Lagoa do Fogo (in English, Fire Lagoon) is the second largest on the island of São Miguel in Azores with an area of 1360 acres. It’s also the highest and is therefore considered the most difficult for tourists to see due to the fog. Located in the center of the island, in the municipality of Ribeira Grande, it’s a spectacular place and one of the main points of tourist attraction. Due to its natural and scenic value, this lagoon was considered a Natural Reserve 🌳 in 1974 and has remained one of the best preserved on the island. The water color of this lagoon is an incredible blue that contrasts with the green tones of the surrounding vegetation .
History and characteristics
This lagoon appeared about fifteen thousand years ago with a volcanic eruption due to the collapse of the top of the Fire volcano (also known as Água de Pau volcano – you can see here what to visit in the center of Água de Pau). In other words, this lagoon is located inside a crater of a volcano. It has an irregular shape and an average diameter of 2.8 kilometers, which today represents an important water resource on the island, especially in the southern part where water is used for public supply. The inner edge of this volcano caldera has very steep and jagged slopes covered with high vegetation. As it’s located in the caldera of the Fire volcano, there was little human interference and it was possible to conserve wild fauna and flora.
How to visit
We included a visit to this lagoon on the day we went to the Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park due to its proximity. When we started to climb the mountain by car we were a little scared because we could only see clouds and more clouds … but we had seen in the cameras that it was possible to see the lagoon. We were reticently confident…
Important note: One of the best ways to get to see all the lagoons on the Island of São Miguel is to be aware of the cameras . I will leave here two of the websites that I checked daily while traveling: here and here. I have to tell you that it helps a lot to organize the script for the day.
We put the GPS to the Lagoa do Fogo viewpoint and it was possible to park at the location . Please note that I visited the Azores in August 2020, that is, at a time when there were several measures due to COVID-19 and there were very few tourists on the island. When we got out of the car, we were automatically enchanted by the beauty of the place… It was possible to see the entire lagoon and the clouds were all over it. The place is very calm, you can see a lot of birds and insects 🪲 too (that part I really missed!). My dad was making some videos with the drone so we ended up staying there for about 20 minutes. I noticed that there were several people who made the trail to go down and I saw several fishermen also who went with the fishing rod and all the necessary material. It wasn’t going to be easy for me to do that trail … I went down a little bit just to take some photos and I only saw insects everywhere and the path is all irregular, dirty and it’s necessary to keep away the branches and bushes to pass away. I am sure it must be an incredible experience but for me it is a big NO.
Given that we still had some time before going to Ribeira dos Caldeirões Park we still went to Miradouro da Barrosa which has an altitude of 947 meters (the highest point on the island of São Miguel). It has a more lateral view compared to the Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo but equally beautiful. If you only have time to visit one of the viewpoints, do not opt for this one. Besides, as it was higher there were already some clouds that covered some areas of the lagoon.
On an island where competition is fierce regarding to lagoons, I would say that Lagoa do Fogo is capable of being the most beautiful of the ones I visited in Azores . It’s a place where there is practically no human intervention which makes it totally authentic.
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