While it’s really easy to stick with the rocky coastline, beautiful lava pools, charming towns and stunning beaches located on the exterior of the island, don’t forget to check out the interior of Terceira as well. I am not just talking about the lava caves and the famous Serra do Cume, although those are stunning and coming soon in an article, I am talking more about the less visited parks and lagoons.
The first day we had the rental car we drove around the island and was mesmerized by the beauty of the coastline. The second day we wandered into the interior of the island and were shocked at the beauty, the quietness, and the lack of visitors. To be fair, if you look at any map of Terceira, the lagoons don’t really stand out.
I have put together a small list of lagoons and parks that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Terceira. There aren’t a lot on the list, but they won’t be full of visitors, and they are gorgeous.
Lagoa das Patas
This is located in a recreational park on the way to Gruta do Natal. We actually stumbled upon the park, and drove by it and made a quick U-turn to check it out. The parking is located across the street from it and you will be able to see the lagoon and hermitage from the road as you drive by.
The park has places to picnic, a playground and shelter with places to cook food, but the lagoon has some unique and interesting birds and everything in this park is covered with bright green moss. While we were at the park we saw only three vehicles drive by and no one stopped. This is definitely one of the hidden gems of Terceira and a photographer’s or nature lover’s dream.
Lagoa do Negro
This lagoon is impossible to miss if you visit Gruta do Natal or hike Misterios Negros. If you are facing the entrance to Gruta do Natal and turn around this lagoon is literally right there. There is a break in the stone wall for you to walk down to the lagoon, and I will recommend waterproof shoes if you do. The ground leading up to the lagoon is over very saturated to the point water pools up from the ground with each step making waterproof shoes a must.
The wildlife located here depends on the amount of people at Gruta do Natal. If there is a loud noisy bus in the parking lot, the birds will take cover, however we went early in the morning and got a chance to see the lagoon full of birds. My advice for this one is choose your timing wisely. The Gruta do Natal is not open in the morning so that’s the best time to visit Lagoa do Negro.
Parque de Merendas de São Brás
This beautiful park is located a little outside São Brás and is the start of a 2 hour walking trail, as well as a picnic area, playground, and area to cook food. While we did not do the walking trail (we weren’t dressed for it) this park made the list because of the trees. I haven’t seen anything like them and had to mention them as a must see.
The trees grow along the ground, and their roots come out of the ground a little at the base. This I have seen before, however the part that intrigues me and makes the trees a must see, is that the roots grow another tree. It’s definitely a must see because words and pictures do not do these trees justice. Combine that with the bright green moss and this is another photographer and nature lovers dream.