Caldeira Velha Hot Springs in Sao Miguel Azores – Time Slot Entry Tickets

Caldeira Velha Hot Springs in Sao Miguel Azores – Time Slot Entry Tickets

Portugal
Portugal

When Is the Best Time

The thermal springs and pools of Caldeira Velha are located in the heart of Sao Miguel, the biggest island of the Azores. These hot springs and pools nestled in the rainforest with giant fern trees are a natural wonder that attracts visitors worldwide therefore, it became a Nature Reserve in 2008.

Caldeira Velha is a geothermal phenomenon and a unique experience close to Lagoa do Fogo. The Azores are of volcanic origin, and some of these volcanoes on Sao Miguel are still active. Caldeira Velha is remotely located on the northern flank of Fogo Lake and Volcano.

Huge fern trees like in New Zealand
The fantastic nature inside the park.

I will give you all information on how to secure a ticket online in advance, the best time, the water temperature for each pool and what to bring to this fantastic place in Sao Miguel.

Parking Caldeira Velha

The new parking lot at Caldeira Velha.
The newly built parking lot - a wooden staircase leads up to the entrance.

There is ample parking nearby, a five minutes walk to the entrance. In former times the parking was frequently full, but nowadays, the visitor flow is regulated. Caldeira Velha Parking Google Maps 

Opening Hours Caldeira Velha

  • May – September        9.00 - 20.30
  • October and April         9.00 - 18.30
  • November – March      9.00 – 17.00

Entry Tickets – Price

The entrance gate and ticket counter.
The gate is closed after hours.

There are two different types of tickets available.

  1. A simple visit to the pools, rainforest, and area is cheaper. Price: adults 3€ and children 1€.
  2. Or the ticket which also allows taking a bath in the pools, which I highly recommend.
    Price: Adults 10 € and children 5€.

Online Tickets – Time Entry Slots

Visitor limit of 100 every 1 ½ hour. You can purchase your ticket at the ticket counter if not all are sold out. You will be given a coloured wristband at the entrance gate to indicate to the staff when you need to leave the park.
Scan this QR Code to get immediately to the online ticket booking. Change the language from Portuguese to English. Enter your visit date and choose the time you like to access Caldeira Velha. Book your ticket at least a day before better two.

Facilities

There are two changing cabins, restrooms and showers inside the park and nowadays lockers for a 2€ fee. Either take a locker or watch your valuables. Plenty of benches are provided to leave your bag or just sit there and enjoy the breathtaking lush vegetation.

Access for People With Disabilities

Visitor on the paved path to the pools.
The walking path after the entrance gate.

At least people with disabilities have the opportunity to get a closer look. Opposite the entrance is a small parking reserved for taxis and people with disabilities. The path inside is paved and cobbled, accessible by wheelchair. 

Fumaroles and Three Pools

The boiling and bubbling hot water.
Boiling hot, not accessible.

Caldeira Velha, in the middle of the rainforest, is a haven to soak in the beauty of the Azores while enjoying the hot pools. Before you reach the second pool, you cross a wooden bridge which leads above a bubbling pond. You can smell the sulphur of the fumaroles, the evidence of volcanic activity. The fumaroles are openings like cracks or holes in this pond, they heat the water between 60°C and 100°C – boiling water. 

The information sign for the 100°C hot water.
Signs indicate the temperatures.

The springs and pools are fed by waterfalls and a network of underground thermal streams, which provide a steady flow of naturally heated water. Visitors can enjoy three thermal pool areas, ranging in temperature from lukewarm to warm and hot, all surrounded by lush vegetation and the sound of cascading water.

1 Pool and Waterfall

Visitors in the most popular pool in front of the waterfall.
This is the biggest and coldest pool.

The main pool is the biggest and the most picturesque, with the waterfall in the back. The water temperature is cool compared to the other ones, around 25°C. We got the recommendation to access this pool first, and I agree. Be careful the steps which lead into the pool are slippery. I was glad to wear my Teva.

2 Pool After the Fumaroles

The second pool with fewer visitors
My favourite pool because the hottest.

This pool was the warmest, reaching a temperature of at least 38°C. This was my favourite pool because of the temp, but I felt cold when I got out. Although it was September, I was freezing after this pool because of the high elevation it is cooler here.

3 Two Pools at the Beginning

The slightly colder pools to the right at the beginning
The temperature was around 36°C.

These two pools are slightly colder, with a limit of 9 and 6 people, but usually, no one cares about it. You first cross a wooden bridge to get to these pools.

Best Time to Visit Caldeira Velha

The waterfall and pool empty without anybody.
We had the last entry slot therefore, it became tranquil in the park shortly before closure. 

Visiting the thermal pools is great throughout the year. The most pleasant months regarding temperatures are May to October. Caldeira Velha is perfect for a rainy day. You don’t care when you are in the hot pools in this breathtaking nature. The pools are located at higher elevations of more than 600 m above sea level with high humidity. Therefore, it is always cooler at Caldeira Velha than at sea. 

The Azores are less busy in the winter however, it is the most popular time for the locals. The best daytime is either in the morning when the park opens at 9 am, after 1 pm at lunchtime, or in the evening for the last admission. Sao Miguel and Pico are popular destinations for residents from mainland Portugal, especially from Lisbon in the summertime; July and August are the busiest. If possible, avoid these two months.

Blue hydrangea are everywhere in the Azopres
My favourite month for the Azores is June when the blue hydrangeas are in full bloom.

Packing Checklist

  • A bottle of water - there is no cafe inside.
  • Older swimwear and towel - the iron reach water can react to your clothes, but Parque Terra Nostra was the worst.
  • Either flip flops to change from pool to pool or Teva. I preferred my Teva because some areas were slippy.
  • You may like to wear a warm sweater after your visit from fall to spring when day temps are not high.
  • Leave your valuables in your accommodation.

Top Tip

Fogo Lake nearby
The Fogo Crater Lake is a short drive from Caldeira Velha.

I highly recommend hiking at Fogo Lake in the morning before the clouds roll in, having lunch in nearby Caldeiras (Google Maps Location) and afterwards taking a bath to relax your muscles from the hike in the hot pools of Caldeira Velha. However, don't forget to book your entrance ticket at least the day before.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Related Topics

Location and Tips

Azores, Sao Miguel
Portugal
Portugal

Caldeira Velha in the centre of Sao Miguel is a Must-Visit place but needs a bit of planning before. I have to confess we passed by accident, and all tickets were sold out. A kind group from Lisbon had two tickets left, and we were able to join them. 

The jungel like rainforest
The lush vegetation like in New Zealand.

The geothermal pools became a popular destination for those seeking relief from various diseases, tourists from mainland Portugal, and visitors from all over the world. Many believed that the hot springs had the ability to cure everything from arthritis to respiratory problems. The water is iron-rich and may react to your jewellery and stain your swimwear.

A map of Sao Miguel with volcanic activity in the Interpretive center
The four areas with volcanic activities in orange. Photo high resolution

The Interpretation Centre in the middle of the park provides information about all Azores Islands, how they were developed, and details how geothermal energy and steam are used to produce electricity. The exhibition is quite interesting all information is displayed in Portuguese and English.

For those who are thirsty and hungry after the visit, there is usually a food truck opposite the entrance.

Do you want to obtain the usage right for my images? Contact me, but I will take action against picture theft.

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…