AquaShow Water Park, Portugal is the biggest water park in Portugal and has a four star rating on TripAdvisor. The park is open from the start of May to the end of September.
There are quite a lot of smaller water parks in Portugal, many within easy driving distance of our villa in Carveoiro but we when we were looking for a water park in Portugal, we decided it was worth driving that little bit further to Quarteira for the biggest and best park we could find!
Top Tips for Visiting AquaShow Park with Kids
Dress appropriately! Think one piece swim suit and rash vests
Personally I think if you’re going to a water park, you want to be wearing a one piece. If you wear a bikini at AquaShow, I guarantee you’re basically going to spend all day checking nothing has fallen out when you get to the bottom of a ride – no matter what you wear though, be prepared to pull your swimming costume out of your bum more than once! Whilst we’re on the subject of suitable clothing, it’s also worth considering wearing a rash vest for SPF protection – I was really surprised when we visited that most guests weren’t wearing them but there’s no way Dave, Ben or Amy would have survived the day without them.
There isn’t a lot of shade and the majority of the day is going to be spent in the open – and wet. Your waterproof sun cream just isn’t going to cut the mustard – especially as you won’t be able to reapply it as regularly as you might usually. Float jackets aren’t allowed on rides at AquaShow so we put Amy’s back in the locker – it didn’t really matter as most rides land in a shallow splash pool that she could stand in and others she wasn’t allowed on anyway!
Make use of the lockers
You really don’t want to be carrying your stuff around with you all day at AquaShow – you’d only have to leave it lying around at the bottom of slides risking it getting taken or just soaking wet. There are lockers situated near the entrance to the park – you need to pop into the shop to hire these – there’s a 5 euro deposit and then your locker costs 5 euros for a day’s hires. We chose to offload our stuff fairly near the entrance but this does mean your things aren’t particularly accessible. We only returned to our locker once at lunch time to get some money for food and top up our sun cream.
Go barefoot (or wear swim shoes)
We started our day wearing flip flops, kicking them off at the bottom of a ride, queuing barefoot and then going back for them at the end but we soon realised we were better off just leaving them in our lockers. The floor wasn’t too hot for the most part (though we did occasionally find ourselves searching out wet patches or shady spots to walk in!). The wettest parts are covered with a green carpety material which stayed cool and wasn’t slippy.
The other option of course is to wear proper swim shoes which could be left on all day and would keep your feet protected.
Don’t forget your towel
Obviously this is a wet day out and you will need a towel – you can buy them on site if you forget but it’s cheaper to take your own! You don’t need to dry off between rides so don’t worry about dragging your towel around with you – just leave it in the locker with your change of clothes for the end of the day!
Be ready to queue
AquaShow Waterpark doesn’t offer a fast track ticket system but in all honesty, we didn’t think the queues were that bad – maybe 40 minutes for the very biggest of rides. Of course Ben and Amy can’t always go on the same rides (nor do they want to) so this meant quite a few times where we sent Dave and Ben off to queue for something while myself and Aunty Nic found something else for Amy to do – the Aqualandia area was perfect for this as she could play independently while Nic and I sat at the side and enjoyed some sunshine!
Be aware that you can’t really carry anything around with you
I’ve already mentioned that you should make use of the lockers – I’m basically going to reiterate that here. Unless you’ve got someone with you who isn’t going to go on the rides (this would totally be my mum’s job if she had come with us!) then you’d have to leave your stuff on the floor at the bottom of a ride. This isn’t secure and it isn’t dry. Life will be much easier if you just leave your things in a locker. What this does mean is that you can’t have your phone, money, sun cream etc to hand so you need to think about planning in opportunities to pop back to your locker during the day or consider investing in a waterproof pouch.
Consider a waterproof container to keep your phone / money / medication handy
As I’ve just mentioned, you don’t want to be carrying your bag around with you for risk of it being taken or just getting wet. This meant for us that our phones and money remained safely in our locker for the day along with my asthma medication. I wasn’t too bothered about not having my phone on me (though I’d have liked to do more insta stories!) but not having ready access to money was a bit of a pain if we wanted a drink or snack. It also wasn’t ideal to be leaving my inhaler in a locker when I was doing such a lot of activity! You can buy waterpoof pouches on site to combat this issue however as you’re not allowed to wear a hat or sunglasses on a ride, I’m not sure if you’d actually be allowed to wear the waterproof pouch on a ride either.
Don’t bother with your camera unless it’s waterproof
After our trip to Siam Park last year, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to use my DSLR at AquaShow but I had hoped to use my new GoPro. Unfortunately I’d read somewhere that I couldn’t take the camera on rides and I obviously didn’t want to be leaving an expensive bit of kit lying around so decided not to bother taking it. As it happens, you are allowed to take your GoPro on rides as long as it is securely fastened with a chest or head mount so you should be able to get some awesome footage and photos! As you can imagine – I was absolutely gutted that I didn’t realise this till it was too late!
Plan out alternating rides for older child with younger child
If you’re taking children of different ages to AquaShow Water Park, it’s worth planning out your day to try and alternate the rides to minimise standing around and waiting for each other. Some of the rides have height restrictions, others are restricted by age. As it was, Amy was just a centimetre off being tall enough for most of the mid-range rides (usually 1.20m) but even if she had been tall enough, we noticed a number of them were for age 6+. This was a real shame as it meant we had to split up quite a bit to allow for Dave and Ben to go on the bigger rides (usually 1.40m). We had hoped that Amy would be tall enough for us to do more together this time – and in fact when we had measured her at the entrance she was . . . then we took her shoes off. Schoolboy error!
Because many of the rides are really close together, it makes it easy to seperate the group and find somewhere for your younger (or less brave) children to play while the others wait for bigger, bolder slides! We tried to alternate who went with Ben and who went with Amy, and also to try and mix things up so it wasn’t a constant run of big rides for Ben while we hung out waiting – this was a family day out and we did want to spend time together too.
Be aware of the ride coding system at AquaShow
Throughout the park, the rides are coded easy, medium, hard – basically according to how scary they are! This is a fairly self-explanatory system – but an important and useful feature. At AquaShow, you can get a fairly good feel for the rides just from looking at them, there aren’t lots of surprises here – the rides are open to view and you can make a judgement ahead of time but the coding system is a useful extra when you get to the bottom of the steps.
Plan breaks for lunch / snacks
You are allowed to take your own food and drink to AquaShow, but in all honesty I wouldn’t bother – you might save a few euros but I don’t think it’s really worth the faff. We decided to eat fairly early on to avoid the rush and were able to get a table, under cover – the food was expensive as you’d expect, and wasn’t great quality – but it filled a hole! The last thing you want before an afternoon of sunshine and slides is a big heavy lunch anyway. There’s no way any of us drank enough during the course of our day – because you can’t really carry stuff around with you easily, it means you do have to really plan for drinks and snacks.
Consider taking a sun umbrella and setting up camp!
Throughout the park there’s a limited amount of seating and sunbeds – and those are quickly claimed. What we did notice was that people tended to find a spot on the grass and set up camp – laying out beach towels and even sun umbrellas to claim their area. Because you can’t take anything on rides (and this includes sunglasses / hats) you find that people tend to just leave things laying on the floor and cross their fingers for honesty – we preferred to leave our valuables in a locker!
Be prepared to share
Some of the rides are to be ridden individually or in pairs and you just choose which ring you want to take up to the top of the ride with you. Others such as are for up to four people so you will most likely find yourself sharing your ring with others – so be prepared for semi naked bodily contact with strangers! This feels a little strange at first but you soon get over it!
All in we had a great day at AquaShow Waterpark – we stayed till closing time and still hadn’t covered all the rides in the park – in fact Ben had a bit of a sulk when it was time to leave!
If you’ve got any questions about AquaShow Waterpark in Portugal leave me a comment below or message me on twitter!
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