The Terra Nostra park and garden in located in the middle of the town of Furnas in the county of Povoacao on Sao Miguel island. This is one of the most beautiful gardens on the island and has a rich history that dates back to the late 1700s. With over 600 varieties of Camellias; which makes it the largest private collection in Europe is only one of the many charms this enchanted garden has to offer. The garden has thermal hot springs you can swim in, volcanic mineral pools, thousands of flowers and trees all manicured perfectly to just to name a few of its treasures. The 31-acre lush garden has so many neat trails, ponds, and even peacocks walking around strutting their glorious feathers as you admire the magic of this amazing garden. After being bought in 1842 by the Viscount of Praia e Monforte, from then the American Consul in the region Thomas Hickling, the elaborate estate began its transformation into the enchanted botanical garden it has become today. It was during this time that the garden was greatly expanded with many ornamental plants imported from all over the world, while also adding a new manor home which was built overlooking the large thermal springs pool. It was during this time that all of the nobles and large landowners were competing with each other in trying to create the most elaborate garden on the island. This caused them to experiment with hundreds of varieties of plants, trees, and flowers from all over the world with each landowner having a special interest in having the most unique plants. The garden here at Terra Nostra is considered one of the hardest and most difficult gardens to maintain according to gardeners who have studied the region for decades. It is a wonder how this active volcanic region on the island has been able to sustain one of the most elaborate gardens in all of Portugal for over 200 years, which only adds to its mystery and charm. The soil level ranges in acidity due to its location deep in a crater from minus 3 to 0 (neutral) which affects the growth of various plants throughout the garden. That is the main reason why certain plants and trees will grow in certain areas of the garden and not in others, it is a really complex and delicate Ecosystem with various different gardens all-encompassing one large botanical garden. For over 30 years Fernando Costa has been the head gardener here at the Terra Nostra garden which is owned by the Bensaude Group; a family-owned and operated business. He has been developing carefully the garden and surrounding streams, and mineral springs into the well-manicured, exotic garden it has become today. Tourists and locals alike come to this garden on a regular basis to relax and enjoy the many walking trails, enchanted picnic spots or just to take a swim in the mineral hot springs. A true gem in the crown of Azorean history and culture, this is definitely a location you want to explore on your trip to Sao Miguel. There are so many secrets spots and magical wonders to discover in this garden that your love for nature will only increase as you admire the unique beauty that exists in the Azores. The endless streams, hot springs, camellia gardens, fern gardens, koi ponds, and hundreds of endemic and native plants make this one of the top places to spend the day and explore.