What is the climate like?
The Azores has a mild maritime climate controlled by the high pressure area, known as the “Azores High”, and the warm Gulf Stream. Statistically temperatures vary between 13º and 14º C (55º-57ºF) during the winter and 22º-23ºC (72º-73ºF) during the summer, frequently climbing to the high twenties and even low thirties in July and August. The sea temperatures vary from between 14-15ºC (57-59ºF) in winter and 22-23ºC (72º-73ºF) in the height of the summer, largely due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream. Rain falls throughout the year, however in summer the showers are brief although sometimes very heavy. There is an average of 78% humidity.
What is the cost of living in the Azores?
As most items are shipped in from mainland Portugal some products can be somewhat pricey. However, staple foods, fresh meat and fish are all very moderately priced. Milk is very cheap as the islands have a large population of cows. Health insurance is relatively inexpensive, private insurers offer packages starting as low as 100-150 Euro a month. The state provides health care at very low cost. House insurance varies depending on the package. For a 300,000 Euro house insurance including earthquake coverage will cost around 500 Euro per year. Car insurance will cost around 200 Euro per year for a decent sized car. Road taxes vary on the type and age of your car but usually are less than 100 Euros per year. Real Estate tax is 0.3% per year of the tax value of the house or land which can be dramatically lower than the commercial value of a property. Real estate taxes are low compared to other countries. Water bills are low but electricity bills can be high if one uses electrical heating, lots of cycles in the cloth dryer. For a large house it can be 100-150 Euro a month.
What health service is provided?
Faial has an excellent hospital, with an accident and emergency unit, and also a Health Centre. When you are a resident of the island a visit to the health clinic will cost you 2 Euros. The doctor will refer you to the hospital if a specialist is required to look at your health problem. You need to register to get an ID number to make use of health services. As a visitor you can go to the emergency at the hospital to see a doctor at a fee of 50 Euros.
Will we be able to use cash machines to withdraw money whilst on the island or should we bring travelers cheques with us?
There are plenty of cash machines in Horta and one at the airport, too. Traveler’s cheques can prove expensive to cash.
Do mobile phones work on the islands?
Yes. There are a few areas where the signal is not good, but that is mostly out in the countryside, well away from any buildings. 4G network reach is quite good. If homes are not connected to the internet by cable you can get a 4G wireless router to access the internet.
Can I get broadband connection to the Internet?
Yes. Most villages have ADSL and there are hotspots in Horta and at the airport. Horta and Almoxarife have fiber optic connection to the homes. This network is being gradually expanded to the rest of the island. As the Azores are linked directly with the Transatlantic cable between Europe and the USA internet speeds are excellent through fiber optic connections. A Package including TV, home phone and Internet will cost you around 40 Euros a month through either MEO (Portugal Telecom) or NOS
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