Kimkim Trip Reviews for the Azores

4.5
Based on 16 ratings
Read 16 verified reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim. You can also read reviews about kimkim on 3rd party sites including Google, TrustPilot and Yelp.

Sao Miguel and Lisbon
the Azores | Sep 1 - Sep 12, 2022

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Patricia M.
Altoona, IA | Reviewed on Sep 19, 2022

Our trip was very well planned and Sao Miguel Island is much more beautiful than expected. The hotel view was so calming and delightful and the staff was eager to please. However, by the third day, we escaped the breakfast buffet as it was too crowded and the food became boring a repetitious. I may never eat scrambled eggs again.

Our first tour guide was Natasha who took us off-road to see the blue and green lakes at the top of the crater. She was very informative, but we later learned,... read more

Our trip was very well planned and Sao Miguel Island is much more beautiful than expected. The hotel view was so calming and delightful and the staff was eager to please. However, by the third day, we escaped the breakfast buffet as it was too crowded and the food became boring a repetitious. I may never eat scrambled eggs again.

Our first tour guide was Natasha who took us off-road to see the blue and green lakes at the top of the crater. She was very informative, but we later learned, through our other guides, that some of her information was inaccurate.

Our second guide, Paulo, was very kind while we hiked to the top of the caldera to see Fire Lake. What was not part of the description of this hike is that there are NO restroom facilities and the hike, although labeled "medium" difficulty, was probably only medium for mountain goats. The hike took us approximately 8 hours and covered over 22,000 steps, up a very high mountain (hill) and down the other side. It was worth the hike because the scenery was breathtaking, but became increasingly more uncomfortable because of the lack of facilities. I've never learned to "go in the woods" so that wasn't really an option, and because there were so many other hikers, privacy would have been difficult to find.

Our third guide, Gary, did a really masterful job of driving us into a caldera and hiking us around the lake at the bottom. This hike was the day after we summited our equivalent of Mt Everest, so by the end, we were done and asked Gary to bring the car and pick us up, which he happily agreed to do. We got a very good history of the island and more accurate information. All the cows are not milked by hand but rather with moveable milking machines. I do not recommend booking two hikes back to back as we did, and therefore had little time to recover.

My horseback ride was primarily through residential neighborhoods and the forest was really just overgrown, abandoned land, so not like the forests we saw in the other places we went. Also, the path we took was very littered, which was disappointing, as most of the island we saw was really clean.

The blooming hydrangeas and yellow ginger lilies all over the island were so unexpected.

Our trouble began when we left the Azores and went to Lisbon. The hotel we were booked into, Hotel Mundial, is surrounded by homeless people and the air smelled like urine. My view was of a very old building that looked like a crack house. We found a much better hotel, closer to the water, and moved, which was a pain, but totally worth relocating to a much lovelier and safer part of town where the air smelled sweet. We had to do this on our own because we were told that other hotels were $700 euro per night; we paid $200 euro at the Pastano CR7, which we found while waiting on our tuk-tuk tour, guided by Dominic. I would skip this if I go back. The streets are exceedingly bumpy and the ride uncomfortable. We got only a small bit of history.

Our very best tour was with a different Paulo who took us to Sintra and Cascais. He was so knowledgeable about the country, history, and political changes and made the whole day so worthwhile. He was our very best guide for the entire trip, and he should be requested as a guide if possible.

The rest of our trip was uneventful and restful and we were picked up timely for our trips to our next destinations. I felt that we received a very good value and overall, we had a wonderful trip and learned many things that we will take with us as we plan our next excursion.

Thank you, Bea, and the rest of the KimKim team for making this a vacation we'll remember and talk about for years to come.

Hotel Reviews
Hotel Marina Atlântico
Ponta Delgada, São Miguel

The view of the harbor each evening was so relaxing. This is a well-located hotel and very busy.

Authenticity & Character
It is really a tourist hotel with many busloads of people arriving daily.
Location
the view
Staff
Very accommodating.
Cleanliness & Comfort
My room was both clean and comfortable.
Hotel Mundial
Lisboa

We changed hotels because this one was impossible to stay in. The neighborhood is surrounded by homeless people who must use the gutters as their toilets, because the air around the hotel smell like urine, and worse. Also, the neighborhood it is in seems to be very shabby and run down. I would never recommend this hotel to anyone who has had experience with better equipped and more modern facilities. I think the in-room hair dryer was an original model from last century, probably from the 1970's.

Authenticity & Character
Not sure what authenticity it's striving for but it only succeeds as a run-down has been. If that's the goal then it wins.
Location
It isn't close to shopping or the water.
Staff
The only people who seemed interested in us were the managers when we checked out and couldn't understand why. They should stay at probably any other hotel of equal ranking and then they'd know why we left.
Cleanliness & Comfort
I don't know how Lisbon is addressing their homeless problem so can't comment on how that could be improved, but the hotel could start with a total remodel, including the hair dryers. Really? It looked like a vacuum cleaner.
Activity Reviews
Private Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril
Lisbon

This was my favorite part of the trip; the guide was amazing in his knowledge of the country and was very friendly.

Quality of Experience
For the most part, very well planned.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Arrived exactly on time, every time.
Guided Excursion to The Furnas Valley
São Miguel Island

This area was so unexpected in its beauty. We could have been in Colorado.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Hiking Experience in Lagoa do Fogo
São Miguel Island

This hike is rated medium on the difficulty scale, but it isn't or wasn't for me. It was very difficult and parts of the hike are straight up which means other parts are straight down. This is not a hike for people who are not in good shape and have little hiking experience. Sticks would have made this much better, but they weren't suggested. Our guide, who does the hike, probably weekly, didn't break a sweat, but we were exhausted and exhilarated when we finished. The views from the top were worth the trouble. He explained that the government determines the difficulty scale, and I know I would never do a hike they deem difficult. I can't even imagine what that would be like.

Quality of Experience
Food
Our guide was nice to bring us lunches and water and we had a nice picnic near the lake.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Beatriz De Pablo Rocha

Everything went well the canyoning was a very...
the Azores | Aug 1 - Aug 5, 2022

M
Majid A.
the United Arab Emirates | Reviewed on Aug 08, 2022

Everything went well the canyoning was a very good and the best experience , the whale watching was not so good as the boat got broken in middle of ocean and needed to wait for 40 min for someone to tow the boat back which took more than an hour , the boat was basic and old compared to the other boat you see in the marina doing the same service

I hope this helps thanks a lot read more

Everything went well the canyoning was a very good and the best experience , the whale watching was not so good as the boat got broken in middle of ocean and needed to wait for 40 min for someone to tow the boat back which took more than an hour , the boat was basic and old compared to the other boat you see in the marina doing the same service

I hope this helps thanks a lot

Hotel Review
Octant Ponta Delgada
Ponta Delgada
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Review
Epic Adventure Canyoning
São Miguel Island

The staff was amazing they really were great and was the best we had in Azores

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Marina Courtaut

Trip to the Azores
the Azores | Sep 9 - Sep 15, 2018

Justin
Justin S.
Bloomfield Hills, MI | Reviewed on Oct 01, 2018

Very happy with all activities booked by the specialist (note they work for one specific company, and all activities are booked through them). Had a great time, all guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. However logistical aspect could be improved.

Prior to arriving on the island the only information received about timing and where to meet was that someone from the company would pick us up from the airport. He then told us what time to be ready the next day, only to find out our... read more

Very happy with all activities booked by the specialist (note they work for one specific company, and all activities are booked through them). Had a great time, all guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. However logistical aspect could be improved.

Prior to arriving on the island the only information received about timing and where to meet was that someone from the company would pick us up from the airport. He then told us what time to be ready the next day, only to find out our guide assumed we were meeting in a different location. No one called or reached out to us until I called them 30 min after our original meeting time, which resulted in them sending the guide to a hotel we were not at. Two more calls later, we were finally on our way an hour later.

So overall very happy with our trip, but would recommend future travelers ensure you push to receive an a detailed itinerary from the guide service before arriving that includes the departure time each day, and where to meet. Additionally, make sure you have access to a phone that works in case something goes wrong, and they have your number.

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

June Azores trip with 2 college kids
the Azores | Jun 1 - Jun 11, 2018

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Scott R.
Tampa, FL | Reviewed on Jul 03, 2018

Great trip and experience. Loved it. Highly recommend. Azores offers a lot of cultural dynamics and activities, very accessible from Boston and at a very reasonable price. Great value. Also, close enough to consider long weekend excursions: Thursday night to Monday.

Local specialist: Leandro Silva

Adventure Holiday
the Azores | Mar 8 - Mar 15, 2018

Frederick
Frederick W.
Seattle, WA | Reviewed on May 23, 2018

Everything about my KimKim experience was flawless, our planner Catia understood exactly the type of trip we were looking for, and booked us with guides that provided a unique experience in the Azores. When problems arose due to inclement weather, plans had to be canceled, bookings refunded, and other arrangements made, on the spot. This was all done seamlessly.

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

cycling in the azores
the Azores | Dec 27 - Jan 5, 2020

Jonathan
Jonathan B.
Canada | Reviewed on May 10, 2018

I really can't say enough about how much we enjoyed ourselves in the Azores. The islands are amazing and the tour took full advantage of their natural beauty. The agent who arranged the trip (Catia) did an excellent job and all the guides and activities were great. I would happily refer Kim Kim and Picos de Aventura to anyone who asks!

Catia was always friendly and prompt and answered all our questions with the right amount of detail. The trip she arranged was excellent from accommodations to activities.

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

San Miguel - one week - mainly hiking
the Azores | Aug 15 - Aug 22, 2017

R
Richard M.
Canada | Reviewed on May 10, 2018

The choice of itinerary was good. The guides were excellent. Communications could be improved.

Tiago chose the hikes and other activities very well. The flight information had not be requested from us and we were not met at the airport. The wrong date for the departing transfer was given in the written documentation we were given on arrival. I provided a phone number for contact but we were never called when morning pickups were delayed.

Local specialist: Tiago Botelho

Active Azores Experience
the Azores | Aug 7 - Aug 13, 2017

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Mikki F.
Virginia Beach, VA | Reviewed on May 10, 2018

The tours and hotels that the travel partner arranged for were excellent. I was very pleased with the individual tour operators. There was a massive breakdown in communication between the tour company that I was communicating with and the tour provider due to the fact that there were two or three companies in between them. The meeting times on our trip vouchers did not always match the meeting times on our overall itinerary. The tour operators called us the "ghost clients" because they... read more

The tours and hotels that the travel partner arranged for were excellent. I was very pleased with the individual tour operators. There was a massive breakdown in communication between the tour company that I was communicating with and the tour provider due to the fact that there were two or three companies in between them. The meeting times on our trip vouchers did not always match the meeting times on our overall itinerary. The tour operators called us the "ghost clients" because they didn't have any information about us and didn't even know if we were real clients.

This was most problematic on the mountain climbing tour because the tour operator provides a document to participants instructing them on equipment and supplies that they are supposed to bring. We were lucky to have the operator for a different tour so she was able to send us the document the night before our climb. We were told that lunches would be provided on full-day tours, but this was not the case for the mountain climb. We had gone to a market earlier and just brought whatever food we had. We brought hiking equipment that was sufficient for the climb, but that was purely by chance. The tour company also needed our passport numbers to register us with the government as climbers and to get us insurance for the climb. Nobody told us about this and i happened to have a copy of our passports. If not, we wouldn't have been able to climb.
Had we not met with the tour guide the day before, we would have been unable to complete the climb (other people were not permitted to climb if they were not properly outfitted).

Another tour only had the name of the third party travel agency and not our names, ages, or nationality. After the other tour issues, we went to the tour provider the evening before our tour and they were ecstatic because this allowed them to put us in the correct group with other people who spoke english.

On another day, our transfer from the port to our hotel was not there when our ferry arrived so we walked to the hotel.

The next day, our guide for the full-day tour was not at the hotel at either of the times we were provided (tour voucher and itinerary had different times). We tried calling the number listed on the voucher, but it was the number for another travel company who the kimkim travel partner had booked through. We found a poster for the tour provider and managed to get in touch with her. The third party tour company had told her that we would be arriving that day and she should pick us up at the port, not our hotel.

Overall, i used kimkim because i wanted the tour planning and booking process to go more smoothly. Due to the multiple layers of tour companies between us and the eventual tour operators, there was a tremendous lack of communication. I imagine the multiple layers also added cost. Were it not for proactive steps that we took during the trip, this could have spiraled into a complete disaster.

There were small errors that i picked up on during the planning process. There were the mismatched tour times. It's hard to say whether some of the other issues were her fault or whether it was further down the chain. If she had directly booked things for me, the way i thought this would work, it would be easier to determine where the breakdown occurred.

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

Aug 2017
the Azores | Aug 5 - Aug 12, 2017

S
Steven H.
San Antonio, TX | Reviewed on May 10, 2018

The schedule of activities felt oddly organized as our rest day was early in the week and prior to the more physical activities. The packed lunches with repetitive and monotonous. The trip was good but essentially we were paired with an agent from pico adventures so we were limited to activities only from their group even when we suggested an alternative it was dismissed. So essentially kimkim provided us with someone who made a hotel reservation for us and connected us to pico adventures.

See prior notes.

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

Hiking Azores
the Azores | Jul 2 - Jul 8, 2017

C
Catherine C.
Boulder, CO | Reviewed on Jul 26, 2017

Thanks KimKim! This was an excellent trip and having KimKim back-up was comforting. You connected me with Picos de Adventura, a superb tour company and their "adventures" could not have been more fun or beautiful.

Catia was great -- I also worked with Tiago and they were both tremendously helpful with getting my trip organized and with any questions I had along the way. This is a great company clearly focusing on the best possible customer service.

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

Azores- Sao Miguel
the Azores | Jul 4 - Jul 10, 2017

L
Lee M.
Cambridge, MA | Reviewed on Jul 26, 2017

If directions to the office were included, it would have been helpful for the 1st day. Also, having a dry, secure place to store phones/camera would be great for water adventures so we could have taken pictures. Alternatively, if there was a photo package, for the water adventures, we would have signed up for it.

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

Azores
the Azores | Jul 2 - Jul 7, 2017

E
Erica T.
Grand Rapids, MI | Reviewed on Jul 26, 2017

So organized, very accommodating, great variety of activities. Catia was so helpful with questions, preparation, and the overall planning of our trip. She even made a call for me in advance to help confirm a ferry trip I booked to another island for a day, because I was unable to dial internationally. Every single staff person was fun and friendly. Goncalo went above and beyond in accommodating us on our bike ride day around Sete Cidades. I would recommend Pico de Adventuras to anyone... read more

So organized, very accommodating, great variety of activities. Catia was so helpful with questions, preparation, and the overall planning of our trip. She even made a call for me in advance to help confirm a ferry trip I booked to another island for a day, because I was unable to dial internationally. Every single staff person was fun and friendly. Goncalo went above and beyond in accommodating us on our bike ride day around Sete Cidades. I would recommend Pico de Adventuras to anyone traveling to the Azores. It was a great deal, a great value, and included all the key things to see and do in Sao Miguel.

Tiago is a great guy! Fun personality, very friendly.

Local specialist: Tiago Botelho

Explore and relax
the Azores | Jun 15 - Jun 21, 2017

Peter
Peter B.
Canada | Reviewed on Jul 26, 2017

The arrangements were quite seamless through KimKim with a tour operator in the Azores.

Tiago and his team were really accommodating, friendly and knowledgeable. The guides gave us a much better look, and insight, to the Azores and Sao Miguel.

Local specialist: Tiago Botelho

Trip to the Azores
the Azores | Jun 18 - Jun 24, 2017

J
Judith C.
Atlanta, GA | Reviewed on Jul 26, 2017

The trip was amazing! The people were wonderful, warm, kind and friendly, the island is incredibly beautiful, the activities were fantastic. We loved it!

What could have been better then? More detail in the information provided. After booking the trip, we received nothing to confirm and no more specific information than was provided in the initial trip plan description.

Why was this a problem? For example, on the afternoon we arrived in Ponta Delgada, we were scheduled to go whale... read more

The trip was amazing! The people were wonderful, warm, kind and friendly, the island is incredibly beautiful, the activities were fantastic. We loved it!

What could have been better then? More detail in the information provided. After booking the trip, we received nothing to confirm and no more specific information than was provided in the initial trip plan description.

Why was this a problem? For example, on the afternoon we arrived in Ponta Delgada, we were scheduled to go whale watching, but no information was provided as to the time, location or meeting point for the activity. Before we left I thought to ask Cátia specifically about this and was told 1 pm, but I should have asked for more details. I guess I thought we would receive them on arrival, but we didn't. While it might have seemed obvious to them that we would meet at the boats in Ponta Delgada harbor, it was not obvious to us on the day of our arrival!

Similarly, the description provided for each activity was good for a general idea of the activity but fell short of giving enough specific information - duration, degree of difficulty, starting point, starting time, etc. For another example, the description of the "Route to Pristine" doesn't mention that it is a 14K hike with the first 3K uphill, never mind where you meet and what time, etc. The hike was fabulous and we loved it but it would have been good to know what we were getting into before we started on the journey.

Whenever we asked, the information was provided, and it was correct, but sometimes we didn't ask quite enough questions. Before traveling we asked Cátia to reserve a restaurant table only one night, at a small place where we heard reservations were necessary, which she kindly did. But we had to ask the date and time of the reservation (the day of), and were not told that the restaurant was cash only, which they say they tell you at the time the reservation is made, something we didn't find out until we had finished our meal. Fortunately, the owner seemed unfazed, we paid with all the Euros we had, but had to return by cab (the place was in another town) another day with enough cash to pay off the entire bill.

We figured most things out and they were expecting us at each step along the way, but it would have been good to provide us with a bit more specific of an agenda, at the latest upon arrival.

Please do not take this as a negative review! Overall, the activities were fantastic! We just would have liked a bit more detail in our itinerary.

Tiago and Cátia planned an incredible trip for us and we enjoyed it immensely. I'd like to thank all our drivers/guides/hiking companions - Luis, Luis, Mario, Philip and the Azores Fishing guys Eduardo and Diogo for being so wonderful, knowledgeable and kind, and showing us their beautiful home and all the great things there are to do there. Had we booked this trip without kimkim's help, we probably would have done less than half of what we did and certainly would not have tried canyoning, now my son's favorite new activity!

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

hiking vacation for 2
the Azores | Apr 9 - Apr 14, 2017

C
Carol R.
Lebanon, OH | Reviewed on Jul 26, 2017

Our trip went very smoothly and was a wonderful experience. We didn't wind up doing the activities on the days of our trip planned, but all of them were covered and it fit very nicely based on weather, etc...

Catia was very prompt in responding to any questions that we had during our trip.

Local specialist: Picos de Aventura

8 Days of Mixed Adventure on São Miguel
the Azores | Mar 25 - Apr 1, 2017

J
Joseph M.
Jamaica Plain, MA | Reviewed on Apr 10, 2017

Thanks Tiago, Cathy and I really enjoyed our week (post whale watch). We plan to return to visit other islands in the future.
You and your team were great!
Thanks so much - Joe

Local specialist: Tiago Botelho