Pinhal Da Paz is a forest reserve located only 15 minutes by car from Porta Delgada in Sao Miguel Azores. Owned by a prominent landowning family, the forest was a famous spot to visit in Sao Miguel. However, because of financial problems, the park fell into disrepair in the late 20th century. Eventually, the regional government acquired the land. Today, the government continues the work to restore and maintain the forest. Pinhal Da Paz is free to visit and easy to access.
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Getting to Pinhal Da Paz
If you have a car, getting to Pinhal Da Paz is a breeze. Located just a 15-minute north from central Ponta Delgada, the park opens at 9 am. Additionally, there are no problems with parking here. A huge adjacent lot means you can come any time of day. With this in mind, the forest is a great place to visit on a hot Portuguese afternoon. Combine a visit to Pinhal Da Paz with a stop in Miradour Da Santa Iria or a day in Ponta Delgada.
Also Read: The complete guide to Miradour Da Santa Iria
Exploring Pinhal Da Paz
Inside the forest, you’ll find wide, shaded pathways. There are few signs and you’ll spend much of your time wandering around. It takes about 1 and a half hours to slowly stroll the forest. There is not much to do here except to relax and enjoy nature.
Also Read: The Complete Guide to Sao Miguel Azores.
Animals of the Pinhal Da Paz
After you’ve explored for a while you will eventually find a fence. Behind this fence, in a large enclosure roughly 1/8 the size of the park, live pygmy goats, fallow deer, as well as guineafowl. The goats and the deer are gentle and will approach the fence to introduce themselves.
The Fallow Deer
The Fallow Deer is well suited to different kinds of climate. You’ll find them in temperature and tropical forests, as well as the grasslands and the savanna. Much smaller than the North American deer, even when fully grown, these little guys are around the size of a big dog. They will approach the fence, and of course, feeding them is dangerous for the animals and strictly forbidden.
The Pygmy Goat
A subspecies of the domestic goat, these tiny guys are more likely to be pets than livestock. Docile and gentle, they are well known for a great temperament. Additionally, they are easy to take care of and can survive in almost any climate. They also approach the fence sometimes, but not as often as the Fallow Deer.
One of the first domesticated species to live in the Azores, the guineafowl can still be found throughout the islands. Small and social, the birds thrive in the absence of predators. However, because the birds are omnivorous they can threaten the natural balance of the smaller Azores islands. Guineafowl lives in the forest enclosure so that their population can be well regulated.
Other Animals in the Park
To the right of the enclosure, you will see a field with a small pond. Here you’ll find a peacock and ducks.
The Cactus Garden
Although I was excited to explore the cactus garden, I found it in pretty bad shape. Most of it is overgrown. However, some interesting specimens do remain. I hope the administration of the forest is working to return the cactus garden back to its former glory.
The Pinhal Da Paz park doesn’t offer much in the way of activities. However, the forest is a beautiful and peaceful place to explore. It is easy to get here and the parking is not a problem. The park is easily accessible to those with limited mobility and to families with small children.