The beautiful Salto Do Prego hike is one of the most famous hikes in Sao Miguel, Azores. Although many people consider it intense, I would rate it as moderate. In addition to a few hours hiking to a waterfall, you can also visit an abandoned village on this journey. A solid half a day adventure, parking is plentiful here and the trails are not crowded. The combination of stunning natural beauty and low crowds means that to me, Salto Do Prego is the number one thing to do in Sao Miguel. In addition to the traditional waterfalls path, at the end of the article, I provide a shortcut to Sanguinho (the abandoned village) that avoids strenuous hiking.
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Preparing for Salto Do Prego
Footwear is always important on the trail, and on this hike, it is even more so. The waterfall, while stunning, sports sharp rocks at the bottom. A good pair of hiking sandals will take you from the trail into the water and back again. Supplies on the island are limited and expensive, so buy your footwear in advance.
For the rest of my Sao Miguel packing list, check out the bottom of the Complete Guide to Sao Miguel.
Getting To Salto Do Prego
Located on the far east side of the island, Salto Do Prego is more than one and a half-hour drive from Ponta Delgada. Following google maps, you’ll drive over a picturesque landscape and stunning vistas. The road is winding and tight, and the sea is far below. Eventually, you’ll arrive in Faial Da Terra, a small village where you’ll start on the hike.
Parking here is easy, and the streets are open to cars. After you park, follow the signs to start on the trail. Before you start on your hike, you may wish to stop by the small supermarket in town, and pick up supplies if you need them. I recommend you bring a water bottle and a snack or lunch with you. At a normal pace, the trail takes about 4 hours to complete.
Hiking the Salto Do Prego Trail
Although many people rate the Salto Do Prego trail a challenging, I think it is closer to moderate. The ascent to the waterfalls takes about one to one and a half hours at a normal pace. The magical forest around you is alive with birdsong. After a long climb, you’ll see that the road splits. Continue to the waterfall, because later you will take the second path to the abandoned village.
Finally, you have reached the beautiful waterfalls of Prego. You can view the falls from the top first, and then make your way to the bottom to take a swim. Those hiking sandals come in very handy, as you can just leave them on to take a cool dip.
Continue to Sanguinho (the Abandoned Village)
After you are done with the waterfalls, walk back to the area where the trail splits. The next step of the hike takes you through the abandoned village. To get to Sanguinho, continue up on the mountain. Eventually, you’ll notice fewer trees and the forest clears. The abandoned village lays out in front of you.
Next, following the trail markers, walk through the old village and back into the forest. You’ll now follow a different path down to the bottom of Faial Da Terra.
History of Sanguinho
The village of Sanguinho was inhabited for more than a hundred years. However, in the 1950s, a tough economy meant local people struggled to make a living. Due to the economic hardship, many people from this village left Sao Miguel. Most former residents went to America.
Today, some local Sao Miguel residents use the abandoned land for small farming projects. Some leave fruit for the passing tourists – and ask for a small donation.
Abandoned Village Low Hike Shortcut
Alternatively, you can drive to Sanguinho. If you chose to drive, you’ll miss Salto Do Prego Waterfalls, but you can still enjoy the abandoned village. Driving to the village is a good option if you are visiting Sao Miguel with small children.
Follow my google maps to Sanguinho. Once you are approaching the designated area, you’ll notice all the road signs have been removed. I believe this is done to discourage tourists from driving this farm road. Eventually, you’ll get to this sign. It says “Four-wheel drive vehicles only.” Here, park by the side of the road and continue on foot.
It only takes about 20 minutes to walk down to the abandoned village. Its an easy walk along a dirt path, and is much less challenging than the hike to Salto Do Prego.
Things to do Nearby Salto Do Prego
The waterfalls are located within a reasonable driving distance to Poca Da Dona Beija and Furnas. A great plan for a day might be to do the hike in the morning and spend the afternoon relaxing in the spa at Dona Beija.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. Please don’t forget to share on social. Thanks again for reading and see you on the road!
Viktoria aka Traveltipster