Azores Adventure Tour

A 8 day trip to Portugal 
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Experience grand exploits in one of the world’s most exciting destinations during your custom-tailored Azores adventure tour. The Atlantic archipelago boasts a distinctive culture influenced by a history of Portuguese rule. Fantastical caverns carved by slow-moving lava and crater lakes filled with glassy reflective waters reflect the volcanic origins. Jade forestry and a close connection with friendly passing dolphins speak of a longstanding relationship with land and sea. Abseil down breathtaking cliffs, dive into warm Atlantic waters, and relax in the nutrient-rich soils accompanying steaming thermal baths for the ultimate discovery of the Azores.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Ponta Delgada, Santa Barbara Beach, Lagoa do Fogo, Vila Franca Islet, Furnas

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Sao Miguel – Enjoy a Warm Welcome on the Largest of the Azores Islands

The Azores archipelago has remote setting brimming with tropical beauty emanating from lush, verdant landscapes and the turquoise blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The islands have a historical connection to Portugal dating back to the Golden Age of Exploration and host two of Portugal’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. You arrive on the main island of Sao Miguel where your private transfer greets you at João Paulo II Airport in Ponta Delgada.

The secluded destination on the largest island of the chain highlights distinct charms with whitewash walls from the architecture punctuated by features built with black basalt. The historical center has a colorful charisma driving from the cobbled lanes, manicured gardens, and preserved museums remarking on the importance of Sao Miguel as a center for trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. The illustrious promenade rounds around the antique harbor leading into the Historical Quarter.

The 16th-century Forte de Sao Bras houses the archipelago’s Military Museum opposite the Convento e Capela de Nossa Senhora da Esperança. Three arches from the 18th century represent the former city gates and feature a timeless design capturing the elegant essence of Ponta Delgada and the greater island of Sao Miguel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to indulge in the comforts of your luxury hotel, bask in the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean lapping at the Praia do Populo beach, or stroll along the serene cobbled squares at the center of the historic city.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Sao Miguel – Relish Exciting Thermal Waters and Panoramas at Furnas

In the morning, the sunlight washes over the verdant peak of Sao Miguel’s tallest mountain, Pico da Vara, which rises above the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Portuguese market opens between the narrow roads near the promenade blending the sweet fragrance of fresh produce with the briny aroma the sea breeze. After breakfast, you set out to reach the thermal waters at Furnas, an area on the island known for its gorgeous scenery and active volcanic history leaving a legacy of impressive natural geysers and hot springs.

The small village juxtaposes the famous spa with puffing fumaroles resembling a lunar expedition contrasting the surrounding tropical greenery. A spa has existed in the isolated area nearly 30 miles from Punta Delgada nestled against the shimmering waters of Lagoa das Furnas. The natural minerals in the volcanic soil have healing properties for skin conditions alleviating irritation, as well as tired and aching muscles.

The gasping and hissing from the fumaroles become the soundtrack to your day exploring the diverse textures of the volcanic slope. You also notice villagers using the boiling waters for cooking making a rich combination of meats and vegetables for a stew known as Cozido nas Caldeiras. The cook lowers a pot into a hole and lets the ingredients marinate for hours. The dish is served and celebrated in the local restaurants around the village. You take some time to dip into the relaxing waters at one of the small spas possessing pools reaching over 102 degrees Fahrenheit finding relaxation in the unique, unforgettable destination.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Sao Miguel – Scour the Ocean on a Whale and Dolphin Watching Excursion

The morning brims with activity at the colorful market filling with the aromas of fresh ripe bananas and Annona fruit. Locals refer to the delicious rounded fruit similar to tropical cherimoya, as “coracao negro,” or “black heart,” due to the way it darkens after maturing. The sweet flavor and creamy, custard-like texture is similar to a mixture between a mango, pineapple, and banana. After breakfast, you set out onto the calm, glowing Atlantic waters in search of whales and dolphins. The promise of seeing the majesty of ocean life in their natural habitat is thrilling as the air fills with the briny aroma drifting upwards from the sea.

The water surrounding Sao Miguel practically overflows with dolphins and whales in summer hosting 28 different species in the season and a year-round population of four specific cetaceans. The archipelago resides along the natural passage on which one-third of the world’s whale and dolphin species travel during the year resulting in sensational views of several dolphin and whale species. Water splashes up from the hull of the boat and leaves salt crystals on your cheeks.

The shores of Sao Miguel shrink in the distance. Your captain points to a shadow skirting through the water before you realize a sea whale has arrived. The baleen is the third largest whale after the blue and fin reaching an average length of 46 feet while inhabiting the majority of oceans and connected seas around the world. They tend to move along the surface for up to 10 minutes visibly rolling around in the sea and blowing a sharp burst water from its spout every 90 seconds.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Sao Miguel – Have a Kayaking and Biking Adventure at Sete Cidades

At breakfast, the unmistakable aroma of fresh pineapple fills the dining room of your hotel accompanied by the scent of premium-grade black and green teas produced on Sao Miguel. You travel to Sete Cidades after breakfast, a gorgeous reflective lake filling a volcanic crater. The lake boasts a circumference encompassing more than seven miles making it the largest freshwater lake in the Azores. The body consists of the Green and the Blue lagoons, named for the different colors reflected in the waters, such as the emerald rolling hills and remarkable bordering cliffs. The adventure begins when you board your kayak and set out on the placid waters for a different perspective on the surrounding scenery.

You can see the clouds passing in the reflection on the water. Your guide tells the legend of the lake and the countryside, which speaks of a star-crossed love between a humble shepherd and a princess who cried endless tears creating the emerald and blue colors of the lagoons. Paddling to different ends of the lake offers the best views where you absorb the true majesty of the remarkable tropical landscape. After causing slight ripples in the lake while paddling around the different shores, you begin a bike ride for a more exciting exploration of the crater’s rim leading back to Ponta Delgada. The sweet aroma of juniper, angelica, and holly fill the air as you pass goldcrests and common blackbirds while cycling down the unspoiled mountainside.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Sao Miguel – Snorkel and Swim with Dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean

The market once again fills with locals in the morning enjoying the smoky flavors of a chouriço sausage. The dried links contain dark pepper, paprika, and garlic with a richer flavor than the more famous Portuguese sausage linguiça. You return to the ocean for an adventure in the water with a snorkeling tour and the opportunity to swim with dolphins. You find comfort in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island when you set sail for an area known for hosting playful common, rissos, spotted, and bottlenose dolphins.

Your biologist guide provides information on the importance of the ecosystem, the different species of dolphins, and a history of the passage on which the dolphins consistently travel near the island. You learn how to behave if a pod comes near you while in the water. You put on the mask and jump off the side of the zodiac boat into the warm, welcoming water. You can hear the dolphins whistling to one another underwater before you find a pod coming closer.

The refreshingly warm water can reach up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit at the peak of summer and offer nearly 98 feet of visibility providing tremendous opportunities to view the dolphins beneath and above the water. The pod of Risso’s dolphins approaches the boat. Watching the collection of dolphins travel past you in the water is exhilarating infusing a rush of adrenaline with an unforgettable imprint of your time in the Azores.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Sao Miguel – Traverse a Lava Tunnel and Visit Lagoa do Fogo Crater Lake

You return your attention inland to the caldera possessing Lagoa do Fogo or “Lake of Fire,” during a challenging hike beginning on the coastal rim of Ribeira da Praia. The trail extends for nearly nine miles. Before ascending up the track, you head below the island surface during a tour of Gruta do Carvao, the longest lava cave on the Sao Miguel. The basalt cave glints in the sparing light showing ridges pertaining to the elements giving insight into the cavern’s age between 5,000 to 12,000 years old.

Your guide points the walls and ceiling of the cave where roots have penetrated the cracks of the lava tube adding to the unique role of the ecosystem inside the cavernous space and above. The network of caves formed when lava developed a hard-continuous crust thickening over time forming a roof while the stream remained moving. You exit the tunnel and return to the path leading you to impressive view along the rim of the caldera. Lagoa do Fogo overtakes eight square miles with an approximate depth of 98 feet. A narrow stretch of sand frames a portion of the shoreline creating a relaxing beach along the stoic, glassy waters amid the scent of heather and Mediterranean spurge.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Sao Miguel – Discover the Nature of Sao Miguel on a Canyoning Adventure

You set out early in the morning on a canyoning adventure at Vila Franca, an islet less than a mile from the shores of Sao Miguel. The nature reserve protects the crater walls and the lush endemic vegetation leading into a perfectly clear, circular lake. A narrow channel connects the water to the sea at the Boquete facing the greater island of Sao Miguel. Two volcanic rocks eroded by elements over thousands of years have supported sea birds like Cory’s shearwaters and active terns feeding on what the foliage or the surrounding ocean sustains. You follow your guide off the pier and into the serene jungle terrain of the island.

The path leads you to the top of the crater requiring you to abseil, dive, and scramble down the mountain alongside the river and into sparkling natural pools. Your guide secures you at each cliff from which you descend bringing you to the tallest obstacle on the grand path at 131 feet. The water rushes against the rocky shores below. You listen to the birds twittering around the tropical atmosphere while your heart pluses with excitement. You reach the bottom of the precipice and continue following the water’s course leading back to the civilization.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Sao Miguel – Depart for Home

In the morning, the workers on the only tea plantation in Europe return to work on a plantation operating since 1883 and operated by the same family for five generations. The verdant fields spread across the hills offering spectacular views of the water as they yield exceptional green and black tea leaves. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to João Paulo II Airport for your flight home. You could always extend your stay in the Azores by exploring the gorgeous scenery of Faial and Pico or continue to Lisbon for an adventurous exploration of continental Europe’s western edge.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.