As the first international stop of our year long journey, Ponta Delgada, Portugal, on Sao Miguel island of the Azores, featured sweeping views of lush green hillsides. The Azores are Portuguese islands floating almost smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. To say that they are remote or off the beaten path would be an understatement. For example, on our 15 Day Transatlantic Cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida, it took 6 full sea days worth of sailing to reach the Azores. Ponta Delgada and the Azores is unlike any place we have ever been, and we have been a lot of places as you can see on our Destinations page.
4-Wheeler / Quad Half Day Guided Tour
We ended up booking a last minute 4-Wheeler / ATV Half Day Guided Tour with ANC Tours. The cost was 70€ each, and we could not have been happier with our excursion choice and experience.
We did not have this pre-booked. Rather, in typical Len and JJ fashion, we walked right off the pier at the port, looked at the big yellow ANC booths, and booked right there in person. They took a credit card and spoke English and several other languages very well.
Our friend Eva that we met on our cruise and did this same tour with, had done a ton of research on Trip Advisor. Two other Canadian gentleman from our same Norwegian Epic Cruise were doing this same exact tour for the 3rd time, and had also pre-booked through Trip Advisor. Clearly we had made a popular choice.
The main risk you always run when booking last minute is a tour being already sold out or fully booked. As it turns out, we were actually the very last two people added to the last available tour on that day, so we got very lucky. We recommend that you do as Eva and Eric did, and book ahead of time to save the hassle.
Compared to 50€ each for the same tour via van, and compared to $100+ on virtually any tour booked through Norwegian that included Sete Cidades, we were pleasantly surprised with the convenience and value. Plus, Quads or 4-Wheelers are a heck of a lot more fun, while still much safer than scooters or other more dangerous forms of motorcycles.
Lagoa de Sete Cidades
The main focal point of the tour was the hilltop view of the majestic “Lagoa de Sete Cidades” which loosely translated means Lake of the Seven Cities.
The coolest part of the excursion was literally getting to drive through a low-lying cloud. How many people can say they’ve driven a 4-Wheeler through the clouds of the Azores? We’re not sure, but Len and JJ are now among them, and can report first hand that the experience was heavenly. Except for when the rain came, and the wind blew, and the big bad wolf threatened to blow our 4-Wheelers off the road. Note to self, wear a jacket next time (which again, if you pre-book your excursion, your booking confirmation will recommend). But hey, that’s all part of the adventure and made the journey that much more memorable.
Perhaps the most comical part of the journey, that they surely don’t tell you about on Trip Advisor or in the brochure is that the first 20 minutes of the trip goes through a ranch or dairy farm, which provides very lively “smells” for most of the journey. In that vain, it truly was a tour full of unforgettable “sights and smells”.
Len and JJ’s Overall Rating:
We Would Definitely Go Back
Overall, Ponta Delgada and the Azores made for an unforgettable day complete with drive-thru clouds, green pastures, breathe taking views and breathe holding smells, all thanks to the cows and rolling hills! We highly recommend the ATV 4-Wheeler experience as well. It made for an above average Saturday, compared to sitting around in our backyard in Fort Worth, TX, swatting flies and watching the grass grow.
If you can visit in the summer, there are some lovely beaches around Ponta Delgada as well. And best of all, once you get there, Portugal as a whole is surprisingly affordable as compared to the rest of Europe.