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Sunday, October 23rd 2016

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YVR." - Chris Myden

Vancouver to the Azores Islands - $647 roundtrip including all taxes

There are some really interesting airfares showing up on the airline SATA International at the moment, from Vancouver to Ponta Delgada, Azores (PDL) for as low as $647 roundtrip including all taxes.

If you've never heard of the Azores, you are not alone. Most people haven't. They are a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic, on the way from North America to Europe. Nationally, they are a part of Portugal, but are a long ways from the mainland.

I had the opportunity to visit the Azores in October of 2013. They were an interesting place for sure, and I really enjoyed my trip, but they are probably not for everyone. I'd say the Azores are best suited towards travelers that...

- enjoy nature and hiking. There are hikes around calderas that look like this (Sete Cidades)...

Sete Cidades

and places where you can feel the earth breathing, such as in the town of Furnas, with their geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles.

Furnas, Azores

The Azores also have some of the best whale watching in the world, but you would want to be there in the summer months for that, as the whales start to leave by early fall.

The Azores are also for people that..

- like places that aren't touristy. A few Germans here and there were about the only other tourists I saw in October.
- like places that encourage sustainable tourism (The Azores are often voted as one of the top destinations in the world for sustainable tourism).
- are independent travelers. Public transport and tours are very limited in the Azores, and you really need to rent a car to see or do anything. Driving around is very easy.
- want to visit a place that still feels very authentic with an old world feel.
- want to visit one of the safest places in the world. Crime is virtually non-existent in the Azores.

The Azores are not for anyone that's looking for wild nightlife or sandy beaches (distinct lack of either). Or for anyone looking for really hot weather (the Azores have a temperate sub tropical climate, think highs of 18-22C and lows of 11-15C).

If you're still with me, and you think you might like to visit the Azores, here's how to find the cheap fares...

1. Go to SATA's website at www.sata.pt

2. Search for a flight from Vancouver (YVR) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Keep the 'flexible dates' option selected when you search.

For the cheapest fares, focus on dates between mid October 2014 and December 2014. Look for dates with fares that are in the low $300s each way.

3. When you find dates that you like, you could continue to book them on www.sata.pt - but the fares appear to be available slightly cheaper through third party booking sites.

So you might want to take your dates and try them on Kayak and click through from Kayak to one of their partner booking sites like FlightHub for booking.

UPDATE - You can actually find multi-city flights from Vancouver into other Azores airports, and out of Ponta Delgada back to Vancouver, *with* a flight in between the islands, for under $500 total.

For example, into Terceira island (TER) and out of Ponta Delgada (PDL), including a flight between Terceira and Ponta Delgada, all for just $498 total!

To get this price, try playing around with the multi-city options on Kayak. Here's an example search...

Vancouver to Terceira to Ponta Delgada to Vancouver - $498 after taxes

Focusing on Wednesday flights seems to work best. Terceira is a pretty small island. I remember it having a pretty cool lava cave that you can explore, and the town in the south, Angra do Heroismo, is nice. I'd say 1 or 2 nights on Terceira would be enough for most people though.

Another one you can try is Pico (PIX). Home of Mount Pico, a volcano that you can climb.

Vancouver to Pico to Ponta Delgada to Vancouver - $498 after taxes

Some important things to consider...

- The cheapest booking class on SATA is known as 'Light' and includes 1 carry-on but does *not* include checked baggage.

- Within the date range of October to December, focusing on October dates might be your best bet for weather. When I went in October 2013 I found the weather to be nice for hiking and didn't encounter too much rain. Around November, the weather starts to cool off with increased chance of rainy days.

- All flights to the Azores from Canada are via the direct flights out of Toronto (it's 5 hours to the Azores from there). The fastest flights from Vancouver to the Azores have a 2 hour layover in Toronto each way.

- My flight on SATA was pretty standard. A decent meal was included, but no seat back entertainment.

If anyone has any questions about the Azores just comment below and I can try to help. Or ask your question in the YVR Deals Facebook Group.

Oh and here's a Google Map I made for my trip to the Azores, showing the sights on the various islands and places to stay: http://tinyurl.com/ka3yu8w
(you'll need to zoom in)

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10 Responses to "Vancouver to the Azores Islands - $647 roundtrip including all taxes"

    Has Hudson been here?
       Hudson on June 24th, 2014

    I booked this yesterday for $497 to Terceira for a few days then onto Ponta Delgada. A few dates in November onwards still available at that price. Search for Wednesday to Wednesdays to get that price.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on June 24th, 2014

    Nice! Thanks Hudson!

    Has Hudson been here?
       Hudson on June 24th, 2014

    Also be aware that SATA charges $100 each way for checked luggage and only 8 KG allowed with carry on. Will be washing clothes by hand in the hotel room (:

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on June 24th, 2014

    Or wear 10 layers of shirts on the plane!

    Has Lenny been here?
       Lenny on June 24th, 2014

    Hi Chris, since I don't drive, is biking around the island an option?

    Has YVR Traveller been here?
       YVR Traveller on June 24th, 2014

    Just booked my flights for late July / early August.
    Anyone else going to be in the Azores around this time?

    Has Joanna been here?
       Joanna on June 24th, 2014

    Booked late October YVR - PDL $647! Wednesday to Wednesday is the only way to go.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on June 25th, 2014

    Hi Lenny,

    It's about 200km around the island of Sao Miguel (the largest island, where you'd be flying into if you flew into Ponta Delgada). So I guess it would depend on your cycling ability and amount of time.

    There would be some serious elevation changes, especially around the east end of the island which is home to some really tall and dramatic cliffs (awesome scenery though).

    Perhaps you could just bike to the middle of the island (Lagoa do Fogo) or to the Northwest, where you'll find Sete Cidades, one of the most popular things to see on Sao Miguel.

    I'd say the roads are pretty safe for cyclists, as there isn't much traffic as you get further from Sao Miguel.

    These links might help:



    I didn't cycle on Sao Miguel, only on the island of Horta.

    Has CHAZ LEBLANC been here?
       CHAZ LEBLANC on June 26th, 2014

    I would like to get EMails about deals from Victoria, but I don't have a Facebook account ,so can I get emails for Victoria YYJ deals please ?

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on June 30th, 2014

    Hi Chaz,

    I don't currently have an e-mail alerts list specifically for departures from Victoria. There just aren't enough deals to warrant one. But you may want to keep an eye on alerts from YVR, and then try from YYJ, as sometimes the price is not much more.

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