- Transfers: all transfers included
- Accommodation: 4 nights' in Hotel São Miguel Park with the option to upgrade to the Marina Atlantico or the Azor Hotel
- Meals: 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches
- The following activities are included in the holiday: whale/dolphin watching OR dolphin swimming, tour to Furnas, Sete Cidades adventure tour with optional cycling (easy or difficult levels) and kayaking (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Fully qualified guides and instructors during activities
- Equipment, training, and supervision for all activities with expert local guides
Rich green plant life covers the ground, steam rises into the air and rugged volcanic landscapes tower above. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve just travelled to Hawaii or indeed Jurassic Park but the Azorean Islands are in fact, a European hidden treasure.
Perhaps it’s their location in the mid-Atlantic that keeps the Azores off the tourist map. However, with easier-than-ever travel routes, it is completely bewildering to us that tourists aren’t flocking here.
With its picturesque landscape and seascapes, an abundance of wildlife and a wealth of activities on offer, the Azores leave everyone who visits in awe. During your holiday, you’ll have several opportunities to discover its natural wonders.
You’ll see wildlife all around you but it’s the ones below the surface that truly inspire. Choose from a whale and dolphin watching tour or, for a real bucket-list experience, you can snorkel with the wild dolphins.
In almost every direction, you’ll see evidence of the volcanic activity in the Azores. During a trip to Furnas, you’ll learn all about the volcanic action that shaped the islands.
Exploring the surroundings even further at Sete Cidades, you’ll also have the option to cycle around and kayak across impressive crater lakes.
During your time here, you’ll experience how the Azores offer a perfect combination of slow island life with plenty to see and do. Just make sure you don’t brag too much when you’re home – we’d love to keep these islands to ourselves for as long as possible!
Image Credits: Futurismo Azores Adventure
Arrival and welcome
Upon arrival at João Paulo II Airport, the driver of your transfer vehicle will be waiting to take you to your hotel which is approximately 10 minutes away.
You’ll then check into your accommodation at either the Hotel São Miguel Park or you may have upgraded to the Marina Atlantico or the Azor Hotel.Included Meals: None
Whale/dolphin watching or dolphin swimming
Today you can choose how you would like to see the fascinating marine life of the Azores. You could either go whale and dolphin watching from a boat or choose to get even closer on a RIB boat and snorkel with the wild dolphins.
Your activity will either begin in the morning after breakfast followed by a free afternoon, or you’ll have a free morning and head out after lunch (not included). This is dependent on weather conditions and availability.
During the whale and dolphin watching tour, you’ll have the opportunity to look out for some of the 25 cetacean species found in the Azores. Though there are no guarantees, whales and dolphins are regularly seen during these half-day tours. As well as this, you may see turtles, seabirds and other marine life.
Before you set off, a marine biologist will provide a briefing. You’ll learn about the different cetacean species, safety measures aboard, how to respect the animals as well as some historical facts. You will usually enjoy the whale watching from a catamaran, however, some trips will be in a RIB boat. If you have a preference, please inform us in advance.
For those choosing the incredible dolphin swimming experience, you’ll head out on a RIB boat and on the lookout for a pod of these highly intelligent marine mammals. A presentation will show you how to use the snorkelling equipment provided as well as how to swim responsibly while respecting the animals.
Now it’s over to you for a true bucket list moment. As we said, these animals are highly intelligent. Let them approach you as they are naturally curious. Make use of your snorkel and observe how they move through the water. Some may even hold your eye contact as they playfully spin around you!
For those who want to stay dry, you can remain on the RIB boat and watch these wonderful animals from there.
During the tour, each passenger is required to wear a life vest (except on our catamaran). Restrictions may apply for pregnant women and people with lower back problems. However, our Azorean partners offer different types of boats with different levels of comfort.Included Meals: Breakfast
Volcanic tour to Furnas
Today is all about exploring the volcanic landscapes of the Azores.
After breakfast, you’ll start your tour at Lake Furnas for a scenic walk along its banks. Pass through a bamboo forest and stroll along a woodland trail where huge trees form a canopy overhead. Then see the fascinating bubbling mud, an indication of the geothermal energy here.
You will then go to the town to see even more of the volcanic activity at work. Here, you’ll see fumaroles and mineral springs. Make sure you try the water from each spring as you might notice the variety in tastes because of the different minerals present.
At lunch, you have the chance to try the local dish of Cozido das Furnas. This is the classic Portuguese ‘cozido’ which is a stew of slow-cooked meats and vegetables but with an Azorean twist. Here, the locals really make use of the geothermal activity and cook this delicious meal using the natural steam from the ground!
Following lunch, you will have the chance to look around the exceptional Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens. Filled with a variety of plant life, this is a captivating visit which includes the fantastic opportunity to unwind in the iron-rich waters of a geothermal pool. The waters have a soothing temperature of around 35°C to 40°C and the minerals present will leave you feeling deeply relaxed. (Please take old swimming costumes as the mineral water will stain them a light brown colour).
The final location of the day will be a real highlight for tea-lovers. You will visit Gorreana Tea Estates, one of Europe’s oldest remaining tea plantations. In addition to seeing the growing areas, you will, of course, get to sample some of the tea produced here. If you are a fan of Green Tea then you are in for a real treat, the local varieties are fabulous.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Cycling and Kayaking at Sete Cidades
After fuelling up on breakfast, you’ll have an adventurous day exploring the west side of São Miguel.
The ‘Lagoa das Sete Cidades’ or ‘Lagoon of Seven Cities’ consists of a twin lake formed in the crater of a dormant volcano. The greenish-blues of the water sit between plush green landscapes which you’ll explore on a 10km cycle ride. The trail is largely flat, with only 10 minutes of uphill peddling which means you can enjoy your surroundings. There is an option to do a tougher route, if you’re feeling up to the challenge.
There’s also the chance to get even closer to the placid lake by kayaking across it.
A picnic lunch will keep you going after your active start and in the afternoon, you’ll head along the island’s coast. On the way, you’ll stop at Ferraria, an ocean-based hot spring and when the tide is low, it will be possible to have a dip in its relaxing waters.
Back at the hotel, you’ll have a free evening to spend your last night as you please. You could head out and sample more of the local cuisine. We’d strongly recommend trying Azorean tapas… black pudding with pineapple might surprise a few people!Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Following breakfast, it’s time for your exploration trip to come to an end. If you have an early flight, we’ll box up breakfast for you before your transfer to the airport.Included Meals: Breakfast
Included in price
Dates & Prices
We include more, no hidden costs
Please note that festivities of the Holy Christ of Miracles (Santo Cristo dos Milagres) are taking place from the 15th May until the 21st of May 2020, so some places will be a bit busier than normal.
|Departure dates between|
Tue 01 Oct 2019Enquire
Thu 31 Oct 2019
Next season’s pre-sale dates and prices
To secure your holiday for next season, you can make a pre-reservation by paying only £50pp. The provisional departure dates, prices and itineraries remain subject to change. We will contact you when the final dates, prices and itineraries are confirmed and you will have 14 days to decide if you would like to go ahead. Should you wish to proceed then a further deposit (typically of £250pp) will be payable at this stage. If you decide not to travel, we will refund your initial £50pp payment. Our Travel Experts will happily provide you with full terms and a complete quotation.
|Departure dates between|
Mon 30 Mar 2020Enquire
Fri 24 Apr 2020
Sat 25 Apr 2020Enquire
Mon 28 Sep 2020
Tue 29 Sep 2020Enquire
Thu 29 Oct 2020
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
Approximately 2 - 16 people
Maximum group size on the catamaran is 76 pax
We always try to provide an approximation of the group size you can expect to be with for the duration of each of our holidays. It may be that you are joined by others for parts of your holiday (such as transfers and particular activities) but the above number reflects those you can normally expect to be with from beginning to end. If group size is something which is particularly important to you, please speak to our Travel Experts and they can suggest the best holidays for you.
Tailor-made holiday group sizes will vary for all activities as will the group size for any additional activities you book.
Minimum numbers required for a holiday to operate
Some of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate (as listed in the ‘Group Size’ section). If your holiday departure has not yet reached the minimum number, you will be told at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date is not guaranteed by nine weeks before your scheduled departure date, we will contact you to discuss the available options as per our booking conditions.
If a specific minimum age applies to this holiday, it can be found in the Key Facts box on the holiday Overview page.
Unless otherwise stated in the in the Key Facts box on the holiday Overview page, the minimum age for participation in an Artisan holiday is typically 8 years old (there may be younger children in some destinations who have booked with other companies). If an adult-only environment is important to you, then please contact our Travel Experts and they will advise on the best dates and destinations for you. If you are looking for a holiday designed specifically for families then please see our sister company www.activitiesabroad.com
Please note that some of our holidays may incur a single supplement. Please speak to one of our Travel Experts who will provide you with a quotation.
Medical history and advice
We want our holidays to be accessible as they can be and will do our best to accommodate any special requests and requirements where possible. We have a wide range of holidays and destinations and so our travel experts will help find the best holiday for you.
In order to give us the best possible chance to do this we ask that if you or any member of your party has any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday or has any special requirements, that you tell us at the time of enquiry or booking. You must also promptly advise us if any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday develops after your booking has been confirmed. You may need to provide a doctor’s note and proof of insurance in some cases as the health and safety of our clients is absolutely paramount.
In providing this information you are allowing us to work with our expert local partners to ensure that your whole party can enjoy the holiday. By letting us know in advance we can discreetly work with you to adapt any part of the holiday which may potentially be challenging. Being able to prepare for this in advance makes an incredible difference to what we can offer and minimises any impact on your party and the rest of the group.
Unfortunately, if you choose not to share this information with us in advance then it may limit some or all of the itinerary you have booked, and we cannot be held accountable for any additional costs or missed activities resulting from this.
Insurance is not included in your holiday, but it is a pre-requisite to travelling with us. You will need to ensure that you have cover for all the activities that you will be participating in during your holiday.
It is extremely important that you take out a suitable travel insurance policy at the time of booking. Plans do sometimes change, and you will need this policy should you need to cancel your holiday.
If you are struggling to find a suitable policy then details of our preferred provider, who will cover you for all the activities we offer, can be found on our website by clicking here. Please note that this policy is available to EU residents under the age of 75 only.
If you have a reduced level of mobility, then please contact our Travel Experts to discuss the suitability of this holiday in relation to your requirements.
Experience and fitness
Any activities included in your itinerary are all designed for beginners. Full instruction and tuition are provided for all activities and you do not need to have any previous experience. For example, you need never have set foot on a pair of skis of any kind before a cross-country ski tour. We have adults of all ages and fitness levels taking part in our holidays.
We do highlight certain itineraries where an increased level of fitness is required. If you have any questions at all with regards to fitness levels please get in touch and talk to one of our experts. You can find further details in our trip preparation section online. You must inform us at the time of booking if any of your party has a disability, medical or behavioural conditions which could affect their own participation in the holiday or indeed that of the other people on the holiday.
Guides and safety
It is essential when partaking in any activity that you listen very closely to, and abide by, the instructions provided. Nobody knows the environment better than our activity providers who work here almost every day.
Consequently, their knowledge and experience are unsurpassed. If there is anything that you are unsure of during a safety briefing or that you would like to clarify with the guides, please make this clear to them immediately before starting the activity.
There may be rare occasions when our guides consider local conditions unsuitable for a certain activity. Hence, your itinerary may be subject to change at short notice, but we will always endeavour to firstly find a replacement on the day and secondly, to provide the cancelled activity later in your stay whenever possible. Very occasionally it proves impossible to provide the activity in which case you will be refunded when you return home.
Our guides' word on activities is always final and your safety is their principal concern at all times, please respect their decisions. By following their instructions, your safety and enjoyment during each activity will be greatly enhanced.
You must inform us of any medical conditions that may affect your participation in an activity at the time of booking.
Booking activities locally and equipment hire
Additional activities can be booked locally in almost all our destinations. However, as per our booking conditions, we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss incurred through participation in activities which are booked at your destination outside of our holiday itinerary (see our ‘Terms and Conditions’ for further details).
When arranging any such activity please always ensure that safety is your primary concern.
In some of our destinations, you can borrow or hire equipment for use in your free time. You do so entirely at your own risk. You must ensure that you are properly prepared, have the necessary equipment and knowledge (maps, etc) and ensure that where applicable, you follow marked routes. We recommend discussing your plans with the local teams who will be able to advise on the most suitable options for you.
Always let the reception/guide know where you are planning to go and take a torch and mobile phone (with the hotel/guide’s phone number stored). It is also a good idea to leave your contact number and the time you expect to return to the hotel should the hotel need to contact you.
The order of activities is always subject to change and guests will be provided with their final itinerary upon arrival.
If your trip includes car hire the named driver must have a credit card registered in their name which they can present when they collect their car along with their driving licence, as a deposit will be held on the credit card. Please see your trip dossier for full details.
Travel Safety and Foreign Office Advice
Our clients’ safety is at the centre of everything we do, and our operations team continually assesses and monitors the destinations we feature. We carry out thorough risk assessments and work closely with all of our suppliers to continually follow best practice. For up to date travel advice the UK government offers its Travel Aware website as well as the advice detailed below.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advice
We receive all updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with regards to travel advice and we always ensure that we follow this advice in our operations. The FCO issues travel advisories for countries based on a very wide range of factors. They may provide notification about things as simple as a football match and crowds, or they may go so far as to advise against all travel to a region. We ask all our clients to refer to the relevant Travel Advice by Country for the destinations they are visiting in order to make an informed decision on the safety of the destination based on the details provided. It also provides vital information regarding entry requirements, embassy information, local laws and customs as well as specific safety and health. Guests should take responsibility for keeping themselves up to date with this advice. Please also ensure that, if you are transiting through another country, you have read the advice and meet the entry requirements for that destination too.
The FCO travel advice is applicable to British Passport Holders. Most governments will issue their own travel advice for a region and, if you are not a UK resident then you can find some helpful links below:
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/ Canadian Consular Affairs Bureau http://voyage.gc.ca/ The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html
If the FCO deems that there is an unacceptable level of risk for UK citizens then, together with the government, they may issue an advisory against all travel to a region or country. If such an advisory is published, then we will act accordingly, and this may require the cancellation, curtailment or amendment of a holiday itinerary. These decisions are made on the basis of ensuring our clients’ safety and will affect all clients on the holiday, regardless of their nationality.
If one of our local experts suggests an amendment due to a situation which develops locally then we may also take the decision to amend an itinerary appropriately.
If we have to cancel your holiday prior to departure you will be offered the option of an alternative trip (where any price difference will either be refunded to or covered by you) or a full refund of the monies paid.
If we have to curtail a holiday, then you will be refunded for any costs for the elements we have been unable to deliver, where we have been able to secure a refund from our suppliers. If we must reroute a holiday, then any basis for refund is determined on a case by case basis and dependent on whether the central holiday experience was provided or not.
Flight schedule changes and connecting transportation
On your documentation, we will confirm your flight schedule. Sometimes the flight number, routing and timings might change prior to your departure. If the change is classed as a significant change then we will contact you to discuss this. Please see our booking conditions for details.
Flight schedule changes can impact on your pre and post-holiday travel arrangements if these have been booked separately to your holiday. We strongly recommend that you do not book transport (such as trains or transfers), car parking or non-connecting flights to the departure point for your holiday until you have received your final confirmed travel times when your final travel documents are issued. We are not responsible for the effect of any schedule change on your pre or post travel arrangements. We strongly recommend that you do not purchase non-flexible or non-refundable tickets to avoid cancellation and penalty charges.
Booking your own flights - cancellation disclaimer
If you have chosen to book your own flights, then you will need to wait until we confirm to you that the holiday departure has met the minimum numbers required to run (if applicable to your chosen holiday). Once the holiday is guaranteed to run, you will be informed and you can then make your arrangements.
If transfers are included in your holiday, please ensure that any potential flights will be met by our standard transfers (speak to one of our Travel Experts for advice) otherwise private transfer supplements may be applicable. Once your flights are booked, please send us a copy of your detailed flight itinerary.
Please be aware that most tickets are non-refundable in the case of cancellation. For this reason, we strongly advise you check the rules of the ticket and check the limitations of your cancellation insurance before booking. We cannot be held liable, in the unlikely eventuality that we should be forced to cancel or amend your trip, for losses incurred relating to any flight booking you have made.
Maximum group size on the catamaran is 76 pax