Before we decided to visit the village of Camacha we heared that it was one of the most picturesque villages on the siland of Madeira. The drive towards Camacha was beautiful indeed. We drove through some laurisliva forests, which is a type of humid subtropical forest. It's made up of Laurel-leaved evergreen hardwood trees, reaching up to 40 meters high.
When we drove some further to Camacha we noticed that lots of new houses were being built replacing the old traditional ones. In the village itself the small shops and bars are fast disappearing to be replaced by supermarkets and large shopping centres. Such a shame!
Village of Camacha
Situated at the middle (bit to the north east) side of the island. It is a 18 km drive from the capital of Madeira, Funchal.
It's a must-do tourist activity for some, but if you're uncertain as to whether or not you'll actually try this odd little activity out, consider that the round-trip ticket on the air-tram is the same price or cheaper than the one-way trip on the taboggan. The sled rides cost around 20EUR (not including the obligatory tip to the drivers) and the madeiran sled-drivers themselves spend much of their days standing around, smoking, waiting for the next tourist to take the bait. I think I could take a luxury vacation on what was in their till for 1 day - large piles of 20EUR bills. It's interesting to see them take other tourists down, but overall, the vibe is tacky, touristy, and expensive.
Though going to the Northeastern part of Madeira and seeing these cute little thatched Madeiran homes amongst the foliage is really nice, they are not located all together. Rather there are 3-4 stacked right next to each other for tourists to take photos of. The rest of these homes require you to drive around in search of them. From tourist brochures of Madeira, this is a bit suprising as most people would think that these cottages would be together forming a village in Santana, but unfortunately that isn't the case.
It's THE most touristy thing to do in Funchal .. no in Madeira as a whole. Take a trip in a toboggan (read wicker basket!) down from Monte to Funchal pulled, pushed and steered by two "tobogganeers". A hair raising journey down narrow winding streets with cobbles and ruts thrown in for good measure. Sounds exciting! Well maybe .. but be prepared for the cost .. 10 Euros per passenger, plus you are expected to tip the drivers generously afterwards .. oh and if you want a photo of yourself waiting in the basket .. sorry .. toboggan as you consider the wisdom of your decision .. you will be photographed before the journey commences and hey presto the photo will be ready for you at the journey's end .. that will cost a further 10 Euros. Oh and one more point .. the toboggan trip no longer takes you all the way down into Funchal as the traffic conditions make that too dangerous so you will have a 2km walk to reach Funchal.
Did I take a toboggan trip then? Of course I did!
Unique Suggestions: Well at least save yourself 10 Euros and ask the photographer to take a picture of you with your own camera, they are usually quite happy to do so.
Fun Alternatives: You could try walking .. it's only 4km! Damned hard on the knees though .. steep!
When you walk on the streets in the capital of the island, Funchal; men will probably come and talk to you. They will ask you if you are interested in bying an appartment in Funchal. First they are very friendly but when you go with them to their office they become agressive sometimes. It is a system of time-sharing of the appartments !!! So watch out and do not sign any papers or contracts.
We bought a bottle of 1968 Maderia wine in a sovenir shop in Porto Moniz. We found that the airport duty free shop sell it 40 euro less.
The exotic fruits like Maracuja-Tomate and all sorts of passion fruits are a way more expensive there than at other markets! Be carefull!
Fun Alternatives: Buy the fruits at any other fruit shop round the town.