To reach this place in the middle of nowhere with only wild volcanic nature around you have two options: Either you leave the car in the village of Caldeiras near the hot springs and the restaurant and follow the road you have just passed at the entrance to the village up to Lombadas – it is nearly 5 km of a fairly nice hike oneway – or you let the car do the work, which might be a bit distressing because the road is almost single track and made of cobble stone. In Lombadas itself you might want to try the newly designed round trail of about 12 km in length, which is described on the recently set up information panel standing beside the ruins of the two main buildings.
Now a few words on the history of this unique place: Up to 17000 litres per hour of water bubble from the springs there.
From 1897 on only a small amount of this water was being bottled bearing the name Agua Mineral Carbo-Gasosa das Lombadas – still known as the once finest mineral water in the whole archipelago. Because of its healing composition it was even distributed as far as mainland Portugal. Unfortunately, in 1999 landslides and floods have destroyed this tiny but nonetheless industrious site; you can still see, where mounts of earth slid down onto the production area.
Too sad maybe it has never been rebuilt yet. Perhaps someone financially sponsored by the EC has an inspiring idea how to revive it in the near future. This abandoned place with its ruins set beside the small rivers in the vale just aside the walls of a volcanic crater creates an uncanny atmosphere of its very own, though.
Don’t miss to pay notice to the colours of the two meeting rivers; one is white – not much about it – the other one is rusty red due to the iron contained in it!
While checking out the location, let your GPS eventually lead you on to the cache… (Don’t forget, that’s what you initially have come for, isn’t it?!)
We would highly appreciate oncoming geocachers carrying some gear (dark coloured plastic bags, a small spare box) in advance, just in case the original ones got broken or soaked.
Thank you and happy hunting
Small note on cache maintenance: Our cache guardian is a local guy form Ponta Delgada, his name is Goncalves Guterres, He's no geo-cacher, hence no nick - there are far to few caches on the Azores. At least we did a little bit to improve that, and he will maintain the cache.