This week has been a super fun week for us here at Fun Activities. We hosted a very special group of 24 people from the island of Malta who trusted us to plan a whole week of adventure and exploring with us. We really had all hands on deck to organise this trip and from the positive vibes and feedback we got, it was a great success!
Day 1 – Hiking in Ribeira Funda – Maia + Tea Factory + Salto do Cabrito
For the first day, we knew we wanted to impress our new guests with the beauty of the island, so we planned a moderate 3 hour hike in the morning in the area of Maia. Here, the Maltese got a taste of what Sao Miguel has to offer; walking along green hilly terrain, coming across old water mills and waterfalls, reaching the sea side with its black sandy beach and then continuing on along the coastline. We ended this challenge with a well deserved picnic lunch prepared for them to enjoy by the sea and relax in the sun.
Later, we paid a visit to the Cha Gorreana tea factory and plantation where we shared our heritage with them and after having a refreshing green iced tea it was time to go home.
However, their excitement from the days’ events rubbed off on all of us; so we decided to surprise the group with a spontaneous visit to Salto do Cabrito. As soon as we arrived, everyone quickly made a bee line to the magnificent waterfall, where within minutes, everyone was splashing about in its cool spring water, freshening up from the days’ heat. Their joy was well worth the detour back to the hotel, and everyone was buzzing with excitement after an amazing day and looking forward to what the next day had in store for them!
Day 2 – Swimming with Dolphins + Canyoning + Furnas
One of our guides joined the Maltese group in the morning for their first activity of the day; swimming with dolphins, which we organised through another company that offers this memorable experience.
We picked them up later after lunch, and while everyone took a power nap, we drove to the next event; Canyoning in Ribeira dos Caldeiroes. For most, it was their 1st time Canyoning, so we did a beginners level trip for everyone in the group to enjoy. There were a great deal of laughs to be had while sliding down the river, squeals of delight abseiling alongside the waterfalls and plenty of shouts of encouragement between us at some of the higher jumps. A few had their reservations due to fear of heights, so for those who prefer more solid ground, we have other routes to take to continue with the rest of the group.Our clients really made me proud that day, as I know some of them had their worries about this event, and really pushed their fears aside and stepped out of their comfort zone. Everyone was thrilled with their achievement that day, completing their very first canyoning expedition in one of the most amazing locations on the island.
Afterwards we headed to Furnas for a quick visit to Caldeira da Lagoa das Furnas. Here we saw just where and how our upcoming dinner of Cozido had been prepared and was now ready to be taken out of the ground for us to devour.
We were all tired from the days events and it was getting late by the time we were finished with dinner. However, Maltese people, we’ve discovered, are always up for more! So we went on a post dinner walk to Poca da Silvina. We sat around the hotspring to dip our feet in the 40 degree water under the night sky. We then walked to the area of Cha da Caldeiras to try out all the different flavours of the drinking water fountains. This was a day full of fun and adventure and everyone was tired but happy heading home for a good nights rest.
Day 3 – Hiking in Lagoa do Fogo
Ahead of us today we planned a full day hike, of approximately 20km, taking a beautiful route starting at Lagoa do Fogo and continuing down onto the trail of Quatro Fabricas de Luz and ending with a splash in the sea at Aqua d’Alto. We had the chance to stop for some beautiful shots of Lombadas on the way to the start of the hike too. We’ve been very lucky with the weather this week and today we started off the hike with a cloudy sky which was ideal considering that the beginning of the hike is uphill to the top of the mountain of Lagoa do Fogo. Reaching the top, suddenly the clouds parted, and we were blessed with 360 degrees of clear views of the whole island. The sea on one side with Villa Franca do Campo island taking centre stage, plush greenery that has overgrown this old volcano and the blue of the lake in the crater below us is very unique to this area, making this one of the most beautiful hikes on the island.
Sea gulls fly above us with a watchful eye, as we make our way through this protected area, to Levada, an irrigation channel that we follow through the forest to the end of the first part of this trail. We then continue on to the historic part of our trail; to the old electric factories that were among the first to produce renewable energy in Sao Miguel Island in the late 19th century.
Today we enjoyed the short walk through the woods, meeting the stream which led us to Cascata do Secreto waterfall and Poco dos 30 Reis where we joined the locals for a dive in the pools.
After this short break we set off with determination to finish the last part of the hike, ending the day with a well deserved fresh beer and swimming and snorkeling at the beautiful beach of Agua D’Alto.
Day 4 – Kayaking + Coasteering
Today we decided to split the group in two, that way everyone will enjoy each experience to the full, making the most of our time together and to help us guides give our clients our undivided attention, making sure everyone is safe while having fun. Scheduled for these adventure lovers was a kayaking trip to Villa Franca do Campo Island. This is a round trip of about 5km, with time to swim and relax on the beach inside and explore the island. Then paddling our way around to the back of the island to explore the inlet caves. The water was a bit choppy today, and with the current that’s always prominent in this area, we all had to use our full force to row ourselves across the channel, along the coastline and back to port.
After a good lunch to renew our energy, we headed off to Caloura to enjoy a couple of hours of Coasteering. There we traveresed over the rough volcanic terrain along the coastline, jumped into the natural pools and had some fun being spun around in the whirlpools before being spit out by the currents into the sea. We enjoyed exploring some small caves and swimming around the bays to climbing back up onto the black boulders to the end of an epic day.
Day 5 – Sete Cidades + Ferraria + Mosteiros
The final day upon us, we started later than usual to give our clients some free time to explore Ponta Delgada and purchase some local artefacts and delicacies to take home. Then off to Sete Cidades where we hiked to view the many small lakes in the area and through the forest, leaving the best for last; the view of the two lakes from Boca de Inferno. With clear skies and the sun shining brightly the colours of the green and blue lake where highlighted in all their glory.
Later we set off to Ferraria to experience the natural thermal hotspring right in the Atlantic Ocean. Its always a pleasant surprise when you hit the water for the the first time, expecting freezing waters and finding the opposite. While some of us relaxed our sore muscles in this natural wonder, others snorkeled out to see the abundance of marine life in the area. With great reluctance we left the area completely relaxed for our farewell dinner.
For our final hours together we organised a BBQ at the best location to watch the sunset on the island; Mosteiros. This was a very special event as we had a big surprise up our sleeve. An impromptu wedding reception! During our week with the Maltese we discovered that there was a newly wed couple, who sadly, due to the recent pandemic, weren’t able to celebrate their wedding as is custom. The couple was truly speechless and it was emotional for all of us to see their dream come true. We surprised the bride with a bouquet of flowers, they had their first dance surrounded by their friends who shared some loving words of advice for the future, the bride, being a professional singer, treated her husband, and us, with her beautiful voice singing out her wedding vows to her husband, we had cake, champagne and amazing food and drinks, with the backdrop of the sunset. It was a truly special night topped off with stargazing and a comet while we partied the night away!
Time flies when you’re having fun, and soon we all said our heartfelt goodbyes. It was a pleasure being in such great company all week, all positive vibes and enthusiasm. We hope to see some of these friendly faces again in the future, until then, we hope that this time in the Azores with us was an experience of a lifetime, and I’m sure that everyone went back home with some very special memories.