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A Trip to the Azores

A Trip to the Azores

Old Jun 18, 18, 12:20 pm
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A Trip to the Azores

Welcome to my latest trip report, this time to the beautiful island of Sao Miguel, part of the Azores, Portugal. My travels have been rather slow since India in February, but are picking up now. I visited the Azores in late May, the Grand Canyon in early June and I’m headed over to Nigeria later this month. Anyway, this marks country #42 for me.



Previous reports:

One Week in India: Mumbai, Amritsar, Agra/Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Delhi CX and EY J

A Snowstorm in Tokyo and Volcanoes in the Philippines

New Year’s in Seoul, South Korea Delta A350 Suite

Keeping it Domestic: Grand Teton National Park

9 Days in Asia: Taipei, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Shanghai

Two Weeks in South Africa and Namibia: Joburg, Cape Town, Sossusvlei and Kruger

¡Bienvenido a Cuba!

Last edited by ChiefNWA; Jun 20, 18 at 9:18 am
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Old Jun 18, 18, 12:21 pm
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Day 1



I didn’t go into this trip with much of a plan. The viable options for this Memorial Day Weekend were a trip to Zurich (planned on renting a car and hitting Liechtenstein as well) or this trip to the Azores. The Azores are rather tourism limited for Americans as flights have been lacking from the U.S. for many years, other than rather infrequent (and expensive) service via the Azorean airline, SATA. Therefore, Delta’s new service to Ponta Delgada was very welcoming and will hopefully help showcase the island to American tourists. It certainly has the potential.



Moving on, I was one of the only standbys to be cleared on the TPA-JFK flight this day. That would’ve been a quick end to this trip. Once in JFK, I visited the grossly crowded SkyClub while waiting for the PDL flight. We were slightly delayed due to a late inbound aircraft from ATL. Since PDL is a new route, it was rather standby heavy this evening, meaning I was in economy for the flight. Not a big deal considering we were only blocked at 4:28 in the air. Once we pushed, we sat for about thirty minutes before the captain came on and advised we needed to take on more fuel as our initial diversion point (one of the other Azorean islands) was no longer an option, so we needed to fuel in the case we needed to divert to mainland Europe. This caused another one hour delay. Not a huge deal considering the early arrival time (scheduled) into PDL.





Day 2





I woke up about an hour before landing. Before I knew it, we were on final approach to PDL.





Deplaning via the rear at PDL. This was the second DL flight into PDL. The inaugural was the day prior.





I used Ilha Verde for the rental car. Got a brand new Nissan Qashdai with only 4km on the odometer.





The plan for the day was to just drive around the west side of the island and scout out some photo locations. I had two full days on the island, so rather unusually, I wasn’t super rushed.



It’s hard not to continually take pictures of the landscape considering the bright green flora and the blue ocean. Such a beautiful island.





The roads were absolutely fantastic for driving. There was very little traffic throughout both days.





The first official stop was the Coal Peak Viewpoint. I ended up picking this for the following sunrise as well.





Coal Peak Viewpoint.





The next stop was Lagoa do Canario, this was taken on the small trail on the way to the lake.





Lagoa do Canario.





Lagoa do Canario.





Moss.





The next viewpoint was the famous Miradouro da Boca do Inferno. Pictures from here are usually what’s used to advertise the Azores. Beautiful lookout and a very easy hike (even easier when the road is open to drive up to it). I would end up picking this spot for sunset this day.



Road.





A busy morning at Miradouro da Boca do Inferno.





People.





Miradouro da Boca do Inferno viewpoint.





Cattle.





A view of the city of Sete Cidales.





Greenery.





Sao Nicolau Church in Sete Cidales.





About 25 minutes later I reached Ponta da Ferraria on the far west side of the island. It has a great view of the crashing waves on the coastline.





More greenery. Noticing a trend yet?





Lunch time! Some of the best mussels I’ve ever had. They were grilled and covered in some sort of chili oil type sauce. Fantastic.





I then walked around the quaint town of Mosteiros. I must say, for an island popular with European tourists, there seemed to be exactly zero people out and about. It was like I had the whole west coast to myself. 70F weather made for a very enjoyable walk.





A horse in someone’s yard.





Mosteiros.





I then started my drive back east towards Ponta Delgada to check in to the hotel. I made a few stops on the way as the scenery simply requires it.





Greenery.





Lagoa das Empadadas.





Hotels were rather limited since I booked last minute. I ended up getting a decent rate ($73/night) at the Neat Hotel Avenida in central Ponta Delgada.



When I return to Ponta Delgada, I’ll have to spend a little bit more time in the city. It seemed quite nice with a ton of good looking restaurants.





I had seen everything on the west coast that I had planned for the day, so before dinner/sunset, I decided to drive up to one of the viewpoints towards the east side of the island.



Cattle.





Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo. Stunning view.





Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo.





Road.





Picked up some cod for dinner in Ponta Delgada prior to sunset.





I ended up picking Miradouro da Boca do Inferno for sunset, which meant I could also stop at Lagoa do Canario on the way. The gate to the viewpoint was closed to cars when I arrived which meant I needed to hustle for the 15-20 minutes in order to make sunset.





Sunset at Miradouro da Boca do Inferno. I forgot my tripod head and my new filters on this trip unfortunately, so taking pictures was a bit of a challenge.


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Last edited by ChiefNWA; Jun 19, 18 at 11:04 am
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Old Jun 18, 18, 12:22 pm
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Day 3





My alarm went off at 4:45AM. The plan was to shoot sunrise about 30 minutes away, then pick up my friend at the airport as he was flying in for the day from JFK. The plan for the remainder of the day was to explore the east side of the island as much as possible, then head back out to the west side for sunset.



The light was fantastic during sunrise, though not exactly where I needed it. I chose the Coal Peak Viewpoint for sunrise.





Coal Peak Viewpoint sunrise.





Back at the airport to meet the 3rd Delta flight into PDL.





We made another stop at Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo as my friend hadn’t seen it yet.





We then stopped at the hot springs for about thirty minutes. We had the place to ourselves as we happened to roll up two minutes after they opened.





The next destination was the first of three waterfalls we’d see today. Salto do Cabrito.





We then hopped over to Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeiroes. Waterfalls #2.





We then stopped at Miradouro da Vista dos Barcos which provides a great view of the lighthouse.





Flowers.





I can’t seem to find where this was, but it wasn’t a planned stop. I saw a sign for a viewpoint which led to a viewpoint on a dirt road.





The dirt road on the way down from the viewpoint.





We stopped in Furnas for lunch. A rather nice cheese plate for only a few Euro.





Pork tenderloin for the main.





Geothermal springs in Furnas.





Geothermal springs in Furnas.





The next stop was the Jose do Canto Forest Garden, where’d we’d see our 3rd waterfall. Below if from the 25 minute hike to the falls.





Salto do Rosal waterfalls. We had to place to ourselves.





We then drove all the way back to the west side of the island and stopped at Ponta do Ferraria again. I did remember my 10 stop screw on ND filter, which meant I could get some long exposures but I had to use a rock to hold the camera.





The final stop was Mosteiros Beach for sunset.





Sunset, Mosteiros Beach.





Quick steak and mushrooms for dinner at 10:30PM.





Technically day 4, but this is the only picture I took from that day. Ended up in economy on the way back to JFK, but not a huge deal as I slept nearly the entire flight.







Overall, this was a fantastic trip with some stunning scenery. For those of you that haven’t considered traveling to the Azores, I would highly recommend it. Not only is the scenery stunning, but the food is great and the island is cheap as well. I look forward to returning and next time I hope to visit one of the other islands.



This was also the retirement trip for my Canon 60D. Pictures from my new camera and lens, the Canon 6D Mk II 24-105mm, will either come up in the Grand Canyon trip report (if I write one for that) and if not, will appear in Nigeria. Now that’ll be an interesting one…




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Old Jun 18, 18, 1:14 pm
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So many wonderful photos, ChiefNWA - thanks for posting about a place rarely mentioned.
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Old Jun 18, 18, 1:53 pm
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Wow, that photo of Mosteiros Beach is stunning! Well done!!
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Old Jun 18, 18, 3:19 pm
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Amazing photos!

Next time you have to visit Terceira, it is also an amazing island! I'm a local so feel free to contact me if you need anything on your next trip to Azores!
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Old Jun 18, 18, 6:52 pm
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Love the pictures!
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Old Jun 18, 18, 7:18 pm
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Great trip report!
A few things to add...
1. SATA provides free inter-island flights to the other islands. You don't get to choose which flight, and it's usually the first non-stop to that island. If you time things well, you can spend 24 hours at your gateway, and your inbound and outbound gateways can be different (e.g. fly into PDL, out from TER). So theoretically you can visit 4 islands for the price of 1, spending 24 hours at your inbound and outbound gateways. There's an inter-island ferry between Horta, Pico and São Jorge, so you can even do 5 islands for the price of 1 if you time it well

2. I'll +1 Ilha Verde - not super cheap (they're usually cheaper through consolidators like economycarrentals) but they do have new cars.

3. The highest point in Portugal is the top of Pico Island. It's a must-do hike for hike-lovers. It's not an easy hike - you go up about 1200m over only 3-4km over a very uneven terrain. The views are worth it though.

4. Lots of hiking on São Jorge.
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Old Jun 19, 18, 4:25 am
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great pics, seems like you had a lot of fun
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Old Jun 19, 18, 7:38 am
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Great pics, makes me even more excited for my upcoming trip there in 2 weeks on the Delta route. I booked it when they had a "Black Friday" sale to commemorate the opening of the service and it was a pretty good deal.
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Old Jun 19, 18, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by as219 View Post
Wow, that photo of Mosteiros Beach is stunning! Well done!!
+1!

Thanks for sharing your trip with us ^
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Old Jun 19, 18, 9:17 am
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Great photos! The Azores is now firmly on my to-do list...
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Old Jun 19, 18, 10:50 am
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The pic of Sunset, Mosteiros Beach is the money shot! Thanks for sharing.

Are there any good beaches to spend some R&R?
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Old Jun 19, 18, 11:33 am
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Wow, fantastic photos you got!

Thanks for sharing them.
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Old Jun 19, 18, 9:49 pm
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Amazing photos. My wife and I have been thinking of going to the Azores, and this report makes me want to go even more! I didn't realize that Delta began a flight from JFK there - we'd been struggling to find transportation there, as it looked like the only options were through BOS.

Thank you for sharing!
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