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We are Jess and Simao and we are a young couple living on Pico island in the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago. Simao is 21 and born and raised in Pico, he speaks very good Portuguese and English, also Spanish. Jess is 30 and moved here from the UK 2 and half years ago, she is learning to speak Portuguese. We live here with our animal family, two cats, Floki and Kurt Cobain, and two dogs, Sasha and Flea, they are all rescued from the streets and are absolutely wonderful, we love them very much. Animals rule our house so it is strictly only animal lovers that can stay here.
Pico is one of the 9 Azorean islands, located almost in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Pico belongs to the central cluster of islands, some of which are visible from Pico (Faial and Sao Jorge). Our island is home to the highest peak in the whole of Portugal, Pico mountain, which is really incredible to see and climb! Other islands, especially those in the central triangle, are easily accessible and are also fantastic to visit. I am yet to find anyone to visit the Azores and Pico island who was disappointed!
We love nature and animals, we enjoy swimming in the ocean, exploring the island, listening to music and various other things. Simao is also a great guitarist. We strive to find a good balance between work, rest and adventure.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
We live as environmentally friendly as possible and we expect visitors to adopt the same way of living. For example we do all of the following as best as we can.. recycling, buying foods that are locally sourced or even better foods from the garden (this isn't a lot right now as we'r just getting started), we avoid plastic and try to be efficient with gas/electricity/water. We hope to welcome visitors that also care a lot about the planet.
Our life is very different from the city life, we aim to enjoy life and seek new experiences. Pico life is very slow, nature is inescapable, and we hope to show this different pace of life.
We have a field at the back where we harvest potatoes and have space to plant other vegetables too, and we have a small banana tree plantation that needs some love and care before we can harvest bananas. We have some other herbs and plants growing but this is really something we hope to work on more so that we can become more self-sustainable. Anyone who enjoys gardening will be very welcome here :).
Pico is truly a magical place and we encourage guests to explore in their free time, we can also help with a vehicle as long as fuel costs are covered and it is available. It is an isolated place with unreal nature and and real charm. With amazing whale watching, hiking, caves, swimming, snorkeling, cheese, wine, all located on the wonder that is Pico mountain.
We are not expecting to teach you any skills, maybe the other way round :D but we do wish to show you our lifestyle here in the Azores and share a memorable experience with you.
We live in a big house with a big garden that needs some love therefore we are looking to get some help with various help around the house and garden, and with the animals too. Ideally we would like someone with experience in woodwork as we have a few small projects in mind but we are lacking the confidence to get started. This includes building secure fencing for a goat, an enclosed outdoor cat area for our deaf cat Floki, a greenhouse, an area for chickens and other general things here and there.
What you might be expected to do while staying with us is as follows:
- Priority project - carpentry/joinery-work: fencing for goat, area for chickens, enclosed cat area and greenhouse - please note we are on a budget and try to build out of reclaimed materials, we also have a fair amount of tools and some power tools, but by no means a fully stocked workspace. If you have tools in mind that are essential please let us know beforehand.
- Basic DIY around the house
- Animal related tasks - changing cat litter, giving food and water, cleaning, dog walks, grooming/washing
- House cleaning - helping us keep any of the shared areas clean and clear
- Gardening - weeds control, replanting certain plants, general tidying in garden, we can plant some seeds or other plants if it is the right time of year, for example potatoes, and the banana trees need some love
- Cooking - we will share the responsibility of cooking and doing the dishes with you, our expectations are very low when it comes to cooking, we just like healthy, vegetarian food
- Any activities related to a natural, eco lifestyle, making kombucha, making homemade cleaning products, arts and crafts with reclaimed materials, and we can discuss other ideas.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
Please contact them directly for more information.
There is a small private room available with a queen size bed and storage space for clothes. You will sleep in the upper part of the house, where as we sleep in the downstairs area. Your room comes with a balcony that is shared with the cats who have access when we let them out each day, it also has a view to the ocean and the mountain. The house is very big so there is plenty of space for privacy, but the cats and dogs are always around. We have a large kitchen and dining area, large living room with sofas and television, 2 bathrooms 1 of which is on the ground floor with just a toilet, the other has a shower so we will share that bathroom (it is located upstairs close to your room).
Please note.....the shared bathroom with the shower often has a resident cat! We do the post operation care after steralising 1 stray cat at a time, before returning them to the street or finding them a home. Therefore, please have in mind you may be sharing your bathroom with a cat. This is not definite but it is a possibility. If the cat is really causing problems, we will think of an alternative, but if they are friendly then we will continue with this system. As mentioned, you must love animals to stay here. We care so much about helping animals from the street, so it is not a normal household, but we hope you can appreciate it.
If you are a couple or friends there is plenty of space for camping (tent available), and there is also another double room that we can be provided but we need assistance in preparing it (simple clear out and moving furniture).
Provision of food will depend on the duration of the visit and how much work visitors are interested in doing.
Option 1 - If happy to work 5 hours a day for 5 days a week food will be provided, but guests will be expected to share the cooking and dishes, and also to cook for yourself when we have other commitments.
Option 2 - If you are wanting to work less we really insist on someone with experience in woodwork as this is the priority, and we will provide an evening meal for 10 hours work per week. In this case the priority is to build the fencing for the goat, area for the cat, the greenhouse and prepare area for chickens.
Jess is a vegetarian and Simao does not eat meat very often. All of the food we make is vegetarian. We are ok with meat and fish in the house but it will not provided for free, if you are happy to buy it yourself we only ask that it is locally sourced and cooked by yourself (if cooking for all of us please include a vege option too). Fish is extremely popular here and if you like to eat fish I encourage you to try fishing or even spearfishing which we can help you with.
Pico is a fairly quiet place with a population of 15,000 but is also an attractive tourist destination due to it's incredible nature. It is quite agricultural, lots of fields, lots of cows but with some nice shops/restaurants/bars etc. Therefore please expect a fairly calm place. When possible we will introduce you to our friends here and other workawayers, but not guaranteed, if being social and meeting new people is important to you we will incorporate this as best as possible in your visit.
Other things to do in Pico....
- Climb the mountain - hiking - whale watching (Jess moved here to work in this industry, very good place for whale and dolphin watching!!) - snorkeling/swimming - museums - cheese and wine tasting - caves - lakes - visit neighbouring islands Faial and Sao Jorge by ferry, other islands bit further away but also accessible by ferry or flight
There is limited transport available.
Pico has 4 seasons in a day!! So expect sun, rain and wind. Winters are short, cloudy but fairly warm, a bit cold at night time, but a lot warmer than UK for example. Please bring clothes for all potential weather outcomes.
Be aware, we have very ying and yang dogs!! 1 dog will be very scared at first and bark a lot, it takes a very long time for her to trust people, but she has never bitten or shown any aggression, she's just a terrified sweetheart, you will see. The other dog is suuuuper friendly and will try to lick you to death, she jumps up a lot with new people....she's crazy, but very loving and smart. The cats are very friendly and sweet! All 4 of them will cover you in fur!
COVID - Please note you will be tested for Covid when landing in the Azores if you are without a negative test result from up to 72 hours before landing. You will also be required to do another test 6 days after arriving. The use of masks is mandatory in all indoor public spaces (supermarkets, bars on entry, shops etc). We expect visitors to respect this.
We love where we live, and the animals we share it with. Pico is magical and a must experience place. We hope to connect with you, work together, laugh together, and ensure everyone is getting something from this.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Plenty of space to park a van.
Yes, we welcome pets, but needs to be discussed as we already have one very lively dog, so ideally no livelier! We have cats and dogs so any animal guests must be comfortable with our existing residents :)
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week