.... a holiday at your pace
Whale and dolphin watching in the Azores
The Azores is one of the key whale watching locations worldwide with sightings 99% guaranteed of a varied number of species of both whale and dolphin. We offer trips from April until September. The early season dates are a good time to visit as there are many opportunities to sight the migrating big whales with a good chance to see the Blue Whale, the biggest mammal on earth!
May and June is the time that the Baleen Whales are migrating to their summer feeding grounds, passing close to the islands of the Azores. These big whales are also occassionally seen during the high season, July and August if you prefer to travel in high summer, and Sperm Whales are sighted commonly.
It is possible to observe Humpback, Sei, Fin and Blue Whales, as well as Pilot Whales, Bottlenose whales, Orca and Sperm Whales. There are, of course Dolphins, Sea Birds and other Marine life. You will be amazed at the abundance and diversity of marine life to discover!!
These take place on Pico in the Azores with expert boat operators who will offer you the best possible whale watching experience using their knowledge and skill in tracking and observing the whales. You will be offered a lot of information through presentations and marine biologist guides who will accompany you on the boats. There is a choice of boats from large stable cruise boats (with toilet facilities and comfortable seats and good vantage point) to ridged hull inflatable boat (RIB’s) which get you close to the action quickly and you will certainly feel the sea spray and the wind in your hair. The look outs (Vigia) on shore guide us from the local harbour out onto the ocean to the best places to see the whales.
We have selected excellent value 4* hotels for our guests that offer breath taking sea views and surrounding mountains, very comfortable en suite rooms and great facilities including indoor outdoor pool, gym and WIFI. The delicious buffet breakfast is included. We can offer very attractive family discounts for children sharing with parents. There is a variety of excellent restaurants with local and international cuisine in the lively harbour towns where you will be based.
You can choose to take 3 or 5 dolphin and whale watching trips. These are hosted by local guides including a marine biologist who all speak excellent English and have considerable experience here in the Azores. You will be accompanied on your trips to sea and given a number of informative talks and briefings about the marine life in the ocean around the archipelago. These will be offered both informally while talking to the guides on the boats and formally in the boat base at the harbour.
We can arrange inland tours of the stunning nature of the islands where you can appreciate the rugged beauty and magical charm of the Azores. You can swim in the sea, take walking tours, go bird watching and hiking or go on an exhilarating jeep tour. Sea kayak and mountain bike tours are also available. The programme can be as relaxed or active as you choose.
Day 1 Arrival. Transfer from the airport to your accommodation where you can settle in and get to know the local area. Depending on your arrival time, make your way to our whale watching base where your boat trip schedule can be discussed and you can meet the team. BELOW IS A SAMPLE ITINERARY which you can add to with sea or land based tours as you choose:
Day 2. After breakfast, we make way to the base. There will be a briefing about the whales and dolphins of The Azores either on the boat or in the base followed by a trip to sea in the morning or the afternoon followed by a visit to the whaling museum one of the most visited museums in Portugal
Day 3 Breakfast. Morning boat trip 2 - Whale watching activity. The afternoon can be spent relaxing or take the opportunity to choose one of our popular land based activities
Day 4 Breakfast. Morning boat trip 3- Whale watching activity. Optional afternoon tour of the Island to see the islands stunning scenery, lakes and forests. Hiking is also available. Visiting famous sightseeing spots revealing the island's history.
Day 5 Breakfast. Boat trip 4 - Whale watching activity. Optional excursion to the longest lava tube within Portugal and have a guided tour down the natural tube. You have the opportunity to visit the vineyards with an exceptional wine tasting activity
Day 6 Breakfast. Morning boat trip 5 - Whale watching activity. In the afternoon you can make an optional visit to the Vigia, the lookout who can spot the whales from 30 km, try your own spotting skills! Nature walks, exploring the wildlife inland, or free time relaxing. Completion of holiday!
Day 7 Breakfast. Depending upon the time of your flight you may have some time for some souvenir shopping. Departure with transfer.
Responsible travel: Whale watching in the Azores
The way the boats approach the whales follow local regulations to protect the marine life. We only use licensed boat operators who are very sensitive to the well-being of the dolphins and whales. There is a good spirit of cooperation amongst the boat companies and agreements to respect the animals as a priority.
Research is ongoing on the boats, so these trips are helping to build our knowledge of these fantastic animals. Many of the skippers are professional photographers and maintain a comprehensive photo ID database, in particular sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales. The more we can learn about the whales and dolphins of the Azores the better we can understand things like their migrations and social structures. All this moves us closer to protecting them and the marine environment in a more knowledgeable, effective way.
Guests are encouraged to send in any photos they have taken on the whale watching trips that can be used in the ongoing photo identification projects. Every trip has a huge emphasis on conservation and sustaining the marine environment so future generations may also have the privilege of seeing marine mammals in the wild.
We only work with local suppliers who employ at least 80% local people which means financial benefits to families here. The land based lookouts whose immense skill at tracking the animals previously earned money from whaling now earn money from tourists - an enormous change that we are passionate about supporting. Many of their adult children now skipper the whale watching boats and work within the small scale tourism.
Our whale watching company offers presentations in local schools to educate the children about the marine life on their doorstep with an emphasis on conservation. They are also planning to host an Azorean Whale Festival to promote the islands as one of the key locations worldwide to see whales. The Dolphin and Whale Connection donates a percentage of it's profits to the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), helping to protect whales and dolphins worldwide.
All the activities we recommend locally are run by Azoreans and are designed to maintain good relationships between visitors and the local people. For example, we sell and promote only local crafts to our guests to support local craft makers and artisans and to spread tourism income to many islanders. Our favourite restaurants are all run by Azorean people, and we do recommend that our visitors try the delicious local cuisine while supporting sustainable local fishermen in particular.
As well as whale watching we offer geological and cultural tours hosted solely by experienced local guides with an in-depth knowledge of their island and its landscape. We support the local vineyards where guests can sample the fantastic Azorean wine and take these locally produced gifts back to people at home.