Madeira driver-guides

I would like to add some information to the excellent articles on “Charming Madeira” by Philip Wagenaar in the May and June ’04 issues. I made a trip there a few years ago. I agree that Madeira is a beautiful and wonderful place to visit.

I hope that no one will miss seeing this island because of Dr. Wagenaar’s unfortunate experience (car surrounded, items taken) detailed in the first of his articles. My cousin from England goes every year to see the flower festival and parade (held each year during the first week of June). He has never had an experience similar to Dr. Wagenaar’s.

We feel that the best way to see as much of Madeira as possible in a short time is to rent a car and driver for all your touring needs on the island. This method is quite reasonable in cost, and you can get the same person for tours around the island, gardens and levadas (canals) as well as for airport transfers.

After using this method for several years, my cousin has the following two drivers that he highly recommends for their English-speaking ability and the quality of their cars. They both use well-maintained Mercedes automobiles. The following rates are per taxi (up to four passengers): airport to Funchal, €22-€24 (about $26-$29); half day, €45-€50 ($55-$60), and full day, €90 ($109). They also meet cruise ships for island tours.

Call Paulo Goncalves at (351) 91 991 41 20, e-mail or visit

Call Jose de Freitas on his cell phone, (351) 91 788 63 13, or home phone, (351) 29 175 66 35.

This is the safest and best way to see all of this beautiful island called Madeira.

Banning, CA