The search for exceptionally beautiful environments, and the attraction to adventure in nature, led man to explore and want to find places that would surprise him in different ways. This was one of the premises for the emergence of Canyoning.
The term Canyoning has an American origin, and means the action of “walking in gorges”. It is a modality that involves the use of mountaineering techniques, and that consists in the progressive exploration of a water line, with a very uneven course, overcoming various obstacles (waterfalls, slides, jumps), through diversified techniques (walking, abseiling, jumping and toboggans). It is an activity that always leads to the discovery of picturesque corners, which can only be discovered through the practice of Canyoning.
Éduard Alfred Martel, considered the father of speleology (the science that studies natural cavities), in 1888 crossed the cave of Bramabiau (France). He, as a hydrologist, had been hired by the French government to explore canyons, gorges and caves in the Pyrenees massif between France and Spain. Thus, he and the French people are recognized as pioneers in the practice and development of Canyoning.
In Canyoning, emotion is a very attractive factor for participants who fall in love with the sport. It is enjoying waterfalls with crystalline and refreshing waters and, often, areas with unusual morphologies.
In Portugal, the practice of this sport is relatively recent, having its beginning in the 80s, in the Peneda-Gerês National Park. It is a Park known for the richness of its landscapes, between mountains that provide fabulous conditions for the practice of Canyoning.
In the Azores, Canyoning has been sought after by residents and visitors, as it is a different way to discover the natural beauty of the archipelago.
Six of the nine islands of the archipelago have excellent natural conditions for Canyoning: Flores, São Jorge, São Miguel, Santa Maria, Faial and Terceira.
On the island of S. Miguel, this activity takes place in different places, such as Salto do Cabrito, in the municipality of Ribeira Grande, and in the Natural Park of Ribeira dos Caldeirões, in the municipality of Nordeste, the latter being one of the most sought after places for your practice. In addition to its unique involvement, it is a very versatile place that allows for a first canyoning experience with lots of fun and adrenaline.
Despite being an activity that presents different levels of difficulty, its practice should not be carried out without the proper framework by a qualified guide, and you should always have the appropriate equipment.
Adventure and leisure activities in natural areas allow people to get closer to Nature, and can be an effective way to help in the conservation of Nature, with the deepening of knowledge of the relationship between sports, the environment, active tourism and preservation of the environment. environmental. The demand for these activities is a growing and current trend, with an enormous capacity to promote environmental education, for the conservation of Nature and for greater regional sustainability.
During the practice of Canyoning, the changes suffered in the environment are minimal, since the floods that naturally occur dissipate the footprints and marks that the participants leave along the route. Currently, in São Miguel, some companies linked to the practice of Canyoning develop actions to clean canyons and are guided by their conservation, in order to have an ecological balance of these natural environments. At the end of 2018, the company Picos de Aventura, developed the cleaning of the route of the Ribeira dos Caldeirões Park, collecting about twenty kilos of garbage.
Canyoning is thus one of the sports that provides a deeper and more complete exploration of Nature, combining sport with adventure, adrenaline and environmental awareness.