Island Explorer Holiday Azores

Last-minute availability 2021, booking now!

2022 & 2023 DATES: Year round

(flexible arrival/departure dates to fit with flights)

This holiday offers you a balance of time at sea and on land. Did you know that the Sao Miguel Island is also bubbling with geo thermal activity, has lush sub-tropical forests, lakes and is adorned on all sides by mountains?

Sao Miguel Island, Azores

Prices from £665 pp

Incredible Biodiversity

Prices from £610 to £770 pp

Whale and Dolphin Watching

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

About this holiday

 

Discover the island’s stunning and varied landscape

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Azores lakes and islandsThis exciting set itinerary adventure takes you into the interior of the island as well as enjoying time on the ocean with the dolphins and whales. Our local guide will take you on day trips of discovery to the truly fascinating geysers, bubbling with the geothermal activity that created these islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean over 20 million years ago. Enjoy time on the lakes where you can kayak and try your hand at Stand Up Paddle boarding, as well as seeing whales and dolphins at sea in their natural habitat.

 

Explore the ocean and marine life

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baleen whale Azores holidaysYour voyage of discovery will cultivate your thirst for knowledge. On this holiday you don’t just go out on the open ocean to meet our resident whales and dolphins you will learn all about the biology of this incredible ocean, the creation of these volcanic islands and their geothermal activity.

If you visit in the spring, the temperate spring waters of the Gulf Stream create a phytoplankton bloom attracting a unique gathering of huge, ravenous blue, fin and humpback whales, the largest baleen whales on the planet.

These whales migrate past the islands and can be seen in April, May and June, close to land as they stop to feed on their way to the northern Atlantic. This is one of natures great events, the whale equivalent of an all you can eat buffet – this is why we call it the “Gulp Stream”.
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 and 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.

“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

A varied and relaxing holiday

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Furnas hot spring poolYou will stay in our superb accommodation and have free time to relax by the pool, don hiking boots or take a ride around the island, or relax in the hot thermal pools. Additional sea voyages are also available. Leaving no stone unturned the variation of activities on this holiday will keep you engaged and excited at all times, making memories for you all to enjoy for a long time to come.

The Azores archipelago is renowned as one of the best places to see dolphins and whales in the wild. Throughout the year, March to October being the best time to visit for abundant sightings and diversity of species.

Education and conservation

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humpback whale breaching Azores holidaysThe ethos on the islands is to preserve the natural environment and develop responsible and sustainable tourism that contributes to conservation.

You 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.

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. Our boat company use a large stable catamaran with excellent viewing platforms and toilet facilities or our 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. Lookouts, the “Vigia” on the shore guide us by radio contact to direct the boats to the whales and dolphins. This makes for consistently excellent sightings, the best in the world some say! 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.

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

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 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

Tuesday, Friday and Sunday direct day time flights with SATA

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 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.  

 

Sample Itinerary

Day 1

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

Day 2

After a leisurely morning exploring the local town with its stunning architecture and walking around the botanical gardens, head 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.

Day 3

Overall itinerary of the week will be announced when you arrive so that your trips to sea, whale and dolphin watching, are taken during the best possible weather and sea conditions. Today will be either morning or afternoon boat trip giving you some free time to explore the city, perhaps swim in local waterside pool or enjoy lunch in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

Day 4

Today you will be taken on a half day tour to Sete Cidades lakes adventure centre. Try your hand at kayaking, Stand Up Paddle boarding as you gaze up and out of the crater and the stunning moutainside forests. If you prefer to stay on land you can opt for a cycling tour around the crater rim or take a hike along one of the many trails.

Day

Have a relaxing morning in the hotel pool or browse some of our on line resources to learn about whales and dolphins. Watch our on line presentation “Discover Sperm Whales” where you will learn about the lives of these incredible mammals who live around the Islands and dive deep to find prey (squid) and also learn about the challenges facing the world’s oceans. If you wish you can book an additional half day tour at the lakes and enjoy another one of the many activities on offer.

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

 

Discover, be inspired! Marine wildlife, sea air and the wow factor

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walking holidays Azores You will come away 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.

Best place to see Dolphins and whales in the wild

Read More

Zodiac RIB dolphin watching AzoresThe Azores archipelago is renowned as one of the best places to see dolphins and whales in the wild. Throughout the year, March to October being 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 and 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.

“The ocean around the Azores islands is teeming with resident and transient whales and dolphins. It is one of the best places in the world to see Blue Whales in the spring and an abundance and variety of species all year. These fascinating Islands at sea and on land are easy to reach from Europe on a direct 3 hour flight!”

 

Island Tour included in your holiday

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Furnas Rui MottaOur 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 presentations 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 hotel of 5* or you can opt for a budget option to reduce cost of holiday.

Overview

Azores Island Explorer
(code ADISLAND)

Location: Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island - Azores

What’s included:  

  • Two half day trips to sea dolphin and whale watching
  • Full day geothermal tour to Furnas with “Cozido” lunch included
  • Half day to Sete Cidades lakes adventure centre (kayak, SUP or cycling)
  • 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. Lunch included during full day land tour to Furnas. Self catered options available

Price: From £665. 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: These holidays operate year round

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

What people said!

“Seeing the ocean giants so close was amazing. I recommend booking this experience, and think about adding an extra week to visit the other islands.

The company carries out research and raises awareness of the whales and dolphins and how amazing they are. The information given by the guides was fantastic They work with the university, helping with student research as well as taking out holiday-makers. An excellent holiday.” Sarah Grandy

 

“Seeing far more whales, and more closely, than I ever expected. I think it supported conservation. A wonderful experience.” Anne Whittle

“We were lucky enough to see our first blue whale within an hour of setting out in the catamaran. Then seeing over 50 whales and over 100 dolphins over the three days was amazing. We saw blue, fin, sei and sperm whales.

Fantastic holiday! We saw everything we hoped for and more. The Azores are an amazing holiday destination and we enjoyed seeing the interior of the island with its lakes, mountains and geo-thermal activity. As plant lovers, we particularly enjoyed the botanical gardens. We will be back.” David Turley

 

“What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday? – Crystal clear blue seas and blue skies – Seeing so many whales and dolphins in their natural habitat and on their own terms, with human beings having to play second fiddle for a change – The passion, knowledge and genuine love of their work shown by all the guides – The group bonding that derives from a common shared experience

All the guides at the base were local people who had a deep commitment to animal welfare and to minimising the environmental footprint of our holiday This was the most wonderful week ever. I cannot thank the local team and the Dolphin Connection enough. I would not hesitate to go back again, and very much hope to do so  in the future.” Ali Pemble

“This was an outstanding holiday! Seeing the blow of our first ever sighting of a sperm whale! Then jumping into our seats and speeding across the Atlantic Ocean until we got within a short distance away  from her in time to see the whale diving and throwing up the iconic whale tail.   And all captured by my camera… I was literally blown away and couldn’t wait for the next sighting. We are returning as soon as we can!” Diane and Peter Malloy

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. 

Azores Island Explorer Holiday Prices

 4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel

 

Low Season • 02 Jan - 31 March

  • Solo traveller (single room) £860
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £665
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £770
  • Upgrade to sea view single/double/twin £20 per room per night
  • Price does not include flights
Mid Season • 01 - 30 April & 01 - 31 October

  • Solo traveller (single room) £995
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £735
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £770
  • Upgrade to sea view single/double/twin £20 per room per night
  • Price does not include flights

 

High Season • 1 May - 30 September

  • Solo traveller (single room) £1180
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £830
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £770
  • Upgrade to sea view single/double/twin £20 per room per night
  • 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.