How to travel in San Miguel island without a car? On the first day, I realized that it would be difficult. However, I found the optimal solution that saved my visit.
The Yellow Bus Sightseeing goes from the city of Ponta Delgada every day except on Monday. There are two ring routes for one day. I already wrote earlier that you could buy a one-day pass for 18 euros, and a two-day pass for 22 euros. Every day the route changes, so in two days you can see most of the natural attractions of the island.
Of course, you need to understand that sightseeing in the Azores is mostly by walking. Do not forget to bring trekking shoes or at least comfortable ones, as you will have to be on foot all day long. Do not worry about the wild nature – there are no dangerous and poisonous animals on the island, so feel free to go on a trip!
The route starts in the center of Ponta Delgada; there are two stops where you can catch a bus. They depart every hour, which is very convenient.
First stop is Ribeira Grande, a small cozy town where we quickly walked and decided to have breakfast and gain strength for a long day.
The second stop is Salto do Cabrito. From the bus stop, you need to walk for 20 minutes to get to the waterfall. There is also a walking trail for 3 hours, but we were worried about not having time to see all the sights for that day. That is why we decided to be limited to only a waterfall.
The third stop is Caldeira Velha. Do not forget to take a swimsuit – it is a park with thermal springs. Entrance fee – 5 euros for a walk, and 8 euros if you want to swim in the thermal pools. The ticket is valid for two hours, and after that, you need to leave the park. On the territory, there are three pools, and each has varying temperatures – from warm to hot. Surprisingly, there are a lot of people here. We returned to the park twice. We hoped that during the rain there would be fewer tourists in the pools.
But we were wrong! Even during the rain, dozens of people enjoyed the warm water in the springs. Upon request, you will receive a key for the locker where you can leave your belongings, and then rest easy.
Fourth stop – Lagoa do Fogo
In Portuguese, the word “Lagoa” means the lake. Interestingly, Fogo means fire, although I would call this place “foggy one” – most often clouds gather over it and the fog thickens. I advise you not to get upset if you come and see nothing. Throughout the territory of the Azores, where the weather changes quickly, the fog can dispel within 15 minutes.
Located in the central part of the island is the lake. The bus stops here for 10 minutes; you can take a few photos and go farther, or you can stay and wait for the next flight in an hour. There are several hiking trails – one leads down to the lake, and the second one – upwards, where it offers a great view.
The last stop of the route is the observation deck Lagoa do Fogo. The view is almost the same, only from a higher height. On this stop, the first-day route ends. The bus takes you to the Ponta Delgada city, where the itinerary started in the morning.
The route starts at the same point in the center of Ponta Delgada but then changes its direction.
First stop is Lagoa das Empadadas. There are two lakes along the trekking route. Honestly, they did not impress me much. But a walk through the forest that leads to the lake was spectacular. I even was jealous of the people who rode the quad bikes there; it is a very convenient way to travel the area.
The second stop is Lagoa do Canario. It was funny because when we first came to this stop, we did not know where to go and spent an hour at the not so beautiful lake. As it turned out, we needed to continue our journey in a completely different direction. Half an hour on foot and here we come to the most famous place on the island!
Here you can see three lakes – Lagoa Verde, Azul, and Santiago. Interestingly, the water is of different colors – green and blue. We spent more than three hours there, and it was impossible to stop staring at such beauty!
The last stops are Vila das Sete Cidades and the observation deck. At these stops, you can go out if you want to walk around the city and have dinner. We were impressed with the intense day and were so tired that we decided to go home. Our host lives in the suburb of Ponta Delgada; we had to spend another hour to get to the place where we were staying.
So in just two days, we saw the main attractions of the island of San Miguel, considering that public transportation was our only way of getting around; I think we did the maximum possible.
But that is not all! I will tell you about other exciting places and life on the island in the next article. See you!
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