Several years ago, SATA Airlines launched an aggressive advertising campaign in Boston to increase travel to the Azores. I had never heard of the Azores but after a few Google image searches, I was intrigued and started reading more about the mysterious islands.
The Azores are a group of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and are an autonomous region of mainland Portugal. In my initial research, I got the impression that the islands were hard to reach and a bit challenging to navigate once you did reach them. My experience proved my initial inclinations wrong.
I initially planned to start my slow crawl to Asia in Portugal. When booking my ticket, I realized a lot of the flights connected through Terceira in the Azores and decided to make the islands my first stop. I decided on São Miguel, the larger of the islands, and booked my flight! SATA is a small airline that serves the Azores exclusively. Others going to mainland Portugal usually hop on a flight from the islands on TAP or one of the other regional airlines. The inflight service was great; most importantly, the seats were comfortable. And anytime there is a good cheese selection as part of the meal AND snack…I’m pleased.
After dinner, I was a little tickled at my confusion with the flight attendant walking through cabin with tiny cups yelling “Shot, shot, shot.” Turns out he was actually saying “Cha. Cha. Cha,” which is Portuguese for tea. Oops! I was excited about shots for a millisecond and then laughed at myself the rest of the flight.
I arrived early in morning at the tiny but efficient Ponta Delgada airport and made my way to immigration. While there were quite a few planes that arrived at the same time, immigration was efficient and pleasant.
In an effort to kill a few hours before still showing up ridiculously early to check into my hotel, I whipped out my laptop and did some work before the cafes opened. I grabbed coffee and a delicious orange pastry at the larger of the two coffee shops in the airport. While the pastry was certainly delicious, the coffee was superb!
Getting to the city is easy and cheap. I had booked a hotel not far from downtown Ponta Delgada and a taxi cost me just 10€ flat fee. Driving from the airport into the city gave me a glimpse into the sheer beauty of the island.
And it only got better:
Only four hours from Boston, with non-stop service from Logan, the Azores makes a great long weekend stop. And, tickets on SATA are generally pretty reasonable. The beauty is breathtaking and everything on the island is INCREDIBLY cheap. I was tempted to stock up on razors, pineapples (they have their own special breed that is super sweet and takes two years to grow!), and yogurt before I left. Needless to say, I will definitely be back to this hidden island paradise. There is still so much to see! Check out my other posts about the Azores for tips on what to see, do, and eat!