Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Hike, Kayak, 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

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Hike, Kayak, 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

DURATION

6 nights

LOCATION

Azores

ANNUAL LEAVE

1 week off work

SEASON

Jun-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 12 people

MEETING POINT

João Paulo II Airport, Ponta Delgada

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

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 your way through the canyons of Ribeira dos Caldeirões and stay in 4-star boutique hotels

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

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    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.

    Lindsay, June 2022

    If this trip sounds fun to you, then book it! You won’t regret it if you love beautiful country, fun adventures, good food and good people.

    Emma, June 2022

    A fantastic holiday the local guide Paulo made what would have been a great trip even better with local knowledge and recommendations. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting to explore the Azores it is a fantastic way to do so.

    Jenny, April 2022

    The actual trip itself run by the local hosts was amazing and super fun. Only problem being MBA. Would not advise you to book through them, they don't take ownership or responsibility of the trip logistics, its all very much pass onto the local team and if anything goes wrong, its the local teams fault not theirs. When making the booking, it took me chasing them to find out why it wasnt accepted, and then i got told if you want to go on this trip, we messed up the room allocation, so you'll have to pay more for your own room, which i didnt budget to do. Found out on the trip they said this to others as well, seems rather sneaky. Also the itinerary wasnt followed upon arrival, instead i was told to kill4 hours in town so that the driver doesnt have to go back and forth even though they should have organised that better. No contact available for MBA which is frustrating when you are abroad. No whatsapp group set up to meet other travellers, only excuses from MBA.

    Lindy, May 2022

    Great way to experience the Azores

    Sara, May 2022

    This was such an incredible trip. Our local guide, Rodrigo, was wonderful! He rearranged our activities when the weather wasn't cooperating in order to maximize our trip time. Plus,I met an amazing group of people that I got to have a fun adventure with. I will definitely be taking another MBA trip in the future!

    Leanne, May 2022

    I had the most amazing experience in the azores, our host and group were so friendly and welcoming ! Accommodation was wonderful and the days were packed full of a variety of activities. Seeing a blue whale on this trip will be something I'll will never forget!

    Alex, April 2022

    Excellent trip. Really we organised as per usual from MBA. The trip had the perfect mix of relaxing time and activities. Hotels were excellent, particularly the one in Furnas, the hot springs are not to be missed!

    Steven, April 2022

    Amazing time - well organised and fun

    Included

    Guides

    Expert, English-speaking, local guides

    Accommodation

    6 nights in cosy, art deco hotels

    Meals

    6 breakfasts and 4 lunches

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in-between

    Equipment

    All your canyoning, coasteering, kayaking, SUP and mountain biking equipment

    Permits

    All permits and entry fees

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    Some meals as described

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Ponta Delgada Airport

    Anytime on Day 1

    Ends

    Ponta Delgada Airport

    Anytime on Day 7

    Transfers

    Airport transfers are included, so please let your host know your flight times. Transfers are only included if you arrive or depart on the start and end days of the trip. If you would like to arrive early or extend your stay, 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.

    Day 1

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2 – Day 6

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 7

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    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?

    Furnas

    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

    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.

    Upgrades

    For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (it is subject to availability).

    Day 1

    Welcome to the Azores

    Catch your first glimpse of the beautiful Azores archipelago as you approach Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel island. Drive through rolling hills forged by ancient volcanoes and powerful trade winds to the town of Furnas and 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

    Hiking

    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 north east 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

    Hiking

    4hrs · 5km · 148m up · 395m down

    Follow the Agrião Trail as it weaves its way through streams and over wooden bridges along the south east coast, including some steep climbs and narrow descents. Enjoy the views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Povoação volcanic crater and end 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

    Canyoning

    3hrs

    Set off first thing for Ribeira dos Caldeirões, a protected reserve in the north east 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 sea kayaking

    Wildlife Watching

    2-3hrs

    Kayaking

    2-3hrs

    Witness one of the Azores natural treasures - the huge population of whales found in its nutrient-rich waters. During spring time, you can see migratory species such as Fin, Sei 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. Return to the water after lunch, this time on a sea kayak and hopefully see some more of your dolphin friends.

    Day 6

    Atlantic Coasteering

    Coasteering

    3hrs

    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 tide line and cliff dive into the water. After lunch, head to Sete Cidades - one of the Azores' picture postcard spots (and one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal) and enjoy an activity of your choice – hike, SUP, kayak or bike.

    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.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What do I need to bring?

    Bags

    • Daypack/drybag

    Clothes

    • 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

    Kit

    • 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

    Single room at Hotel Terra Nostra in Furnas (Apr-May trips)

    Payable Before Departure

    Single room at Hotel Terra Nostra in Furnas (Apr-May trips)

    Single room at Hotel Terra Nostra in Furnas (June-Sept trips)

    Payable Before Departure

    Single room at Hotel Terra Nostra in Furnas (June-Sept trips)

    Twin/Double at Hotel Terra Nostra in Furnas (Apr-May trips)

    Payable Before Departure

    Twin/Double at Hotel Terra Nostra in Furnas (Apr-May trips)

    Twin/Double at Hotel Terra Nostra in Furnas (June-Sept trips)

    Payable Before Departure

    Twin/Double at Hotel Terra Nostra in Furnas (June-Sept trips)

    Single room at Hotel Colegio in Ponta Delgada (April & May trips)

    Payable Before Departure

    Single room at Hotel Colegio in Ponta Delgada (April & May trips)

    Single room at Hotel Colegio in Ponta Delgada (June-Sept trips)

    Payable Before Departure

    Single room at Hotel Colegio in Ponta Delgada (June-Sept trips)

    Twin/Double at Hotel Colegio in Ponta Delgada (April & May trips)

    Payable Before Departure

    Twin/Double at Hotel Colegio in Ponta Delgada (April & May trips)

    Twin/Double at Hotel Colegio in Ponta Delgada (June-Sept trips)

    Payable Before Departure

    Twin/Double at Hotel Colegio in Ponta Delgada (June-Sept trips)

    Private Room Upgrade

    Payable Before Departure

    Private Room Upgrade

    Per Person

    Private airport transfer

    Payable Before Departure

    Private airport transfer

    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 2022 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 50% 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 on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    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.

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