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The Azores (September 2006)

Faial

We spent 3 days on the island of Faial to go Sperm Whale watching.

We did see several whales - though I must admit, Sperm Whales are not as interesting to watch as Humpback Whales (something we have done several times) and the highlight of the trip was a huge pod of Dolphins that swam around our boat.

We stayed at The Pousada da Horta - Forte de Santa Cruz. The hotel is built around a 16th century fortress overlooking Horta bay. The building has been classified as a National Monument since 1947. It has great views over Pico Island and the marina and its yachts. It is expensive but you are not going to get many other opportunitues to stay in a building over 500 years old.

São Miguel

We spent 7 days on the island of São Miguel. We stayed in a villa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, in a small town called Genetes.

Summary of our stay:

  • Stunning scenery.
  • Furnas is a highly recommended day trip - perhaps even a place to stay for a two or three days.
  • Very humid - too humid to go on any lengthy walk.
  • Changeable weather (but you can easily chase the sun).
  • Main industry is farming, and most of the roads are single lane. You will get stuck behind a tractor.
  • Not exactly world leaders in culinary delights...
  • Insects the size of your hand!

If you want to just relax in a villa with fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean or the Azorean mountains (and can handle giant insects), go for it.

However, if you want to do that and occassionally go out for a meal or a drink, you choice is limited and one of you will end up driving. Basically, The Azores does not appear to be quite ready for tourism yet.