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Hike, Canyon and Whale Watch in the Azores

Travel by land and sea around the Azorean island of São Miguel and top it off with some spectacular whale and dolphin watching

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Trip Ref #10100

Hike, Canyon and Whale Watch in the Azores

Travel by land and sea around the Azorean island of São Miguel and top it off with some spectacular whale and dolphin watching

6 nights
1 week off work
Up to 12 people
João Paulo II Airport, Ponta Delgada




Based on 24 reviews

You don't need any previous experience or high level of fitness, just a fun mindset and a taste for adventure.

Hike along spectacular coastal trails and get sweeping Atlantic views from the highest point on Sao Miguel

Jump, scramble, slide and abseil the canyons of Ribeira dos Caldeirões and coasteer along the wild, volcanic coastline

Get a close encounter with the Azores' teeming population of whales and dolphins

Bed down in 4-star boutique hotels, perfectly situated for exploring botanical gardens and pretty historic streets

Day 1

Welcome to the Azores

Catch your first glimpse of the beautiful Azores archipelago as you approach Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel. Drive through rolling hills forged by ancient volcanoes and powerful trade winds until you reach the town of Furnas, where you can spend the rest of the day enjoying your boutique hotel and the adjacent botanical gardens – plus your choice of indoor or outdoor pools.

Day 2

The highest point on Sao Miguel


4hrs · 7km · 284m up · 865m down

Kick start your Azores adventure with a big hike to Pico da Vara, the highest point on Sao Miguel Island. Starting at Algarvia in the northeast of the island, you'll ascend for 7km through cedar woodland and open grasslands and see some unforgettable coastal views. Look across the island from the top and you’ll see the valley of Povoação, the majestic crater of Furnas Volcano and the volcanic massifs of Fogo and Sete Cidades.

Day 3

Hike the Agrião Trail


4hrs · 5km · 148m up · 395m down

Follow the Agrião Trail as it weaves its way through streams and over wooden bridges along the southeast coast, including some steep climbs and narrow descents. Enjoy the views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Povoação volcanic crater, ending the day on the beach at Ribeira Quente. Grab a drink in this quaint village and then head back to the hotel in time for an evening's recharge.

Day 4

Canyoning at Ribeira dos Caldeirões



Set off first thing for Ribeira dos Caldeirões, a protected reserve in the northeast of the island and a 100% natural adventure playground. Hike, scramble, jump, slide and abseil your way across, with your expert guide on hand to help you navigate whilst filming and photographing the adventure. Dry off, grab some lunch and then drive to Ponta Delgada where you’ll check into your second boutique hotel. The afternoon is now yours to explore the town's many cafes, bars and ice cream parlours or just relax at the hotel.

Day 5

Whale watching and Sete Cidades

Wildlife Watching


Witness one of the Azores natural treasures – the huge population of whales found in its nutrient-rich waters. During springtime, you can see migratory species such as fin whales, sei whales and blue whales, while sperm whales and huge numbers of dolphins can be found all year round. A marine biologist will talk you through what to look for out on the water and explain the island’s cutting-edge approach to sustainable and responsible tourism. After lunch, head to Sete Cidades – one of the Azores' picture postcard spots (and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal) – and enjoy an activity of your choice: hike, SUP, kayak or bike.

Day 6

Atlantic coasteering and Lake Fogo



Jump straight into the Atlantic Ocean and coasteer your way along the wild, volcanic coastline. You'll scramble, dive and swim your way along the tideline and cliff dive into the water. In the afternoon, head to Fogo Nature Reserve. Take in epic viewpoints overlooking Lake Fogo and the volcanic crater and bathe in the geothermal pools of Caldera Velha.

Day 7

Say goodbye to the Azores

Enjoy a last breakfast on the Azores and then head back to the airport in time for your flight home.



Expert, English-speaking, local guides


6 nights in cosy, art deco hotels


6 breakfasts and 4 lunches


To and from the airport and everything in-between


All canyoning and coasteering kit, plus SUP, kayaking or biking equipment for Day 5


All permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share




Day 2 – Day 6

Hotel · Twin share




Day 7

Departure day




What is the food like?

Breakfasts in both hotels are a plentiful, high quality continental-style affair with fresh juices, teas and coffees. Lunches will be picnics in beautiful locations, generally consisting of baguette sandwiches or salads with dried snacks and fruits. There are also plenty of restaurants to choose from in both Furnas and Ponta Delgada for dinner, including traditional Azorean and international cuisine.

Vegetarian, vegan and most other dietary requirements can be accommodated.

What is the accommodation like?


You'll stay in a twin-share room at the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, considered one of the best hotels in the Azores. The hotel is adjacent to the Terra Nostra Botanical Park, complete with a geo-thermal lake and guests are free to wander the grounds. The hotel has a wellness spa with indoor and outdoor pools, perfect for winding down at the end of each day.

Ponta Delgada

On most departures, you'll stay in a twin-share room at the Hotel do Colégio, a boutique hotel set in a 19th century manor house. The hotel has a highly regarded restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool and spacious, quiet guest rooms. It's also perfectly located in the historic centre of Ponta Delgada.

Departures starting on 22 July, 23 September and 7 October 2023 will be based at Grand Hotel Açores Atlantico, close to the historic centre and overlooking the marina. It has a heated indoor pool and is just a few minutes' walk to two bathing areas.


For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge. Your host can also help book additional nights' accommodation before/after the tour in Furnas or Ponta Delgada. Please request these at the time of booking.

Optional extras are subject to availability and prices for both the solo room upgrade and additional nights vary significantly throughout the season (and depending on which hotel you're based at in Ponte Delgada) - the prices shown under Optional Extras are Low Season 'From' prices but High Season rates (and stays at Grand Hotel Açores Atlantico) will be much higher.

The Area




Ponta Delgada Airport



Ponta Delgada Airport



Your host will meet you at 17:30 at Ponta Delgada Airport on Day 1 to start your adventure. On Day 7, your host will drop you back at the airport at 14:00 in time for any flights departing after 15:00. If you arrive or depart at different times, your host can arrange airport transfers for an extra cost.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Ponta Delgada Airport from airports across the UK and Europe.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?


  • Daypack/drybag


  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts/T-shirts
  • Swimwear (avoid white/ light colours, as they may stain due to the high iron content in the water)
  • Sunglasses, sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals


  • Universal travel adapter
  • Earplugs
  • Suncream
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Single room in Ponta Delgada (Price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Ponta Delgada (Price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Twin/Double in Ponta Delgada (Price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Payable Before Departure

Twin/Double in Ponta Delgada (Price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Single room in Furnas (Price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Furnas (Price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Twin/Double in Furnas (Price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Payable Before Departure

Twin/Double in Furnas (Price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Private Room Upgrade (price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Payable Before Departure

Private Room Upgrade (price varies by date/hotel): FROM...

Per Person

Private arrival transfer: Airport to Furnas (one way)

Payable Before Departure

Private arrival transfer: Airport to Furnas (one way)

Per Person

Private departure transfer: Ponta Delgada to Airport (one way)

Payable Before Departure

Private departure transfer: Ponta Delgada to Airport (one way)

Per Person

- Tanya(July 2023)

fabulous trip, always on the go. Nuno was a great guide and hugely knowledgeable. Canyoning and coasteering were both brilliant and able to be adapted slightly for those with higher levels of intrepidation without reducing others enjoyment

- Emma(June 2023)

For the adventure lover this trip offers a diverse range of fantastic experiences. From adrenalin fuelled activities to encounters with the amazing marine animals, it has something for everyone.

- SP(June 2023)

Fantastic trip - our guide Nuno's encyclopaedic knowledge of the island, his personality, delivery, strong client experience made a big difference. He is one of the best guides we have met in decades! Our group mates were awesome and this combined with the breathtaking scenery and fun hiking, canyoning, cycling made this holiday one of the best we've had in years.

- Kevin(June 2023)


- Carey(June 2023)

Great trip! Very easy - low fitness levels required for this one - coasteering is a must-do! The group guide was awesome and knowledgeable, the island is beautiful even when the weather was against us.

- Susie(June 2023)

I had a great trip. A fun team and Nuno was an excellent, fabulously knowledgeable host with a clear love of the island. Hotels were lovely and there was a good balance of activity and downtime.

- Abigail(April 2023)

Back from an incredible trip to the Azores! This was my first trip with MBA and I will certainly be booking another. We had a fantastic group of people and we all got on really well. Our local guide, Thomas, was fantastic and did his best to compensate when the weather went against us. We didn't manage to do the hike to the highest point on the island, but did a coastal walk instead which was still really good (plus we could see!). For the canyoning and the coasteering, we went with some specialist guides who were really good fun but at the same time made a big effort to ensure that we felt safe. My personal highlight was the whale-watching. The weather had been dicey so we weren't sure if we would get to go, but we did and yes, some of us felt a bit seasick, but we saw humpbacks and kills whales - it was amazing! The Azores are beautiful islands and I would love to go again, hopefully when the weather is better. I would 100% recommend this trip!

- Steve(September 2022)

A wonderful week in a beautiful country with a lovely group of people. This trip is well balanced in terms of adventure and free time to explore.

A welcome meeting/arrival information on the first night would have been helpful but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this trip.

- Melina(June 2022)

The trip was amazing, and our local guide, Paulo, was an attentive, dedicated guide who managed the needs of 12 people with ease. No one ever felt like we were moving too slow, nor too fast. The activities covered a range of options, from hiking to kayaking to coasteering. The highlight of our trip was the coasteering day, which we spent on the North Coast of Sao Miguel (incredible!!).

- Catriona(June 2022)

Fantastic adventures everyday, the pack lunches were delicious. A good mix of holiday comforts and physical exercise.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 217kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

This one is all about a fun mindset rather than any previous experience or a high level of fitness. You just need to enjoy being active for a large part of the day, in an outdoor environment with some moments of adventure and adrenaline.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Being surrounded by a huge expanse of sea and influenced by the warm Gulf Stream gives the Azores a mild climate that's pleasant all year round, with the best months to visit from April to October. The average winter temperature is 13°C, occasionally dropping to around 4°C at night (frosts occur only above 1,000m). In summer, meanwhile, the average temperature is 23°C, with a maximum of 27°C.

Rain can and does fall in every month, but it's rarely persistent and usually fleeting. If it is raining in the morning, do not despair as there could be clear skies and sunshine by lunchtime. Of course, the reverse is often true!

The sea temperatures are lowest in February and March at 15–16°C and highest in August and September, with an average of around 22–24°C, but are still a welcoming 21°C even in October.

Your luggage can be safely left in both hotels while you're away doing activities. You'll just need a daypack and/or drybag for the daytime.

Tap water in the Azores is completely safe to drink, so you can fill your bottles up at the hotel and at various points throughout the trip. Your guides will factor in water refill spots during the hikes and activities.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but the norm in the Azores means there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice however, we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

Tour guide – 5-10 Euros per day Local specialist activity guides & Driver – 5 Euros per day

Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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