New for September & October 2014 & for 2015! Swimming with Wild Dolphins Tours on Sao Miguel Island, Azores. Click here for further details.
Beyond The Whales & Dolphins…..
Extra activities on the island of Pico
Aside from spending time at sea with the whales and dolphins there is plenty to do and see in the stunning Azores.
Sea Kayaks and mountain bikes are available free of charge for those staying in the town hotel.
Walking around Lajes and Whaling Museum Easy hike (loop). You will walk past the former whale factory, visit the new whaling museum and visit the lookout tower of Queimada,( see if you can spot some whales!) thus making a loop above the village. Our team at the base can give you some advice about this hike that can take from 1 to 4 hours. You can also go and see the old whaling factory which is near the information centre
Climb Mount Pico Volcano
This is a difficult hike intended for good hikers, we recommend you to take our local mountain guide. See welcome letter for more info. It is an 8 hour ascent. Early in the morning, transfer by taxi to the trailhead for the ascent of the “Azores Roof”, 2351 meters, Portugal’s peak, where we will be waiting for the sun to rise, our feet in the warm fumaroles. From the distance, we will make out the islands of Sao Jorge, Graciosa and Faial. You will be driven to the departure point at 1200m, and from there begin the climb.
Bird Watching/ Sea Watching
Lajes and the southern coast of Pico are surely one of best spots in the Azores for bird watching at sea and on land as well. We can name the following species as the most commonly watched: Cory´s Shearwater, Roseate Tern, Common Greenshank, Great Shearwater, Common Tern. The least commonly watched at sea: Laughing Gul, Pomarine Jaeger, Bulwer´s Petrel, Manx Shearwater. And the least commonly watched on land: Short-billed Dowitcher, Pied-billed Grebe, Semipalmated Sandpip, Red Knot.
We can also organize a trip directed towards this type of observation.
Caminho dos Burros – donkey trail and Mountain villages walk
Easy hike (slope or flat ground). About 3 hours. Our team can deliver a map.
Transfer by taxi (to be booked on the spot) to the ridges where we will drive to the volcanic caldeirase will continue our way to the “Caminhos dos Burros” or donkey trail, the first communication route that the Portuguese conquistadors opened once they arrived on the island and that we rediscovered in 1993. The path taking us on different levels of vegetation will bring us thru the traditional mountain villages and back to the hotel. The vegetation is endemic: a unique example in the Azores!
Criação Velha – UNESCO World Heritage Vineyards ad Wine Tasting
The famous vineyards are 3 hours easy excursion. One extraordinary voyage to the 18 and 19th century Pico wine grower, who piled up small basalt rocks to build the “Currais”, which UNESCO classified as World Heritage. In the Azores archipelago, Pico Island’s most famous commodity is wine. But the island’s vineyards are hardly ordinary. On this volcanic isle, a maze of black lava stone walls shields the grapes from salt and wine. The five-mile Vinhas da Criacao Velha trail slices through this landscape where waves tumble against coastal jagged rocks and natural pools, while small sandy beaches break up the desolate volcanic scape. The grapes responsible for Pico’s notable aperitif wine, Verdelho, grow along the latter part of the trail providing views of a seemingly endless expanse of vineyards that are a patchwork of lava stone walls. This landscape,
The Wine and the Vine
The Wine Museum has been installed in a dependence of an old Carmelite Convent. If the collections are relatively poor, the building is strikingly surrounded by a pomegranate grove. Pico is closely linked with the wine history and local memory is still quite alive, especially during vintage period, when the still distils the “Bagaço”!
Cave “Gruta De Torres”
With its 5150 meters length, it’s the largest volcanic cavity of Europe. This lava tunnel is also remarkable by the great ceiling height, in certain places more than 15 meters high. Noteworthy also the architecture of the reception facilities: the human intervention was minimized, to let nature express itself freely. Before the visit, a very interesting briefing is presented.
On the north coast of Pico, specifically in Santo Amaro, is the base of the ‘Cowfish Diving
Center’. Relaxed but professional they offer an experienced diver as well as a beginner, the discovery of astonishing volcanic underwater landscapes. In the village you can visit the traditional boat construction museum. However, don’t forget your diving qualification papers: they are essential!
Situated about 50 Meters away from Espaço Talassa, next to the ‘Whale Come ao Pico’ Hotel, this exceptional museum retraces more than a century of the daily life of the whalers and shows the methods of the traditional Azorean hunt. This and the new whaling museum near the INFORMATION centre can be quite distressing as they document the historical culture of whaling ( hunting whales for meat and other use) Its remarkable architecture is designed by Paulo Gouveia. There is also a new museum in the town of Lajes which is the old whaling factory. The information centre is in this area too.
Initiation to rock climbing on our specially prepared basalt rocks around Lajes or river descends. About 30 euro per person for a well spent afternoon.
Car or Taxi trip around the Island of Pico
By taxi (cheap on Pico) or with a car that you can rent on the spot (about 45 euros – sliding scale of charges according to the number of days). In low season you can book directly on the spot.