The Ria Formosa Natural Park is one of the most impressive natural wonders along Portugal’s Algarve coast and the best way to explore is by boat. Hop aboard a catamaran on this small-group tour from Faro; cruise around the islands of Armona, Culatra, Farol, and Deserta; and spot wild flamingos and egrets swooping over the lagoon.
Travel by boat from Faro to Ria Formosa Natural Park
We really enjoyed this boat trip! The boat itself was great with really comfy leather seats and just a small group of people so you can really enjoy the ride and scenery. We did 3 stops, 2 to explore the islands and one for lunch which was amazing fresh local fish at a very reasonable price. Our guide Miguel was really friendly and knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend this for a day out in Faro.
We went in Sep 2018 and were disappointed given we had read all the positive reviews. This is essentially a visit to 4 different islands, transportation only. Each island you get dropped off to roam for 30 or so minutes. You get to see unique islands and beaches and sub-cultures on each island but know that that is it. Our guide spoke very little he gave one mention about any details about the Ria Formosa Natural Park, so little in terms of educating you on more, just that the tide rises and falls and showed us a crab. Each description of each island as we approached was spoke mostly in French and then Portuguese and hard to hear as he sped across the water - there were only 3 of us that were English-speaking out of 10-12 there. So basically don't expect an enlightening tour. It's basically a quick visit of 4 islands. I learned more reading the page in our Lonely Planet book, which after going on this tour over-played the must-see nature of the Ria Formosa park.
Its a fantastic way of spending half a day in Ria Formosa Natural Park and getting to places that are otherwise covered by water or too difficult to get to. Our guide Alex, who was born on one of the islands we visited, had wonderful knowledge of the park and its history. Do try the oysters when you there, they do not come any fresher.
It was a good trip but just a very long day. With the sun beating down on you and the heat, you get tired rather quickly. The last island, the guide parked in a terrible location where we had to walk over sewage, poop, wires, and it was very dangerous. This is the only negative thing about the trip. We didn’t get our oysters and clams but that’s okay.
Excellent trip and knowledge from the guide. It was not at all what we expected, in fact much better, with island visits and a nice smooth river cruise. Highly recommend this trip, it was sunny, windy and not the warmest day and still great, I would definitely do this again especially in the hotter weather as you can then dive off the boat and swim in the estuary, which is very clear. Great to see the locals who live on the island and their own way of life.
We were met at the quay by the red-shirted representative, Patricia, as promised. The parking nearest the boat required payment, although we could have gone a litrle further away for free parking. We chose to pay and left Patricia in charge of feeding the meter when necessary! Our guide on the boat, Jaime, was personable, interesting and helpful. First of all, he told us about the tides and their importance to everything that goes on in or near the ocean. He encouraged us to notice the water level as we left and remember to look again when we returned.
We saw a variety of birds along the shore as we headed out to one of the many barrier islands created by the ever-shifting sand. Jaime noted that there is something different everyday due to the wind and the waves. We made stops at three of the islands to enjoy the soft warm sand and discover shells, plants and the low vegetation. On another island, with a small fishing village, we had lunch not included and had the opportunity to go to the top of the lighthouse.
The boat was comfortable for the eleven people in our group. Jaimes commentary was fun and informative. Well worth the price.
This tour was fantastic, Jaime the tour guide made it really special, he is very knowledgable. The islands are gorgeous, it was so relaxing walking around the various islands looking for shells. This tour was really something special, I learned a lot about the area. 10/10.
Fantastic trip. Our Captain, Claudio, was excellent very informative and he went out of his way to ensure that we enjoyed our trip. The boat was comfortable too. A max of 12 per boat so everything felt more personal. Try and book a day when the sun is shining to ensure the fantastic sea colours not usually a problem in Faro!. I would definitely recommend this trip.
Was not as good as other trips I have taken. Guide showed us 4 birds from afar. Left us on island to go to boardwalk would have been nice to have him go and explain more Then the next island we had a bit to eat. The next he parked right beside dome nude beachers. I felt embarrassed to intrude on them. He left us there for 30 min on this island with nothing to do in the hot sun. I did go in the water was feeling unsafe as no one else was there. This snorkel gear was awful not clean and binoculars were like kids binoculars. Pretty easy job for this tour guide. Wish more info. Asked about flamingos. Told they aren't in this area you need to go by the airport to see them on your own. Like why are they shown on the brochure?? Just disappointed.