PICOS SEASONS - Our seasonal calendar
MARCH & APRIL
Welcome back everybody – The early bird catches the baleen whale
Spring on Pico is a splendid time for nature lovers. The mountaintop is still covered in snow, contrasting the lush green of the thick vegetation at lower altitudes and the bright blue of the Atlantic Ocean. In March and April Pico Island witnesses two of the earths most venerable migrations: The baleen whales, slender and elegant giants are on the move. Up from the warm and sheltering waters in the south they cross the Ocean to reach their plentiful summer grounds in the northern Atlantic. The productive waters of the Azores are their first pit stop. Here they feed on the spring blooms of planktonic biomass. At the same time the corry’s shearwaters, majestic seabirds, make their way across the ocean to meet on Pico. For them the Azorean Islands are shelter and banquet for their upcoming breading season. Sailing above the waves with astonishing skill during the day, they fill the nights on Pico with their characteristic calls when finding back to their nests.
Weather in spring is a roller coaster. With temperatures averaging around 16°C during daytime, 13°C at night and 16°C in the water, Pico’s climate prepares the ground for a toing and froing between light breezes and spanking winds, furious rainfalls and reconciling sunbeams, dense mist and clear skies. There is rarely a weather that lasts for a day or even for hours – and whenever weather changes Pico is dipped into a fairytale coating.
‘Be prepared!’ should be anyone’s mantra who is visiting Pico in spring. Prepared to catch the breathtaking sight of a surfacing blue-, fin, sei- or humpback whale; to watch a dolphin splitting the ocean’s surface, to distrust your ears when hearing the shearwater’s call and to duck down when they are cutting in close above your head.
Be ready to be a bystander to erosion when roaring waves convulse the rocky shores; to be an observer of the sun lifting the morning mist above warped trees; to be witness to a snow covered mountain shaking off the winter clouds. And most important, be equipped to change from jacket and pants into shirt and shorts and vice versa within minutes.
In spring on Pico Island – you will find magic.
MAY & JUNE
Explorations off the beaten path
With blossom at full strength Pico becomes a prosperous Garden Eden with wild Orchids, kilometers of Hydrangea-hedges and China Roses (hibiscus) among many others. And you will neither getting soaked nor boiled when spending most of your day outdoors. The baleen whale’s spring migration may continue well into May and the world largest predator, the sperm whale, is now seen on a daily basis from the whale watching boats. With rising temperatures a fascinating realm reveals itself around Pico’s shore. A maze of underwater landscapes, formed by ancient lava flows and frozen into basaltic rock, is home to Pico’s rich underwater diversity. Amongst many wondrous creatures, roaming our shore, gigantic stingrays are a special treat when diving in submarine volcanic craters in May and June.
From May onwards temperatures average around 20°C during daytime, 15°C at night and due to the Azorean current, the gulf streams little brother, water temperature is up to 18°C already, and Pico starts into its driest months with rainfalls between 59 to 40 mm monthly. Do not be mistaken, rainfalls still come suddenly but are typically less tragic and shorter in time than earlier in the year. With 16 hours of daylight you have plenty of time at your hands to discover Pico’s outdoors.
May & June is an excellent time for an active holiday. The prosperous flora invites to astonishing hikes and bike rides along volcanic ridges, UNESCO world heritage sites, fresh water lakes or one of the many natural swimming pools. There are many routes that take you through the mingle mangle of Pico’s landscapes – through ancient villages of basaltic rock, unique vineyards on bare stone, enchanted forests and wide open meadows. The very peak of Pico Mountain, the rooftop of the Atlantic Ocean, stands patient to await your visit.
Those who come for the underwater wonders will be greeted by unspoiled dive spots with hardly ever any other diver or snorkeler in the water.
JULY, AUGUST & SEPTEMBER
High Noon – a bit of everything & Big Fish
The peak of summer has arrived on the island and Pico turns into an adventurous summer destination. The sperm whales and several dolphin species become the highlights of successful Whale Watching trips – the youngest offsprings do often openly show off their joy for life.
The warmer waters turn our Island into one of the most valued location for scuba divers. Elegant blue sharks, powerful makos, the fabled mobula rays and many schooling pelagic fish make their appearance around our waters and invite divers from around the globe to enjoy these exquisite creatures. The flamboyant banquet of flourishing flora keeps adding highlights to green meadows and volcanic coast. And the long nights and constant temperatures turn the small fishing villages into stages for traditional celebration, rhythm and joy.
Stable temperatures around 23°C during daytime, 18°C at night and between 22-24°C in the water give great comfort and make light clothing Pico’s dress code. As rainfall becomes less frequent but a little more intense the monthly amounts stay comparable to May and June. Light clothing becomes Pico’s dress code. With the weather acting up, beautiful phenomena are drawn to the sky – light rain clothing should still never be left behind.
Summer on Pico holds a bit of everything for everyone. Swimming pools and tiny harbors call for lazy days and extended swims. Passionate divers will float in open and crystal clear waters sharing moments with Pico’s delicate marine life.
Between magical water and open skies, whale watchers and snorkelers will make memorable encounters with families of whales and dolphins. Sport enthusiasts and unhurried hikers and bikers will find challenge and beauty far away from the beaten track. When the long days then come to an end, they all will gaze at beautiful sunsets – some while relishing a margarita in Madalena’s bars, others high up on the mountain, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean stretching infinitely towards the horizon.
OCTOBER & NOVEMBER
Between Indian Summer & early Storms
The ending summer and an approaching winter leave Pico between the beauty and strength of nature’s forces. Sperm whales, dolphins, sharks, mobula rays and the diverse species seen on coastal dives are still around, but on some days wind may make for challenging conditions on the sea. On land the new generation of corey’s shear waters are testing their wings for the long journey to southern landmass. As winds strengthen and the swelling sea sends massive breakers against the shore, wave watching becomes a favorite sport.
The warm Atlantic keeps temperatures around 20 to 17°C on land and 20-18°C in the water. Rainfall becomes a little more frequent but full days of sun are still common. As weather can change multiple times in one day or even within hours, layered clothes become the standard fashion.
Autumn on Pico is ideal for a ‘can do, but don’t have to’ attitude. Oddly, the best shark diving and whale watching trips often happen around this time. On land the lowering temperatures create ideal conditions for outdoor activities. And if weather becomes a little more expressive: Put on a raincoat, enjoy the purity of nature’s forces and cuddle up in front of our fireplace afterwards.
JANUARY, FEBRUARY & DECEMBER
Humid warm & green winters
Winter on Pico is only cold with north wind, then the Pico volcano is sometimes covered with ice and snow.
A colorful mix of autumn and spring with unpredictable weather and temperatures that can sometimes climb to 20 ° C on sunny days in December and January, leveling off on average from 16 - 18 ° C during the day and 13 ° C at night .
Water activities are a matter of luck at this time. On some days dolphins and sperm whales are also spotted and can also be observed when the sea is calm.
The green landscape in the bizarre volcanic black offers ideal conditions for hikers who are not bothered to catch a fresh breeze on the face and the changing weather.
This time is quiet, you only meet a few people, so you can spontaneously spend the day without reservations and hang out at rain with a book in front of the fireplace.