Family Swimming with Wild Dolphins Holiday, Azores

Dolphins! Dolphins!

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

Prices From Adult £925, Teen £790, Child £515

Meet these curious and playful mammals underwater wearing your mask and snorkel looking through the crystal clear ocean depths and see them from the boats jumping and dancing in the bow waves just an arms’ length beneath your gaze. In the water and watching from the boats, you will feel part of the dolphin’s magical underwater world, seeing their exquisite movements and listening to a symphony of sound.

Swimming with Dolphins

Family Fun

Enjoy the squeals of excitement as you and your children see dolphins leaping out of the ocean. With the help of our land based lookouts we see dolphins and whales on 98% of our trips to sea.

Easter and Summer Holidays

Between May and September you are certain to see many species of whales. Hundreds of dolphins can also be spotted in every direction, turning the sea into a bubbling cauldron as they leap and dive in the water.

Overview

Location: Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island - Azores

What’s included:  

  • Three half days swimming with wild dolphins and dolphin watching trips to sea with preparation and training before going out to sea in the boats
  • All wet suits, snorkel and masks provided
  • Specialist guides to assist on the boats when approaching the dolphins and entering the water and how to get the best encounters.
  • 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. 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

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

 

About this holiday

 

Be prepared for this exciting new experience

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Family holidays swimming with dolphinsYour experience starts with a briefing to learn how to swim in the open ocean with the wild dolphins. It is important you are familiar with wearing a mask and snorkel or learn before you go out. Our expert guides will ensure you know what to expect and your safety and confidence are at the heart of the preparation. As part of the holiday we supply wetsuits, which provide bouyancy, as well the snorkelling equipment and snorkelling life jackets. If you have younger children you may prefer to bring their own masks that they have practiced with. You will go out to sea in small groups of 8 people and the way the boats approach the dolphins and swimmers enter the water follows responsible guidelines.

 

Meeting wild dolphins from the boats and underwater

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Dolphin watching from RIB boatA short distance from the shore we will be guided to the dolphins with the assistance of our expert land based lookouts. It is an absolute joy see large pods of dolphins leaping over the ocean waves, jumping and dancing in the bow waves just an arm’s length beneath your gaze. From both the water and watching from the boats, you will feel part of the dolphin’s magical underwater world, seeing their exquisite movements and listening to a symphony of sound. It usually takes a little time to get confident and you will be assisted all the way as you climb off the boat and look beneath you. It is an exhilarating feeling and we ensure all approaches by the boats and people are done with minimum disturbance – the encounters are on the dolphin’s terms. They are very curious and it is a delight to witness their natural behaviour while hunting, socialising and playing.

 

Optimise your time with the dolphins

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family dolphin holidaysYou can immerse yourself in the underwater world of the dolphins taking three to five trips (three hour duration) to the open sea with masks and snorkel. Each time is different and as you get the hang of it you will have more and more amazing experiences. We prefer people have as many opportunities as possible so the experience is not rushed and we can be calm as we share the underwater world with minimum disturbance.

“One of the best places in the world to see whales and dolphins”

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 age 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.

 

Wild dolphins in the Azores
Sample Itinerary

Day 1:

Travel day. Transfer to the hotel from the airport, with time to settle in.

Day 2:

Have a leisurely breakfast. Take a stroll (and discover the surrounding area) to the boat base to review your schedule for the week and meet the team. We highly recommend a whale watching trip to sea in the afternoon which you can pre-book.

Day 3:

Your first swimming with wild dolphins boat trip will either be in the morning or the afternoon. Before going out to sea, you will be given a safety briefing and learn about the protocol for boat approaches when swimming with dolphins in the Azores. After learning how best to swim with wild dolphins, you’ll head out to sea to put what you’ve learned into practice wearing your mask and snorkel (supplied). There will be talks from the boat from marine biologists about the many dolphin and whale species in the surrounding waters.

Day 4:

Second trip to sea to swim with wild dolphins in the Azores. You will be more confident today; knowing what to expect to get the most out of this once in a life time experience. This afternoon you could take a jeep tour of the island’s wild, volcanic scenery, go hiking or explore the famous spots that mark the island’s history.

Day 5:

Third trip to sea to swim with wild dolphins. You will realise that each one of your trips to sea give very different encounters all dependent on the mood of the dolphins. You might choose to visit the botanical gardens near the hotel, or tour a vineyard and enjoy a wine tasting session. If you prefer to be more active, visit the lakes and kayak, paddle board, mountain bike or join a walking tour.

Day 6:

Option to add our “Be a Marine Biologist for the day” whale and dolphin full day research trip 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.

Day 7:

Take a full day tour of the island’s geysers and geothermal craters, and eat local dishes cooked underground using the natural thermals or take another whale watching trip to sea.

Day 8:

Depending on your departure time there may be time for one last spot of shopping after breakfast or even an extra boat trip in the morning. Transfer to airport for flight home.

Highlights

 

Memorable family moments

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You will take home some beautiful memories that you and your family will treasure. Special moments shared on this adventure of a lifetime will provide you with amazing stories to tell for years to come.

“When I asked my 10 year old daughter if this holiday was better than Disneyland, her answer was an astounding YES and a big smile.” Linda Dempsey.

Learn the best way to approach wild dolphins

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Zodiac RIB dolphin watching AzoresYou and your family will learn about responsible boat approaches from our expert skippers and how to behave in the water in a relaxed and confident way which results in minimum disturbance to the dolphins’ natural behaviour. This also means the animals will be calm with us rather than swimming away to avoid us.

 

Our special programme – learn about the Azores dolphins from the experts

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Marine BiologistOur expert dolphin swim guides and marine biologists are there to ensure you get the most from this activity. They give pre-trip preparation information and safety briefing on board, looking after your safety every step of the way. They will give you tips on how to have really great encounters so at the end of the week you will feel you really know a lot about these beautiful marine mammals, their behaviour and communication. You will learn interesting scientific facts about how they live with information on conserving the habitat of the dolphins.

Welfare of the wild dolphins

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We do everything to minimize disturbance upon the dolphins and their habitat. We invite our guests to be involved, giving feedback when on the water and ensuring all operators are following the best practice guidelines.

“A thriving, simply stunning natural environment at sea and on land that offers an incredible learning experience” Billy Whyte, Brighton

Best encounters with dolphins

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swimming with wild dolphins AzoresThe week-long program ensures you get the best opportunities for sightings and that you become skilled and relaxed in the water swimming with wild dolphins. They will accept you as part of their world and can be very curious. The dolphins are often found close to the shore in smaller groups or you can meet the super pods of hundreds of dolphins. Your trips are booked in advance going out from less-crowded areas. If there is any bad weather you will be given priority replacement of trips.

“The wild dolphins can often be found close to the shore and they are very curious to ride in the bow wave of the boat – we were very close to their shimmering skin as they burst through the crystal clear water coming  up to breathe. 

There were so many dolphins leaping and twirling, it was as if the sea itself was alive!”

What people said!

Our time in the Azores was absolutely magical. Our swim with dolphins was the highlight of our trip!  The Atlantic Spotted Dolphins surrounded and circled around my sister and I for the full time of our swim with them. It was so surreal! They were so close we could almost touch them! Looking into the eyes of these magnificent beings was so magical; I don’t even have the words to describe it. Kaitlin Wistey, September 2022

“10/10 – a huge hit for the whole family. Especially teens disinterested in traditional sightseeing tourism. Our 9 year old was able to do the canyoning and SUP for the first time” – J Bursell, August 2022 

“We had Common Dolphins approaching at speed towards the RIB and we had to slide as calmly as possible into the water as possible. The 40+ pod passed us below and to see them in their environment from above was fabulous. The second time was again with Common Dolphins but we were closer and some of them, including a mother and youngster, seemed to swim towards us – amazing! For our third time the boat crew found a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins. These characters seemed to want to swim towards us and enjoy our company. Michael Bird, July 2022

“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

“The holiday was wonderful experience. The location was great, the waters around the Azores are naturally teeming with sea life. Being in the water with wild dolphins swimming around us was such an amazing privilege. The local boat company were excellent. They took the welfare of the animals very seriously, far more so than some other local companies we observed. I commend them very highly for their approach. I went with my 14-year-old daughter and she has not stopped talking about it since we came back. A wonderful experience and one we will always remember.” Chris Wooding

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 Swimming with Wild Dolphins Azores

4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel

 
 
 
Mid Season • 1 - 30th April 

  • Adult price (2 adults family room) £925
  • Additional adults/teens aged 13yrs + sharing with 2 adults (family room) £790
  • Additional children 3 - 12yrs sharing with 2 adults (family room) £515
  • Infants 0 - 2 years £50
  • Price does not include flights

 

High Season • 1 May - 30 September

  • Adult price (2 adults family room) £1020
  • Additional adults/teens aged 13yrs + sharing with 2 adults (family room) £790
  • Additional children 3 - 12yrs sharing with 2 adults (family room) £515
  • 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.