Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Two weeks ago, I was in Azores, more precisely on the island of  San Miguel, known as 'The Green Island'.
 I would like to introduce you Terra Nostra,
 a bicentennial botanical park, but before doing it, let me show you a bit of the scenery of the island.. 
Driving from the city to the Park takes about 45 minutes and the pristine landscape is awesome: mountains and tranquil valleys covered with exuberant vegetation and breathtaking beautiful lakes within the crater of extinct volcanoes. 

Owing to the absence of pollution, the landscape takes on unique shades and colours. 

An abundance of flowers which include hydrangeas, rhododendron, camellias etc.,  as well as tropical fruits such as the pineapple, pastures, and crops such as tea, give the island a rare botanical variety.

  Tea plantation

Quality timber, much of which is indigenous like the Japanese cedar

Now that you have got - I hope - a rough and general idea about the island, let me tell you a bit of the history of the bicentennial botanical park Terra Nostra, which dates back to 1780, when the Boston-born merchant Thomas Hicling, then US Consul in the island, had his summer residence built on this luxurious location. 
In 1848, a Portuguese nobleman purchased the property. The garden was enlarged and laid out in grand style, with water, dark groves of trees and flowers. A significant number of today's impressive trees date back from that period, some of which were shipped from as far as North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa.
The Park that is artistically landscaped and very well kept, displays a several flora specimens, out of which it's worth mentioning a collection of 600 specimens of camellia that covers an extensive area in the middle of palm trees, and so do ferns.
For those who like the idea of a swim in warm mineral water for therapeutic relief, the Park offers a highlight: a thermal spa with a  huge pool - 5 feet deep - of a murky looking. The water, with temperatures between 35ºC and 40ºC (95º and 104ºF), comes from a hot spring. It is said that it is quite rejuvenating to soak in that pool. I didn't try but I saw many foreign tourists doing it. From their faces, I believe they were having fun.
Hope you enjoy the slide-show below that starts with some images taken on the way from the city to the Park.


  1. Thanks Belita for sharing your Utopian Island with us here.
    Wow the photos the history everything here makes me want to visit this truly Beautiful paradise island.
    I love your photos and especially the slideshow which shows everything to advantage.
    I was amazed to read about the different climate zoned plants all thriving together on the island. The fact that this is a volcanic island, I am supposing that the soil is alluvial soil, would also contribute to the richness of the flora on the island. Spectacular views and all beautifully captured by you. I am sure that this was a wonderful excursion from the mainland for you to undertake....thanks once again for sharing here and I hope that we have many visitors to this interesting post. xo

  2. It was a pleasure, Milli! Unfortunately, the weather was not so fine as it would have been desirable. It was my second visit, this time more concentrated on sightseeing than golfing, which I played on one day, only. Sorry for not naming the flowers but though they were all familiar to me I don't know how to call most of them, even in Portuguese language.

  3. Oh do not worry about the names of the flowers their beauty is enough Belita.
    I think the sightseeing must have been a treat too Belita
    Because it has been for me, that is for sure.

  4. This is such beautiful island. You are very lucky to have such a place of beauty to retreat to.I would much like to be a able to visit a retreat so grand...... Your details and descriptions
    of the island makes it come to life for me, Thank you so much for sharing such beauty with us here.


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