Family Azores Ocean Discovery

 2023 DATES: 01 – 22 April, 27 May – 03 June, 15 July – 02 September, 21 – 28 October

Prices From: Adult £905, Teen £770, Child £510

Take a voyage of discovery beneath the ocean, cultivating your thirst for knowledge. On this holiday you don’t just go out on the open ocean to meet our resident whales and dolphins but you will learn from the marine biologists about this incredible ocean, the creation of these volcanic islands and their geothermal activity.

 

Family Azores Ocean Discovery

Discover Sao Miguel Island, Azores

One of the best places to see dolphins and whales in the wild. Visit geysers deep in the island’s interior and swim in hot thermal pools.

Incredible Sightings

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

Underwater Encounters

Take a journey into underwater world of the Azores and come eye to eye with playful and inquisitive dolphins.

Overview

Location: Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island - Azores

What’s included:  

  • Three half day trips to sea dolphin and whale watching
  • Full day geothermal tour to Furnas with “Cozido” lunch included.
  • Talks 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 from/to Ponta Delgada airport

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. 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

2023 dates: 01 - 22 April, 27 May - 03 June, 15 July - 02 September, 21 - 28 October

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

About this holiday

 

Dicsover marine wildlife and fresh sea air

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whale tail AzoresYou’ll leave bursting with facts about the world’s largest whales and the unique biodiversity of the islands. We hope you will deepen your passion for the natural world and more importantly return home with memories that will last a lifetime.

“We were on the cat and a huge gasp went up from everyone on board; a Fin whale had swum in front of the boat and opened its mouth out of the water to feed. It was only a split second but that sight is engraved on my memory.” Margaret Merris, May 2018.

Best place to see dolphins and whales in the wild

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Azores dolphinsThe Azores archipelago is renowned as one of the best places to see dolphins and whales in the wild, teeming with resident and transient species. March to October is the best time to visit for abundant sightings and diversity of species. The whale numbers and sightings seem to be increasing around the Azores, as are the super pods of various species of dolphins riding in the bow wave of the boat, leaping and twirling with joy. All our trips are with responsible operators who have sensitivity and respect for the wellbeing of the whales and dolphins. The ethos on the islands is to preserve the natural environment and develop responsible and sustainable tourism that contributes to conservation

These fascinating islands are easy to reach from Europe on a direct three hour flight 

Island tour included in your holiday

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Our knowledgeable local guides will be with you at sea and  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. To burn off extra energy or escape for a day, the family can explore the island at  leisure (on foot, on bike or by kayak), visit the stunning botanical gardens, enjoy presentations from our marine biologist guides or simply relax by the pool.

Swimming with dolphins

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family dolphin holidaysDolphins tend to prefer the calmer waters closer to the shore and in the summer months the Atlantic Spotted dolphins come in huge pods, bringing their calves to safe waters to feed and play.

Don your mask and snorkel and enter the underwater world of the Azores. Our expert guides will assist you all the way – they will advise you on the best way to get in and out of the water, how to behave once you are in water and will be in the sea with you. It is a good idea to practice with a mask and snorkel before your holiday to help build your confidence in the water and help children feel comfortable swimming in open water.

You can swap a half day excursion whale watching for a half day swim with dolphins or add it as an extra excursion. You could also opt to join the boat for the trip and not get wet. Please discuss with us for the full details.

 

Choice of accommodation

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We offer attractive child prices (12 years and under) when sharing a large quad room with adults and also teen discounts. 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. There is a budget option to reduce the cost of your holiday.

 

Minimum ages for sea tours 

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– Half day Swimming with Wild Dolphins (3hrs – RIB boat – ages 8yrs and over).

– Half day Whale and Dolphin Watching (3hrs – CAT – all ages). 

–  Full day “Be a Marine Biologist for the Day” whale and dolphin watching trip to sea (6hrs – RIB boat – includes lunch. Ages 6yrs and over).

– July – Sept only full day whale and dolphin watching and snokelling in the reef of the Islet of Vila Franca – ages 8yrs and over. 

 

Location and Flights

Location: Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores. The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, are an archipelago of 9 islands in the mid-Atlantic. Our holidays are based in Ponta Delgada, the capital of Sao Miguel Island – 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. Read more about the Azores here

The following is information about DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM UK TO PONTA DELGADA:

Flights

Flights are not included in the cost of our holidays. This holiday takes place on Sao Miguel island, Azores and you will be staying in Ponta Delgada, a 15-minute drive from the airport.

From April to June 2022

From Stansted (STN) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Saturday direct day time flights with Ryanair

From Manchester (MAN) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Friday direct flights with Ryanair

From July to August 2022

From Stansted (STN) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Saturday direct day time flights with Ryanair

From Heathrow (LHR) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Saturday direct day time flights from Heathrow (LHR) to Ponta Delgada (PDL) with British Airways

From Manchester (MAN) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Friday direct flights with Ryanair

From September to October 2022

From Stansted (STN) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Saturday direct day time flights with Ryanair

From Manchester (MAN) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Friday direct flights with Ryanair

There are also flights from regional airports to Ponta Delgada via Lisbon/Oporto. Check all options for flights to Ponta Delgada at www.skyscanner.net

For ease we have a dedicated flight agent who can help arrange and book flights (except Ryanair) for you. Please contact [email protected] or call Rupender on 0207 925 1114

Marine Biologist Azores
BE A MARINE BIOLOGIST FOR THE DAY

£124 (adult) £62 (child 12yrs and under)

All of our holidays offer the once in a life time opportunity for you to “Be a Marine Biologist for a Day” – the perfect program for those with a keen appetite to learn. You will enjoy talks from our marine biologists before spending a full day with them on a small RIB learning research techniques such as data collection, photo ID and listening to underwater acoustics using the hydrophone. You will get away from the main tourist trail and have opportunities for a lot more contact with the animals. This a fully immersive day allowing you to step inside the shoes of our marine biologists and learn about their research. This activity can be added onto your holiday program.

Your day starts at our local boat base, walking distance from your hotel, with talks from our marine biologists. You will then board the sturdy RIB zodiac boat and spend a full day 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 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 will break for lunch, on land, joined by your marine biologist so be sure to ask lots of questions!

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 a superb addition to any trip and is ideally suited to adults and children who are keen to get hands on in the world of conservation.  

This is a 6 hour tour consisting of 4 hours out at sea and 2 hours at the boat base with talks and presentations. A packed lunch is given with the choice of eating out at sea or at the boat base.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1

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

Day 2

Enjoy a leisurely morning exploring the local town and walking around the stunning botanical gardens. You could even take a dip in the towns naturally heated open air pool before heading down to the boat base for your first half day whale and dolphin watching trip to sea. You will be given the onboard briefing all about Marine life in the Azorean Ocean, how we work and how best to spot the whales.

Days 3-4

Days 3 to 4 inclusive: Overall itinerary of the week will be announced when you arrive to fit with best weather. Each day will be either morning or afternoon boat trip. 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.

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!

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

 

Best time to see an abundance of whales and dolphins

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whale fluke AzoresThe Azores attract huge numbers of whales and dolphins throughout the year. In the spring you can see the mighty Blue whales, the largest whales on the planet as they migrate past the islands. In the summer there are many species to be seen too – superpods of dolphins with their babies, as well as the resident sperm whales. You will get amazing photos of their iconic tail fluke as they dive down to feed on the squid. During your time at sea in the Azores, our expert team will ensure you get the most amazing sightings, making memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.

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. There will be talks and presentations before heading out to sea so you will be well prepared.

 

 

Education and conservation

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Our whale watching company has a research base offering a wealth of information and resources. It is possible to learn about the many research projects being conducted around the Azores which contribute to marine conservation. Their experience of working with children shines through as they make learning inclusive and exciting.

 

Great choice of boats

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Breaching whale next to RIBYou choose your preference of boats from the large stable catamaran with excellent viewing platforms, railings and a great vantage point for taking photos. There is plenty of space to walk around outdoor or indoor seating and toilet facilities. Alternatively, you can choose our smaller RIB zodiac 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. Minimum age is five years old for the RIB.

 

Best sightings

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The ‘Vigia’ (land based lookouts on the shore) guide us by radio contact to direct the boats to the whales and dolphins. This makes for consistently excellent sightings, said to be some of the best in the world. We see whales and dolphins on 98% of our trips to sea.  Our guests are very impressed by the high standard offered by our boat company who are dedicated to offering you the best experience – nothing is too much trouble.

 

What people said!

“I was blown away by my first trip swimming with dolphins and saw a pod of 80 dolphins including tiny babies over and over … it was an amazing experience” – Clare Davies June 2022

Everything was extremely organised, from the holiday booking, transfers, hotel/hotel staff and the boat crew. They couldn’t have been more helpful and extremely welcoming…a great holiday and we would recommend to anyone. – Lynsey Pittaway April 2022

I have new respect for dolphins as I’d rather taken them for granted having seen lots before, but observing them behaving so acrobatically and in such numbers so far out to sea was a revelation. Needless to say, the whales were just spellbinding. – 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

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. 

Family Ocean Discovery Holiday Per Person Prices

4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel

Mid Season • 01 - 30 April
01 - 31 October 
 

 


  • Adult price (2 adults family room) £905
  • Additional adults/teens aged 13yrs + sharing with 2 adults (family room) £770
  • Additional children 3 - 12yrs sharing with 2 adults (family room) £510
  • Infants 0 - 2 years £50
  • Price does not include flights

 

High Season • 01 May - 30 September 
 

  • Adult price (2 adults family room) £995
  • Additional adults/teens aged 13yrs + sharing with 2 adults (family room) £770
  • Additional children 3 - 12yrs sharing with 2 adults (family room) £510
  • Infants 0 - 2 years £50
  • Price does not include flights

All of the accommodation featured below 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.

The price of this holiday with any of our alternative accommodation options below is the standard holiday price (staying at 4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel) with either a discount or supplement applied. Please see your preferred accommodation page below for details of the applicable discount or supplement.