Name of company
Passeios Ria Formosa
What type of activity is it?
Boat tour specialist operating out of Olhao, Fuzeta and Santa Luzia.
What makes it special?
The company offers a comprehensive series of guided tours, activities and charter options in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the myriad of lagoons, salt marshes and islands off the coast of Faro and Olhao. What it doesn’t know about the region isn’t worth knowing.
There are boats of all shapes and sizes, from water taxis and small power boats to motor cruisers and ferries. You can hire a private water taxi to take you almost anywhere within the lagoon, book onto one of the set guided tours or special interest trips, or catch the ferry, which runs to a timetable.
The guided tours vary in duration, and take in a permutation of the main islands of the region, including Barreta (also known as Ilha Deserta), Culatra, Armona and Tavira.
Special interest trips include fishing, dolphin watching and bird-watching, as well as banana boats and towing you in a buoy!
What to bring
The obvious in hot weather - a hat, sunscreen and water. Depending on the weather the rest of the year, and the duration of your trip, either layers of clothing and perhaps something to keep you dry.
The beaches are fantastic, so take a towel and don’t miss out on the chance of a dip in the sea. Pack a swimming costume if you’re going to one of the inhabited islands like Culatra. You won’t need one on most of the other islands.
See below for food options.
Some of the shorter trips, such as from Fuzeta to the western tip of Ilha Tavira, only take about 10 minutes each way, so are ideal for those who want to enjoy the experience but don’t necessarily like being at sea for too long.
Who does it appeal to?
Nature lovers, naturists, bird-watchers, beach bums, and anybody who loves fresh air, the tang of the sea, good honest local food, and simply discovering something new, different and perhaps a little surprising. This is the real Algarve - it's not for you if you're happier in the more 'controlled' environment of the big-name resorts.
When to go?
Try to avoid the heat of the day in the middle of summer and opt for a morning or late afternoon trip, unless you’re on the speed boat and just want to get to one of the islands quickly. Trips run year-round, weather-permitting. Check the website for times.
There are a couple of snack bar/restaurants in the main fishing harbour on Culatra; an excellent traditional restaurant (A do Joao - see our review HERE) on Ilha do Farol, the western tip of Culatra; and an excellent modern restaurant (Estaminé) on Ilha Deserta (see our review HERE).
There is little else on many parts of the other islands, which is part of their charm, so take everything you need in the way of food, drink and any other requirements.
If you’re stopping long enough, they’re great locations for a picnic or sundowners so pack the coolbox.
There are ticket offices in Olhao, Fuzeta and Santa Luzia, right in front of where they sail from.
You can also book trips direct, through your tour operator, or via your hotel.
Sample prices per person:
One-hour trip €12.50
Two-hour trip €20
Four-hour trip €40
Rent a boat €75 per hour
Fishing trip (incl. bait and tackle) €30
Dolphin watching €30