Island hopping in the Azores, small group

“On this two-week small group walking tour, hike the five most unspoilt of the nine remote Azores islands: Sao Miguel, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial.”

Highlights

Sao Miguel | Ponta Delgada | Sete Cidades | Terceira Island | Angra do Heroismo | Biscoitos | Sao Jorge Island | Velas | Caldeira de Cima | Pico Island | Pico Volcano | Horta | Faial | Optional activities include: whale watching

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15 May 2021
US $2480
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29 May 2021
US $2590
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12 Jun 2021
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26 Jun 2021
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10 Jul 2021
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24 Jul 2021
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07 Aug 2021
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21 Aug 2021
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04 Sep 2021
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18 Sep 2021
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02 Oct 2021
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16 Oct 2021
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
The nine volcanic islands that make up the Azores are designated as a Geopark, ensuring the protection of the geographic heritage, fauna and flora and marine areas. On this trip we visit five of the islands allowing us to appreciate their unique natural heritage. We explore each island by public buses, taxis and on foot, keeping to the official walking trails and traveling with respect for the environment. Our Tour Leaders and local guides are trained in how to actively promote responsible tourism and brief our groups on how they can minimise their own impacts, actively encouraging clients to carry all waste with them and use recycling bins that can be found both on the streets and in hotels.

The whale watching company that we use do not cater to mass tourism; the company depends on the whales and as such does everything possible to respect them. This includes keeping the legal distance from the whales and briefing all groups on how they should behave to protect the environment by not littering and keeping noise to a minimum whilst in the boats and out on the water.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

We experience the different cultures of each island, learning about their traditions. In Furnas on Sao Miguel Island we witness the transportation of the Cozido, a dish unique to the Azores, cooked in a pot under the ground by the geothermal heat and we visit Gorreana, Europe’s oldest and only remaining tea factory which still using traditional processing methods.

The tea plantation has been owned by the same family since 1883. The tea is grown hundreds of miles away from industrial pollution without the use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, dyes or preservatives. It is harvested in the time honoured way between April and September with a traditional festival at the peak of the harvest!

On Pico Island we learn about the islands history of wine making and their traditional methods.
The vineyards are generally locally owned and in fact there are a large number of extremely small plots of land or ‘currais’ that may only contain a few grape vines. There are a few wineries on the island made under a cooperative scheme that benefits the local growers and keeps the traditional and complex vineyards alive and well. By visiting the vineyards we are helping to sustain the practise of wine making that has existed in harsh conditions since the mid -15th century.

Tourism is one of the main sources of income for the islands of the Azores and helps to maintain traditions, visiting five of the islands and working with locals we help to spread the economic benefits across the Azores.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

Climate

3 Reviews of Island hopping in the Azores, small group

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 07 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The scenery, the food and the others in the group

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you are inexperienced think through the packing carefully

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Only by bringing money to the local economy

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very highly. Loved it

Reviewed on 13 Nov 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Visiting gardens in Ponta Delgada and Terra Nostra, the trail on the north coast of Sao Jorge, and the trail around the caldera on Faial.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take plenty of money! We spent ca £500 each without buying anything extra like presents. There are lots of optional extras, and each costs money. On the last day, the tour of Faial was "optional" but in fact an essential part of the vacation, and because there were only 7 of us on the tour, the bus cost an extra £35 each.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Our visits to local gardens, including the Presidential garden, may have contributed a bit to conservation. Just by being tourists, we probably benefited local people by eating at restaurants and staying in hotels.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A really good vacation, very well organised, with lots of different activities. Going to 5 different islands was extremely interesting. We discussed the idea of having an extension to the vacation with visits to the other 4 islands - this would be really nice. Most of the hotels were very good, but food at restaurants was generally mediocre with the exception of dinner on Pico (?Petisca) which was superb. Tania was excellent as a guide, with a plan for every day's activities, though sudden changes caused by lack of transport or weather sometimes caused confusion!

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Hiking Pico, some other excursions: whale watching, hiking other volcanoes, swimming with dolphins, tasting great wine, fishing and being able to have it cooked at a restaurant that served it to us.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?




3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


just a few local people, I would say, not a group of people

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I would say it's between a three and four stars.....didn't like a few of the hotels and it was hard with the leader who had to leave, not having someone right away and then having a substitute......it worked out, but not perfect. It was hot and some of the hotels didn't have fans or air conditioning.

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