My family & I visited Sao Miguel in June 2013. With 6 people we did not want to rent two cars or multiple taxis to get around and see the island. Reading directions with rental cars would have been a nightmare and taking two taxis would take away from spending time together.
After much research on TripAdvisor I found Lisa Ringelberg who does private tours. You may be thinking, private tour, how will I afford that? It's reasonably priced and Lisa made everything enjoyable and easy for our family during the week. She took away all of the stress in planning and coordinating. It was worth every penny!!
Based on our interests, Lisa had put together an outline of itinerary for us when we arrived. She was flexible all week, we changed things slightly because of the weather but it was no problem. We did a combination of half day and full day tours. She brought us to see all of the attractions and told us history about each. She recommended restaurants for us and though she is Candian born (fluent in English) she speaks fluent Portuguese and was able to make a few dinner reservations for us that we would not have been able to make ourselves. She is absolutely lovely, could not have been nicer and more accommodating. Lisa MADE our trip. One of the highlights was the Cozido (traditional Portuguese meal cooked in the hot springs) lunch at Furnas. Lisa's friends John and Goretti cooked this meal for us. We also had a dinner at their house later in the week with more traditional cooking. These experiences are exclusive to Lisa's tours.
Lisa does smaller groups as well as tours from the cruise ships. She is the best mode of transportation around the island! Contact her at - firstname.lastname@example.org