The short answer is no. Despite their remote location and a currency of the historically strong Euro, the Azores are very affordable. The most visited islands (São Miguel, Terceira, Faial and Pico) are slightly more expensive but overall prices are extremely reasonable.
"The Azores aren’t for those seeking luxury resorts, shopping or nightlife and you won’t find high-end and fancy spots on any of the islands."
What about food?
A coffee is about €0.60, a bottle of Sagres or Superbock beer around €1 and a nice two-course dinner including alcohol will cost you less than €20/person. A two liter-bottle of water is about 0.70€ and the average hamburger and fries costs 4€. Looking for something stronger? A bottle of wine is difficult to find over 12€.
What about accommodation?
You will find a wide range of accommodations in the Azores from one to five stars hotels to small residencias and camping sites. Five islands even have youth hostels where a dorm bed will cost you around €7. Expect to pay €120/night for a Boutique hotel room in São Miguel.
What about museums?
Admission to museums throughout the Azores is often free or very modest.
What about tips?
Gentle haggling is common in markets (less so in produce markets); in all other instances you’re expected to pay the stated price. No need to budget for tips or extra taxes.
What about transport?
With the liberalisation of the airline industry and Ryanair operating low-cost flights since 2015, getting to the islands is more accessible and affordable than ever before.
SATA Airlines flies daily between Portugal and the east coast of the U.S. and allows you to stopover on the islands at no extra charge. If you’re already based in Europe, SATA Airlines, TAP Portugal, Tui, and Ryanair have a ton of great deals and you can often fly there for as little as €100 return.
Once you’re in São Miguel, getting to the other islands in the Azores is easy with SATA. They run regular trips between every island in the archipelago, and they rarely cost more than €50-€70. If you’re going to skip over São Miguel, SATA gives passengers a free flight to a different island instead!
You could also take the ferry between islands to save money and pollute less. But be prepared for last-minute changes in the timetables. You can also use buses that are considerably cheaper than taxis, but they can be neither very convenient, nor always available, as they cater mainly to local people going to and from work.
The best option to travel within the islands is to rent your own car. There are plenty of local car hires on each island (except for Corvo) but they are generally sold out during the peak season. Prices if you book in advance can be as low as €8/day. For a last-minute booking during the summer, be ready to spend €80/day (and this is if you are able to rent one!).
What about tourist guides?
Hiring tourist guides is expensive and in the busy summer months they are
usually already occupied with pre-booked clients and tour groups. If you need a
guide, then the cheapest way is often to contact the local travel agencies, who may
be able to assemble individual clients to make a small tour group - for example, a
full-day tour by minibus from Ponta Delgada to Furnas including a hot-springs
lunch costs around €65 per person.
Two budget travellers can expect to spend around €100 each per day in the high
season. This roughly breaks down into: accommodation (shared room, usually
includes breakfast) €70; supermarket lunch €12 per person; dinner including wine
€38 per person; bus fares, occasional taxi, say a daily average of €15 per person,
excluding inter-island travel.
For two travellers who like reasonable comfort and enjoy spending time over
dinner, then allow: €130 for accommodation; a light lunch with wine €17 per
person, dinner €30 per person - which adds up to a daily budget of around €112
per person plus excursions/taxis.