A place where history, culture, and an amazing local population all embrace the benefits of eco-friendly living with the agriculture, fishing, and tourism sectors being the predominant industries on the island. It was ever since the great earthquake of 1980 that devastated the region that the importance of green tourism, as well as the preservation of the islands delicate ecosystems, have been of great concern to the local population. The environmental precautions and recent measures implemented by the regional government have allowed this island to become one if not the most unspoiled islands in all of Europe. The island of Terceira is the site of four large volcanoes (Pico Alto, Santa Bárbara, Guilherme Moniz, and Cinco Picos). The Algar do Carvão is directly associated with the caldera “geyser” of the Guilherme Moniz volcano, but it is part of the same chain as Santa Barbara to the west, Pico Alto to the north, and Guilherme Moniz, which is a short distance to the south of the Algar do Carvão site. Algar do Carvão is situated at around 583 meters (1,913 ft) above sea level making this more than a safe location for exploration. The island’s volcanic landscapes are just as interesting and beautiful underground as they are above ground. It’s as if you entering a heavily forested jungle, but in reality, it’s a cave. Here you can get a unique look into the core of this volcanic island while gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of sustainability for the survival of the region. The good thing about this excursion is that you do not need to be an expert athlete or even break a sweat; as the entrance has been made accessible by a natural made stairway that leads right into this enchanted volcanic cave. There is a dim amount of light so you can see where you are going and be able to walk safely while exploring this fascinating spot. The light is made dim as all necessary methods of precaution and preservation have been implemented to ensure the safe and natural exploration of the cave without damaging the endemic fauna of this ecological gem. This is one of the most popular excursions and spots to visit on the island of Terceira so it is recommended that you and your group go with a local guide who knows the best times and can even make arrangements for private informative tours with lunch etc.
The cave is open daily from 9 am – 6 pm in the city of Angra do Heroismo. Here you can spend the entire day or as little as an hour if you are compressed for time. The entrance starts at a small stone-built house that has a small information center that leads into this mystic cave where the price for admission is just a few euros and helps keep the staff and maintenance of this national geographical site.