Family Swimming with Wild Dolphins Holiday, Azores

Dolphins! Dolphins!

2022 DATES: 02 – 23 April, 28 May – 04 June, 16 July – 03 September

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

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

Prices from £835 adult, £630 teen and £415 child

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.

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, snorkel, and fins. 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.

 

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 July to August 2022

From Stansted (STN) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Saturday direct day time flights with Ryanair

Tuesday, Friday and Sunday direct day time flights with SATA

From Heathrow (LHR) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

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

From September to October 2022

From Stansted (STN) to Ponta Delgada (PDL)

Saturday direct day time flights with Ryanair

Tuesday, Friday and Sunday direct day time flights with SATA

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 Rupender.Bhoday@flightcentre.co.uk 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 a fun filled classroom presentation from one of our marine biologist 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 a fun filled classroom presentation from one of 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.  Your little budding marine biologists will love the exciting and energetic way our research experts teach techniques and engage the children in learning.

 

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). An audio-visual presentation about the many dolphin and whale species in the surrounding waters will be scheduled into your week.

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!”

Overview

Family Swimming with Wild Dolphins Azores
(code FAMSWD)

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 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 from/to Ponta Delgada airport.

Optional activities: Book additional trips to sea and land tours

Nights: 7

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

Price: From £835 per adult, £630 teens and £415 children based on sharing a family room. See below for details

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

Dates 2021: 3 – 10 April, 10 – 17 April, 29 May – 5 June, 24 July – 28 August

Dates 2021:  2 – 09 April, 09 – 16 April,  16 - 23 April, 28 May – 4 June, 23 July – 27 August

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

What people said!

“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. Very well organised and very professional in the way they approach the animals. 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.

We had an excellent time! Everything was well organised and went like clockwork. 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

“We both had an amazing time. Sao Miguel is beautiful, clean, safe and has probably the politest drivers anywhere in the world!

The boat team and staff were so helpful (especially when my daughter was a little nervous about getting in the water). They were also enthusiastic and very knowledgeable.

We swam with 3 species of dolphins and saw Sperm Whales (including calves) and even a whale shark. Also a Portuguese Man O’ War (luckily when we were out of the water).

The hotel was spotless and very comfortable. On arrival, they immediately upgraded us to a sea-view room with a balcony. The facilities (gym and pool) were excellent and the food was very reasonably priced.” Nick Tullett

“I celebrated my 50th birthday on this truly incredible holiday. We went in July 2020 during Covid Pandemic and we were some of the first tourists to visit the island.

Swimming with dolphins in the wild was the main reason we went and I was not disappointed. Seeing the dolphins and whales in their natural environment was truly spectacular. One of the most memorable moments was being completely surrounded by dolphins on the small rib boat. Then getting in the water, and seeing dolphins everywhere. I was so lucky and had a dolphin swim directly towards me, which I managed to capture on my underwater camera. It was truly amazing. We also saw Sei whales and sperm whales.

Amanda and Gaynor helped make my dreams come true.

Relax Relax Relax! and you will see more.” Linda Hunt

 

“The whale and dolphin watching trips were brilliant – the trips on the RIB were great as we were close to the animals. The special tour “Be a Marine Biologist for a Day “ trip on the RIB was the highlight and our kids loved it. We saw Sperm Whales, Fin Whales and a Humpback and Common and Bottlenose Dolphins. On the full day trip we were often the only boat around as we had more time and other trips aren’t out on the sea at lunchtime. All in all we had a fantastic time…” Purslow family May 

“The numbers of boats were well regulated and the dolphins are approached responsibly with minimum disturbance. We found the guides looked after us and as confidence grew during the week we had some very exciting moments seeing the dolphins right beneath us, truly magical ” Anne Johnson

Prices for this Holiday and Acccommodation

 

 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) £835
  • Additional adults/teens aged 13yrs + sharing with 2 adults (family room) £630
  • Additional children 3 - 12yrs sharing with 2 adults (family room) £415
  • Infants 0 - 2 years £50
  • Price does not include flights

 

High Season • 1 May - 30 September

  • Adult price (2 adults family room) £925
  • Additional adults/teens aged 13yrs + sharing with 2 adults (family room) £645
  • Additional children 3 - 12yrs sharing with 2 adults (family room) £415
  • 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.