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One of the most famous and iconic waterfalls in Madeira island is unquestionably the 25 fountains in the Rabaçal area.

Completely immersed in the “Laurissilva” forest, which is classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, this waterfall is in the middle of a luxurious forest and classified as strict reserve.

Since the Laurisilva Forest has a high water retainment capacity it has water all year around, and is called 25 fountains due to the visual aspect that the breaches in the wall make while pouring out water.

You can take the recommended pedestrian route PR6 to access it, which is in our opinion quite easy and accessible.

But our name is EPIC so we must abide by it and make it justice.

So due to the Covid-19 situation our high season is at an all time low, but that doesn’t stops our passion, so we’re using all of our time the best we can, either by training, practicing or “simply” by doing the most amazing canyons in the archipelago.

This time we’ve chosen the “Água Negra” canyon (which literally translates to Black Water) in order to go down the mythical 25 fountains waterfall, which we’ve come to discover that it isn’t the highest one in this canyon, or even the only highlight of it.

But before we start describing our experience on this canyon, let us describe technically first:

“Agua Negra Superior”

  • Start altitude: 1350m
  • Approximation: 20 minutes (from where you leave the first car)
  • Extension: 1600m
  • Duration: 4 Hours
  • Rappels/Abseils: 13
  • Highest waterfall: 70m
  • End Altitude: 1000m
  • Return: 1H (to the second car)

The day was perfect for canyoning, sunny, no wind whatsoever and the clouds on the horizon gently coming down on the other side of the mountains.

Paul da Serra the highest Plateau in Madeira Island
Paul da Serra, the highest plateau in Madeira island

As soon as we’ve entered the canyon, we quickly realized that this would be indeed a very special canyon. But still a bit far from imagining all the beauty that we would encounter and really feel.

From the start we’ve came across with some ancient living beings, and by this i mean trees older than the discovery of the island.

Natural Pools

Besides that we start to swim through a diversity of swimming pools, some with a black bottom which made the water really dark, others crystal clear, but the most impressive ones where without a question the emerald ones which where simply gorgeous and left us all in awe.

Here’s a small example:

Natural pools in the canyons of Madeira island
Those crystal clear ones

Natural pools in the canyons of Madeira island
Into the dark
Natural pools in the canyons of Madeira island
The precious emerald

The pathway

“Water is the most perfect traveller because when it travels it becomes the path itself!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

But honestly the most impressive feature of this canyon is the dazzling narrow paths made by small walls covered in mosses and bryophytes, which in some places were only at arms distance.

The serenity and calm that we’ve experienced is something that only this kind of natural beauty is able to provide.

So even if our words can’t describe it accordingly or make it justice, as our photos won’t either (but the reason for that is that we’re elite canyoneers but not even good photographers 🙂 )

Here’s a few examples, without filters, enhancements or any gimmicks:

Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal

And did we mention that the laurissilva besides being that evergreen forest has still some amazing flowes that haven’t left with spring?

Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal


“Run wild and free like a waterfall”

― Anamika Mishra

So now that we’ve covered a bit of the progression inside the canyon, let’s talk a bit about our favorite part in canyoning… Abseiling down waterfalls!!

Another aspect that made this canyon a must do, is the variety of waterfalls, they came in all shapes and colors with stunning natural pools excavated by the waters of the times…

For you to get a better idea of it, there were waterfalls oas small as 5m and as high as 70m.

Let us show you a bit of this nature show:

Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
The first one, this is how you start

Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
We couldn’t stop being astonished
Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
Another one of our favorites
Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
The most beautiful place in the canyon
Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
The impressive highest one
Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
The mythical 25 fountains waterfall

The end!?

This is the spot that marks the end, and as always there were some people there, but nothing like we’re used to it in this area, is it bad for business ? Sure is.

Did this make it even more special, to end a canyon on this iconic waterfall with so few people? YES INDEED!

A bit selfish we know… But you can imagine how intimate of an experience it is to do an activity like this.

But this wasn’t the end of it, we still had to go back to the second car, and to do that we still needed to do the hiking route.

Once again oh so special, we love hiking in nature, and to only encounter not even half a dozen people was a first for us.

Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
25 fountains hike

After hiking for an hour we finaly arrive to the second car, where we’ve changed clothes and had a snack to boost our energy level, because our emotional and mental one was at an all time high.

Now the real END.

To end our report on this really amazing canyoning we leave you with a picture that we took on the drive home, after picking up the first car:

Canyoning Madeira Island 25 fountains Rabacal
This is how we end a perfect canyoning day in Madeira Island

If you’ve enjoyed our story and want to live it yourself just send us an email, even if you don’t fancy canyoning that much (as if it’s possible :O !! ) we can take you hiking there 😉

See you soon for an EPIC day of adventure