About Archipelago Choice

Archipelago Choice – Who are we?  

As far as we aware, we’re the only travel company in the world to specialise in the Portuguese speaking islands of the Atlantic – for the uninitiated, these are the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde and Sao Tome. Our holidays are bespoke, personal, and designed around our experience over the past 25 years of traveling and exploring these unique island archipelagos.

Why should you travel with us?

We’re a family-run, independent travel company with full ATOL financial protection (so your money is always safe). But more importantly, we look after people.  We look after you from your first enquiry right through to your return home.  We look after our staff, who are like part of the family, and we look after our suppliers because many have been with us on this long journey and are like old friends.

We believe that the key to a successful holiday is hands-on personal experience.  Each year, we head out to our specialist destinations to experience all they have to offer . Where ever possible, we only recommend hotels we’ve stayed in, activities we’ve done and restaurants we’ve eaten at, so we’re confident that your holiday will be a success, because have the experience to know what works.


The internet is full of promises, many overplayed and often underdelivered.  Our promise to you is we’ll listen, plan and deliver a rewarding and memorable holiday. Building trust is about listening to your requirements and delivering excellent customer experience – if you feel this isn’t happening at any time, then please email me at: ian@archipelagochoice.com

Our Story

Like many start-ups, Sarah and I worked from the spare room at home with some second-hand office equipment, a couple of personal computers, and commuted into London for our paid jobs.  In the first 12 months 68 people trusted us with their Azores holiday plans and we made a small profit. Since then we have grown organically into the world’s leading travel specialist to the Portuguese speaking archipelagos of the Atlantic.  There have been many upsets along the way – September 11th, Financial crash, Icelandic volcanoes and, most recently, COVID.  We’ve survived each of these and came out stronger each time, which is testament to all the people who work for us and everyone who has put their trust in us for their travel plans.


The team – Who’s going to be looking after you?



Having spent the last 20 years working as part of the Archipelago Choice team, I have enjoyed many amazing adventures to the Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira and Portugal. Past highlights include taking to the seas in a traditional Azorean whaling boat, off the south coast of Sao Miguel in the Azores, and hiking in the Serra da Malagueta natural park on Santiago in Cape Verde. I really enjoy sharing my experiences and drawing from them to create fantastic holiday itineraries and ideas for others to enjoy.

Away from the office, my main focus is my young family and my music – I’ve been playing the cello for about 30 years and enjoy performing with several orchestras and ensembles around the Cumbria and Borders region.  One trip to the Azores was particularly special because I proposed to my girlfriend… and she said yes! Now we have two lovely small children.


I love to travel and experience landscapes and places through activity and have spent many of my holidays hiking, cycle touring, and mountain biking in Europe and North Africa. Living in Keswick, in the Lake District, is perfect for me. The human scale of the area makes the place easy to live in and accessible to explore, which I do mainly via mountain bike and on foot. Mountain biking here often involves plenty of walking!

The Atlantic Islands, touched by Portugal’s presence, are fascinating to explore. It would be easier to call them ‘Portugal’s islands’ but of course both Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe are now independent countries. I love their volcanic nature, something that is so apparent on Sao Miguel in the Azores, where the hot springs of Poca Dona Beja are my favourite place to head to. Pico mountain is another favourite, its upper crater is an amazing place to be awestruck by nature’s power. In Cape Verde, it’s impossible to ignore stark and arresting Fogo, a huge stratovolcano. Visiting Fogo is one of the highlights of my travel life so far. Each archipelago island has its own distinct character, which I have been lucky enough to have discovered by visiting and touring with the locals we work with. You can have this too, exploring in the company of the people we work with,  whether in Madeira, tropical Sao Tome, the Azores or Cape Verde, gives you a much more authentic and in-depth experience, in a way that scratching the surface by yourself cannot achieve.

My work life has had plenty of variety, the central theme being working with people to understand what they want, and then help them get it, something that helps me when putting together holidays for our clients.


With our personalised holidays to Portugal, to Madeira and to the Azores, we try to give you a feel for where Portugal’s been, where they are now and (hopefully) where the country’s heading in the future – immersing you in Portugal’s rich cultural heritage. If you’d like to plan a visit and would like some first-hand advice on, we’re the team to call.


Growing up in the Lake District, I developed a love for the outdoors and an appreciation for the natural environment. I like to get out into the countryside – be it walking, running, cycling, or climbing – and being in Keswick is the perfect playground to enjoy these activities.

Prior to working for Archipelago Choice I spent several years organising bespoke walking holidays around the UK. This was a natural amalgamation of my enjoyment of getting outside and my childhood helping with the family’s holiday cottage lettings business. The opportunity to come to Archipelago Choice and expand my horizons, both literally and metaphorically, was too good to resist and I look forward to finding out what places like the Azores have to offer and sharing my findings, and my excitement, with you all!

When it’s too wet and cold to get outside (as is often the case in the Lake District) I also enjoy music – specifically playing the bass guitar – and can often be found in the pubs around town performing with, or just listening to, the many enjoyable local bands.


I moved to the Lake District in my early twenties, mostly drawn by the mountains. I have always loved walking and rock climbing so Keswick felt like an adventure playground to me, and still does. Despite being prone to ‘disco leg’ at times, I am also strangely drawn to the exposure of the mountains, and the total freedom that you feel. In more recent years, I have also taken up ‘wild swimming’ (once simply referred to as ‘swimming’, until social media platforms coined a new title!)

I’ve been in Keswick for over 20 years now and have always worked in the adventure and travel industry, whether that’s working as an outdoor pursuits instructor, selling adventure holidays or writing articles for local activity centres. At Archipelago Choice, I am responsible for helping with marketing and content. As such, I always like to hear from customers because I enjoy creating content that is of interest to our followers.


Travel has always been a big part of my life and the mould was set on my first Cub Scout camp when I was 8 years old. Just 4 miles down the road, if felt like an epic journey into the unknown… and it was; with midnight feasts, jungle treks, and secret raids on islands fortresses! In my late teens, and before we all had a personal computer, I was organising trips around the UK and across Europe for groups of friends, using nothing more than a notepad and photocopier.

My great grandfather, grandfather and father were all butchers, so it seemed that my life was already mapped out before me. By the time I was 14, I was working with my father in his butcher’s shop and there wasn’t much need for an education. But I always dreamed of another life and found my escape through books, magazines, and Private Eye. Stepping away from the family business, I started to travel the world, initially for a 6 month stint, then a year and then for 4 years.

The journey that lead me to Archipelago Choice has been full of challenges, adventures, fun, and stories to tell. I’m now married with two children and a company that, at times, feels like a third. Running your own business, for me, is one of life’s great pleasures. We have a fantastic team and a strong ethos to do the “right thing” by protecting the environment, creating inspiring jobs, looking after our clients and helping our friends and colleagues to prosper on their island Archipelagos.

So let’s go travelling!

Team Archipelago Choice