Charming Blue Hotel | Dive the Azores | Scuba Travel

Charming Blue Hotel | Dive the Azores - Atlantic

  • Only 30 guests
  • Boutique hotel with only 15 rooms, standard and superior
  • Superb in house restaurant with local cuisine
  • Relax in the bar in complete comfort
  • Spa, pool, centre location in Vila do Porto town
  • Daily boat diving with Haliotis
  • Sites suitable for all experience levels!
  • Free wifi throughout

Charming Blue Hotel | Dive the Azores

The Charming Blue hotel is a new boutique option for those wanting their stay on Santa Maria to be that bit extra special. It lies in ViIa do Porto itself, with easy access to the town as well as lush landscape of the island. It is less than a 10 minute transfer by road from the dive centre,, or around a km stroll from the sea front. Be sure to book early as this hotel gets fully booked quickly!

The Charming Blue started life as an aristocratic home, and has been lovingly renovated into a relaxing hotel with only 15 rooms. The decor is calming, with artistic fittings throughout. There are 2 types of room grade - the standard or superior, with a range of sea or pool views. Please check on the exact view offered by your room booking. All have air con, a room safe, and are en suite with free wifi throughout.

The Bachus bar and in house Mesa d'Oito restaurant are a popular hit with divers at the end of the day. Here you can experiment with the fresh tastes and local cuisine. Dine indoor or outdoor on the pool terrace. The resort boasts it's own private swimming pool and spa. No matter if you are looking for relaxation or an action packed stay, exploring all that Santa Maria has above and below.

Standard room

Subtle and tasteful decor, the standard rooms tend to have pool views and are smaller. All have air con, a room safe, and are en suite with free wifi throughout. Please check on the exact view offered by your room booking

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Superior room

The superior room tend to have a sea view and are larger than the standard rooms. All have air con, a room safe, and are en suite with free wifi throughout. Please check on the exact view offered by your room booking

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Relax in the bar lounge

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Make time to explore Santa Maria island

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Covid Information for Charming Blue Hotel

INFORMATION PROVIDED BY VISITAZORES.COM

Last Updated: 11 MAY 2021

Passengers wishing to travel to the territory of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, by air or by sea, and who come from areas considered by the World Health Organization to be areas of active community transmission or with active transmission chains of the SARS-CoV- 2 virus, are required to present, prior to boarding, a certificate, in digital or paper format, of a document issued by an recognized laboratory, national or international, to carry out a diagnostic test to SARS-CoV-2 with negative result. Exceptions to the mandatory presentation of the test ; Passengers aged 12 years or less

Extending the stay on any of the islands of the archipelago for seven or more days, or for thirteen or more days, the passenger must, on the 6th and 12th days, respectively, counting from the date of the SARS-CoV-2 screening test, contact the Health Authority of the municipality where one resides or is staying (https://covid19.azores.gov.pt/?page_id=1426), with the objective of carrying out a new SARS-CoV-2 screening test, supported by the local Health Authority, which result will be communicated by the means assumed by that entity.


If your result is negative, you can travel and must register your trip on the My Safe Azores platform (https://mysafeazores.com) to allow faster control on arrival in the Azores.

You must present the exam result at the time of check-in in digital or physical format, excluding the SMS format.

The Autonomous Region of the Azores will assume all charges resulting from accommodation and meals for passengers disembarked in the Region, for compliance with mandatory confinement derived from POSITIVE result to SARS-CoV-2 and prophylactic isolation as a result of close contact with a POSITIVE SARS-CoV-2 case, when determined by the Health Authority.

MEASURES FOR THE ISLANDS OF Corvo, Flores, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Terceira, Faial, Pico and Santa Maria
Limitation of gatherings on the public road of a maximum number of 10 people, unless they are from the same household;
Limitation to a maximum of 10 people per table in restaurants and cafes, unless they belong to the same household and maximum capacity of 3/4 of the its capacity;
Closure of all beverage and similar establishments, with dance spaces;
Closure, from 11:59 pm onwards, of all restaurants, drinks and similar establishments, with or without a show and with or without terrace service, including spaces for holding events, except for the purposes of take away or delivery to the residence;
Fuel filling stations can maintain their operation from 11:59 pm until 06:00 am of the following day, exclusively for the purpose of selling fuels and supplying vehicles to the public;
Limited presence of public at cultural events and sports competitions to 1/3 of the respective capacity, guaranteeing the rules of social distance.


GOOD PRACTICES FOR A SAFE STAY
Use of masks in areas of common use;
Maintain the advisable physical distance of 2 meters;
Handwashing with soap and water or alcohol-based disinfectant;
Follow respiratory etiquette rules.


Measures being carried out at Azores Airports:
Reinforced cleaning with hospital-level disinfectants;
On-going cleaning teams in various areas;
Disinfection using advanced technology UV equipment;
Increase of hand sanitizers at all points of the terminals;
Signage and disclosure of the use of a mask on the terminal, warning for the need for extra hygiene care and the need for physical distance; Installation of protection screens on service counters (acrylic and glass);
Body temperature measurement camera system in coordination with health entities.


Local authorities advice and helplines
For more information https://covid19.azores.gov.pt/
Covid-19 Azores health line for medical issues (+351) 800 24 60 24
Covid-19 Azores helplines for non-medical issues (+351) 800 29 29 29 and (+351) 800 50 05 01


Country Covid Travel Information

Travel to Spain is approved by the UK government
View the up to date rules here

View entry requirements here

You can travel to Portugal for any purpose from the EU/EEA or from the UK and some other non-EU/EEA countries.

If you are transiting Portugal by air on your way to another country, unless you have an NHS COVID Pass or an EU digital COVID vaccination or recovery certificate as described above, you need to show a negativeCOVID-19 pre-departure test certificate, even if you do not intend to leave the airport. You should also check the COVID-19 entry requirements for your destination country.

Before you travel to the Azores
With the exception of children up to and including the age of 12, all travellers must:
take a RT-PCR test within 72 hours of departure and upload their negative test result on to the passenger questionnaire; or download their EU digital vaccination or recovery certificate

Complete a passenger questionnaire. You will receive a code for presentation to the health authorities on arrival. https://mysafeazores.com/

If you are staying for more than 7 days, you will have to repeat the test locally 6 days after the first test. The fit to fly return certificate is charged at approx 65 euro locally.

From October 24th, fully vaccinated travellers will need to take a day 2 lateral flow test on your return in the UK.

Not fully vaccinated travellers will be required to take a day 2 & day 8 covid test plus 10 days quarantine at home or test to release on day 5

Everyone has to complete this form online before you arrive in the UK
Form to provide your journey and contact details before you travel to the UK

Updated 25th Oct 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

Location

All the nine islands of the Azores Archipelago are located in the North Atlantic. These volcanic isles are scattered along a 600 km stretch of ocean from Santa Maria to Corvo. The islands of the archipelago are divided in three geographical groups: the Eastern Group, comprising Santa Maria and Sao Miguel, the Central Group, including Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial, and the Western Group, composed by Corvo and Flores. Each island has its own individual atmosphere and distinctive flair. Typically, the best months for divers are May to October, when the marine life is at its most exciting and the water temps climb to 20-24C.

Covid Travel Information

Travel to Spain is approved by the UK government
View the up to date rules here

View entry requirements here

You can travel to Portugal for any purpose from the EU/EEA or from the UK and some other non-EU/EEA countries.

If you are transiting Portugal by air on your way to another country, unless you have an NHS COVID Pass or an EU digital COVID vaccination or recovery certificate as described above, you need to show a negativeCOVID-19 pre-departure test certificate, even if you do not intend to leave the airport. You should also check the COVID-19 entry requirements for your destination country.

Before you travel to the Azores
With the exception of children up to and including the age of 12, all travellers must:
take a RT-PCR test within 72 hours of departure and upload their negative test result on to the passenger questionnaire; or download their EU digital vaccination or recovery certificate

Complete a passenger questionnaire. You will receive a code for presentation to the health authorities on arrival. https://mysafeazores.com/

If you are staying for more than 7 days, you will have to repeat the test locally 6 days after the first test. The fit to fly return certificate is charged at approx 65 euro locally.

From October 24th, fully vaccinated travellers will need to take a day 2 lateral flow test on your return in the UK.

Not fully vaccinated travellers will be required to take a day 2 & day 8 covid test plus 10 days quarantine at home or test to release on day 5

Everyone has to complete this form online before you arrive in the UK
Form to provide your journey and contact details before you travel to the UK

Updated 25th Oct 2021

Weather and Climate

The weather in the Azores is changeable! The islands enjoy a mild temperate climate throughout the year and benefit from the Gulf Stream; a current of warm water that heads north east from the Gulf of Mexico. The average air temperature varies between 11 and 26°C depending on the time of year and the surrounding ocean averages between 15 and 23°C. Being so far out in the Atlantic, the islands are prone to rainy days at any time of year, and without these showers of course, you could not enjoy the beautiful flora on the islands.

Travel

Flight options

There are weekly direct flights from the UK via Lisbon from Heathrow and Manchester with TAP. Depending on which island you are staying on, you may find you need a night en route before catching your onward Air Azores flight to Faial or Santa Maria.

Stopovers

If you are flying with TAP, you can also add a night or two in Lisbon, Portugal en route.

Arrange before you go

Regular Entry Requirements

If you are a tourist, you do not need a visa for short trips to EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. If you visit more than one of these countries within a 180-day period, check that you do not spend more than 90 days in total across all the countries you visit. That is because most of these countries apply the 90-day limit as a group. There are different rules for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.. Do ensure your passport has 6 months validity from your return date to prevent any issues with your airline. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid and you fulfil entry requirements. Regulations can change: please review current FCO advice: click here

Insurance

Scuba Travel requires all of our customers to have diving insurance. Please make sure that you have appropriate cover for your diving activities. We also strongly recommend you have travel insurance. It's worth taking out travel insurance once you have paid your deposit to ensure you are covered for unforeseen events and cancellation. Find out more about our combined dive and travel policy click here

Immunisations

Please speak to your local GP or check out the latest NHS advice on travel immunisations: click here

Preparing to fly

Seating

You will be able to manage your booking online once you have been ticketed (after you have paid your holiday balance). Most airlines will now enable you to select your seating at this point. There may be a small charge for prebookable seating before online check in opens. Please speak to the airline for more information about charges.

Check in

Depending on your airline, you may be able to complete check in online to print your boarding pass. If not, we will email your flight tickets to you in advance. You must print your ticket coupon.

Lounge

An airport lounge is a great way to start your holiday or to while away flight connections in comfort. Scuba Travel works with Lounge Pass to offer a huge range of affordable airport lounges around the world click here

Parking

Prebook your airport parking to save money! If you have a long way to travel, why not also look at booking an airport hotel. These aren't as expensive as you might think. click here

What happens when I arrive?

On arrival please make your way through baggage claim and immigration. There will either be a rep to meet you or you will have full details of your where to meet your transfer (with a confirmation voucher) in your travel documentation. If you have any issues on arrival, please contact us. We have an emergency contact, manned by a member of the team here in the UK. Please call 0044 7747 488 002. We will be able to help your rep locate you in the airport.

Transfers

Transfers are included in your holiday. You will be advised in your travel documentation of how to find your transfer.

Departures

At the end of your holiday, your return transfer details will be advised locally. EU passport holders do not need to pay a departure tax.

Info

Tipping

Tipping is entirely at your discretion. We do not make recommendations as to how much to tip. Should you wish to leave a tip for the staff and crew, it should reflect the level of service you have enjoyed.

Currency

The currency in the Azores is the euro. Card payments are accepted, but not in all shops or restaurants.

Phone coverage

The Azores has good GSM coverage but the signal can be patchy outside of the towns. Please check with your provider about data coverage.

Plugs and electricity

Electricity in Azores is 230 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Azores with a device that does not accept 230 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. Outlets in Azores generally accept two round pin plugs.

Extras

Hire equipment

Kit hire is available from your dive centre Haliotis - this is arranged and paid for locally

Extras

Special trips, to sites such as dollabarat and formigas, night dives and all kit hire are paid for locally

Souvenirs

The dive centre has a shop on site for kit and souvenir purchases

Nitrox/Gas

Nitrox is available for recreational mixes. This can be prebooked and prepaid or paid for locally.

Payments

Deposits and Balances

A typical deposit for a holiday to Charming Blue hotel is £250 per person, although this will depend on your exact flight option and travel class. Larger deposits may be required for some flight options (eg premium economy/business class).

Ways to pay

We accept mastercard and visa debit or credit cards. Alternatively, you are welcome to pay via bank transfer. All non sterling card payments and UK business debit cards will be subject to the 2% surcharge. Overseas bank transfers must add £6 to the sterling total to cover international handling fees. We are not able to accept PayPal transactions.

Group Payments

If you have booked as part of a group, you can still call and pay directly without needing to go via your group leader. Please have your trip reference number to hand to help us locate your holiday as quickly as possible. You will receive a transaction receipt - your group leader will forward your ATOL certificate and booking confirmation

Discounts

Repeat Guests

Are you one of Scuba Travel's repeat customers?
Over 60% of our customers trust Scuba Travel to book their next diving holiday, time after time.

And we believe you deserve a huge thanks for your ongoing support over the years, which is what our repeater discount is all about! Travel with us again in either 12 months or 24 months and you will qualify for a discount. That's all you have to do. No forms, no numbers to remember, no fuss, just a good honest price reduction.

5% off for repeat customers travelling with Scuba Travel, within 24 months
5% off plus £100 bonus for repeat customers travelling with 12 months

Repeat discounts are not cumulative and cannot be applied to special offer prices

Included

Includes flights and transfers, accommodation on a B&B basis and 10 boat dives



Excluded

Additional dives, special trips, nitrox, meals outside of your board basis and and excursions



Tipping is entirely at your discretion. We do not make recommendations as to how much to tip. Should you wish to leave a tip for the staff and crew, it should reflect the level of service you have enjoyed.




Diving in Santa Maria is best experienced by boat. Haliotis have the largest RIBs on the island, with comfortable banked seating and all safety equipment. As you descend under the water, the first thing you will notice is the great viz, which can be up to 30m. The reefs are volcanic, with lava tunnels, arches and swim throughs all over. Santa Maria is perfect for all experience levels. Learn to dive or feel the rush as you come face to face with Santa Maria's resident mobula!

Haliotis dive centre are one of the region's premier dive centres, with all the experience you need to make your diving trip to the Azores a success. The dive centre itself is situated inside the Hotel Colombo, a short road transfer from the Charming Blue hotel. They pride themselves on their facilities, including changing rooms, a classroom, kit hire and shop.

  • Daily boat diving on custom built RIBS
  • Mega for macro
  • Dive with the resident mobula fever
  • Must see dives at Pedrinha, Baixa da Maia and Gruta Azul
  • Swim throughs, caves and lava arches


Pedrinha is one of the islands must do dive sites. It's resident moray Veronica introduces herself to most divers. Large groupers hang around near the coral formations and. There's a lava canyon, climbing from the depths. Gruta Azul is best known for the huge sting rays, whilst Baixa da Maia is the place for huge schools of trigger fish and barred hog fish. Barracuda are common at Baixa de Sao Lourenco. But it is Ambrosio is the place to go for the magical mobula encounters. Special trips are regularly run (local surcharge applies) to Dollabarat and Formigas. These are remote islets where the schooling fish numbers are vast. You have good chance to see manta or shark on the walls. Dolphins and whales can be seen on the journey out.

Pedrinha

Skill level: All levels | Ave Depth: 7 | Max Depth: 35m

Located in the south part of the Island, at approx. 4nm from the marina this is one of the mandatory dives. Comprised of several small pinnacles at one site, the lava formations and canyons are magnificent. In addition, there are two galleries that divers can pass through very easily. The local is filled with small life and at times it is possible to see large pelagic fish there. The dive itself starts at 7 meters; normally we go straight to a wall filled with beautiful Marguerite (parazoanthus axinellae). Exiting that, we go into the first gallery located at 17 metres, exiting into a beautiful canyon at 32 metres, turning right and ascending to 18 metres where large schools of damselfish crowd the wall of the pinnacle. Going through a shelf we proceed into the second gallery that has three possible exits where some very beautiful, small coral formations are located. Sometimes there are a couple of very large groupers. Then ascend to 15 metres, passing through lots of small lava format

Gruta Azul

Skill level: All levels | Ave Depth: 7 | Max Depth: 17m

An amazing cavern where you can find huge stingrays and schools of small fishes. Its name, (Blue Cave in English), comes from the fact that when you came out of the cave you will find an amazing blue colour. Maximum depth is around 17 metres.

Baixa de Sao Lourenco

Skill level: All levels | Ave Depth: 7 | Max Depth: 50m

This dive spot is located in front of Sao Lourenco bay. It is a deep reef with some big underwater pinnacles. You will find big groupers on the bottom and schools of barracudas are common on the surface. It starts at 20 metres and goes down to 50 metres.

Ambrosio

Skill level: All levels | Ave Depth: 10 | Max Depth: 30m

Located in the north side of the island at 3nm from shore and 9nm from the marina, this is without a doubt one of the best dives in the Azores/Europe and the world. From late June to mid-October there are normally groups of 12-20 manta rays there, it is not unusual to see 40-50 at the same time; the record is 63. Large pelagic fish are also quite common here. Large schools of barracuda and tuna sometimes make their appearance, as well as bait ball from the small oar fish that the mantas try to eat!

Dollabarat and Formigas

Skill level: All levels | Ave Depth: 10 | Max Depth: 20m

Formigas are a group of very small islets located North- North-East of the island. Along with Dollabarat Dive, (the two are normally made in the same day), this is one of the most fantastic dives the Azores have to offer. Being a marine reserve, large schools of different species can normally be seen here, with special interest in the large pelagic. Located at 24 nm from the island of Santa Maria and 30 nm from the marina, the travel itself can be a fantastic experience, most of the time dolphins and whales are seen on the journey there. Since it is an offshore dive the visibility can be impressive; some days at the East wall of Formigas, where we have depths of 60 metres, the bottom can be seen from the surface. There are many possible dives here for all levels of divers, but the more common is on the north point, turning then to the East side. Normally there is no need to go beyond 15-18 metres deep, but at times the large school of fish or corals that exist there may require the div

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Mesa D'Oito

A highlight on site in the Charming Blue hotel! This is arguably the island's best restaurant with a modern Azorean menu

A Travessa

A real hit with locals and visitors alike, this snack bar serves a range of freshly prepared meals for all

Organizaçoes Central Pub E Ginasio

If you are looking for a laid back atmosphere, the Central Pub is great for pizza, cold beer and cocktails