My daughters and I booked Azorean Tours for our airport transfers, a full day tour and a half day... read more
My daughters and I booked Azorean Tours for our airport transfers, a full day tour and a half day... read more
I contacted Gary via email to arrange two 8 hour tours and RT airport transport from airport to... read more
Gary was punctual, accommodating, fun and a wealth of information.
We booked a full day tour and a half day tour and Gary shuttled us from the airport to our hotels. On the days that we were on our own he made great suggestions for beaches, sites and restaurants. I would highly recommend Azorean Tours.
Gary was waiting for us as we got off the ship and our wonderful day in Ponta Delgada began! We were a private party of 6 with 2 10 year old's and everyone loved the day with Gary. From views, craters, tea plantation, and countryside the day was perfect. Gary is very knowledgeable on the history and the pace of the day was just right. I would highly recommend his company if you are looking to stay away from the large ship excursions.
We originally booked two half day tours and added a third just so we could fit everything in. Sao Miguel is an unbelievable island. Gary really knows everything about his home; it's history, it's politics and the best places to go for lunch no matter where we were. He and everyone who did our airport transfers were on time, very friendly, informative and above all , friendly and fun. We got to know Sao Miguel so well in a week we want to move there. Hat's off to you Gary! Fantastic job!
We thought our fantastic tours of Madeira last year would be hard to match; but these guys managed it.
We loved Tour 1 so much we booked Tour 2 for a few days later. We had the same excellent driver Marco, who really knows and loves his island. Clearly he is respected by other guides and restauranteurs etc and he was extremely knowledgeable - for example on the visit to the tea factory where he knew everything about the entire process and history.
He took us to many beautiful and amazing places and was always courteous, punctual and never rushed. (We saw other other tours speeding by us, missing the secret viewspots and picture points that Marco knew). This company doesn't run or work to deadlines or rigid schedules - they run to a timeline that the customer wants. And it's private - no-one else in the car/suv.
Booking online with the boss Gary was simple and efficient and all in all
This was a cruise ship stop. We were interested in Sete Cidades Crater Lakes (Twin Lakes) approximately 3 1/2 to 4 hours for about 35,00 euros per person. We read about the weather being unpredictable. We explained to Gary we'd want to stay on the ship if it was raining (4 of us). Gary was booked that day (4000 passengers on board) but offered Carlos. We arranged, if Carlos didn't have another booking before the ship arrived and it wasn't raining, he'd be at the dock with our name. No commitment on either side (we'd get a driver at the dock if he wasn't there). As it turned out, the weather was fine, we were off the ship early, Gary stood with his sign, along with another couple he'd found. Perfect start to a perfect day! Carlos is college educated, speaks English well, is very pleasant, he took us to where we agreed and added in his favorite spot along the way. Beautiful! The tour stopped at a cute village where we found a free ATM (to pay Carlos). None of us were shoppers and there was no pressure to "wander around or shop". We took this tour October 2016 and I promised to write a review (unsolicited). Took me a while since we've been traveling nonstop since retirement 2 years ago. Highly recommend you ask for Carlos.
Beware: quite friendly but tread lightly.
The day started like a heavy fog and no wind but the Azorean tour pick up time was still at 9am.
We opted for the Azorean tour package number 1 on Gary's website for the Azorean tour but our tour guide was Carlos.
Upon pickup, first thing Carlos had done was to friendly and candidly welcome us into his vehicle. While it took about five minutes of small talk, again quite friendly, about how we will love the tour, we enjoyed the thought of enjoying the tour despite the weather being bad.
Once on the highway, Carlos had explained that he had live cameras on all of the locations of the tour and had seen it before coming to pick us up that the fog is impeding the view and we won't see much. I had asked, "So what is the plan then Carlos?" He replied, "We will go see to somewhere else first and see if the fog goes away." My thoughts were he was going to show us a different route of the tour but he ended up taking us to a pineapple plantation. After being shown another 5 minute DVD video about how their pineapples were made, we had a mediocre roundabout of the pineapple plantation and it concluded with a pitch of overpriced pineapple product sales (i.e. Pineapple liqueur, jam, soap, etc.).
Upon entering Carlos vehicle, I immediately realized that we were being "roped" around to things we didn't sign up for; we wanted a tour of the island and it's beautiful lakes, not watching pineapple DVDs and how it is made.
So, I had asked Carlos, "Would there be any compensation if they fog doesn't clear and we cannot see anything, especially if the live cameras already shows fog." He responded, "The amount of kilometers will not change, I will still have to drive you for to the lakes even if it's foggy or not," I replied, "But I thought you had said the live cameras showed it is still foggy?" Carlos had repeated, "The kilometers won't change, but I can show you a different tour" then offered the Furna tour (Azorean tour number 4). Again, I signed up for a specific tour (Azorean tour number 1) and did not research nor want this 'number 4 tour.'
LONG STORY SHORT, we were charged 40€ for sitting in a car for 25 minutes and watch a 5 minute DVD video on how pineapples were made. As you can imagine the frustration of being roped into a money hungry 'tour' we did not even want; if we wanted to watch a DVD, we would have just googled a documentary on pineapples. Thank you Azorean tour.
Good afternoon Mrs. Lindsey,
Sorry for my delayed response, but I wanted to tell Carlos and my version of the story:
This is what Carlos wrote to Me, and explained Me by phone call before, and threw email after your review on Tripadvisor.
" Dear Sir;
Regarding on what you have posted in Tripadvisor, there is more to be added to the story.
Since the first moment that I met you both at the hotel, I suggested to cancel the tour because of the heavy fog and dark clouds and that the weather condition wouldn't be recommended to the lakes view on Tour 1, as I've checked minutes before on Spotazores.com (live webcams around the most visited places in the island). I've even showed you on how the fog was so close to the city at the end of the main avenue. You answer was that you're going to leave the island on the next day and only had the present day to do the tour and you wanted to do it anyway. At this point, the responsability of this decision becames entirelly yours regardless the weather conditions. That said, I suggested to drive towards the Sete Cidades lakes (green and blue lakes) and so we did it until we reach the turning point back to the city because the fog and clouds were getting heavier and wasn't not safe to you and to me to drive on those conditions. On a effort to try to see if the weather become a little bit better, I drove you to the pineapple plantation (included on Tour #1) hoping the weather would become better.
After the pineapple plantantion I've said that we'll be heading to Ribeira Grande city (at the north side of the island and also included on Tour #1) and there we'll check if the weather would be good to go up to the Lagoa do Fogo, and when we're on the highway when you asked about the compensation and I keep my answer; "With or without foggy, kilometers are on the road". Next I suggested Tour 4 (Furnas lake and village) because the weather there was clear and your answer was; "Take us back to the hotel" and that's what I did and I charged you 40 euros (the equivalent of 2 hours taxi service according the price list of the Azorean Taxi Association). And that price Sir, belive me, it's not money hungry! It's the fair price for 1 hour and 50 minutes (not 25 minutes as you wrote) of my service provided to both of you!
Be well, do well... farewell.
Carlos AF Simões "
So in that conclusion I or specialy Carlos:
Is not and We never can be responsible for the weather you got that day, that was foggy. We or nobody on earth can control weather and neither have power to change it, but yes have the the possibility to recomend options: to cancel or change to another place on the island or even go to places on my Tour # 1 that you booked first and see what would of happin in the next hours.
From what I talked with him and what he wrote on this email that I will put on Tripadvisor for my response. He warned you before leaving the Hotel, that the weather was not good and recomended to cancel the Tour, but your reponse was " that you're going to leave the island on the next day and only had the present day to do the tour and you wanted to do it anyway ". So in this case like written you took the responsibilty to do the Tour and try to see as most as posible in that day, since unfortanlity it was your last day.
He drove you to one section of the island, but weather did not improve and the ansiety that your time was wasted and (his too) made you frustrated. So he went to the Pineapple Plantation, that is Yes, included on my Tour # 1. I understand your frustration to see the main things on my Tour # 1 were not at the moment posible, but please do not over say that the Pineapple plantation was a kind of Tourist trap. At the Pineapple Plantation that I visit named "3 Cruzes" you have a film for around 5 mins, but then you get to see the real pineapples in the green houses with a very nice guide from the pineapple Plantation. We have 3 places to visit on the island, at the moment, and the only one that does a guided Tour in the Pineapple Plantation is the "3 Cruzes". About things beeing expensive there, it is your opinion, and I respect it, but nobody presures people to buy there or even here on the island, and Pineapples take 2 years to grow here, so like anything, things have a cost and you are free to buy or not, they do not pressure and ask entrance fees there, but take the precious time to show how it is grown here.
From there Carlos drove you or better said, he tried to drive you to another section of the island, and tried to find a place with a clear view that is on my Tour #1 and then on the way, even recomended to change the Tour you initicialy booked (Tour #1 from my website) to my Tour #4, your answer was what was the compensation for not seeing things or time wasted.
You did not sent an email or called Me about this situation that day or even the next days or until now after my email, and neither told Carlos directly your frustration. But yes, since it is easier and be indirect with Me and with my employees, write on Tripadvisor your Totaly frustration of not forfilling your dream and desire to see one of the main natural atractions on the island, but please do not say that we are "Money hunger" since Carlos drove you around 2 hours including the stop at the pineapple plantation, fuel consuption of the car, tried to make a big efort to show you things for around 2 hours you had with him. He even recomended to cancel the Tour inticialy before leaving the Hotel with no cost for meeting you there. You do not pay fully in advanced, like other tour companies on the island procedure and still go on with or with out good weather. The Full day Tour cost 150 Euros, not per person and you only payed 40 euros, not per person, after all what he tried to do.
So sincerly, I do not understand well your description about your negative review or maybe others that will read your negative review and my right to responde and explain about your experience that day with Carlos short Tour.
But even thow, if posible, if needed and if wanted, have the oportunity to show you what you may of seen that day, if you return again to the Azores and use my services.
I will await your response one day.