DO rent a car (it's hard to get around otherwise) DON'T worry about wildlife (it's mostly cute birds here :) DO bring raingear (a light rain/wind jacket will do in most cases) DON'T skip the espresso (No 'to go' cups makes it a perfect quick jolt) DO bring a swimsuit (Summer is for the beach; winter is for the hot springs) DON'T ask for ice (It's generally not available. Enjoy a cold drink instead!)
QUINTA MINUVIDA FAQs
where are you located?
We are located on São Miguel island, one of the nine islands that make up the Azores. The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal and part of the European Union. The Azores are in the Azores Standard Time Zone, GMT-1, four hours ahead of Boston.
Our quinta is in Rabo de Peixe, Ribeira Grande, on the north side of the island. We are 10 minutes by car to the capital city of Ponta Delgada and 15 minutes to the airport. Our location is a great central spot to see all that the island has to offer.
Be advised, however, that we are not located in a resort-type area (thankfully). The area is on the outskirts of town and while easily reached by car, attractions such as hiking trails, restaurants, nightspots, shops and other tourist-friendly amenities not just "outside the front door."
what is an orchard lodge?
quinta minuvida orchard lodge invites you to stay in a working, traditional Azorean orchard. Tall hedges shelter the many varieties of fruits we grow, including bananas, oranges, guavas, loquats and feijoas. As our guest, you are free to pick and enjoy the fruits from our trees and participate in our orchard-focused experiences. We also have several outdoor pets on the property, including Moo, a small dog.
what are accommodations like?
We provide thoughtful accommodations in a traditional Azorean villaAll suites include vintage or custom furniture, comfortable memory foam mattresses (in double beds), in-room bathrooms, wireless Internet and other amenities, including room service, front desk, and on site management. Outdoor spaces include many recreational areas, a Mediterranean pool and grills. See property photos and room layouts here
Is the villa climate-controlled?
We do not offer air conditioning as summers are generally not stifling. Fans are available. During cooler months heat is available in rooms. Our heating system runs on an automated program set to approximately 20c or 68F. You can also cozy up by the fireplace in the living room. The Wisteria Poolhouse is also equipped with a fireplace. We also use dehumidifiers during especially humid spells.
do you allow children? Pets?
We are a safe, family friendly facility but we are not equipped to accept babies or toddlers. We accept families with children over 6. Exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Pets are not allowed but you can play with our friendly dog and cats.
Are you an ecolodge?
The Azores are a recognized sustainable travel destination and we work to nurture and protect this special place. We compost, eliminate paper where possible and serve mostly local products for breakfast, including only in-season local fruits and veggies. We encourage guests to be conscious about electricity and water usage for heating and cooling and to reuse towels when possible.
is the water safe to drink?
Yes, we use tap water every day. Bottled water is available for purchase in supermarkets if you prefer.
what's for breakfast? Other meals?
A daily Azorean breakfast is included with your stay. We serve only local and in-season fruits and vegetables, plus local cheeses, jams, breads, yogurts and specialty items. If you have special requirements let us know. Other meals can be ordered for delivery through our partner Maria Pic-Nic Cooking is also allowed in our pavilion outdoors kitchen.
can I cook in the house?
We don't allow cooking in the main kitchen at quinta minuvida as it supports our operations. Guests can, however, cook in our pavilion kitchen, which includes a stove top, grill, fridge and food storage areas. Guests staying in the Wisteria Poolhouse can use the in-suite kitchen.
can in bring food in my room?
No, but you are welcome to use our indoors and outdoors dinning areas. You are also welcome to store perishable items in the guest section of our fridge.
what to do in case of an emergency?
The national emergency number is 112. The number is posted in our reception. The local healthcare facility may request your health insurance information. For non-emergency medical situations, we also have an on-call doctor. Cost is covered by the patient.
HOW DO I GET THERE FROM THE AIRPORT?
where can I smoke?
Smoking is not permitted anywhere indoors. If you must smoke, we have designated areas outdoors. Please ask for an astray and don't litter.
how's the weather?
Everyone's #1 question. Just to be clear, the Azores are not an always sunny, reliable weather destination. Nevertheless, it's a subtropical location with mostly pleasant weather year-round. It's never too cold (seldom drops below 10C (50F) during the coldest winter nights) or too hot (rarely rises above 28C (83F) during the warmest summer days). Humid and often cloudy. Seasons run the same as everywhere else in the northern hemisphere.
Indoors Generally pleasant during the months of May through October and seldom too uncomfortably hot, but it can get chilly in unheated homes (which is the norm) during the cooler months. With indoors temps sometimes hovering around 15C (59F) during the coolest periods, layers are strongly advised.
See how the Azores climate compares to Boston and Bermuda here
CAN I swim in the ocean?
The ocean is safe to swim in public beaches and volcanic pools. Nevertheless, follow posted information. In lava pools, we advise water shoes due to possible sea urchins and sharp rocks. Jelly fish are fairly common during summer months. The ocean is usually rougher on north shores. Ocean water temps vary between 24C or 75F in summer and 16C or 62F in winter. On dry land, enjoy several outdoor thermal pools with warm waters often reaching 38C or 120F. Waterfalls are also fun but the pristine spring water is chilly.
how much do things cost?
Beer 60+ cents. Wine 2+ euros per glass or 10+ euros a bottle in restaurants. Lunch 6 to 8 for the daily special (prato do dia), which often includes drink and coffee. Dinner 20+ with wine, dessert and coffee. Cab ride 15 euros for 20-minute cab ride (for eg. from minuvida to the airport). Gas 50 euros to fill your tank. Tipping Not expected, servers earn normal wages; but they won't say no to a euro or two.
How about food?
Azorean cuisine is simple and tasty, taking the best from the land and the sea. Very fresh. Grilled whole fish is a must; yes it has bones. No GMOs. Cows are pasture-raised happy, and you can taste it! Dairy is awesome! Don't miss the local cheeses and butter. Try the volcano-cooked cozido. Did we say not to miss the unique seafood (limpets or barnacles anyone?). Seasoning can be heavy handed. Desserts are to die for... and don't skip espresso and the local liqueurs.
do i really need a car?
We know that renting a car is an added expense and sometimes stressful experience, but we strongly advise that your rent one here if you can afford it. There are so many scenic drives, so many hidden spots, so many awesome attractions that are best reached with nice ride. Yes, public transport is available, but it's built for locals. Getting to a mountaintop to see a beautiful lake is nearly impossible on public transport. We are avid bike-riders, but it's strenuous exercise on the island's steep terrain. Weather is also changeable and you could get very wet.
Bottom line, get a car if you can. If staying at quinta minuvida, restaurants are not outside the door (this really only happens in the city, but do you really want to restrict your vacation to the city?). With a car, in 5 to 10 minutes many restaurants and other awesome attractions are that close. If you don't get a car, you can lounge at the quinta and participate in our experiences, which include transportation, of course.
will my phone work?
We have European outlets and are on 220 volts. Check your appliance. Phones and computers come with transformers, so no need to worry. You only need an outlet adapter. We carry some U.S. adapters and there are plenty readily available for purchase on the island. Most smartphones will work here but check with your provider about costs and roaming fees. If you have an unlocked phone it will work with a local phone card/number. Note that we can lend you a local smartphones during your stay (ask us about our lending policy).
how safe is it?
São Miguel is one of the safest places in the world and crime is often limited to misdemeanors. It’s a great, safe place for families and children. One should, however, always use common sense and precaution in traveling abroad. So, lock your car and leave valuables out of view, etc.
how do i get there?
Azores Airlines is currently the only airline flying directly from the U.S. to Ponta Delgada (PDL) and you should book only through their website (don't use Expedia or kayak, etc). Flights in high season (May through September) occur almost daily. During the rest of the year flights occur about three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. But, check the website for updated schedules.
From Europe, Ryanair and easyJet offer low cost fares.
what do I wear?
LAYERS Bring a light sweater for cooler summer evenings and a good fleece if coming during the cool season. A raincoat is a must and so are comfortable walking shoes. During the summer, with temps generally in the 20s C range (70s F), shorts and T-shirts, plus a raincoat, are enough. During the cool season add sweaters, pants and a mid-weight jacket to the mix. Gloves and hats are generally unnecessary.
BATHING GEAR (swimsuit, towel, water shoes): There are countless natural swimming holes. Whether you crave warm geothermal waters in the cooler season or beaches during the summer months, you should always be prepared for a swim. Dark-colored bathing suits are recommended for hot springs.
SUN PROTECTION (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen): The sun is much stronger here in the middle of the Atlantic, even in winter.
HOW ToURISTY IS THE ISLAND? wILL I BE BORED?
The Azores are for travelers like you, people who seek new experiences in off-the-beaten path locations. Come here to discover and feel. You can find a good restaurant and some amazing nightspots. The city of Ponta Delgada, only about 15 minutes from quinta minuvida, features an ever-increasing number of trendy restaurants and nightspots. Fear not, this is still a place for outdoors adventures and for connecting, but you have the option. You won't be bored. This is not a resort-type place with all the amenities just outside your door.
how are your experiences different?
We provide context, immersion and insight enabling you to Feel the Azores. We limit our experiences to small groups (no more than 6 guests), and focus on what we know and do best: hiking, food and yoga. More on our experiences here
what's included with my stay?
If you purchased our package (five-night minimum), your stay includes one dinner and one experience, plus access to all yoga classes. Host-led experiences are held on a set schedule. We determine the schedule based on your responses to our survey (that we send upon booking). We'll email you a schedule and you can sign up in advance or upon arrival. If you haven't purchased our package but would like to sign up for experiences, minuvida guests receive a 20 percent discount off a-la-carte experiences. See sample experience brochure
how do i pick my experiences?
Samples of our experiences are available under our experiences page
Upon booking, we invite you to complete a short survey and invite you to sign up for your experience two weeks prior to your arrival.
What if there is a date conflict?
We will do our best to provide you with the experience you desire and provide equivalent alternatives otherwise.
IS SPECIAL EQUIPMENT/CLOTHES NECESSARY?
Hiking clothes, hiking shoes and raingear are recommended for all our outdoor experiences, plus a small backpack and water bottle. Bring your own yoga exercise clothes. We provide aprons and other items for cooking experiences.
is transportation provided?
Transportation options are available during our host-led experiences. You may also use your vehicle to meet us at start and end points in order to maximize your options. A-la-carte experiences include transportation.
does the yoga studio have all props?
Yes, mats, blankets, blocks, belts, bolsters and other props are available. The yoga studio is also audio and wifi equipped.
What is your emergency plan?
Experiences with quinta minuvida orchard lodge + experiences are insured under our licenses. Should a medical emergency arise, medical emergency treatment or our on-call doctor will be available. During hiking experiences, authorities are notified of our activity before departure when required. We also have first aid training. A medical response plan is detailed under our hiking guide
can i sign up for experiences without lodging?
While we'd love to have you stay with us, experiences are possible without lodging, pending space availability. Please check with us for availability and to sign up. See our experience brochure for information and pricing.