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Tour to Galés and Barra Grande

You can’t think of a trip to Alagoas without taking the traditional walk to the natural pools of Maragogi.They are also called galés, taocas, or Barra Grande swimming pools.

The truth is that, because of their overcrowding, tourist destinations in Alagoas have offered several options for natural pools in the region.The Maragogi pools are part of the Costa dos Corais, an environmental preservation area

Japaratinga, São Miguel dos Milagres, Porto de Pedras and Paripueira are other destinations on the north coast of Alagoas that also offer raft to natural pools.They are usually cheaper than in Maragogi.

Those staying in Maceió, for example, have the option of going to Paripueira, which is much closer.

But the truth is that the natural pools of Maragogi are the major tourist attractions in the state.Due to their size, distance from the beach and the beauty of their waters, these pools are one of the must-see tours in Alagoas.

Maragogi Natural Pools: A trip to Galés and Barra Grande

Everything you need to know about a trip to the natural pools of Maragogi, on the Coral Coast of Alagoas

Wales or taocas?Those who go to Maragogi end up getting a little more intimate with these terms.This is how the natural pools of Maragogi are called.

In addition to the galés and taocas, the region also has the natural pools of Barra Grande.In other words, there are several options for tourists who want to see one of the main tourist attractions on the north coast of Alagoas.

Here are some tips and a step-by-step guide on how to organize your tour to the natural pools of Maragogi.

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APA Costa dos Corais

The natural pools of Maragogi are part of the APA Costa dos Corais – Costa dos Corais Environmental Preservation Area, under the responsibility of ICMBio – Instituto Chico Mendes .

This protected area extends from Paripueira, the first city north of Alagoas after Maceió, to Tamandaré, in the state of Pernambuco.There are a total of 120 km of beaches.It is the largest marine conservation unit in Brazil, created in 1997.

Also watch our video on YouTube
Top 10 Natural Swimming Pools in Brazil


1 – When to go: Keeping an Eye on the Tide Table

To visit the natural pools of Maragogi, it is worth following the recommendation of APA Costa dos Corais.

Piscinas Naturais de Maragogi - Passeio até as Galés e Barra Grande
Natural Pools of Maragogi, a must-see in Alagoas

  • You must stay Pay attention to the tide time.Above this height, the water becomes very disturbed and cloudy, not to mention that it may not be able to stand.

See the tide table to find out when the tide is lowest.


2 – Do I need to book the tour?

As we researched there in Maragogi, most companies encourage booking the tour (requires advance payment).


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In 2017, we had a very difficult time during our trip, with a lot of rain (somewhat unusual in the month of September).

Piscinas Naturais de Maragogi - Passeio até as Galés e Barra Grande
Pools have a maximum number of visitors per day

To avoid doing the tour on a bad day, we ended up leaving it to close at the last minute and didn’t book in advance.

If you are traveling in low season, you can choose to close the tour on time.But in high season or weekends and holidays, it is recommended to book in advance.

The number of people per day is limited, namely:

  • Welsh: 720 people per day;
  • Taocas : 288 people per day;
  • Barra Grande: up to 576 people per day.


Stay tuned

Today, many articles on the internet are impersonal.The authors did not actually make the trip and work with content inspired by other sites and not their own experiences.

Would you get travel tips from someone who hasn’t taken this trip?

Give credit to authorial work.All Viagens Cine articles are based on real experiences and on places we actually visit.The photos and videos are our own.


3 – When is the best time?

Piscinas Naturais de Maragogi - Passeio até as Galés e Barra Grande
The surreal color of the sea, in the natural pools of Maragogi

Summer is the time when it rains less in Alagoas, but it is also the busiest time.

October and November are great months to enjoy the best weather and less traffic there.

On the other hand, in Maragogi the sea ​​gains impressive hues only in summer.In 2020, we traveled in the month of November and were able to contemplate the turquoise blue sea of ​​the region.

But we also traveled in September and we didn’t find the sea the same color.So, if you want to see the pools and beaches at their peak, go between November and March.

Also read:
Costa dos Corais: A Tour of the Natural Pools of Alagoas and Pernambuco


4 – Choosing the operator / catamaran

Unlike other trips to natural pools, in Maragogi a raft cannot take passengers.

The galleys and taocas, the natural pools from Maragogi, are more than 6 km from the beach.The journey takes about 20 minutes.

To reach the natural pools, transport is via catamarans, boats or speedboats.

Piscinas Naturais de Maragogi: Galés e Taocas - Costa dos Corais Alagoas
Checking the tide table is essential when planning your tour

We recommend the Costazul Turismo tours, which leave from the beach from Barra Grande.We took the tour to the Barra Grande pools with them (R$115.00 for a 3-hour tour) and we thought it was excellent.

Snorkeling is not included in the tours.The average rental cost is BRL 15.00.

Costazul Turismo can be contacted directly via Whatsapp.Use the code VIAGENSCINE to get a 10% discount.

Costazul Turismo also operates tours to the Galés de Maragogi.

Piscinas Naturais de Maragogi - Passeio até as Galés e Barra Grande
The catamarans of Costa Azul Turismo, one of the most reputable operators in Maragogi

Practical Tips and Care when Booking

  • While strolling along the central beach of Maragogi, several vendors will offer the tour to the natural pools.You need to find the best experience for your trip.


4 – Welsh or taocas, that’s the question?

The pools Maragogi’s natives are very similar, and you don’t have to worry too much about which one you’ll meet.

The tours usually leave on alternate days, that is, the same operator can have departures to the galleys on one day and to the Barra Grande pools the next day.

Wales of Maragogi.Photo Credits: Salinas de Maragogi

Understand the differences

The Maragogi Alagoas website presents a table comparing them.The differences range from length and depth.

The galleys and taocas are great for those who enjoy diving, and the pools in Barra Grande are shallower and can be visited by children even with a tide of 0.6.

The pools of Barra Grande, much shallower than the wales

Already the Salinas de Maragogi hotel website states that the difference is that the galés are in front of the Salinas de Maragogi resort, while the taocas are in front of Maragogi beach (see map below).

The tour to the Maragogi galleys began to be commercially exploited in 1987, with the construction of the hotel.

  • Wales: located in the direction of the Salinas de Maragogi resort, on Maragogi Beach
  • Taocas: in front of Maragogi Beach
  • Barra Grande Natural Pools: on Barra Grande Beach, north of the center of Maragogi

Differences Apart from that, the galleys, the taocas and the swimming pools of Barra Grande are very similar and equally unmissable.


5 – Where the tours start from

O que fazer em Maragogi Alagoas: Melhores Praias - Casa da Praia Restaurante
Casa da Praia Restaurant is located on Barra Grande beach

Many people head straight to Maragogi’s central beach to hire tours to the natural pools.On the central beach, everything is more crowded and more confusing, at least based on our experience.

If you are looking for a more relaxed and organized experience, we suggest heading to Praia de Barra Grande, at Casa da Praia Restaurante.

This is where the Costazul Turismo tour starts.

And in Barra Grande is where the Caminho de Moisés is located, one of the main tourist attractions in Maragogi.So you can take the tour to the pools and get to know the Way on the same day.


6 – How the tour works

We’re going to talk about two experiences below.

  • In 2017, we visited the Galés de Maragogifrom Praia do Centro.
  • In 2020, we visited the Pools of Barra Grandefrom the beach from Barra Grande.

Boarding

The tranquil beach of Barra Grande, one of the starting points for tours

In general, the departures take place in front of restaurants / receptions, so you can sit at the tables and consume something (optional).

At checkout, an employee organizes the queue.

Smaller boats and speedboats arrive faster, which guarantees more time in the pools.The downside is that they swing more.Catamarans are bigger, with more space, swing a lot less, but take longer to arrive.The choice depends on your level of tolerance with the rough seas.

There is no pier in Maragogi.Then you have to walk across the sea to the vessel.If the tide is high, you may have to go through chest-deep water to get on board.

In 2017, we embarked from the beach in the center and had to walk out into the sea to more or less with chest-deep water to get on the boat.This with backpack and photography equipment that could not get wet.Clothes, cell phones and wallet were all placed in the backpack.Anyway, in the end everything worked out and we got on the boat.

Piscinas Naturais de Maragogi: Galés e Taocas - Costa dos Corais Alagoas
Praia do Centro de Maragogi

In 2020, boarding at Praia de Barra Grande was much smoother, even because the beach has calmer seas than the central beach.Why does a destination as popular as Maragogi not have a pier?This would greatly help boarding for people with reduced mobility.

Wallets of Maragogi

Arrival to the galleys of Maragogi, after a few kilometers out to sea, it is impressive.

We arrive at an immense natural pool, formed by different groups of corals and an absolutely incredible color of the sea.The diving stop is approximately 1h30.

At first the tide was still a little high (0.3 would be the lowest point at 12:21, but we arrived at 11:30).As we were at low tide, there was a possibility that things would improve a little.

The boatman kept rushing us to get off soon, as he organized a single line, which followed the stretches of sand where it was possible to go walking.

Up to our return to the boat, there were still some stretches where the natural pools had more 2 meters deep.For me, who can’t swim, it was a little tricky.However, it is possible to bring life jackets.

Most of the people were gathered on small sandbanks that are higher, leaving the rest of the natural pools freer for those who wanted to circulate without too many people in return.It was our case.Even with so many people there, it was possible to get to places where there was almost no one around.

Barra Grande Natural Pools

Our tour to the Barra Grande pools Grande was more relaxed.

Throughout our tour, it was possible to walk on the sandbanks.And for snorkeling, it was possible to choose between the deepest stretches, and others very shallow, with water below the knee.

One thing we also really like about the pools in Barra Grande is that since the pools are very shallow, the water is less cloudy.The result is a very crystalline pool, practically a natural aquarium.

Tips to make the most of natural pools

  • We advise you to bring your own snorkel.It’s a very quick stop, it passes in an instant.Scuba diving, photo shoots and even enjoying the natural pools seem to be too rushed, so I don’t think it’s worth it.
  • The food to attract little fish is lacking and it’s harder to see fish without them.According to the Costa dos Corais APA, it is forbidden to feed the fish, so you are being ecologically correct.
  • Photographers use the rations in photo shoots.The tip is to keep the food with your hands closed, without releasing them to the fish (theoretically, this attracts more fish than actually feeding them).
  • Your best chance of seeing fish is by moving away of agglomerations of people.
  • The natural pools are big, like a big labyrinth.There are several stretches where you can swim more peacefully.

  • Don’t step on the corals, to preserve them.There are areas where you can walk on the sand and go barefoot.
  • Another reason not to touch the corals is safety.Beware of urchins, they can create problems.
  • Prefer to float on the corals, you will see fish and other animals in their natural habitat.Avoid sudden and agitated movements, the sand lying at the bottom of the pools can move and the water loses visibility.
  • It goes without saying that you shouldn’t take or leave rubbish in the natural pools, right?

Read more:
What to do in Maragogi: Best Beaches

After swimming, it’s great to relax on the sandbanks with that emerald green or turquoise water , and feel in the Brazilian Caribbean.

TECHNICAL DATA SHEET:

Excursion:Maragogi Natural Pools
Direction: Maragogi, Alagoas
Production: from R$ 80.00 – ref.November 2020
Photography: Fabio Pastorello
The best: Barra Grande’s pools are shallower and the water is absolutely crystal clear, making it a great natural aquarium.
The worst: Most people tend to crowd around the photographers, who bring food to attract the little fish.
Year: 2020
Country: Brazil
Review: ★★★★★

Read more about our 7-10 day Alagoas itinerary

Note: This article was originally written in December 2017 and updated in February 2021.

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