Island hopping in the Azores, small group

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27 Aug 2018
£ 2229
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10 Sep 2018
£ 1949
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24 Sep 2018
£ 2075
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08 Oct 2018
£ 1845
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06 May 2019
£ 1985
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20 May 2019
£ 1985
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03 Jun 2019
£ 2015
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17 Jun 2019
£ 2020
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01 Jul 2019
£ 2079
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15 Jul 2019
£ 2099
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22 Jul 2019
£ 2135
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05 Aug 2019
£ 2135
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19 Aug 2019
£ 2135
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02 Sep 2019
£ 2135
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16 Sep 2019
£ 2039
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30 Sep 2019
£ 2020
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14 Oct 2019
£ 1995
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28 Oct 2019
£ 1995
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Island hopping in the Azores, small group

Environment

The nine volcanic islands that make up the Azores are designated as a Geopark, ensuring the protection of the geographic heritage, fauna and flora and marine areas. On this trip we visit five of the islands allowing us to appreciate their unique natural heritage. We explore each island by public buses, taxis and on foot, keeping to the official walking trails and travelling with respect for the environment. Our Tour Leaders and local guides are trained in how to actively promote responsible tourism and brief our groups on how they can minimise their own impacts, actively encouraging clients to carry all waste with them and use recycling bins that can be found both on the streets and in hotels.

The whale watching company that we use do not cater to mass tourism; the company depends on the whales and as such does everything possible to respect them. This includes keeping the legal distance from the whales and briefing all groups on how they should behave to protect the environment by not littering and keeping noise to a minimum whilst in the boats and out on the water.

Community

We experience the different cultures of each island, learning about their traditions. In Furnas on Sao Miguel Island we witness the transportation of the Cozido, a dish unique to the Azores, cooked in a pot under the ground by the geothermal heat and we visit Gorreana, Europe’s oldest and only remaining tea factory which still using traditional processing methods.

The tea plantation has been owned by the same family since 1883. The tea is grown hundreds of miles away from industrial pollution without the use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, dyes or preservatives. It is harvested in the time honoured way between April and September with a traditional festival at the peak of the harvest!

On Pico Island we learn about the islands history of wine making and their traditional methods.
The vineyards are generally locally owned and in fact there are a large number of extremely small plots of land or ‘currais’ that may only contain a few grape vines. There are a few wineries on the island made under a cooperative scheme that benefits the local growers and keeps the traditional and complex vineyards alive and well. By visiting the vineyards we are helping to sustain the practise of wine making that has existed in harsh conditions since the mid -15th century.

Tourism is one of the main sources of income for the islands of the Azores and helps to maintain traditions, visiting five of the islands and working with locals we help to spread the economic benefits across the Azores.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators. We acknowledge that air travel has a negative impact on our environment, so we work together with Cool Earth to offset carbon and protect our important rainforests.

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