We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Noank, Connecticut
Level Contributor
20 posts
69 reviews
Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

We just returned from the 7-night BOS to TER vacation advertised on TA and sponsored by AzoresGetaway, and for all of you who may be wondering whether this deal is too good to be true, my answer is it's unbelievable, but true. Our expectations were exceeded in almost every way, and there are no hidden fees, charges, or other surprises. You pay for any optional tours you decide to take, car rental if you choose, and meals other than breakfast--which are incredibly cheap compared to US--but this is an amazing deal. Here are my notes to give you an idea of what to expect.

Flights: After reading many bad reviews of SATA, we had low expectations, but the flights were fine. They left and arrived on time, personnel were welcoming and courteous, planes were clean. It's economy, so the seats are confining, but that's no different than on US lines. There's no entertainment, so take reading material. They do serve a full hot meal which wasn't bad, with complimentary beer and wine. There were plenty of empty seats on both flights, so people were able to spread out if they wanted. The one problem is that the airport in TER is not large enough to accommodate a large plane, so it parks a good distance from the terminal and passengers are bused in. That means no jetway and a rather steep climb up or down steps to enter and exit the aircraft, which could be difficult for anyone with mobility issues (or a heavy carryon). Transfers between the airport and hotel are included and efficient. An agent will greet you outside Customs, check off your name, and direct you to the bus.

Hotel: We could not have been happier with Hotel do Caracol, which was the default hotel on our trip. When we arrived I asked for and was granted a sea-view room at no additional charge. See my review under hotels for details, but know that we were amazed every day that this hotel was part of such an inexpensive deal. One negative is that because the flight arrives so early and most of the hotel guests are leaving on the 12:30 bus, you're left with 6 or so hours to fill before getting into your room (for that nap you want so badly). The hotel will store luggage and you can have breakfast in the buffet (7 euros since the first day is not included in the room rate), but you may want to walk into town for a look around. It's a good idea to have some good walking shoes in easy reach for this purpose.

Weather: We, being weather junkies, had been checking the forecasts for a while before we left and expected lots of rain. It was raining when we arrived (though it cleared in the afternoon) and it rained most of our last day, but in between we had a mix of sun and clouds every day with no rain. A couple of days were warm enough for shorts, but mostly we wore jeans and long or short sleeved shirts. The temperature doesn't drop much at night, so evenings were still fairly warm. Part of the weather difference depends on where you are on the island: one day it was 22 degrees at sea level, but when we got to the top of a mountain, it was 14 degrees with a strong wind.

Dress: The island is very casual, with both locals and visitors in jeans or khakis at most restaurants. The only time we saw anyone dressed up was on Saturday night at the Terceira Mar Hotel where we stopped for a drink on our way back from dinner and found live music and dancing. A bonus for us! Be sure to take a rain jacket and layers. Also, many of the streets and sidewalks in Angra and other villages are cobblestone, which get very slippery when wet. Pack comfortable shoes with grippy soles and leave the heels at home.

Activities: We booked one tour, a full day jeep tour with CommunicAir, through AG prior to the trip. We highly recommend this, and suggest you do it early in your stay, since it gives you a full orientation of the island and information that will serve you the rest of your trip. We were with one other couple and our guide, Sophia, who was an incredible fountain of knowledge. A biologist, she shared her expertise in and love for the island's flora, peoples, and history. We covered lots of ground, including many of the must-see sights as well as hidden places not on the tourist trail, but never felt hurried. We had an extensive lunch in one of the villages, with samples of various local dishes and local wines. The tour, billed as 8 hours, actually lasted ten, since we didn't get back to the hotel until 7:30, tired but very happy. The next day we rented a Smart car and spent three days exploring on our own. It was just the right amount of time to see everything in a relaxed way. The Smart car was good for navigating the narrow roads on the island. Locals drive pretty fast for those roads, especially in towns, but they are very courteous to pedestrians. We did have to give way to goats and cows being herded from pasture to pasture. We did at least one of the public hikes each day, the best one being Baias da Agualva, which gives you several different ecosystems as well as magnificent views in one hike. Be warned: the ratings on the Azores Trails websites, where you can see information about all the public hikes, may be different from yours. They rate this hike easy, but it has long, steep and slippery trails as well as some rock scrambles, which are not easy If you have knee problems. For me, the best thing about hiking in the Azores is that there are no snakes, no ticks, no poison ivy, and very few insects--a perfect environment! We intended to use our last day for shopping in Angra, but discovered that the stores were closed for a holiday. Note also that stores close from 1:00 on Saturday until 10:00 Monday morning--good for family life, but not so much for tourists.

Food: I will post reviews of the restaurants we visited in the restaurant section. Overall, the food on the island is very consistent; you will not find much variety among the Portugese places, and there are few ethnic restaurants. Beef, pork, and fish are the staples. The beef is more likely to be pot roast than steak, and the fish is often fried--but always fresh. Accompaniments are almost always boiled potatoes and rice with the meat, and boiled potatoes and salad with the fish. One time I had broccoli and steamed carrots with my fish, but that was unusual. If you love vegetables, you will probably tire of the food by the end of the week. The good news is that food and drink are incredibly inexpensive. We never hit 40 euros for dinner for two with wine, and our least costly dinner was 17 euros for two full meals and a liter of wine.

Terceira is a beautiful, welcoming island, relaxed but with enough adventure to keep you busy for a week. It's a place we would be happy to return to, and this trip was unbelievable in terms of value. If it comes across your inbox, don't hesitate. You won't find a better deal!

Queijo Vaquinha
Gift & Speciality Shops
Adega Simas
Gift & Speciality Shops
46 replies to this topic
Ohio
Level Contributor
464 posts
203 reviews
1. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Thanks rarin2go....we also purchased this package from Azores Getaways and this is just the kind of information that we needed. Our trip is the end of April/ beginning of May for for a slightly increased price, but still what we consider a good value. We have never bought a package such as this before as I usually plan our trips and we make our own reservations for airfare and accommodations. We are also scheduled to stay at Hotel do Caracol.

We usually rent a car ...but, this time, we plan to only rent a car for part of the time on Terceira after exploring Angra so that we can explore the rest of the island. Where and how did you rent your smart car?

Also...how close to your departure date did you receive your airfare tickets? Our vouchers say that "our flight tickets will be issued up to one month before the departure date"! We are not quite sure from the way this is stated, just when we get our flight tickets.?

We are also delighted to hear that you received a meal on SATA? Was this meal served on both the incoming and outgoing flights?

Thanks much for any help on these questions.

Dearborn, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Mont Tremblant
Level Contributor
4,520 posts
83 reviews
2. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Yes, Azores Airlines (formerly SATA International) does serve meals on the Boston-Azores and Toronto-Azores flights in both direction. They also serve complimentary beer and wine.

Basically, they are pretty much like any airline these days.

Ohio
Level Contributor
464 posts
203 reviews
3. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Thanks so much for this information. We were not expecting any meals.

Noank, Connecticut
Level Contributor
20 posts
69 reviews
4. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Sinaigirl--SATA served meals both ways, but we did not take the outbound meal. They served about an hour into the flight, which made it about 11:30 EST. We had eaten dinner at the airport and were more interested in trying to sleep for a couple hours than in eating.

We rented the car from Aguiatur. They have a desk at the Caracol and a kiosk on the road from the hotel to town where they keep the cars. They delivered the car to us at the hotel and we returned it to the kiosk. The price was 90 euros for 3 days. I suggest you reserve on your first day, as they were low on cars when we picked ours up.

As for the tickets, I booked the trip on June 16 and about a week later I sent an email asking when I should expect the plane tickets. They sent the etickets the next day. BTW, once you get your tickets and have a reservation number, you can go online and select your seats. You can check in online, but you can't get a boarding pass until you get to the airport.

Hope this helps. I'm sure you'll love the trip!

Ohio
Level Contributor
464 posts
203 reviews
5. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Thank you very much rarin2go....your response is most appreciated. Your trip was about 3 months out when you asked about your tickets...ours will be 6 mo out. I think that I will ask Azores Getaway too about the air tickets...but, not sure that they will issue them this far ahead.

We are also hikers and plan to try several ..but glad to know that the hikes may not be totally as listed.

Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
40 posts
211 reviews
6. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

How was the cell service on the island? We are travelling without our children at the end of this month and are somewhat worried about it. Thanks!

3 posts
1 review
7. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Great news! We booked the same deal in December. Paid a bit more for the 3 islands but still think we got a great price. Your info. will come in handy. Thanks!

Noank, Connecticut
Level Contributor
20 posts
69 reviews
8. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Can't say about the cell service since we did not sign up for it. We use AT&T and they did not show coverage of the island on their international package. The Internet service at our hotel was great and free, so email was not a problem.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
59 posts
5 reviews
9. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Muito Obrigado for all the info! It is good to know that the stores close. it is really a good thing and we will survive!!!! I leave in two weeks, hope you get your restaurant report up and running!

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
48 posts
330 reviews
10. Re: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers

Thank you so much!!! We are going in February, staying at the same hotel and are so excited! So happy to hear all the rave reviews! I can't wait. Your details are incredible. I will plan our hikes/bike riding for the weekend and the town stuff for the other days. That information there is so valuable! Kudos to you!

Reply to: Just back from AzoresGetaway $499 trip with some answers
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Terceira