The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, is a beautiful archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean located about 900 miles (1450 kilometers) from Lisbon. You can fly nonstop from Boston via Azores Airlines. Below is a summary of a trip by a FriendlyGroupTravel.com client who takes advantage of our "last minute pop-up offers." Thank you Frank, for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the trip!!
This was one of my best vacations for so many reasons. I received a message from Marcia at Friendly Group Travel about an offer for a trip to Terceira Island of the Azores. It offered a package deal of airfare, hotel, and car rental. Marcia offered advice and information that was prompt and helpful. We paid a little extra for ocean view and for early check in, both were excellent choices!
The room had everything we needed, was clean and nice, with an extraordinary view! We set our own schedule for daily activities. There was so much to do, and we fit it all in! The ocean swimming next to the hotel was fantastic. Our first day, we toured Angra do Heroismo, which is the main town on the island. It was clean, safe, and beautiful! People were very friendly, and most spoke English. The choices of restaurants was overwhelming, most offering local seafood, meat, and vegetarian diet choices. The streets and most of the sidewalks are cobblestone. There is a great deal of history here, and many places to learn about it!
There were many choices for excursions. Our first choice (and we went back to them two more times) was OceanEmotion. We first went for a whale watch, and we encountered a sperm whale and many dolphins. They also gave a short tour of the area by boat. We went on a tour of Cabras Islets, which are remnants of a volcanic land that split in two, and is now a nature preserve. Our third tour with them was a swim with the dolphins tour, unfortunately, we did not encounter any, but had a really nice time out on the water!
We drove around the entire island, which is about 19 miles by 12 miles in dimension. It is volcanic hills, farmland, pastures, and small towns. We went up to Biscoitos on the North coast, and went snorkeling. It was a wonderful experience. On our way there, we stopped in many of the small towns, and checked out their life and ways! On another day, we drove up to Lagoa do Negro where we hiked about 3 miles around a volcano (Gruta de Natal) and after the hike, we went on a tour inside of the volcano.
We visited Praia da Vitoria, on the East Coast on another day, and this is the main seaport for shipping. We stopped for lunch and had great sandwiches, in a small restaurant along the way there. The scenery throughout the island was breathtaking! Volcanic mountains and beautiful vistas by the sea!
Something that was consistent in this place was that everyone took such pride in their homes, cars, boats and all of their possessions. Another thing is that there was no use of plastic! Water, soda, and other drinks came in glass bottles, all returnable. There was no use of plastic bags, and it was evident that they care about their environment.
This was a visit to a real gem! Relaxing, friendly, and economical. I highly recommend this trip!
Thank you Marcia!! -FC, East Haven, CT
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Marcia Simon, CTA, APR, has been exploring new places since she was 17 years old and traveled around Europe on a Eurailpass with her best friend. Decades later, she still considers travel the best investment of time and money she's ever made for herself and her family.