Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Hike, Kayak, Canyon and Whale Watch in the Azores

Hike, canyon, kayak, coasteer and SUP your way around the Azorean island of São Miguel, topping it off with spectacular whale and dolphin watching in the wild Atlantic Ocean

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Trip Ref #10100

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Hike, Kayak, Canyon and Whale Watch in the Azores

Hike, canyon, kayak, coasteer and SUP your way around the Azorean island of São Miguel, topping it off with spectacular whale and dolphin watching in the wild Atlantic Ocean

DURATION
6 nights
LOCATION
Azores
FLY TO
João Paulo II Airport
Perfect for

Outdoorsy nature lovers with average fitness levels and an adventurous side... who don't mind getting wet!

DIFFICULTY
Moderate

Why it's much better

  • Hike spectacular coastal trails with sweeping Atlantic views from Sao Miguel's highest point
  • Jump, scramble, slide and abseil your way through the canyons of Ribeira dos Caldeirões
  • Immerse yourself in the nature of the Azores on a coasteering and cliff diving adventure
  • Head out to sea for up-close encounters with the Azores' teeming populations of whales and dolphins
  • SUP, kayak & bike around Sete Cidades, one of Portugal's 7 natural wonders
  • Stay in beautiful 4 star boutique hotels with swimming pools and botanical gardens
  • Guides Expert, English-speaking local guides
  • Accommodation 6 nights in cozy local art deco hotels
  • Meals 6 breakfasts and 4 lunches
  • Transfers All airport transfers
  • Permits All permits and entry fees
  • Equipment All equipment for canyoning, coasteering, kayaking, SUP and mountain biking
  • Happiness Guaranteed We're so confident that your holiday will be your best yet, we actually guarantee it
  • Feel Good Vibes We mitigate 4x the carbon emitted by all our travellers and support important conservation projects

Day 1: Welcome to The Azores!

After catching your first glimpse of the Azores archipelago from above, you'll land at the international airport in Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel island. Your host will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Furnas, approximately a 45 minute drive away.

Depending on your arrival time, the rest of your day is free to enjoy the beautiful boutique hotel and adjacent botanical gardens - plus your choice of indoor and outdoor swimming pools to use!

Day 2: Hiking to Pico da Vara (1103m) Sao Miguel's Highest Point

You'll kick start your Azores adventure with a big hike to Pico da Vara, the highest point on Sao Miguel island, peaking at 1103m. The trail starts at Algarvia in the north east of the island and ascends for 7km through cedar woodland and open grasslands, with sweeping coastal views. At the top, on the highest point of Sao Miguel island you'll have views over the valley of Povoação in the south, the majestic crater of Furnas Volcano to the west, and the volcanic massifs of Fogo and Sete Cidades at the bottom.

Approx 4 hours hiking / 7km / Ascent 284m / Descent 865m

Day 3: Hike the Agrião trail to Ribeira Quente Beach

Today you'll lace your hiking boots back up for a coastal hike along the Agrião Trail in the south east of Sao Miguel island. The hike passes along the Atlantic coast as the trail weaves up and down through streams and over wooden bridges - with steep climbs and narrow descents. You'll have views over Sao Miguel's cliffs, the Atlantic Ocean and the Povoação volcanic crater.

The trails ends up at Ribeira Quente where you'll have some time to enjoy the beach. Grab a drink and snack in the quaint local village before heading back to the hotel for an evening's recharge.

Approx 4 hours hiking / 5km / Ascent 148m / Descent 395m

Day 4: Canyoning Adventure at Ribeira dos Caldeirões

Rise early and fuel up with breakfast and coffee ready for your canyoning adventure. You'll be picked up at 08:15 and whisked over to Ribeira dos Caldeirões. This is a protected area in north east Sao Miguel making a 100% natural adventure playground.

Warm up with a brisk hike up the trail to the start point. For the next 3 hours you'll scramble, jump, slide and abseil along the stream. The water flows from the top of the mountain and surrounded by dense endemic forest. Your expert guides will help you navigate each section while filming and photographing the adventure, so that your daredevil antics are fully recorded for later!

After drying off, you'll grab some lunch and then transfer over to Ponta Delgada to check into your second boutique hotel, home for the next 3 nights. The afternoon is free for some down-time exploring Ponta Delgada's cafes and bars or relaxing at the hotel.

Approx 3 hours of canyoning

Day 5: Whale Watching and Sea Kayaking at Vila Franca do Campo

Today you'll witness one of the Azores' true natural treasures: the huge populations of cetaceans in the deep blue and nutrient-rich waters around the islands. During spring time, you can see migratory species such as Blue Whales, Fin Whales and Sei Whales. The Azores is also home to year-round resident populations of Sperm Whales and huge numbers of dolphins.

At Ponta Delgada harbour, your marine biologist will talk you through how to look out for whales while on the water. They'll also explain how they make sure that whale watching in the Azores is sustainable and responsible, with the maximum care shown to these magnificent creatures.

In the afternoon you'll go out on sea kayaks to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean, this time from a smaller vessel. If you're lucky some of your dolphin friends from the boat ride earlier may come and say hello again!

3 hours whale watching. 2-3 hours of sea kayaking

Day 6: Epic Atlantic Coasteering and Afternoon at Sete Cidades

The best way to see the many hidden parts of the volcanic island of Sao Miguel is to jump straight into the Atlantic Ocean and coasteer your way along its wild coastline. Your coasteering epic starts in Agua de Pau, a beautiful coastal town in the municipality of Lagoa. With expert guides by your side throughout, you'll jump, scramble, dive and swim your way along the tide line in the volcanic area. There are even spots where you'll be able climb up and cliff dive in the water.

After lunch you'll head over to Sete Cidades to enjoy an activity of your choice on or around the lake. Sete Cidades is one of the Azores' picture postcard spots - and one of the '7 Wonders of Portugal'! You'll have the choice to explore the lake on a kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard, or you may prefer to stay dry this afternoon and take a bike out on the trails around the lake instead.

Approx 3 hours of coasteering

Day 7: Goodbye Azores

After breakfast it's time to say goodbye to the Azores. Your host will transfer you to the airport in Ponta Delgada in time for your return flight home.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

Your accommodation on this trip will be in two 4-star boutique hotels, providing you with amazing comfort in beautiful and relaxing surroundings after each of your adventure days out on the island. Accommodation is in same sex twin-share rooms. You can request a double room or a private room upgrade through your host.

Furnas

In Furnas you'll stay 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, which 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

In Ponta Delgada you'll stay at Hotel do Colégio, a boutique hotel run in a 19th century manor house. The hotel has a highly regarded restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool and spacious, quiet guest rooms. The hotel is perfectly located in the historic centre of Ponta Delgada.

Private Room Upgrade

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for 920 EUR per person (subject to availability). Please request this at the time of booking.

The Azores archipelago is an autonomous region of Portugal and the most westerly point of Europe. The islands lie in the North Atlantic Ocean, just a 4 hour flight from the USA and a 2 hour flight from the European mainland. The Azores are made up of nine volcanic islands scattered across 370 square miles, each one marked with a unique natural beauty.

The Azores are bathed in warm and species-rich waters which are highly influenced by the Gulf Stream. The region is an important point of passage and home to many whales and dolphins, turtles, fish and birds. Due to its geographical location and remoteness, the Azores islands have preserved their environment for centuries.

The volcanic origins of the islands have created mountains, valleys and volcanic rock formations that are covered in lush vegetation with many endemic plant and flower species. The spectacular landscapes are peppered with waterfalls, lakes inside ancient craters and geo-thermal springs.

Start Point

Ponta Delgada Airport

Your adventure begins at Ponta Delgada Airport. Airport transfers are included if you arrive on the start day, so please let your host know your flight times.

Finish Point

Ponta Delgada Airport

Your adventure ends at Ponta Delgada Airport on Day 10. Airport transfers are included, so please let your host know your flight times.

Please note, 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.

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Travel to/from Sao Miguel
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Evening meals

This is an active trip, however the activities can be done by anyone with basic fitness levels. The hikes are fairly moderate going and the canyoning and coasteering requires more of an adventurous and fun mindset rather than any extreme fitness. You'll just need to enjoy being active for a large part of the day, in an outdoor environment.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

This trip will run with a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 12.

Breakfasts in both hotels are a plentiful and high quality continental breakfast buffet with fresh juices, teas and coffees.

Lunches will be picnics while out and about on your active adventures. Generally these will be baguette sandwiches or salads with dried snacks and fruits.

There are plentiful restaurants to choose from in Furnas and Ponta Delgada for evening meals. You can scope out traditional Azorean options as well as the more familiar foods from around the world which can be found in your two bases during the trip.

The best months to visit the Azores are from April to October. The Azores have a mild climate, being surrounded by a huge expanse of sea and influenced by the warm Gulf Stream. This means that the temperature is pleasant at any time of year. The average winter temperature is 13°C, only sometimes dropping to around 4°C at night; frosts occur only above 1,000m. In summer, the average temperature is 23°C, with a maximum of 27°C.

Rain can and does fall in every month, but it is rarely persistent and often fleeting. If it is raining in the morning, do not despair – 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. The highest are in August and September, with an average of around 22–24°C, and are still a welcoming 21°C even in October.

Your luggage can stay in both hotels during your trip while away doing activities each day. You'll just need a daypack and/or drybag to use each day while your main luggage remains in the hotel.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

Our group adventures are adult only, however, if you would like to bring children along this can be arranged by requesting a private trip with the host. This trip is suitable for children from age 11 only.

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.

Bags
Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack Daypack Drybag

Clothes Waterproof jacket
Waterproof trousers
Breathable wicking layers
Fleece jacket or similar
Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts T-shirts
Underwear & socks
Swimwear
Sunglasses
Sunhat
Something to sleep in
Hiking boots (worn-in)
Sandals

Other
Universal travel plug adapter
Power bank or solar charger
Passports (and visas)
Travel insurance documents
Ear plugs
Suncream
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags)
Quick-dry towel
Alcohol hand-gel
Headtorch or torch
Reusable water bottle x1 litre
Quickdry towel
Biodegradable wet-wipes
Energy bars and snacks (optional, local snacks provided)
Water purification tablets or treatment system

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