After spending an awesome day and half up north in Porto, we drove for more than five hours to bypass Lisbon and reach straight to the Algarve region down south. Read more our Porto experience here first and then get on the car to enjoy Algarve with us. We decided to stay the night at a hotel at Boliqueme. Like many things in life and on the web – it is not always as it shows. The room turned out to be of really poor quality, small and above all unhygienic. Already exhausted after the long drive, we had no other way to crash in to bed but we were determined to switch to a better place the following day.
First thing first and right after breakfast, we booked another hotel much closer to the shoreline and wasted no time in driving towards the Playa de Benagil. After some 40 minutes or so, we arrived and immediately got baked under the Algarve sun. Forget grilled piri-piri chicken, the sun was so hot that it felt like being on a grill itself. After a short walk, we arrived at the cliff to be awestruck by the pristine blue of Atlantic waves gently kissing the Portuguese shore. Worth mentioning that our reason to arrive at Benagil was to catch sight of the most coveted sea-cave in this beach. We walked and discovered it from the ground where the tiny beach beneath the cave looked like a small stage where a private show was taking place. The sun-rays being the natural limelight, a few lucky bathers were also seen enjoying the experience down below. We realised that there was no way to walk down to the beach to enjoy this magnificent sea-cave and the only way out was either to swim or by a boat provided the waves were favourable.
We thought to return and look for the boating trip instead and found out that in exchange of 50 euros for two persons, the company Taruga Benagil Tours was offering a nearly hour long boat ride to explore around 20 of the sea caves along the shores of Algarve. Only caveat was that the boat ride was not available that day from Benagil due to adverse waves and we had to drive back to Marina de Portimao.
While we waited for the boat ride to start at 4pm, we discovered this thrilling beach bar called No Solo Agua. Right next to the waters, with lavish and lazy lounges laid out, statues of Laughing and Meditating Buddha on premises, soothing and inviting lounge music on air and scantily clad boys and girls serving colourful cocktails and mouth-watering food – the place appeared to be a perfect place to seek refuge from the scorching heat. We ordered lunch with fresh catch of the day- grilled served with some salad for Tanusree and barbecued chicken served with chips for Shehzaad. And while the lunch is being prepared, a glass of caipirinha is always a good idea by the beach,right!
Right before 4pm, we lined up at the designated pier and got on to our inflatable motor boat. We got on our life jackets and took the seats in the very first row to enjoy the upcoming adventure up, close and personally. There were 10-12 people more and as soon as the boarding was completed, our boat started off through the calm waters before arriving in the open wide blue.
What ensued for the next hour or so was literally a roller-coaster ride on the mighty Atlantic. We were introduced to the glorious beaches along the shoreline one after another. We came across some massive natural rock formations standing in isolation like an island on its own. And then our boat made frequent entries to remote sea-caves, dark, wet and loud – where the cacophony of the conversation between the rock and the splashing waves created a rather eerie feeling.
While our boat was hopping from one cave to another, some truant waves also thought to show some glimpse of their mischief. Like a slap on the bum, the boat kept landing on water from as high as 20 feet while the oscillation of waves and the strength of the electric motor of the boat kept negotiating between each other.
Finally we arrived at the prized sea cave of Benagil which we saw earlier in the day from top. As expected, there was no way to arrive at this location if not by boat or by swimming from the nearby Benagil beach. Sadly due to the high waves, we were also not allowed to get off the boat. But what we saw was enough to drop our jaws. It was the most secluded private theater of nature. Gentle awash by the Atlantic waves, the beach was small enough to accommodate the lucky few. And the massive aperture above the cave implied that the sun was in charge to keep throwing the spotlight all day long!
Stirred and shaken – not a Martini, but by the Atlantic waves of Algarve, we returned to the pier at Portimao. Captivated by the beauty of the sea-caves, we settled down again at the lazy lounges of No Solo Agua. We ordered some Sangria, Sex on the beach and beer to chill things down and we waited until the sun also went down while we let loose relaxing and seeing the waves crash on sands and the sound of lounge music putting us at ease. After this hot and happening 1st day at Algarve, we returned to our new hotel Muthu Oura Praia which turned out to be a spacious and home-stay-feel apartment hotel (more of which you’ll see in our Portugal Vlog on Tanusree’s Youtube channel, pretty soon). We signed off looking forward to another day of awesome exploration of Algarve.