Hiking holiday in the Azores with thermal hotsprings
Description of Hiking holiday in the Azores with thermal hotsprings
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As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetAccommodation and Meals:
During your stay you will be staying at a fairly small, family run and locally staffed hotel or guest house which ensures that we are benefiting local communities.
In Furnas our lunch will be “Cozido” which is a must try eco-friendly dish prepared in the traditional way; by placing a mixture of meats and vegetables in a pot, which is placed underground and slow cooked by this areas’ unique geo thermal conditions.
All picnic lunches and snacks provided are made with locally grown produce and other Azorean products, served to our clients in reusable lunch boxes, dishware and cutlery.
Water and Waste:
We take the preservation of our natural environment here very seriously and help to maintain this delicate eco balance by making sure we leave no human trace behind. We carry trash bags on our activities to pick up any rubbish we may find along the way and to ensure we leave the area without a trace. We will be hiking through the nature reserve of Lagoa do Fogo, which also includes the entire watershed of the municipality. Swimming in the lake, as tempting as it may be, is not allowed, as the lakes waters support local aquifers in the lowlands and provide potable water to the settlements in the southern flanks of the caldera.
Regarding our customers, they are always advised to bring their own individual reusable water bottles for the activities (just like our team does), as we usually run into good quality natural water springs and almost never have access to any shops (where there are water bottles for sale or trash cans to dispose of them) during our excursions. Apart from that, we give our clients the possibility of purchasing, a personalized Aluminium flask OR mug for an extra cost of €5. In doing so, you will be helping in the preservation of the environment, while taking back home a useful and unique souvenir that will remind you every day of the great time you had in the Azores.
While partnering with the “Azorean Ocean Department”, our team is designated to clean a river / stream or coastal area twice a year (at least) – Our last clean-up was in October of 2020, in “Zona Balnear das Calhetas“, where we collected 34 kg of garbage. Towards the end of 2021, there was significant damage done to our rivers and trails due to torrential rains and landslides. Since our team is made up of Canyoning professionals, we have the ability to access some hard to reach places safely, and so with the support of the local council and help from other volunteers, we worked hard to clean out the rivers of all the natural debris and helped to recreate the trails passing through wilder areas.
We have our own vehicles which we have no option but to use for logistical reasons; dropping off/picking up our clients and to carry our needed provisions and equipment. However, the aim of this trip, as the name suggests, is to explore the island in a very physically active way, and we will be using mostly, our own two feet during this hiking holiday.
PeopleOur team has a single-minded goal: Provide long-term benefits to present and future local communities, one adventure at a time. Therefore, we insist that the benefits are the same for us and for who / what surrounds us, always trying to guarantee the active participation of our people in our daily lives.
Friends and Neighbours
We ensure that the local economy benefits from our work, by referring locally-owned accommodations, employing local people, working with local operators and suppliers, sourcing food from locally-owned stores and eating/drinking at local restaurants/snack bars.
Since during our trip we will mostly be out and about in the wilderness, we will be providing our clients with snacks made by a locally operated business “Hiking Snacks”, and/or a packed lunch provided to us by “CRESACOR”.
In doing so, we are not only investing in our community but also offering our customers a genuine insight of the Azores and our people.
Campaigning for change
We recognize that every country has its issues; and Sao Miguel Island is no exception. Here over tourism hasn’t been a major factor of concern yet, although over recent years we have seen the impact it can have on maintaining the stability of our very delicate eco system. We have seen first-hand some local hotspots that are starting to suffer and we recognize that prevention is better than cure. We also recognize that our local community have suffered greatly due to a long history of Feudalism, major historical and natural events that have had a negative impact on our economy and even our geography has played a hand in our social issues. All of which have been contributing factors in the rise in unemployment, a young school leaving age, and communities with social problems and substance abuse. We, as a team, hope to change this, by integrating more of our neighbours into our projects.
In 2019, we started a unique program called “Inclui-te” (Includes you) which is a social inclusion project in the area of adventure and tourism activities, in which users of different associations who deal with social exclusion in Sao Miguel, can participate. Over a period of 5 months, the chosen locals will have a healthy and positive integration by joining us during some weekly activities and carrying out small tasks such as: helping customers with the wetsuits, or getting in/out of the kayaks, bikes etc.; and receiving monetary support from our company.
Our team, in collaboration with Junta Freguesia Lomba S. Pedro, began work on making a new canyoning and hiking trail in Jan 2020. The idea began three years ago, when our company founder, realized that the island is in desperate need for an alternative Canyoning route, as the ones being used at the moment have become too popular due to easy access, and are being exhausted by tourists and locals alike. We came up with the plan which got approved by the Tourism Directorate and hence started this project for a new canyoning route and a new hiking route, involving and committing the local farmers and fishermen. Our goal is to make sure that not only is the environment protected, but also to help the locals improve their lifestyle. By starting this project and partnering up with the local council we hope to improve the area for everyone to enjoy, to benefit the local community economically and to include locals with social problems to help them gain new skills and a chance at better future prospects.
Volunteering and Charity
We offer discounts and free vouchers to local institutions and communities; and organizing voluntary actions and partnerships with diverse organizations.
A Fair Deal.
We have always been a small, independent company, with less than 20 local members who connect with each other daily. Our business model shows that we have supported the local population, economy and ecology since the company’s creation (in 2015)