With an MBA in International Management Susan has 30 years of experience in event planning, public relations, sales and marketing. She offers events relating to personal growth, holistic health, healing, spirituality, metaphysics and world travel.
Until recently, even seasoned travelers would not have been able to pinpoint the Azores, a Portuguese group of islands, on a map. Originated by volcanoes and eroded by time, the Azores have maintained their splendor and beauty throughout the years and are now one of the few archipelagos in Europe that still offer a sense of “wilderness nature”. But recently the world is waking up to the allure of what these volcanic islands have to offer. Scattered like stepping stones in the mid-Atlantic, they are known for their raw natural scenery and untouched landscapes of lakes, waterfalls, and green meadows. Whether you're watching the sunrise creep up Pico's Volcanos perfect cone or standing at the rim of a crater lake or perhaps holding your breath as a Humpback whale surfaces from the deep blue water of the Azores with their rumbling mass of beauty and power; you are sure to call this off the beaten path adventure one of the most memorable trips of a lifetime!
Day 1: Sat. June 6 Depart USA to Sao Miguel Island, Ponta Delgada, Azores. We are checking on a group, non-stop, evening flight from Boston to Ponta Delgada / João Paulo II Airport. Fares usually double after Jan. 1 so early booking is recommended.
Day 2: Sun June 7 Arrival Sao Miguel Island, Ponta Delgada B / D
Arrival 6 AM, private group transfer to the Neat Hotel and check-in, then enjoy breakfast and time to rest. Sao Miguel, known as “The Green Island” is the largest and most populated island of the Azores. Its diverse scenery features beautiful lakes, sandy beaches, rolling hills, high mountains, green plains, and deep Blue Ocean.
Ponta Delgada offers a blend of contemporary life with historic flavor. Sao Miguel monuments, turn of the century architecture, parks, and mosaic cobble stone streets are interlaced with a modern marina, nice restaurants, shopping, bars, night-clubs, and ocean-front cafes where you could enjoy lunch.
This afternoon enjoy a group tour to Gruta do Carvao; the largest lava cave system on San Miguel Island then continue to a local Pineapple plantation to learn how the famous crop of the Azores is produced. Welcome dinner
Day 3: Mon June 8– Sao Miguel B /L/ D our Sete Cidades and mystical Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake).
Visit the second highest point of the island, Pico da Barrosa, where you can see both coasts of the island and the stunning Fire Lake - Lagoa do Fogo. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the caldera of the Seven Cities; one of the seven wonders of Portugal, with its two blue and green lagoons divided by a picturesque land bridge. Then drive into the interior of the volcano that leads to the small Santiago Lake with a brief stop at the Parish of Seven Cities which fills us with a sense of peace.
In Ribeira Grande we visit the historical center of the second largest city of São Miguel. Then visit CaldeiraVelha, where you can enjoy a dip in the thermal hot springs and afterward, a stop at the Factory of Liquors. Continue to Sete Cidades, a small parish located in the center of a massive volcanic crater three miles across. Return to Ponta Delgada by the south coast stopping at Belvedere of Escalvado where you can see the village of Mosteiros and Ferraria, a small cove surrounded by gigantic lava rock cliffs. On our way to the hotel we’ll stop in the parish of Faja de Baixo and visit several local plantations. Dinner tonight at a local restaurant
Day 4: Tues June 9– Sao Miguel B / L Full day Furnas tour with lunch and Terra Nostra Gardens
Furnas is one of the most famous and beautiful spots on the island with a history of volcanic activity that has left a legacy of particularly impressive natural hot springs, calderas, and fumaroles. We begin at the Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas, where the locals cook the famous “Cozido” – a special meal buried in the ground and cooked with the steam of Mother Earth. We continue with a walk that circles the lake for the opportunity to appreciate a variety of endemic flora species.
Continue to the town of Furnas to see all the fumaroles and mineral springs that contain water with different tastes. Then enjoy a typical lunch which is the Cozido stew which we saw being prepared earlier this morning. Our afternoon begins at Terra Nostra botanical garden, famous for its extraordinary collection of native plants and others from all over the world that have adapted to the local garden conditions. Then enjoy time for a dip in the thermal, iron-rich hot springs pool, a superb experience!
On the way back to Ponta Delgada, stop at several beautiful viewpoints on the North Coast and at Porta Formosa, the only tea plantation in Europe where we visit the working tea factory and have a lovely break for tea-tasting. Visitors can wander the plantation and factory sampling more tea and shopping in the gift shop.
Day 5: Wed June 10- Sao Miguel B Free Day
Today is yours to explore on your own or schedule an optional tour. Activities include whale watching, swimming with dolphins, exploring town, hiking, horseback riding, scuba diving, jeep safaris, bird watching, sailing, golf and many other tours. List of optional tours
Day 6: June 11 – Faial B / D
This morning leave Sao Miguel for a short flight to Faial, one of the prettiest islands in the Azores. Quiet coves and soft sand beaches make this a relaxing island paradise. Its main town of Horta rests partially on several hills that look out on a beautiful harbor, while the island interior is home to some dramatic volcanic landscapes that will make you feel like you’ve landed on the Moon. Discover why Faial is called the "Blue Island" as your guide takes you on a tour to some of the best highlights of Faial. Dinner at a local restaurant
Overnight at Pousada Forte da Horta which is an 8 minute walk from the beach
Day 7: June 12 – Faial / Pico B / L / D Full Day tour to Pico Island
Board the ferry for a 30 minute ride to Pico, “Mountain Island”, named after its imposing dormant volcano. Pico is 2nd in size to Sao Miguel but is very sparsely populated. The famous Pico wines and the landscape of the Pico vineyards was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Learn the history of the vineyards at Pico Wine Museum and taste a variety of wine’s from a typical seller
On our way to lunch at Sao Roque do Pico we will stop at Mourato coast, Lajido de Santa Luzia and Cabrito. Continue along the central plateau of the island with a visit to Lagoa do Capitao, the vineyards of Porto do Calhau, Pocinho and Criacao velha. Then board the ferry and return to Faial for your Farewell Group Dinner at Pousada Forte da Horta
Day 8: June 13 - Faial / Ponta Delgada B
See more of the island this morning on an easy group hike. Faial is one of the best places for swimming with dolphins and whale watching, opt to skip the hike and take a morning boat tour (not included). Late afternoon fly back to Ponta Delgada to enjoy your last night in the Azores. Overnight Neat Hotel
Day 9: June 14 - Departure Azores B
Enjoy a leisurely morning some last minute shopping and lunch on your own before leaving the magic of the Azores Islands. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Tour Cost PP in shared room: $2,482.00
Single Supplement: $465.00
· 7 Night’s Accommodation at 4* hotels with daily buffet breakfast
· Domestic inter-island flights / RT airport transfers
· Private guided tours and transportation as noted in Sao Miguel, Faial and Pico Islands.
· Meals as noted in the itinerary
· International Airfare
· Meals not noted in the itinerary
optional tours free days / anything not specifically listed in the itinerary
· Gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel staff