Number one question: Is it warm there?
Number two: Do I really need to rent a car?
Number three: Should I visit two or three islands during my weeklong stay?
We know that the Azores are fairly unknown and as your local experts on the ground we are eager to provide the answers, which you can also find neatly packaged in our Resources page.
So, the (as-if-I-was-in-front-of-you-tongue-and-cheek) answers...
How warm... Look, with a yearly average temp of 63 to 64F (17 to 18c), yes it's a fairly warm place. But Puerto Rico's yearly average is about 75F (23 to 24c). So, we are not a tropical island paradise. But we do have plenty of guavas, bananas and palm trees. We aren't fully temperate (say like in Boston) either. We are somewhere in between. Imagine San Diego-like temperatures with Seattle-like amounts of rain.
But that's only half the story. São Miguel is known as the "green island" aptly named for its lush evergreen look. There's little change in temperature between seasons. In summer the warmest month has highs of 79F (26c) and lows of about 66F (19c). In the coldest month highs average 63F (17c) and lows 54F (12c). Summer-like temps can occur from June through September. Winter-like temps can occur the rest of the year. October and November are transition months, as are April and May. Summer tends to be drier (10 days with rain on average) and winter wetter (20 days with rain). Today is a beautiful sunny skies day with a 66F temp. Yesterday it rained.
It's always pretty humid -- as in 84 percent average year-round. Yes, mold-will-grow-on-your-shoes humid. So, it can feel colder (or warmer) in winter. When the sun is out, like today, it can feel like 80F (27c). When it's windy, it can feel like 40F (4c). It can also feel raw in unheated homes. We have a cozy fireplace and in-room heat Enough of this one.
Driving around in a car... Ok, we get it. Many, many people are reluctant to rent a car during their vacation. They either don't drive at home or don't want the added expense. But the freedom you'll get by renting a car is priceless. The island is not huge, but it's very hilly and public transport is not thorough, although it's getting better. Also, this is not a resort-like place with all the attractions centered around, say, downtown Ponta Delgada. To truly experience everything the island has to offer, you really need to be able to get around. So, you either spend a lot of time on buses or get to experience more by driving yourself. Or, you can sign up for tours, but that can also get expensive and is often impersonal. Luckily, we have solved the problem with our minuvida experience packages, where we include an airport pickup and assist in arranging an affordable rental a car delivered right to quinta minuvida
Two-or-three islands... To which I reply: Do you prefer shoving junk food down your throat during your half-hour lunch while sitting at your desk or would you rather have a nice sit-down dinner at a fine establishment at a leisurely pace? I know which one I would pick. To get a full experience, don't plan to visit other islands during a one-week vacation. S. Miguel is the main island with the most things to do and places to go. One week is not enough. It's also more than 60 miles from the nearest island, Santa Maria. So, getting around to other islands is not that easy. If coming more than a week, I'd reccomend a second week in the closely clustered central group of Pico, Faial and S. Jorge. Those are easy to get around, each apart by boat about a half-hour to an hour only. Or take a 3- to 4-hour ferry in summer months to Santa Maria. Just don't try to squeeze in multiple islands on week-long stay.