Salty turquoise waters crash into lofty cliffs. White buildings with red clay roof tiles overlay rolling hills. Many different species of whales, dolphins, and other remarkable sea creatures can be spotted gliding in clear, azure waters. In the inter-parts of the island, stunning waterfalls and foliage are abundant, allowing for breathtaking views of nature. Wildflowers of many varieties cover the ground, embellishing the area with shades of blue, purple, pink, and yellow. Tropical evergreens sway as the saline breeze flurries past your nose and you feel at peace–one with nature. You are sipping a refreshing pineapple liquor on the beach, and watch as the beautiful hues of the sunset wash over your feet. Where in the world would you guess this is? Thailand? Hawaii? Perhaps even Aruba?
In guessing any of these places, you would have been bamboozled.
The real location being described is the Azores Islands—a territory of Portugal that some like to call “the Hawaii of the Atlantic”. Being a widely unknown area, the Azores islands are a remote and luxurious destination for anyone wishing to get away from the more touristy spots.
Being located in the vast North Atlantic Ocean, the Azores islands are an archipelago that encompasses ocean life perfectly. From beautiful cliffside views to experiences that will feed your adventurous soul, the Azores seems to have it all. Hiking, whale watching, canoeing, geotourism, canyoneering, and scaling waterfalls are just some of the many activities that the islands have to offer.
Another reason why these islands are also referred to as “the Hawaii of the Atlantic” is due to their reputation for surfing. Over the last decade, the islands have been rising in popularity as a surfing destination. The best time to surf in the Azores is from October to April as the biggest swells come from the North Atlantic and hit the Azores during that time of the year.
São Miguel is the best island for surfing and where the hotel Senhora Da Rosa is located. This hotel—which is perfectly situated between the mountains and the ocean—is located around 4 kilometers outside of Ponta Delgada, São Miguel’s largest municipality. The hotel itself is intimate and private, being a family-owned business.
Along with being independently owned, this hotel has also meshed with the Ponta Delgada community. They use fresh products from the area and cooperate with members of the local residents on several events such as yoga and pilates. The Azores is also local when it comes to food. On the islands, they use fruits and vegetables native to the land. Whether this be in the form of pineapple carpaccio, marmalades made with freshly-picked fruit, or even a hearty “cozido de Furnas”, the Azores will not disappoint when it comes to getting a taste of delicious and local food.
However, it is not just the food that takes advantage of local sourcing. Being composed of materials such as volcanic rock and local wood, Senhora da Rosa Hotel is composed of provincially sourced materials.
Speaking of volcanic material, there are several volcanoes located on the island of Sao Miguel. According to NASA, there are 3 active volcanoes on the island. While active, all three of these volcanoes remain dormant. The largest volcano on the island is named Fogo. The island offers day volcano tours in which guests are shuttled around in buggies to all of the most famous volcano sites in the area.
Similarly to Hawaii, a lot of the culture on the Azores islands is determined by the volcanic activity on the island. For instance, there are several hot springs spread throughout the islands that are a result of volcanic activity. Furnas is one zone in the Azores that has been gaining attention as a tourist destination. Furnas is a municipality on the eastern side of Sao Miguel. One thing that this municipality is well known for is its botanical garden, otherwise known as Parque Terra Nostra. There, you have the opportunity to see stunning and unique nature unlike anywhere else. Along with impressive views of nature, thermal pools can also be found in Furnas.
One of the most interesting bits of Furnas is the food. That’s right, the food is one of the highlights of the area. There is something called Cozido de Furnas, which is a dish similar to Cozido a Portuguesa, a delicacy in Portugal. However, this dish from Furnas is actually cooked underground, with heat from volcanic activity.
Another thing that the Azores have to offer is TEA. Yes, the Azores Islands are one of the only places you can find tea plantations in Europe. It is home to the Gorreana tea factory + plantation. Gorreana is the oldest tea plantation in Europe and produces several teas that range from black tea to green tea. This tea factory–founded in 1883– remains a family business. This tea has been internationally recognized as a quality tea and is planted hundreds of kilometers away from industrial pollution.
Whether you want to scale a waterfall, see some whales, visit a volcano, or catch a wave, Senhora da Rosa Hotel is located perfectly for these excursions. Being located 4km from the city centre of Ponta Delgada, Senhora da Rosa is the perfect location for experiencing the best that the Azores has to offer while still feeling luxurious. One-day excursions can be made from the hotel to any of these fun activities. Which one would you like to try?
All in all, if you would like to experience a place that rivals Hawaii with its good looks and experiences, look no further! Azores is cheaper and less crowded than Hawaii. In our opinion, it is one of the most underrated destinations for travellers seeking to experience a tropical holiday.