Furnas Valley, Tea Plantation, Gardens and Mineral Swim with Lunch
Beverage - Pineapple Juice & Wine
Lunch - Local Favorites
Tour Participation Requirements
The Azores began showing up in atlases in the 1300s, but were a presence in Greek, Irish, Norse, Arab, and Iberian seafaring myths long before that. Even in today's fully discovered world, there's still something mythic about these tiny volcanic isles orphaned in the middle of the vast Atlantic.
That could have something to do with their impossibly green, blue, and primordial landscape. And that the earth here is still piping hot in so many spots – as if it's fresh from the oven and just cooling down on the windowsill of the sea.
Your survey of this natural wonderland begins with a drive to the north coast, calling at the Santa Iria overlook for jaw-dropping views of the coastline far below. After a calming tour and tasting at the tea plantation, you'll be back in the hills, climbing to the Furnas Valley overlook. Where again your jaw will drop, and your digicam will scramble to keep up.
At steamy Furnas Lake, you'll watch as your geothermally cooked lunch is raised up from its in-ground oven. Inside the pot, layers of pork, beef, chicken, chorizo, kale, cabbage, carrot, yam, and potato have been cooking slowly for hours, creating their own delicious juices. You'll soon savor the result at the Terra Nostra Hotel.
The nearby botanic garden is perfect for after-lunch wandering, with the invitation to soak awhile in its mineral-rich thermal pool – a soothing way to recharge your batteries.
Head back toward Ponta Delgada via the south coast road with a stop at Vila Franca – the island's capital city till 1522, when a major earthquake pretty much leveled it.
Like we said, mythic goings-on.
Most teas are born equal
Azores tea plantations grow large fields of one bush: Camellia sinensis (Latin for Chinese). Here's the kicker: black and green teas both come from that same plant. One undergoes a fermentation process, the other is steamed. And familiar tea grades are simply based on which leaves are used: Orange pekoe comes from the bud and first shoot; pekoe, from the second leaves. Or try the Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. Lord knows where that comes from.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.