The Fajã do Amo hike in São Vicente takes you through the lush Laurrisilva forest up a very steep climb before finishing at an epic coastal viewpoint perched on the cliffside. Throughout the hike, there are a number of dangerous rock climbing sections and also thick, overgrown trails. The viewpoint is also precariously positioned on the cliffside with no fences or maintenance. This is a hike for experienced adventurers looking for a beautiful tour in the São Vicente region in the north of Madeira Island.
FAJÃ DO AMO HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the loop was 8.24 kilometers.
Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 5-7 hours. It is only 8 kilometers but very slow-going due to the overgrown trail, rock-climbing sections and occasional need to set up a rope. Our total moving time was just three hours and forty minutes.
Hike Difficulty: This trail is quite steep in the first half of the route with just under a vertical kilometer of ascent through some slippery, rocky terrain. The trail was also very overgrown so we used machetes to chop down the invasive weeds and thorny bushes that covered the trail. Other than the incline, and overgrown nature of the trail, there were many points the trail was dangerous in itself. We had to do some scrambling/rock-climbing, which was quite basic but still there was an element of risk if the rocks beneath us gave way. We took a rope and used it on one occasion as a back-up. The final descent is very steep and then rides along the cliff-edge with about 1.5 meters of track between the cliff and the drop-off. The rest of your judgment will need to come from the photos I have taken that show some of the dangerous sections. Overall though, I would only advise this hike with a guide due to the elements and the many turns that were not signed whatsoever on the route.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 870 meters
My Strava Map Upload: Fajã do Amo hike
HOW TO GET TO THE FAJÃ DO AMO HIKE IN SÃO VICENTE
The Fajã do Amo hiking route that I did began in the small village of Lanço and finished in São Vicente near the coast. This isn’t really a defined route and begins through the gardens in a small village. I suggest doing this hike with a guide and I’ll mentioned everything about my guides at the bottom of this blog post if you are interested in doing this hike to such an epic viewpoint. However, if you see the link to my map above, you will find the route from Lanço and then we planted the second car in São Vicente.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE FAJÃ DO AMO HIKE IN SÃO VICENTE
After the usual stop-off for coffee on the way, we made our drive up to the village of Lanço, after dropping the second plant care at the endpoint closer to the coast in São Vicente. It was a beautiful sunny day when we parked the car and headed off up the stairs into a little alley to begin the hike. I was with the guides from Madeira Wonder Hikes, who led the way and cleared the overgrown path as we went.
In the first part of the trail, we encountered a number of ancient rock walls and traditional homes or shelters. These buildings are several hundred years old but now seem to be getting swallowed by vegetation, much like our trail of the day.
As I’ve mentioned before, there were no signs on this trail. We followed tree markings and the local knowledge of the guides led the way. After the ancient buildings in Pau Branco, we hiked up a steep climb through the jungle and at other times through thick, thorny bushes. It would end up being a rough day for the legs and I finished with lots of scrapes and cuts. Long pants are key for this one.
After just a couple of kilometers, we were already on an upwards battle as we forged our way up the steep hill. For the most part, it was under the cover of trees but we emerged on several occasions to scramble and make some basic rock-climbs through a section known as Espigao. We installed and used the rope for one of the climbs but for the others, we solely trusted the rocks. This section is not for everyone but we managed to survive the day without any scares.
After several hours of scrambling and climbing, we made it to the top of the ridge. It was a pretty rough uphill with dense vegetation, steep and slippery climbs all during a hot and humid day. It was a nice moment to reach the top of the mountain and have a lunch break. However, we had climbed up into the clouds so there was no view waiting for us. Here on the top of the mountain it was very overgrown and at times the bushes seemed to be almost at head height as they engulfed the trail making it hard to find the way.
At this point, we begin our descent down from the ridge and back into the forest where we were met with a lush, green wall of ferns and Laurissilva vegetation. This was my favorite part of the hike aside from the final viewpoint. There’s always so much to take in when you are amidst the Laurissilva Forest on Madeira. We made our way across the Ribeira dos Caimbos and I could sense we were beginning to approach the coast as the trees became less dense and we found some Eucalyptus trees rather than the tropical plants of the forest.
Just before we made it out to the final viewpoint, we took a short break for a look out over São Vicente, which has to be one of the most picturesque towns on Madeira Island.
The final viewpoint is known as Beicinho do Diabo, which roughly translates to the Devil’s Pout or Devils Lips. It’s one of the most incredible viewpoints on the entire island. With a vertical drop of a few hundred meters down to the coast below it’s not for those with a fear of heights. You have views all the way along the coast and we even watched some surfers below as they caught waves at São Vicente. It would be a great place for sunrise and would be an incredible unique perspective of São Vicente in the golden hour.
The final descent from Beicinho do Diabo takes you down the side of the cliff to the village of Fajã do Amo, which is just below the viewpoint. Here you can pick up your second/plant car and drive back up the valley to fetch your first car. This is a really nice section of trail where you have cliff-side views down into the valley of São Vicente. However, make sure to concentrate on the trail in front of you as there are some steep drop-offs here and the trail does get narrow in some parts.
MY AWESOME GUIDES FOR THIS HIKE
This isn’t your regular hiking route so although I’ve given you a map and a lot of directions and advice, it’s best to link up with a local if you want to do this route. Don’t expect any signs throughout the trail or to find most of the routes on a map. I did this hike with the Madeira Lés a Lés, which is a hiking group that does off-the-beaten-path adventures every Saturday. They offer specialized tours through their small business Madeira Wonder Hikes, where they can tour you on a trail that suits you and your group. Anyway, I just joined the group as a friend but thought you might find that information of value if you want to do some serious adventure on Madeira but aren’t sure who to get in contact with. If you meet any of the Madeira Lés a Lés crew, you will see what I’m talking about.
I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Fajã do Amo hike in São Vicente on Madeira Island. Happy hiking and stay safe out there.