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Friday, January 22, 2016

Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm - Madeira Island

Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm 
You are probably wondering why I am spending the day talking about a trout farm today.  Well, you must know I love everything anything water related, and in truth, this isn't just a fish farm.  It is one of the most beautiful, organic looking fish farms I have ever seen.  Park, garden, fish farm, adorable town all in one little visit.  The grounds, the structures, the town, everything about this area was beautiful and charming, and a great way to spend a few hours when visiting the island of Madeira.  

Your average fish farm looks a little something like this below.  A cold sterile environment that is an eye sore, and not very inviting.  Never mind the highly unsustainable practices that go into various forms of aquaculture throughout the country. 

Typical fish farming operation Source
But the government run Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm is very very different from your average fish farm. For one, The grounds are beautiful.  This fish farm is more like a park than a concrete enclosure.  Stone enclosures, fresh flowing levada water, and viewing areas set against a beautiful park like background. 

Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
It is located in this beautiful town a little of the beaten path, and serves as a tourist attraction for the town. Ribeiro Frio translantes to Cold River and this part of the island still has the Laurissilva’ forest (subtropical laurel forest) feel with thick greenery all around. The grounds of this trout farm make it as much as a lush garden as it does a trout farm. You won't feel like you are on an volcanic island when you make your way across Ribeiro Frio.

There are a couple different levada walks and hikes in this area,

Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
Viewing areas at Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
Viewing platform at Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
fresh flowing stream water Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
Trout are a freshwater fish, and this farm is fed and constantly refreshed by the natural levada water.  The water is cold and clear and you can watch hundreds of trout chase each other, in enclosures where fish are separated by age and size.  There are several different pools and enclosures on the property, and you can see the levada system running throughout the farm to feed the various tanks.  

Trout enclosures at Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
Trout enclosures at Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
Trout enclosures at Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm
Trout enclosures at Ribeiro Frio Trout Farm

After you visit the trout farm, you can try the local farm raised trout at the nearby restaurant, or take a nice levada walk. Ribeiro Frio is a start to one of thee islands popular levada walks. The Ribeiro Frio to Portela Levada Walk (11km) is a moderate walk along one of the most beautiful and known levadas of Madeira surround by Laurissilva Forest. You will see the sign and levada entrance by the trout farm.  

Start to the Levada walk to Portela 
If 11 km is too big of a commitment, you can also take a short walk to Balcoes, one of the islands prettiest viewpoints. At just 50 minutes there and back, this is an easy trip.  

Start to the short walk to Balcoes viewing area 

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