Intrepid hikers set out early to hike the 10-kilometer Serra de Tope trail to the island’s scenic shores. Trekking down from the trailhead, guests passed through a high elevation region featuring native Azorean trees, shrubs, and bogs before descending the steep trail through lush green cow pastures and non-native forest groves.

Other guests opted for a more leisurely exploration of São Jorge. Ferried by coaches driven by locals, experts at negotiating the narrow streets and winding roads, this group discovered many scenic vistas of emerald pastures and dark green woods formed by a vivid green mixture of Japanese cedars, Victorian boxes, New Zealand Christmas trees, and Azores heaths. A tour of the largest local cheese-factory included a chance to savor three flavors of unique Saõ Jorge cheese. Other stops included a visit to the remains of an elegant church damaged by a volcanic eruption in 1808 and photo stops with stunning vistas of the island’s cascading volcanic slopes juxtaposed above villages built on the dark tongues of fajã lava that jut out into the white surf of the azure Atlantic.