Pendle flew to Lisbon with Go-Fly for the bargain price of £120 per person. The cars were hired for a similar amount from Holiday Autos and the villa we stayed in was found on the web at www.casacristovao.com/. Very good, very cheap and well placed for caving adventures. We even had our own pool, guard dogs and bee eaters !!!
The surveys and descriptions were taken from C. Thomas' book, Grottes et Algars du Portugal, available from Inglesport or International Caver Bookshop. The surveys are accurate, but the grid references at the back leave a lot to be desired. Get some decent Portuguese Military maps from Stanfords in London and take a GPS if you want to find the caves. Some knowledge of Portuguese might be handy, but we found using the words "Algar, algar!" and "Grutas, grutas!", with some pointing and dog stroking just as good. Not so useful for ordering another Coke though.............
April was a very good time to go as it was just starting to get hot, but leave it until the middle of May for the best weather. Going out of season also means cheaper accommodation and car hire !
We found the caves to be mosty dry so a TSA suit was too hot to wear all the time. The rigging was a bit dodgy but we took a bolt kit so got round every crap spit. There is a caving shop in Torres Novas incase you forget anything, but it was expensive.
There are many caving groups in Portugal and a national society. The speleological interpretation centre at the Algar do Peno is well worth a visit and Portugals top beard is located there, Olympio Martins. He is a top bloke and a mine of information.