Be a Marine Biologist Whale and Dolphin Holiday

 

2023 DATES: April – October

Prices From: Adult £805 per person, Solo Traveller £1060

(flexible arrival/departure dates to fit with flights)

Enjoy this once in a life time opportunity to be a “Marine Biologist for a Day”.

Take to the open seas and learn techniques used by marine biologists. This holiday also takes you deep into the island’s interior to see geothermal activity.

Sao Miguel Island, Azores

Discover More of the Azores

One of the best places to see dolphins and whales in the wild

Learn Research Techniques

such as data collection, photo ID and how to use the hydrophone

Learn from the Experts

Enjoy a full day at sea with our expert marine biologists and whale reseachers

Bathe in geothermal pools

…surrounded by stunning botanical gardens

Visit geysers deep in the island’s interior

eat traditional lunch cooked geothermally underground…

Incredible Sightings

With the help of land based lookouts, we see whales and dolphins on 98% of our trips to sea!

Overview

Location: Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island - Azores

What’s included:  

  • One full day "Be a Marine Biologist for the Day" whale and dolphin trip to sea including lunch
  • 1 additional half day trip to sea dolphin and whale watching on large catamaran boat with multiple viewing platforms
  • Full day tour to the geothermal area of Furnas bathe in hot springs, swim in a hot thermal lake  and experience the bubbling geysers.
  • Talks and presentations from local marine biologists
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Services of local personnel at our boat base who co-ordinate your entire holiday program
  • All airport transfers between Ponta Delgada airport and hotel

Optional activities: Book additional trips to sea and land tours

Extra nights: Option to extend your stay in the Azores, with extra nights at your hotel, visit another part of Sao Miguel or visit other islands

Accommodation: Standard 4* B&B hotel, with budget and upgrade options available

Meals: Breakfast included. Lunch included during full day tour to Furnas and picnic on the boat during the be a marine biologist tour. Self catered options available

Flights are not included. We give you guidance on booking flights to Ponta Delgada (PDL) Sao Miguel Island, Azores. See location and flights above

Dates 2023 & 2024: This holiday runs April - October

Flexible dates: This holiday can be arranged to start any day of the week to fit with flights

About this holiday

 

Learn from the experts

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Marine Biologist AzoresThis holiday gives you the once in a life time opportunity to “Be a Marine Biologist for a Day” and is the perfect program for those with a keen appetite to learn. . You will learn research techniques such as data collection and photo ID. This is a fully immersive day, with 4 hours at sea with picnic lunch on the boat, followed by 2 hour presentation back at the classroom at the boat base. This really allows you to step inside the shoes of our marine biologists. During lunch with your marine biologist you can ask even more questions about their work and lifestyle.

More opportunities to see the whales and dolphins

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Azores dolphinsAs you have a full day at sea you will be taken away from the main tourist trail, travelling further along the coast. Your experience will be more relaxed with more time to spend with the animals, giving you a closer look into the lives of these creatures. You will feel part of their world! 

Exhilarating Boats

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whale watching Pico island azoresOur boats are RIB hard hull boats with comfortable seats for an exhilarating ride to get you close to the action. The boats are very sturdy and can move easily even if the sea is choppy. On shore lookouts, called “Vigia” guide us by radio contact and direct the boats to the whales and dolphins. This makes for consistently excellent sightings, the best in the world some say!

Island Tour

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Furnas hot spring poolOur knowledgeable local guides will be with you at sea and also on land so you will have a truly authentic experience!  They will take you to the geysers deep in the island’s interior at Furnas and teach you about the geothermal activity. Your visit will include a swim in hot thermal pools and lunch (cooked underground) in a local restaurant. Free time can be spent exploring the island at your leisure, on foot on bike or by kayak, visiting the stunning botanical gardens, enjoying talks from our marine biologist guides or simply relaxing by the pool.

Choice of accommodation

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You can select the style and budget of an accommodation option that suits your needs. Our standard 4* hotel is included in the package price and you can upgrade to a boutique 5*hotel or you can opt for a budget option to reduce cost of holiday.

 

Location and Flights

Holiday location: Ponta Delgada (PDL), Sao Miguel Island, Azores.

The Azores are an archipelago of 9 islands in the middle of the Atlantic - the only territory between America and Europe. There are 3 groups of islands: the eastern group (Sao Miguel, Santa Maria), the central group (Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Terceira and Graciosa) and the western group (Corvo and Flores).

This holiday takes place in Ponta Delgada, the capital of Sao Miguel Island, in the eastern group and the largest island in the archipelago.

The abundance of dolphins and whales around the islands make the Azores one of the key locations worldwide for whale and dolphin watching. Few locations in the world offer such immaculate landscape and exceptional marine wildlife. A Portuguese territory, the nine islands, dominated by a volcanic mountain range, offer a rare and unspoiled natural beauty, having retained their cultural integrity and escaped the ravages of commercial tourism. There is a wild and elemental quality here, the ocean’s presence is never far away and breathing the air alone is invigorating. Some say, it is the last vestiges of the lost continent of Atlantis! Hot springs steam into the fresh and unpolluted air. There are meadows filled with the scent of wild herbs and vivid, colourful flowers line the roads. It is the perfect setting to relax and slow down.

Flights are not included in the cost of our holidays. DIRECT day time flights from the UK to Ponta Delgada are available with Ryanair from Stansted on Mondays (April - October 2023) and with British Airways from Heathrow on Saturdays (Mid June to end of August 2023). On most days of the week there are flights from the UK to Ponta Delgada via mainland Europe. Direct flights also operate from America and Canada and some European cities including Paris. See all current flight options at Skyscanner. 

For ease we have a dedicated flight booking agent, Rupender Bhoday from The Flight Centre. Rupender knows our holidays and can book the best flights for you. Please email:  [email protected]  or call: 07442 857639. You can also reach her via The Flight Centre main contact number 0207 925 1114 (ask to speak to Rupender Bhoday on the “Associates” team).

 

Marine Biologist Azores
Sample Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day – You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2

Your day starts at our local boat base, walking distance from your hotel. You will then board the sturdy RIB zodiac boat and spend 4 hours  at sea, travelling further along the coast to rich feeding grounds, giving you a closer look into the lives of the whales and dolphins you’ll meet – some are even known by name! You will then return to our boat base for a further 2 hours in the classroom with our marine biologist guide so be sure to ask lots of questions! A packed lunch is given with the choice of eating out at sea or at the boat base.

You will be accompanied by our expert local guides and marine biologists who love sharing their extensive knowledge of these incredible creatures. They will teach you research techniques such as data collection, photo ID and listening to underwater acoustics using the hydrophone.

You’ll learn about the biology, habitat and behaviour of the cetaceans and participate in valuable research and conservation initiatives helping to preserve the oceans for future generations.

This is ideally suited to both adults and children who are keen to get hands on in the world of conservation.  

Days 3-4

Days 3 to 4 inclusive: Overall itinerary of the week will be announced when you arrive to fit with best weather. There is an additional half day (3hrs) trip to sea on our large sturdy catamaran with multiple viewing platforms. You also have the opportunity to add more trips to sea and island tours to your itinerary. If there is any weather disruption your trips will be moved to another day or later in the day so that you go out during the best possible weather and conditions. Free time can be spent exploring the local town with its stunning architecture and walking around the botanical gardens.

Day 5

Free day to add on an activity that suits you. Join a walking or mountain bike tour, try kayaking or SUP on the lake, or take the plunge and go canyoning.

Day 6

Full day Geothermal tour to Furnas : You will be taken to see the Island’s hot springs, geysers & hot bubbling mud. Take a dip in the hot thermal lake surrounded by the tropical plants and trees of a magnificent garden which was planted by Kew gardeners 100 years ago! You will also be able to try the traditional “Cozido” meat stew cooked geothermally underground (vegetarian options available).

Day 7

Free day or take another half day at sea whale and dolphin watching giving you more chances of sighting the giant whales or visit the local lava caves.

Day 8

Departure. If you have time before your flight you can do some souvenir shopping. You will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the airport

Highlights

 

Learning and conservation 

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Humpback whale breaching AzoresLearn about the biology, habitat and behaviour of the cetaceans. Participate in valuable research and conservation initiatives to preserve the oceans for future generations. Our whale-watching company has a research base offering a wealth of information and resources and it is possible to learn about the many research projects being conducted around the Azores

Expert Guides

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Expert guides whale watching AzoresYou will be accompanied by our expert local guides and marine biologists who love to share their extensive knowledge on the whales and dolphins you’ll meet – what they don’t know isn’t worth knowing. 

 

 

Travel any time

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This holiday operates on certain weeks during the spring or summer (check latest dates with us). Travel in spring for optimum sightings of the Blue whales, Fin whales and Humpbacks as they pass the islands or in the summer when a wide variety of whale species and an abundance of dolphins visit the islands when the waters are warmer. See the infographic below which shows the top 10 most sighted species in the Azores:

 

What people said!

Authentic cuisine pleasant ambience. The Cozido meal at the Caldeira das Furnas was a simple but lovely experience. The ambience was accentuated by the diversity of people on the tour and the way our guide blended the atmosphere. – Ada Sam April 2022

“The trip to Furnas was spectacular, and so much more than we anticipated with the tea plantation, crater lakes, botanical gardens and bathing in the orange iron water. We also saw much more of the island than we expected that day as we travelled there on the south side and back on the north (or vice versa). Sao Miguel is a beautiful island all in all.” – Richard Rose-Casemore May 2022

On Friday we did the full day trip to Furnas, definitely the best geothermal site. As a family we were fascinated by the Victorian equipment still being used in the tea plantation we visited in the morning. Seeing the fumaroles and eating the food cooked in them was a real novelty. We swam in the pools in the afternoon, which was great again. These ones had much more iron in them than the ones at Lagoa do Fogo so it was important not to have our ‘best’ swimming costumes and towels on that day as they got a bit stained. – Sally Smart April 2022

Our Wednesday Marine Biologist for the day tour was the highlight of a great week. The Zodiac boat got us closer to the animals and we had extended views of about 5 sperm whales. The kids were also excited to see a turtle and Portuguese man o’war right next to the boat as well as the red crabs on Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo. On the back we saw 50+ bottlenose dolphins, again right next to the boat, which made a great end to the boat trip. – Smart famiy April 2022

The whole holiday was fantastic but “being a marine biologist for the day” has to go down as the highlight…Seeing the whales and dolphins up close is one thing but gaining an insight into what the
marine biologists are doing on a daily basis and being able to learn from them gives the experience an extra dimension. It was absolutely fascinating and well worth the extra money! – Fletcher Family June 2021

Prices for this Holiday and Acccommodation

 

Use the tabs below to find out more about our different accommodation options

 

 Our holiday prices below include accommodation at our standard 4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel

You can also upgrade to a boutique hotel or 5* or you can opt for budget options to reduce the cost of your holiday.

 

A beautiful 4-star hotel with excellent location and facilities. It is a 15-minute walk to our base for the boats and the city’s beautiful botanical gardens are close by. The rooms are light, quiet and well-ventilated. Even though the hotel has great access to our boats, the hotel is far away from the noise of the seafront or busy city areas.

The hotel is ideal for families or large groups and rooms can easily accommodate up to two extra beds. Spacious rooms are sound proofed with air-conditioning and equipped with TV and fridge. There is the option to upgrade to sea/city view rooms (ask us for details). The hotel has a gym, indoor and outdoor pool with sun loungers, sauna, jacuzzi, games room, bar, restaurant with sea views and free parking for guests. A buffet breakfast is included. 

Be a Marine Biologist Whale & Dolphin Holiday Prices

 4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel

 

Mid Season • 01 - 30 April & 01 - 31 October

  • Solo traveller (single room) £1060
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £805
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £970
  • Price does not include flights

 

High Season • 01 May - 30 September

  • Solo traveller (single room) £1250
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £895
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £970
  • Price does not include flights

Upgrade Accommodation Options

All of the accommodation featured has been visited by us and checked for quality, good reviews, facilities and distance to our boat base and the harbour (5-20mins walk). They are also a short walking distance to good restaurants and shops. 

 

Budget and Self Catering Accommodation Options

All of the accommodation featured has been visited by us and checked for quality, good reviews, facilities and distance to our boat base and the harbour (5-20mins walk). They are also a short walking distance to good restaurants and shops.