The Road Less Traveled
2331 N Elston Court
Chicago, IL 60614
Join us on a 14-day teen adventure program on São Miguel Island in the Azores, Europe's best kept secret!
Taking The Road Less Traveled is the best decision I've made in my life. The endless memories and friendships I've gained through this program will last me a lifetime, and if I could, I would sign up for an RLT trip every summer for the rest of my life. The Road Less Traveled has developed me into who I am today." -2019 RLT Alum
Keep scrolling to learn more about this adventure program in the Azores!
The Azores are an ideal ecosystem and home to more than 20 different types of cetaceans including majestic whales and friendly dolphins. Spend time at sea exploring the magical Atlantic waters and watching these animals dance in their natural playground.
Ilheu de Vila Franca do Campo
Spend the day on a wildlife tour learning about whales, dolphins, turtles, fish, and other marine life along the coast and the Princess Ring Islet of Vila Franco do Campo.
Likely the most iconic site in São Miguel is the Sete Cidades volcano crater. We will paddle the two lakes of the crater that are appropriately named for the colors they reflect: Lagoa Azul for the sky and Lagoa Verde for the ground.
Snorkel Crystal Clear Waters
The Azores hold spectacular underwater landscapes and the nutrient rich water supports large clouds of krill, dolphins, blue whales, thornback and manta rays, Jack, Tuna, Marlin, slipper lobsters and more. It's no wonder the Azores are often referred to as "the last hidden treasure of Europe."
Miradouro da Boca do Inferno
Hike above the crater that holds Lagoa Azul to one of the most breathtaking views on the island. By the end of the trail you’ll have sweeping views of at least four multicolored lakes that fill the volcano crater below. If this isn’t the best view on the island, we don’t know what is!
Spend the day on this black sand beach with views of lava rock statues and cool ocean waters.
Lagoa do Fogo
Lagoa do Fogo is known as the most beautiful lagoon in the Azores. Explore by foot as we hike the 8-mile trail within this unique nature reserve. Experience the views of Vila Franca do Campo and Ribeira da Praia and end on the shores of Lagoa do Fogo.
Caldeira Velha Hot Springs
Spend the day surrounded by lush green forest as you take a dip in the naturally heated springs of Caldeira Velha. The deep green trees and cool waters will make you feel like you've transported to the jungle!
Parque Terra Nostra
One of the most peaceful places to visit on the island, Parque Terra Nostra is home to one of Europe's most beautiful botanic gardens. The park contains foot paths through dense woods, streams, lakes, and thermal pools as you pass 200 year old gardens of palms, ferns, hydrangeas and more.
Follow a river and cross a footbridge through farmland into the forest to get to this dreamlike waterfall lost in the rainforest.
Paddle: Kayak or Stand Up Paddle Board in Sete Cidades
Swim/Snorkel: Praia de Santa Barbara, Mosteiros black sand beach, Ilheu de Vila Campo, Lagoa das Empadadas
Hike: Miradouro da Boca do Inferno, Lagoa do Fogo, Serra Devassa, Sete Cidades
Whale Watching: Ilheu de Vila Franco do Campo
Hot Springs: Caldeira Velha, Caldeiras das Furnas, Parque Terra Nostra
Explore: Miradouro da Ponta do Escalvado
Surf: Santa Barbara Beach
9 - 12
Tuition includes all activities and food while on the trip, along with a basic travel protection package. The Road Less Traveled has purchased the Group Protection plan post-departure benefits on behalf of all participants. If interested in the optional Cancel for Any Reason benefits please contact the RLT office for rates and information.
We stay in a private home. Bedrooms will be divided by gender and participants will sleep slumber party style – in sleeping bags, rotating available beds nightly. Showers are available. Bathrooms are flush toilets.
Boston, MA (BOS)
A leader escorted round-trip flight will be available (but not required) for those travelers who wish to fly with a leader out of Boston, MA (BOS).
This summer we successfully ran our Colorado Wolf Refuge program allowing students to get outside, socialize with their peers, and volunteer their time. After months of quarantine and increased exposure to technology, time in the outdoors has proven to be exactly what students needed. With an abundance of caution and well defined protocols, we were able to keep students safe, healthy, and happy. We are confident that we are able to continue offering life changing experiences in the outdoors, mitigating risk to keep students safe. We encourage you to learn more here about our policies related to COVID-19
Arrive at BOS International Airport and board our escorted flight to São Miguel, Azores.
Kayak or SUP at Caldeira da Sete Cidades where the green lake (Lagoa Verde) and the blue lake (Lagoa Azul) are separated only by a narrow land bridge.
We jump into the crystal clear waters and experience the island from a new vantage point. We'll have the opportunity to see Manta Rays, Dolphins, Marlin, and more!
We'll explore Sete Cidades further traversing down the crater passing lakes and volcanic formations along the way. Observe the coast from Lomba do Vasco and views of Mosteiros beach before making it to the small town of Sete Cidades.
We'll head out on a guided whale watching tour and end up on Princess Ring Islet to swim, snorkel, and relax on this small unique island.
We'll hike Lagoa do Fogo and explore this huge blue lake that was created during an eruption in 1563. This protected nature reserve is encompassed by tall mountains and white sand beaches with rich vegetation. After our hike we'll head to Caldeira Velha Hot Springs to relax in the warm natural waters.
Visit Plantacoes de Cha Gorreana, Europe’s oldest tea plantation operated by a single family since 1883, and the Arquipélago, a modern Contemporary Arts Center located in Ribeira Grande, the second largest town on the island.
Experiece Ponta Delgada like the locals and taste your way through the capital of the Azores. Explore Ponta da Ferraria and soak in the beautiful cove of hot springs surrounded by lava rock cliffs.
At Caldeiras das Furnas, we'll learn how Portuguese stew is cooked in pots that are dipped into the naturally boiling water of the caldeiras (hot springs) and then buried and left for several hours. After swimming in the thermal swimming pool and exploring Parque Terra Nostra, we'll head to the famous Bolos Levedos Rosa Quental for lunch and to fill up on their delicious pastries.
Ancoras do Ilheu dive site provides an opportunity to see many sunken anchors and lots of wildlife such as moray eels and rays. Hike the Ribeira do Faial da Terra to Salto do Prego, a beautiful waterfall.
We'll hike on Serra Devassa trail and take in the mountain and sea views as we pass beautiful lagoons, forests, and many types of flora and fauna. We will explore the hidden lakes in Lagoa das Empadadas and the view at Miradouro da Boca do Inferno
Tour the 100 year old Pineapple Plantation and learn the history of pineapples on the island. Spend the afternoon exploring the charming town of Vila Franca do Campo.
Spend our last full day together on the sand of Santa Barbara beach. Surf, snorkel, or just relax. That evening, we'll celebrate our adventure with a final feast.
We say our final farewells and return to Boston on the escorted flight.
Please note that, given the unprecedented nature of travel currently, this itinerary is subject to change.
The Road Less Traveled requires an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years). In addition, we require an RLT Physician's Form to be signed by the partcipant's physician, affirming they are healthy to travel on an RLT trip.
Please visit the CDC’s website to read more about recommended vaccinations for travel to Azores. The decision to get some, none, or all of the recommended vaccinations should be discussed with your family doctor.
Prior to the trip, there are several requirements that we ask all participants to meet in order to mitigate COVID-19 exposure:
For an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please call our office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST at 773-342-5200 and we’ll happily send you one!
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination back home on the last day of the trip.
This program offers an optional leader-escorted flight for those families who are interested.
If you wish to have your participant fly directly into the starting location, please call the office for details.