A couple of years back, somewhere while browsing on the internet, I encountered an amazing travel picture of a guy on a cliff with a scenic crater lake in the background, I saved that picture to my desktop and put it in my travel bucket along with thousand other plans for future. Hardly I knew that a few years later, I will plan for a 3 months backpacking to Europe and will actually celebrate my birthday at that exact same location. Moral of the story, don’t doubt your random travel plans and keep making them.
I even met the same guy who was in that picture on my desktop. His name is Carlos, who runs an adventurous boat tour from Flores island to Corvo and turned out to be a good friend of our Airbnb host. I told him that he was my source of inspiration to explore the Azores and he helped us with directions to find the vantage point of that picture. Here is travelanubhav’s final outcome that evening.
WELCOME TO CORVO
The Azores is a group of nine islands in the North Atlantic Ocean towards Portugal and Corvo is the smallest member with a population of approximately 450 people.
There are no flashy colored houses, fancy restaurants like other popular islands and it is far far away from the bug of commercialization. Despite its size and remoteness, the island has everything but in a small proportion. There is one school where the total number of students from kindergarten to high school is 40, there is one post office, a full-fledged grocery store and one restaurant in the whole island which is a hangout place for people of every age.
The main tourist spot on the island is its volcano crater lake known as Caldeirao. No words can describe the beauty of this place. Nine islands of Azores are undoubtedly filled with amazing lakes but this one is out of the world.
HOW TO REACH
Don’t get disguised by the size of this place, the island has an Airport too. There are flights directly from Lisbon with the major operator as Azores airlines.
The other option is to take a ferry ride from the nearby island, Flores. We will talk about this amazing neighbor sometime later in another post.
There is a specific tour company, apart from normal ferries, which takes a more adventurous and scenic route along the edge of Flores island to reach Corvo. It was a bumpy ride with an adrenaline rush when the boat passed through a narrow passage between two cliffs, great views of waterfalls and exploration of caves guarded by waterfalls. If you think that I am making this up, here is the proof.
We highly recommend going to Corvo this way as it was one of the best parts of our Azores trip. I don’t remember exactly the name of the tour but the guy’s name is Carlos and everyone knows about him in Flores.
HOW TO EXPLORE THE ISLAND
There is no public transport or car rental on the island, so you have to explore the island by foot which is not a big deal as it is a very small place. Though, you have multiple options to reach Caldeirão which is at the far end of the island.
- There are shared vans running from the dock to Caldeirão. You can choose a one side drop or a return trip (10 euro) as per your convenience and time available.
- You can reach Caldeirao by foot as it is just 6 km from the dock with no steep slopes. This is definitely the best way to explore the island.
- You can also ask for a lift from private framer’s trucks. Everyone is so polite and helpful on the island, if someone is passing by, they will even stop and ask you if you need a lift.
Yes, we actually did all due to our 3 times visit to Caldeirao, we will talk about this in Weather section below.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Pirate’s Nest, owned by an amazing local guy. He is one of our best hosts in 90 days of our trip. He picked us up in his car at the dock, speaks fluent English and also took us out in the evening for a beer. He was actually our private guide for the island and didn’t charge anything extra. I highly recommend his place to stay at Corvo.
Technically speaking, Corvo can be a worst case scenario for any weather prediction engine. We witnessed an empty sky with no clouds as well as a storm and fog with no visibility in a span of few hrs. It took us three different attempts to get a get a perfect weather and light to click our travel picture.
For everyone: If you are coming to Corvo by boat, please keep some buffer for your onward journey. If there is a bad weather and sea get rough, all ferries and boats can be canceled.
For Photographers: All your plans for a nice click of Caldeirao can be screwed due to weather changes and I am talking about a completely white picture here due to fog.
IT’S MORE THAN A DAY TRIP
Initially, when we planned for Corvo, the only reasoning to stay for a night here was to avoid day trip crowd and shoot a sunset over Caldeirao. When we reached there, we realized that both of our reasonings were invalid. First, there was hardly any crowd and even if there were people, the place is so vast that it doesn’t matter. Second, you can try your luck but there is no guarantee for a colorful sunset picture and it may need more than one attempt.
Though, we would still recommend spending at least one night on the island, as there is a lot more than just Caldeirao. It’s about interacting with locals at their only hangout place in the island, roaming around in the streets to get a feel of a day to day life on the island. Thanks to our host at Pirate’s nest who showed us the island and made this already amazing trip of ours more memorable.
We could cover only 3 out of 9 islands of Azores, we will definitely come back at maybe some another birthday of mine.