Pego do Inferno: Jungle Adventure in the Algarve

Behind the infernal name of Pego do Inferno, “Pit of Hell” in English, hides a beautiful place in the Algarve in Portugal. My colleagues have often told me about the small lagoon with emerald green water and a splashing waterfall. When it comes to discovering new places, I’m usually the first to jump forward, but unfortunately I haven’t made it to the Pego do Inferno. That’s reason enough for me to take some time for a trip to the lagoon. And what could possibly happen to a good girl like me in the “Pit of Hell”? 😉

pego do inferno lagoon
Looks like paradise, doesn’t it?

Off on a Jungle Adventure

I know it seems dramatic, but I definitely feel like Indiana Jones going on an adventure into the jungle. Early in the morning we start by car from the TUI BLUE Falesia. Finding access to Pego do Inferno is an experience in itself.

Without preparation, it’s quite difficult to reach the apparently well-kept secret in the Algarve. Since the site isn’t officially open to the public, there are hardly any signs, although the lagoon is only ten kilometres northwest of the city of Tavira. Luckily, there’s Google Maps – how did people actually find such places before?!

pego do inferno sign
We found a signpost after all.

The Pego do Inferno is located in the municipality of Santo Estévao, about seven kilometres from Tavira, and is one of the most beautiful parts of the Algarve, although it differs from the well-known image of the region. It’s an unexpected sight that looks so different from the cliffs you might know.

Way to the Waterfall

When we arrive at the car park that the GPS suggests, we walk about a kilometre until we come across a wooden staircase that leads us down to the waterfall of Pego do Inferno. On the way to the local route we pass orange and lemon trees (the most typical trees in the Algarve). It’s barely 11:00 am, the sun is already at its peak, and it’s very hot. So, like us, remember to always bring enough drinking water and – very importantly – enough sun cream. I take a little time to pick lemons to make lemonade at home.

pego do inferno fresh lemons
I’ll make lemonade from the delicious lemons later.

Pure Nature

When we reach Pego do Inferno, my mouth is inevitably left hanging open and I can’t stop staring at this breathtaking masterpiece of nature in the middle of nowhere. I feel like the young Indiana Jones, only in the Algarve.

pego do inferno hand impression
“Hold” on to impressions

The waterfall flows into a round, emerald-green lagoon, surrounded by dense, primordial vegetation. The beautiful cascade is fed by the Asseca River and runs through limestone cliffs that form a picturesque lagoon. The calcium carbonate extracted from the rock accumulates in the lagoon and makes the water shimmer majestically green.

Gorgeous Pego do Inferno

Cascade do Pego do Inferno is the largest in the sequence of three waterfalls, Cascade da Torre and Cascade of Pomarinho. Hardly any tourist knows about this hidden gem and that’s what makes this place so charming. A visit is undoubtedly a must for anyone visiting the Algarve.

suely am pego do inferno
In the foreground me, in the background the lagoon

At the sight of this tranquil place, we again marvel at the strange name. But we’d already discovered an interesting fact about the lagoon in advance, which hardly anyone knows. Legend has it that many, many years ago, a horse-drawn cart and its occupants came off the road and crashed into the lagoon. Neither the bodies of the passengers nor those of the animals were ever found, and divers haven’t yet been able to find the bottom of the lagoon. Then they called the place “Trap of the Inferno” – in Portuguese, “Pego do Inferno”. Do you find this story as scary as I do?

Preparation is Everything

At Pego do Inferno, it’s possible to picnic and swim in the lagoon. You can imagine my face when I see people swimming in this wonderful green water. When I dip my finger in the water, I find that it’s not only cold, but ice cold. This fact, and my respect for the legend of Pego do Inferno, make me forget that I forgot my bikini at the hotel. Nevertheless, I bet that a dip in the water is perfect for cooling off on the hottest days of summer.

pego do inferno view of lagune
Jump in or don’t jump in?

At this point, a piece of advice for all those who wish to visit this place: Please note that it’s very important that you take care of the untouched nature. If you enjoy a picnic, always leave the place as you found it. If you don’t do this, who knows, maybe the “Pit of Hell” will haunt your dreams 😉

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