Our second day in São Miguel was a West End tour, also with Pure Azores. The day started off with a visit to Plantação de Ananases Augusto Arruda, a pineapple plantation. The plantation has been running for more than 100 years and is completely free to visit. You can see the various stages of pineapple cultivation – from the seedlings sprouting from the roots to the grown pineapples that are ready to ready to harvest.
We learned about the amount of time and manual labor that went into growing pineapples on the island. We also received a free tasting of their A. Arruda Pineapple Liqueur, which was absolutely delightful. The plantation is the only place where you can buy their homemade liqueur, so make sure you grab some there.
Our next stop was a drive to Sete Cidades, which is a massive crater of a dormant volcano. The caldera has been separated into sparkling twin lakes, called Lagoa das Sete Cidades. We stopped at Miradouro da Boca do Inferno. The viewpoint requires a short walk, but parking is free and located just to the side of where the viewpoint trail starts.
The King’s View is perhaps the 2nd most postcard-perfect spot on São Miguel. The King’s View offers the best views of both Lagoa Azul (Blue Lake) and Lagoa Verde (Green Lake). We actually pulled up to the road a few feet away from King’s View to take these photos.
After visiting Sete Cidades, we headed over to Miradouro da Barrosa for this fantastic view.
By now, you’re probably wondering why we’re heading inland and not sticking to the coast. There’s a reason for this madness. We were headed to Lagoa do Fogo, or the famous Lake of Fire. Our tour guide, Fernando, had checked the weather and it was supposed to be fantastic mid-afternoon. He wanted us to see Lagoa do Fogo first. And I’m so glad he made a change to the itinerary because the lake was breathtaking.
One of the guys on our East End tour had tried to see Lagoa do Fogo earlier in the week and said he saw absolutely nothing but clouds. Our tour guide told us that Lagoa do Fogo is covered in clouds for 300 days out of the year. As the highest lake on the island, Lagoa do Fogo is very elusive!
After the spectacular view at Lagoa do Fogo, we headed over to Caldeira Velha, a natural hot spring surrounded by ferns and towering trees. The hot springs offer two pools – one hotter than the other. We weren’t able to try out the hot springs, but I actually think I liked Poca da Dona Beija better. Caldeira Velha feels more natural, but Poca da Dona Beija had more options and varieties in water temperature.
Our last stop of the day was Miradouro da Ponta do Cintrão in Ribeirinha. This was one of the most beautiful views we would see in São Miguel.