One of the many things we love about Madeira is how many waterfalls there are around the island!
Waterfalls are a common theme in Madeira and I swear one is more beautiful than the other! There’s one on the northeastern side of the island that really stands out and that is The Aguage Waterfall in Santana.
Aguage Waterfall is almost like a local hidden gem which is surprisingly super easy to get to once you know it exists. We’re surprised that it took us almost 3 months in Madeira before we heard about this.
Santana is a quiet little town on the northeastern side of the island and home to the famous A-frame houses, the stunning Quinta do Furão Hotel, and some of the most beautiful coastline in all of Maderia!
If you search long enough you can also find smaller trails that lead to hidden waterfalls such as this one to Aguage Waterfall.
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Full Guide on the Aguage Waterfall in Santana
The Aguage Waterfall in Santana is fantastic if you’re looking for a 20-30 minute activity to do while you’re in the area. It’s less of a hike and more of a short walk to the viewpoint where you can see this hidden waterfall.
It’s a little tricky to find the starting point for Aguage Waterfall if you don’t know where to go but once you have the coordinate it’s easy peasy.
You can find the exact spot where the trail for Aguage starts here.
There’s room for a few cars on the side of the road so you should hopefully be able to find a parking spot. Just make sure you’re not blocking anyone’s driveway or access from their homes.
The trail itself is really short and that’s why we recommend this if you’re looking for a quick activity to do while you’re in Santana.
You can even go visit Aguage Waterfall and then make your way up the mountain to Cascata Da Agua D’Alto after. This is another hidden waterfall on Madeira only a short drive away from this one.
In this post, we’ll give you a quick overview of how to find the waterfall including the trail directions and what to bring. Since it’s more of a short walk, it’s pretty straightforward. Let’s get to it!
Practical information about Aguage Waterfall trail
Distance: 660 meters return / 0.43 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 20 m / 65ft. elevation gain
Type: In-and-out trail
Length: 30 minutes (including some time for pictures)
Here’s a picture of the beginning of the Aguage Waterfall hike:
Finding the trailhead for the Aguage Waterfall hike
The trailhead is a lot easier to find than the other hidden waterfall hike in Santana, Cascata Da Agua D’Alto.
The Aguage Waterfall is actually just on the outskirts of the “city centre” of Santana and if you’re already in the town, you can access it by foot.
You can see the starting point for Aguage Waterfall here. The starting point is actually between a few houses and you’d have no idea that there’s a waterfall nearby without knowing about it before.
You’re truly just in the countryside in between a few local houses and then this random staircase starts with a sign pointing down towards a waterfall.
Little trails like this are why we love Santana. In a way, the town is very traditional and local but it’s also quite touristy because of the A-Frame houses and the cultural theme park in Santana. It has a great mix of it all but the nature there is why we love it so much.
So despite it being very touristy at times, you can still find these sorts of hidden trails to waterfalls like the Aguage and Cascata Agua d’Alto which is really cool.
Down to the Aguage Waterfall
Once you park your car and walk to the trailhead you’ll quickly find the staircase to start this trail. From there, you really aren’t far from the waterfall.
As soon as you get to the bottom of the staircase you’ll come to a T-intersection. The trail to the left is a dead end. The trail to the right leads you to Aguage Waterfall. At this point, you might even be able to hear the waterfall.
We tried to go left at first thinking we could get a cool view from afar of Aguage Waterfall but that wasn’t the case. It’s just a big group of trees and you can’t see anything so it’s best to just go to the right and see the waterfall.
Enjoy the views of Aguage Waterfall
This can actually be a great picnic spot in Santana if you’re looking for somewhere unique to go. There’s plenty of room to hang out and take in the views of the waterfall. The only downside is the area can get a little muddy if there’s some rain.
It’s a very photographic spot because you have this stunning waterfall coming down with lush green flora all around it.
It’s similar to some of the more popular waterfalls you’ll see around the island like PR9 Levada do Caldeirao Verde and PR6 Levada 25 Fontes. The only difference is you may be the only person on this trail.
Lots of people do come down to see it but it’s not an official trail (known as PRs) which still makes Aguage Waterfall more hidden than some of the more popular waterfalls in Madeira. You might also see a few jeeps stop by as a few tours do drive down here on a different gravel road.
When you’ve taken in the view and maybe even had a picnic in front of the waterfall the way back is the same way you came in. It is an in-and-out trail so there’s just one way back.
On the way back up, you will go up the stairs so this is the hardest part about this trail.
When you’re done with the “hike”, you can make your way back to the heart of Santana and go have a delicious meal at one of the restaurants. Most of the restaurants are quite touristy but the food is still really good!
If you want something amazing to eat with an incredible view you can stop by the Quinta do Furão Restaurant on the edge of Santana!
What to bring on the Aguage Waterfall hike
You’re truly fine with regular shoes for this trail since it’s so short. The one reason why we recommend hiking or trail shoes though is because of the mud near the waterfall.
There’s a good chance your shoes are going to get a bit muddy on this hike. Wear some shoes that you’re comfortable getting a little dirty.
As we mentioned before, it’s quite a unique spot to have a picnic. So if that’s the case then you can bring some food to enjoy a cute little picnic next to the waterfall. There’s a Continente (big grocery store) in Santana where you can pick up some food beforehand.
You can see the weather forecast for Santana here. This will also help give you an idea of what to pack for your trip.
Packing list for a day trip hiking on Madeira:
- Water! We always fill up our LifeStraw bottles before hikes. You can easily ask to fill it up at a restaurant in Santana as well.
- Sunscreen is highly recommended when hiking on Madeira. Especially if you plan to be out most of the day exploring viewpoints around Santana.
- A power bank is always nice to bring. Santana is on the other side of the island and you might need your phone to get back to Funchal at the end of the day if you’re doing this as a day trip.
- A rain jacket is always nice to have in case it starts raining during the hike.
You can check out this great list of hiking gear to get some more inspiration!
Before you hike Aguage Waterfall hike in Santana
Check the weather
One thing everyone quickly figures out when hiking in Madeira is that the weather is constantly changing. Madeira and its micro-climates make it fun to plan for day trips. Sun in the morning, rain, then sun, then maybe even a bit of snow (it’s happened before).
The best thing we can recommend is to look at the weather forecast for Santana before you go over to that side of the island.
If it’s nice and sunny then Aguage Waterfall is perfect. On a moody day, it’s nice too but we’d recommend going to Cascata Da Agua D’Alto (a short drive from this one) on a moody day.
Load the trail map
We usually load the trail map on our phone or take a picture of it so we have an idea of where to go in case we get lost.
Thankfully, for this hike, the hardest part is actually finding the trail. Aguage is in the town of Santana so once you know where to go it’s pretty easy to find the hike.
As soon as you see the sign and make your way down the staircase you’ll find the trail.
We either use Alltrails or MapyCZ to help guide us during our hikes. Unfortunately, it’s too small of a trail and not an official trail so you can’t even find it on Alltrails.
You can find it on MapyCZ here where it shows the exact trail.
Leave no trace
When you go hiking (and do other outdoor adventure activities), always remember to follow the 7 principles of leaving no trace.
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of others
How to get to the Aguage Waterfall trailhead
The Aguage Waterfall is actually quite easy to get to which is one thing we really like about this waterfall.
If you’re coming from Funchal or a different part of the island, a rental car is definitely recommended but you can also take a bus from Funchal to Santana and then walk the rest of the way to the starting point.
As long as you can get to Santana then you’ll be able to get to the trailhead for the Aguage Waterfall.
There are two ways to get to Santana from Funchal by car but we recommend the coastal way which is mostly on the main highway. The drive is beautiful and you’ll pass by an amazing coastline.
You may even see a plane landing as you drive. When we went, there was a plane flying right above us which was pretty crazy!
You will also drive through a bunch of tunnels since Madeira is known for all its tunnels that help you get quickly from one side of the island to the other.
You can find the trip details from Funchal to Aguage Waterfall in Santana here.
Getting a rental car in Funchal
There are multiple car rentals in Funchal so the easiest way to get the best price is by checking DiscoverCars. There are multiple locations in the city so it’s super convenient.
Just check what the pickup location is before hitting that booking button to ensure it’s close to your accommodation!
You can look at the prices and different cars on DiscoverCars to see the different options across the different car rental providers. If you can, it’s best to try and book the car in advance since prices usually rise closer to the day of booking.
Best time to hike the hidden waterfall near Santana
As long as you go on a clear sunny day, any time of the year is a good time to visit this hidden waterfall in Santana.
On a nice sunny day, you can also enjoy walking around the lovely town of Santana, checking out the A-framed houses and the Santana Cultural Theme Park, and then making your way to Aguage Waterfall.
Sometimes even later in the day when the town starts to quiet down with all the tourists leaving is perfect. You may not have the sun shining down on the waterfall but there’s a good chance you’ll have the trail to yourself.
Santana is usually busy between 10 am and 4 pm with tours, buses, and people. A good option would be to arrive at the waterfall in the late afternoon and then have a nice dinner in town after.
You may also like…
- Hiking to the Hidden Waterfall of Cascata Agua D’Alto near Santana
- Staying at the Amazing Quinta do Furão Hotel in Madeira (Hotel Review)
- The Ultimate Guide to 3 Days in Santana, Madeira (Full Itinerary)
- Hiking and Chasing Waterfalls – Levada do Caldeirão Verde Trail
- Complete Guide to Hiking the Caldeirão do Inferno Waterfall
Recap of hiking Aguage Waterfall in Santana
If you’re going to Santana then Aguage Waterfall is the perfect activity to add to your itinerary.
You can walk down, enjoy the waterfall, and walk back in less than half an hour. It’s perfect if you want to go chasing waterfalls or looking for an outdoor activity to do while you’re in the area.
We stayed at the Quinta do Furao Hotel in Santana for a few days while exploring Santana and this is one of the stops we made.
The Aguage Waterfall is great for either a short viewpoint or after a big hiking day. It’s also great if you’re having a chill day and don’t want to do anything crazy but still want to enjoy the beautiful nature Santana has to offer.
Santana truly is a little paradise in Madeira (just like many of the other small coastal towns). It’s a lot more rural and quiet than Funchal for example. This means that a lot of the trails are less crowded and you can find places like Aguage Waterfall and other similar hidden waterfall trails.
If you have any questions about the hike or other things to do in Santana then feel free to DM us on Instagram or leave a comment below.
Have fun exploring this waterfall in Madeira!