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Sao Miguel, Açores

If nature is something you look for when traveling, the Açores is the place to go. I was lucky to be able to spend two full days in Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel, and it was just breathtaking.

The islands do not have a metro system, and I did not hear of a good bus route either. My suggestion to visit the island is to take a jeep tour with Greenzone. For around 60 euros (may vary depending on the trip chosen or the time of year) you have a guide to show you the main spots (such as Sete Cidade, and Furnas), telling you the lovely legends that come with them, with as well a delicious local meal included.

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Greenzone Jeep tour Açores is known for its many, many cows!

The two trips my sister and I got to do were both with Ricardo. He went beyond the expected. We paid for the main attractions, but at times, if we passed by something interesting, he’d stop the jeep and allow us to explore.

On one of the tours we visited Furnas, known for its underground “calderas.” This is where locals—but mostly restaurants—go early in the morning to bury their caldrons filled with meat, fish, and vegetables in the ground to be cooked by the natural hot vapour. The meal is removed approximately six hours later ready to be devoured.

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The calderas in Furnas. The men are removing the cooked meal from the hot ground.

The Açores are known not only for their amount of cows—they are everywhere!—but for their natural hot springs. They even have natural sparkling water pouring out from the ground that people can taste.

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Natural sparkling water

The winding paths of Terra Nostra Botanical park lead through a forest where various plants and ponds can be discovered. At the centre of the garden—dating back to 1775—is a hot spring. It is extremely relaxing with its gushing water at various ends that can give a free massage. But if you are to go in, you should beware of your blood pressure. The high temperature can be harmful if you have blood problems. The second notice I have is to not wear a white bathing suit. Despite being relaxing and enjoyable, the water stains light colours with an orange tint. It can be mostly washed, but the inside of my bathing suit still has a little reminder of the hot springs.

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