The Azores happened by fluke. I really didn’t plan this one. I was trying to visit Cape Verde Islands and it just made sense (and was cheaper on Ryanair loyal) to visit The Azores on route. So here I was! The Azores was a bonusball, extra trip and yet I still had three days here which was enough time to see the capital city, Ponta Delgada, enjoy a pub crawl, go to the beach at São Roque and do a thrilling quad tour in the countryside and mountains to Sete Cidades. I was based at Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island.
I was staying at the Azor Azul Hostel in Ponta Delgada, which is the capital city of The Azores.
I teamed up with AC Adventures to do a quad tour of the east side of Sao Miguel Island, mainly focusing on a place known as Sete Cidades. Their office is easy to find – it’s by the harbour in Ponta Delgada. I booked on the Wednesday morning for the tour on the Thursday afternoon.
It was a half day quad tour, and lasted around 4.5 hours. We met at 13.30 at the tour offices by the coast. A bus took myself and four other tourists out to a depot location on the edge of the city.
I was in a red Honda quad four by four for one person. The others shared quads between two. The last time I had ridden on a similar quad was on a dune buggy in Saudi Arabia, exactly four years earlier.
The quads were easy to start and drive, with only three options -drive, neutral and reverse. No gears. All you needed was to be over 18 and have an international driving licence. The first 45 minutes was driving out of the capital city up tarmacked roads. There were four quads in a row. Our guide led the way, with me behind plus the other two quads behind.
The first actual stop we made was atop a hill. On the left was a car park. On the right was an interesting building. An abandoned hotel, the Monte Palace Hotel.
I grabbed a crappuccino and headed into this derelict empty hotel. It had inklings of my time backpacking in Chernobyl’s Pripyat city, or an abandoned cinema in Kyrgyzstan in glory days of whackpacking gone reluctantly by. I bring you the creeps of the abandoned Monte Palace Hotel, Eastern Sao Miguel Island, The Azores.
Then we admired the first of many viewpoints over the two large lakes here – Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul (Lake Green and Lake Blue). Views are stunning but dress up warm – it gets windy up there!
Another stop on the way down offers a great photo opportunity over the same two lakes.
Next we drive downhill on fairly well tarmacked roads down to the point where the two lakes meet. There’s a bridge between the two lakes. Here is calm, and we have time to chill out and admire.
We get back onto the quads for a drive through the “Seven Cities” (Sete Cidade). We stop lakeside at a chill out area. Here is a cool cafe called Green Love. I grab a cappuccino and a custard tart. I also make use of their Wi-Fi.
After this it’s time for an uphill ascent to the highest point on the tour. This is mostly on epic dirt roads, where focusing on the vehicle is important! It’s worth it for the views from the top, as you can see…
On the way back down there is another stop plus we see an old aquaduct, plus some cows.
After that it is back to base – all in all a very very enjoyable tour!! I recommend it!!
Here are the details for organising a Quad tour in The Azores:
+351 967 309 909
Headquarter: Caminho da Serra Gorda, Milhafres, Arrifes 9500 – 000 Ponta Delgada (ANC Energia)
City Office: Avenue João Bosco Mota Amaral, kiosk in front of hotel Marina
How to get to us?
(+351) 296 247 171 | (+351) 967 309 909
Here are some videos from my Quad tour in The Azores: