One of the three Portuguese islands that comprise The Triangle is Pico Island in the Azores. The other two islands that make up The Triangle are Faial and So Jorge. They are a part of a bigger group of nine volcanic islands that are situated in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the United States of America. I just returned from a trip in which I spent two weeks exploring five of the nine islands, and I have to say that my favorite was Pico.
Pico Island Azores: What to See
The Azores are a place where nature takes center stage. The natural beauty of the Pico Island Azores is second only to that of Iceland among the places I’ve been to all over the world. The lush, rolling green hills and dramatic cliffs with the ocean splashing over the rocks below are some of the memories that stand out to me the most.
On Pico sits the summit of Ponta de Pico, which is the highest point in all of Portugal. The summit of the mountain has an elevation of 2350 meters, which is equivalent to 7770 feet. This hike is one of the most well-known things to do on Pico, despite the fact that I did not attempt to conquer it myself. For the ascent, it is strongly suggested that you work with a guide.
Claudia, from Epico Tours, was an absolutely incredible host for me throughout my time on Pico. She was born and raised on the island, so not only does she know the island through and out, but it also appears as if she is familiar with everyone that lives there. When you are making plans for your trip, I strongly suggest that you get in touch with her. Her organization offers a wide variety of services, including those of mountain guides and customized trips, such as the one that she planned for me.
Pico Island Azores: What to Do
The Azores have been ranked as one of the top 10 spots in the world to see whales in the wild setting in which they are naturally found. Pico is often regarded as the greatest island for whale viewing among the nine that make up the Azores. Whaling was a significant part of the economy of the Azores until it was outlawed in 1984. As a result of the restriction, a large number of reputable whale watching businesses have emerged, allowing us to witness whales traveling over the Atlantic Ocean without jeopardizing our safety.
I signed up for one of Espaco Talassa’s daily trips and went with them. Before getting dressed and boarding the boat, our guide gave us a comprehensive rundown of what we may potentially see as well as what we could anticipate seeing during the day. When the firm goes out to look for whales, they have a success rate of 98%, according to what we found out.
Due of the unfavorable weather circumstances, I didn’t have high hopes of seeing much. As the day progressed, I had a growing sense that we were going to be one of the 2% of people who do not have the opportunity to view any whales. We were fortunate enough to see a pod of dolphins, which was exciting, but we didn’t see any whales throughout our cruise. This was mostly due to the dense fog that we were traveling in.
The skipper then abruptly saw something in the distance that the rest of us weren’t able to figure out. He steered the boat in the direction of a wall of fog that was resting on top of seas that were a dark blue-gray color. When I believed we had lost our chance to see it, a massive whale suddenly materialized in the vicinity. Then there was another. Then there were two more. We were quickly besieged on all sides. Even though the whales don’t surface for very long before plunging back below, the skipper was still able to skilfully steer the boat to the perfect spot to wait for them to surface again.
We remained there for close to an hour as we watched the whales descend into the water, surface briefly, and then dive again. At one point, they came within such close proximity to the boat that it seemed as if, if you bent over, you would be able to touch them as they went by. It is highly recommended that you schedule your own trip with Espaco Talassa due to the fact that I found them to be well organized, competent, and most importantly, focused on ecotourism.
In addition, I went on a tour of Artesanato, which is the regional scrimshaw museum, as well as a sales store. The island’s history of whaling produced scrimshaw as an unwanted byproduct that was left behind. In the craft of scrimshaw, elaborate motifs and sculptures are carved into whalebone using a specialized tool. Learning about the history of the art as well as the process that goes into creating it was very interesting.
Pico Island Azores: Where to Stay
The Aldeia da Fonte Nature Hotel is a stunning establishment that can be found at Lajes de Pico, which is located on the southernmost tip of the island. It is plain to see that a lot of time and effort has been invested into the hotel because of the meticulous attention to detail. The land features a total of forty rooms spread across six stone houses that make up the property.
The hotel has several different amenities, and one of them is a pool that looks out over the ocean.
After a long day of seeing the island’s attractions, it will be nice to come back to a hotel that is not only spacious, but also spotless and comfy.
Pico Island Azores: Where to Eat
Cella Bar is the most aesthetically pleasing of all the restaurants on the island. If you want to have a memorable date night or want to make a good impression on someone, you should head here.
Cella Bar is outstanding not only for its visual appeal but also for the quality of its cuisine. One of the house delicacies, the roasted octopus, was suggested to me as one of my meal options. Not only was it excellent, but it also made for an attractive photograph:
I was really fortunate to be in Pico at one of their numerous summer festivities during my trip there. This event is referred to as Sentir o Pico Festival. We had a variety of local specialties, including blood sausage, which was a first for me but I really loved it. This variation has a very crispy outside, and just before you eat it, you give it a little squeeze with some fresh orange juice.
Tasca do Joo was the restaurant where I had the most enjoyable time when I was eating. The proprietor, Joo, has a personality that is bigger than life. Instead of each of us choosing a separate meal, he proposed that we get a variety of small dishes from the kitchen. One of my other favorite ways to consume food is in this manner. In addition to that, he gave us an impromptu display of culinary skills in the kitchen. You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to see what he has newly prepared on any given day, so make it a point to stop by.
Petisca is another another well-liked dish on the island. The grilled limpets at this restaurant were the finest I tasted throughout my whole trip. If you’ve never seen a limpet before, you could mistake it for a clam because of its appearance, but it’s really more closely related to snails. They are cooked to perfection with butter and garlic and served to customers at Petisca; I could have finished the whole dish by myself.
The Azores, and in especially the island of Pico, is one of the most magnificent locations I’ve ever had the opportunity to visit. Have you been there before, or is it somewhere you want to go someday? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below!
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Get in touch with Claudia at Pico Tours to organize your very own bespoke excursion or to book the services of a mountain guide.
On its website, the Aldeia da Fonte allows guests to make reservations for their rooms directly. There are exclusive deals and discounts that are just accessible via the website, and you won’t find them on other booking sites.
Only SATA, which is the national carrier of South Africa, operates flights between the islands. As soon as you can, look into whether or not there are any discounted prices available.
Photographer and resident of the island Pedro Silva has won several awards for his work. Explore this site for other samples of his work.