The particular terrain looks both familiar and too striking to be real — like a scene from Jurassic Park, minus the herds of velociraptors. Here, off the western coast of Portugal, are the Azores, an archipelago associated with nine volcanic islands. In an era when the trendiest travel destinations are marked by wild day parties (Mykonos), tequila-fueled nightlife (Tulum), and excursions planned with the perfect Instagram shot in mind (Bali), the appeal of the Azores lies within experiencing the natural landscapes. More than 850 miles away from Portugal’s industrial pollution, the islands are so rich in minerals that they not only make the Azores a premier wellness destination , but have also inspired one of today’s buzziest luxury skin care brands, Ignae .

My trip to the particular Azores began with the flight through New York to Lisbon, plus another one in order to Ponte Delgada on the region’s largest island, San Miguel. A short drive led to Terra Nostra Garden Hotel , which houses all the classic amenities: spacious guest rooms, a spa, and a restaurant specializing in local cuisine. The grounds themselves, however, would be the most alluring draw.

Dating back to 1776, Terra Nostra Garden is a sprawling expanse of palm trees, ferns, azaleas, and bamboo, among countless other plants. The lush acreage is best known for boasting more than 600 varieties of camellias, which bloom year round in red, pink, white and yellow. Situated in the middle of the Furnas volcano , the property features a smattering associated with hot springs and a good iron-rich thermal pool with waters reading 104°F (40°C). According to studies, a dip can promote better sleep , increase circulation, ease symptoms of anemia , boost metabolism, plus alleviate pain .

Courtesy of Leah Faye Cooper

Born and raised in the particular Azores, Ignae founder Miguel Pombo knows the land and its organic offerings well. “I worked as a consultant in a regulatory affairs firm in Brussels, where I had the chance to learn about the ingredients used within many cosmetics, ” he says. “By learning more about their properties, I started realizing that in the Azores we had many of those ingredients, which usually had little or no economic value. ” With that knowledge, Pombo returned to the Azores to research and develop a sustainable Azorean skin care brand. In 2017, this individual launched Ignae with four products — the Daily Enzyme Cleanser , the Day Complex , the particular Enriched Regeneration Serum and the Dynamic Eye Complicated .

Extracts found in the vegan, cruelty-free range include Japanese cedar, which helps stimulate skin cell renewal; green tea, known for its anti-inflammatory properties; plus spirulina, to enhance elasticity and diminish fine lines plus wrinkles . Fallen camellias at Terra Nostra Backyard — and those that are usually clipped during routine pruning — are cold pressed, producing Ignae’s hydrating and skin-soothing camellia seed oil . “When developing our range, all of us do not think of a product that we all want to do plus then look for something that will can be useful for that product, ” Pombo says. “Instead, we are constantly researching all of the plants, algae, bacteria and proteins to understand what they can be used with regard to, and only then developing our own products. ” Everything is produced in small batches, leveraging biotechnology to minimize the impact on the environment.

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Within 2018, Ignae landed around the radar of celebrated facialist Joanna Czech , who used the particular eye complex to prepare Eva Chen, Kim Kardashian, plus Christy Turlington for that will year’s Met Gala . It was promptly added to her influential Czech List , and later became a favorite associated with veteran luxurious executive Claire Chung, that discovered Ignae while running Yoox Net-A-Porter in China. She after that flew towards the Azores to meet Pombo and explore the brand in late 2019. In 2020, after working alongside Pombo on a new business plan, she was named CEO.

Most recently, Ignae has launched a reparative blue light serum and a rich body oil . Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon plus Shen — the popular Brooklyn beauty boutique founded by Jessica Richards — all offer Ignae-based treatments at their spas. The particular facials and massages, which usually address everything from lymphatic drainage in order to over-exposure to digital devices, are an escape on their own; a relaxing reflection of San Miguel’s singular appeal.

“I’ve traveled the world yet this island was jaw dropping, ” Chung states of the girl first trips to San Miguel. “All on one island We saw black sand beaches, verdant eco-friendly valleys, scenic lakes, rainforests, and jungles. ”

My experience was similar. I actually explored the small village surrounding Terra Nostra Garden Resort and took in sweeping botanical views at the particular Gorreana Tea Factory . A family-run business since 1883, Gorreana, alongside neighboring tea farm Porto Formoso , has made the Azores Europe’s reigning tea capitol. Later, a visit to Caldeira Velha allowed for plunging in three thermal pools and enjoying a natural waterfall; it was like a wellness pre-game prior to a fresh-seafood-and-local-wine lunch at the particular oceanside Bar Caloura .

Hours spent “volcano hopping” — ascending and descending peaks via Land Rover with a tour guide — made for a good unforgettable afternoon. The islands are the first certified archipelago under EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destination program, meaning they meet high standards established in order to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem and prevent over tourism. So even as the Azores increases within popularity, the particular mass commercialization found in other European destinations will be unlikely to make its way there. After visiting San Miguel, I have the other islands on deck — plus a new favorite entire body oil stocked in my apartment.

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