From Furna do Enxofre to the thermal pools in Carapacho (Graciosa)

A stroll around the island of Graciosa which includes the visit of the ex libris of this beautiful island: the Furnas do Enxofre (Sulphur Caves). And, finally, the curiosity of a spa resort on the edge of the Atlantic.

In the southeast area of the island, in the Caldeira mountain, you can visit one of the most original examples of the volcanic Azores: the so-called Furna do Enxofre. From the beach, or, coming from Santa Cruz, via Guadalupe and Feiteira, we reach the road which gives access to the Caldeira road tunnel (one solid piece, dated of 1952/53), carefully built of stone. In the site of the cave, embedded into the rocks, a long vertical staircase, with its expressive design in stone, dating from the same years as the tunnel, allows a visit to this natural phenomenon. This is a huge volcanic dome, which houses a pond of warm water and sulfur (130 meters in diameter by 80m tall, 100 m deep), which we manage to see in the dark of the site. The visits should take place preferably between 11:00 and 14:00 hours, to enjoy the effects of natural light filtered through the small opening above. You must comply with the basic rules of safety, given the presence of harmful gases, which sometimes force to ban the entry on the site. You may approach the edge of the pond, walking along the groundwater beach (if authorized), but this is, in any case, something awful and sinister, due to the lack of light and the intense smells. Leaving the Caldeira, and taking the road that passes by the village of Luz, we arrive at Carapacho, a modest but distinctive local health resort, with the usual small and picturesque homes and vacation villas, and the simple thermal building (for the treatment of rheumatism and diseases of the skin). A little further east, in the southern coastal tip of the island, we can see the lighthouse of Ponta do Carapacho (1956), constructed of reinforced concrete and modern design, which belongs to the family of Azores lighthouses of the '50s (such as the one in Ponta dos Rosais, in São Jorge, now ruined due to a recent earthquake, and those in Ponta Garça and Ponta Cintrão, in Sao Miguel, all dating from 1956-58). The architecture of the building, besides its landscaping dimension, expresses the characteristic design of that kind of material, with its high body, cylindrical, with a rhythmic series of protruding vertical pillars - evidencing a ribbed outlook of interesting aesthetic effect.

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