Tips on What to do in the Azores, Corvo

What to do in the Azores: Corvo Island

Cover photo by Kathy Rita.

“Tips on What to do in the Azores, Corvo” is the ninth (and final) installment of a series of nine blog posts about the Azores islands. The posts are meant to give you a detailed overview of each one of them to help you plan your trip, whether you decide to visit one, two, or all nine. If you have any questions or a specific request, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll do my best to answer it or to put you in touch with the right contact.



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Island Overview

Perfect island destination for bird watching, relaxing and experiencing true island community life.

Corvo is the smallest island of the archipelago, a lump of volcanic land discovered in 1452, at the same time as the neighboring Flores island, and that settlers didn’t bother with until the mid-16th century. At that time, a group of slaves is sent to the island to farm the land and raise cattle.

You see, historically, the island seemed bound to be no man’s land, isolated, a resource that people think of last. Not even an island, an islet that people wouldn’t bother reaching. But the local population has done a great job telling people a different story. Resilience is not even a good enough word to describe this people’s capacity to endure and survive against all odds. The bonds that hold the community together are tight; well, to be honest, it couldn’t be any other way in such a small village.

The island might not be full of vibrant blue lagoons, and crystal clear brooks, and endless luscious green pastures, but that’s not why people visit. It’s the peculiarity of the small village, an improvised fortress with narrow streets, and the everyday life of an isolated community that makes people wonder “is it really possible to live like this?”

The food tastes better in Corvo, mostly because people live off the land and they’ve mastered the art of growing things organically. The “made from scratch” way of life is not a hipster trend over here, it’s a necessity and a skill.

The Summer days are humid and lazy. The Winters are harsh and always seem longer than they should. But the weather is just a detail; it doesn’t really matter once you’re in that islander mood.

To better understand the peculiarities of this island, take the time to visit the Environmental and Cultural Interpretation Center of Corvo.

Most Popular Activities

Bird watching, hiking, swimming, and diving are top of mind activities. I’m not sure if we can call it an activity, but engaging with the local community will allow for more memories than buying postcards and souvenirs. Head over to “Largo do Outeiro” and you’ll find a handful of local men sitting around and chatting; even if you don’t speak the same language, I’m almost 100% sure you’ll find a way to communicate.

Unlike the other islands, there aren’t established tour companies available on the island. You can either plan something in Flores (the local companies there usually include activities in both islands, and I’m including them here again) or arrive in Corvo and explore on your own (if you’re willing to walk, a hike up to the only lagoon in the island, Caldeirao, will take about 2 hours. Hitching a ride with one of the locals shouldn’t be a problem, either).

WestCanyon

Founder Marco Melo earned a degree in Sports (Nature Sports and Active Tourism) and is a Certified Canyoning Instructor. Rated as Excellent on TripAdvisor.

Rua do Areeiro 52
Fazenda
9970-243 Santa Cruz das Flores
info@westcanyon.pt

Activities: Expedition – Corvo Discovery

Hotel Ocidental

Activities and guided tours with experienced locals who know the island and the surrounding Ocean like the back of their hands.

Avenida dos Baleeiros
9970-306 Santa Cruz das Flores

Activities: boat trip to Corvo.

A photo posted by Places wow (@placeswow) on

Cultural Events

It’s not my place to say that these islanders are extremely religious, but I think it’s fair to say that they are devoted to organizing successful events. It’s not just about the religious side of it; it’s also about having fun, sharing food, and community life. The most famous event is on August 15th in honor of Our Lady of Miracles. It could be just another celebration of a religious icon, but this one comes with the bonus of a real pirate story. In case you were thinking this was a dull and boring little island, nothing is ordinary in Corvo.

A photo posted by katt (@rita_katt_) on

Traditional Cuisine

Pork, fresh seafood and locally produced cheese are the bases of Corvo’s cuisine. I feel the pork sausages are special, but I can’t quite put my finger on it – I can’t tell if it’s the spices or the technique. As in other islands in the archipelago, the perfect side dish for fried pork sausages is taro root, baked or fried. I enjoy them deep fried and crispy; when they’re boiled, they taste kind of bland to me.

Seafood tastes best when it’s cooked in a simple way. No need to add lots of spices because the fish is already rich in flavor. The local cheese is slightly spicy and salty and is produced following artisanal techniques and recipes. I like to tone it down with something sweet like a slice of “massa sovada” (sweet bread). As in Flores, “algae patties” (“erva patinha”) and limpets are also a common dish here.

Perfect Local Souvenir

Handmade wooden door locks and navy blue and white wool caps are the souvenirs that best represent the island.

The locks are a simple but effective system, and unique to Corvo – you won’t see it elsewhere in the Azores.

A photo posted by katt (@rita_katt_) on

Where to Stay

Note: This is the smallest island of the archipelago, with fewer accommodation options compared to the others, therefore we are listing all places to stay that we would recommend in the island.

Guest House Comodoro

Guesthouse owned by a local family. Whatever you need on the island, they’ll work to make it happen. Rated as Excellent on TripAdvisor.

Caminho Do Areeiro
9980-000 Vila Nova do Corvo

corvoazores@yahoo.com



Booking.com

Joe and Vera’s Place

Two double rooms with private bathrooms. Free WiFi. Late check-out. Rating of 9.6 on Booking.com*.

Caminho da Várzea
9980-034 Vila Nova do Corvo

Prices start from €40/US $44



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A photo posted by @romeubairos on

Basic Information

Territory: Corvo is one of the two islands in the Western Group (Grupo Ocidental) of the Azores Archipelago, an autonomous region of Portugal.
Language: Portuguese
Time zone: GMT -1 hour
Currency: Euro (€)
Banks and ATM machines available? Yes.
Post office? Yes.
Visa Requirements*: Same as other Schengen area territories. Click here for detailed information.

* Please note that this information may change over time. Refer to the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in the country of your departure for updated information.

Special vaccinations needed? No.
Health facilities: pharmacy and health center (known as “centro de saude”).

Voltage: 220 volts (round two-pin plugs)

Public transport: None.

Area: 17.1 Km2
Distance from Lisbon (approx.): 1893 Km
Population (as of 2011): 430

How to reach: By plane – between islands, SATA Air Acores; from the Portuguese mainland and other countries, SATA Azores Airlines, Tap Air Portugal, and via Ponta Delgada (S. Miguel) Ryanair, EasyJet. By boat – scheduled passenger transport between the islands of Corvo and Flores, throughout the year, in Ariel: Atlanticoline SA.

Weather: Climate: Mild temperate. Temperature: average high 19.9°C/67.8°F. Average low 14.9°C/58.8°F. For up to date information from the Azores Weather Institute, you can download the free app Meteo IPMA for iOS* or for Android (Downside: unfortunately, all the information in the app is in Portuguese.)

Best time to visit: in August for the weather and the Our Lady of Miracles festivities.

Seismic activity*: No activity. (Source)

*Note: seismic activity is constantly monitored in the Azores.

WiFi coverage: Yes.
Cell phone coverage: Yes.

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A photo posted by Hotel/Restaurante Vista do Rei (@azoresvistadorei) on

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