 am we were in Ferragudo, anxious for our departure at 8:30 am. After doing the check in at the front desk and use some sunscreen, the boat, “Libertad” (means ‘freedom’) arrived. Libertad is a Menorquin yacht for up to 12 passengers, with a lot of space inside and outside. A member of the team accompanied us to the pier where a smaller boat transferred us to Libertad, which was waiting anchored in the middle of the Arade River.

village of ferragudo
Beautiful village of Ferragudo.

Our guide, João, a local kayak expert with a long time of experience in these waters, assisted us to jump on board and welcomed us with a very friendly face. Apart from João the other crew member was the skipper, Chico, a local fisherman from Ferragudo that has been working in the tourism industry for the last years. While Chico steered the boat to the mouth of the Arade River, João briefed us about safety and indicated where inside we could leave our belongings and where the toilet was. He then came with us to the front part of the boat, where they had some comfortable mats to lie down and enjoy the journey.

Libertad boat sailing
Libertad boat sailing towards Benagil.

Libertad sailed for around 6 miles to the east, allowing us to be amazed by beautiful views. João told some stories about the coastal villages and caves we were seeing on the way. It’s a spectacular sunny day and makes it even more incredible. We all lay down or took a seat on the mats, feeling the sea breeze.

After about 40 minutes we arrived near to Benagil. João gave us the life-vests and provided a short but solid kayak lesson. We all went on the kayaks with some help from Chico and João. Most of the kayaks are double and so sometimes you need to share with a person you have just met, but that’s part of the fun! By the way, João had a GoPro camera with which he was filming the trip, so we would receive the movie in a few weeks; a great souvenir!

The kayak level is not very advanced here; João said these kayaks and the route we were taking are easy, so even the most inexperienced people needn’t worry. I can say that it’s suitable for families with kids (not babies, of course) as long as they can swim.

kayaks in Benagil Cave
Benagil Cave.

We first visited Benagil’s Cave, just next to Benagil beach. The highlight of the tour and the most famous cave, called “Algar de Benagil” due to its hole on the top that opens like a window to the sky. The procedure to get to the cave is tricky; João went first and literally received us by the shore inside the cave. He said that on days when the sea state is rougher and there are big waves, nobody enters because it can be dangerous. We were lucky to go early and so it wasn’t too busy, but with the time it gets full of boats visiting the cave, kayaks, SUP boards and people swimming inside.  We listened to the interesting explanation from João about how these caves have been formed and are constantly changing, and the fossils we can find on the cliffs. Then, we had some time to take beautiful pictures, explore the cave and feel the essence of the Algarve!

Time to continue! We all went back on the kayaks and kept paddling eastwards along the coast. The landscape was stunning; every time we turned around a corner we could see a cave or a beach more beautiful than the previous one.

two people on a green kayak leaving a cave
Kayakers in the tunnels near Benagil.

João took us through a hidden tunnel inside the cliffs that seemed to be a cave but then we saw the exit at the other end. It was so exciting! And short after, we arrived to another of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, Praia da Marinha.

This magnificent place keeps some secrets: if you move around and play with perspectives, you can find quite a few different animal shapes on the rocks! The most popular is the “Elephant Rock”. The clear waters of Praia da Marinha are also ideal for snorkeling. João checked on all of us; in case someone got very tired, Libertad was always close to us and anyone could come back on board for a break. At that point we were too excited to go to Libertad so we all decided to keep going.

kayakers in praia da marinha
Kayakers enjoying in Praia da Marinha.

Once we passed Praia da Marinha, we made a stop on a beautiful secluded beach. We were alone, had a few minutes to take some pictures, relax, jump in the water for a refreshing swim and get some more sunscreen. A very peaceful place!

We continued the adventure heading to the last treasure that only the experts know of! It’s a breathtaking cave only accessible by small boats or kayaks and when there are perfect sea conditions. João told us the story of this great location and eventually said its name: Captain’s Cave. With two “algars” on the top and even some vegetation that has grown up on some rocks inside. It’s definitely a cave beach you could meditate and relax in far from reality.

group of kayakers in a cave
Captain’s Cave.

We spent some time for pictures and then João gave us a shout to get back on the kayaks, as it was time to go on board Libertad and set course for Ferragudo. Chico was waiting for us, checked that everything went well and offered us some snacks and drinks.

A relaxed time on the mats was next along with a chat with the rest of the passengers, and quickly we are back in the Arade River. João and Chico helped us to jump on the transfer boat with their characteristic smiles and good sense of humor. We are very thankful for their great job. And we definitely had an excellent kayak experience that accomplished our expectations!

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