“We would like to visit the Azores for 3 days. We are planning a 10-day trip to Portugal in October and were very intrigued by the natural beauty of the Azores - feeling it was our chance to visit a "fantasy island"!
We enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing and being active. Sites/activities that interest us include hot springs, waterfalls, crater lakes, whale watching, being emersed in native culture and cuisine. Can you recommend an itinerary and guide?”
Cátia Chaves, a local specialist from the Azores, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.
Have a similar request? Connect with a local specialist to plan your trip.Get Started
Trip planning highlights
Summary of the trip planning conversation
You will be in São Miguel for 3 days so we will have to choose the best way to fit all the things you want to do. We can easily combine the canoeing / biking with a visit to the hot springs in Furnas (full day tour, lunch included); Whale watching + Jeep Safari to Sete Cidades (full day with lunch) and 1 full day hiking Sanguinho (with chances of taking a bath on a waterfall). How does it sound?
Traveler: The itinerary sounds fantastic. Are we missing any highlights on the island that you would recommend?
Kimkim: In this case here, with those 3 days, you will be missing only Lagoa do Fogo which we can include on one hiking tour but you will be missing the waterfalls. Also, you will be missing the canyoning experience which is a really active way of exploring the interior of a canyon.
Traveler: How many hours of biking/canoeing/hiking does this entail?
Kimkim: Biking 2h30, canoeing 2h30, hiking 4h00.
Traveler: Does your itinerary fill the entire day or are we on our own for dinner and at night?
Kimkim: Usually we do not include dinners but if you want to, we can include it on the plan.
Traveler: What is the typical start time?
Kimkim: We start at 09.00am (except for the whale watching which starts at 08.30)
Traveler: Will we be part of a larger group or is this something we do on our own, or with a guide?
Kimkim: All the activities are in a group (usually not bigger than 8 people).
Traveler: Do you know if there are flights from the south of Portugal?
Kimkim: There is an airport in Faro but the flights always make a stopover in Lisbon or Porto and then fly to Ponta Delgada.
Traveler: If we arrive on the island at 7:55am would we be able to make a 9:00 excursion or is only an afternoon outing realistic?
Kimkim: You can start at 09.00 but I am afraid that you will feel exhausted.
Traveler: I think we both would both enjoy canyoning instead of whale watching. Does this include thermal baths? Waterfalls?
Kimkim: The canyoning is a very fun and active way of enjoying the day. It includes jumping to the water, going down with ropes and sliding on the canyon. Please have a look at the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHK3xmYcnWk&t=12s.
Traveler: Would you recommend a buggy tour?
Kimkim: It is also nice but usually people prefer jeep safaris since if it's raining it is better.
Traveler: We would like either 3 or 4 star accommodations. What would be the approximate cost difference?
Kimkim: Usually the difference is about 20.00€
Traveler: Here is what we are thinking: we would arrive on the island early Monday morning. We can plan excursions Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday. We would like to fit in canyoning, jeep safari, hiking and biking tours. Can we hit all the highlights of the island in 2 and half days?
Kimkim: Monday (afternoon) - Jeep Safari to Sete Cidades (from 14.30 - 17.30)
Tuesday (morning) Canyoning half day + (afternoon) bike in Furnas
Wednesday (full day) - Lagoa do Fogo hike with thermal bath at Caldeira Velha. How does it sound? The highlights of the island are Sete Cidades, Lagoa do Fogo, Furnas and the whale watching but in this case, it's not possible to fit in everything.
Traveler: Can you price out the itinerary? It would be a Tues afternoon start.
Tues (afternoon) - Jeep Safari to Sete Cidades (from 14.30 - 17.30)
Wed (morning) Canyoning half day + (afternoon) bike in Furnas
Thurs (full day) - Lagoa do Fogo hike with thermal bath at Caldeira Velha.
Kimkim: So this itinerary would cost you 230€ for the activities (per person) and 240€ for the accommodation (for both of you) so a total of 350€ per person for the accommodation + activities and transfers (from airport-hotel-airport).
Traveler: We had an additional question - is the hotel I chose in an area that is good to walk to restaurants and sites? All 3 hotels you recommended are nice. Which has the best location?
Kimkim: Hotel Camões is the more central one: 2 min walking to our office, 2 min to the main restaurants/bars area (which is Portas do Mar) and about 5 min to the central part of the city. The one you choose is indeed the best location!
Traveler: We are just booking our flights. The itinerary looks great.
Kimkim: The flight schedules seem fine to me, both of them. Is a matter of choice since we can pick up/drop off at any time of the day. Thanks!