Canyoning in São Jorge
With more than 100 routes equipped, the Azores are a territory of excellence to practice canyoning, distributing through the islands of São Miguel, Santa Maria, Faial, Terceira and especially the islands of Flores and São Jorge.
On the whole, the open itineraries are of great beauty and have very different levels of difficulty, with large uprights and cascades to the sea being the main attractions.
Information about Azores canyonings is available in: http://desnivel.pt/canyoning/canyoning-portugal/canyoning-acores
The island of São Jorge is the second with better conditions to practice canyoning in the Azores. With 243.6 km2 of surface and just over nine thousand inhabitants, São Jorge is a predominantly rural island with a unique landscape. By its geographical proximity to the islands of Pico and Faial, São Jorge is part of a subgroup called "The Triangle Islands". Regular boat connections exist throughout the year between these islands
The coast is generally quite steep, with many waterfalls, bays and fajãs, which have been formed by large landslides or lava flows. These fajãs, relatively flat areas surrounded by sea and cliffs, are prime sites for human occupation, often rich and diverse ecological niches. The north and south coasts of the islands are contrasting since the former are wetter and wilder and the latter are sunnier.
São Jorge has a large number of streams and waterfalls with excellent potential for canyoning both on the northern and southern slopes, especially in the eastern part of the island.
Due to the abundance of water and mild climate, canyoning is possible during most of the year, being the best season between April and October, although always limited by the weather and stream flow conditions.
The long drops and waterfalls to the sea are the main attractions of the island that has conditions to be an relevant canyoning destination internationally together with Flores island. Until April 2015, around 25 canyoning routes were explored and equipped, offering a vast selection in terms of difficulty and quality. São Jorge has canyoning routes to meeting expectations of both the experienced independent canyoners, and beginners. Specialized service providers are available in the island, and for beginners the Caldeira has a simple but amazing route. Unlike the other islands of the archipelago, São Jorge still has many unexplored streams with good potential to canyoning.
Selection of routes in this island should take into account its location and exposure to weather conditions, as well as technical difficulties and access and return requirements. Some routes require the support of a boat and favourable sea conditions for exiting. In other cases, access to begin or to return implies long hikes. It is also important to consider the time of year and the distribution of the rain, because some of routes may be dry or have very low flows in summer.
The Azores Canyoning Guide Book and a detailed map of the island (ZoomAzores) can be obtained from the local tourism office with the canyoning routes and other relevant information to canyoners and other visitors or obtain by Desnível Website in: http://desnivel.pt/canyoning/canyoning-portugal/canyoning-acores/.