Azores Ocean Discovery

Last-minute availability 2021, booking now!

2022 & 2023 Dates: Year round 

(Flexible arrival/departure dates to fit with flights)

 

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 you will learn all about the biology of this incredible ocean, the creation of these volcanic islands and their geothermal activity.

Azores Ocean Discovery

From £760 pp.

An Abundance of Wildlife

Spring is the time to see the many Blue, Humpback and Fin Whales. In summer you are certain to see many species including Sperm whales, Beaked whales, Orca, Pilot whales and super pods of dolphins!

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.

Underwater Encounters

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

About this holiday

 

Discover marine wildlife and fresh sea air

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feeding baleen whale 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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The 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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Furnas hot springs AzoresOur knowledgeable local guides will be with you at sea and on land so that you 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.

 

Swimming with dolphins

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Under water swimming with dolphins AzoresDolphins 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 they 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.

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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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

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. DIRECT flights to Ponta Delgada are available with Ryanair from London Stanstead on Saturdays. There are also direct flights from many European destinations to Ponta Delgada including via Lisbon. Check options for flights to PDL (Ponta Delgada) at www.skyscanner.net For ease we have a dedicated flight agent who can help arrange and book flights 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.  

 

Whale research holidays
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.

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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Giant pods of dolphins, AzoresThe Azores islands 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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Marine BiologistYou 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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Marine research centreOur 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.

 

Great choice of boats

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Catamaran holiday AzoresYou 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, 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.

 

Best sightings

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Hump back whale watchingThe ‘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 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.

 

Overview

Azores Ocean Discovery
(code ADOCEAN)

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 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 tour to Furnas. Self catered options available

Price: From £760 per person. 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

“The whole trip was an adventure. The boat trips were amazing. We were lucky enough to see three different types of dolphin on each trip and a manta ray on one of the trips.

The operator minimised environmental impacts and supported conservation. The animals’ welfare was always taken into account on our approach. The guides were very knowledgeable and answered any questions we had.
This was a truly amazing holiday!!” Stewart Sinclaire 

“The way the operator looked for the dolphins and whales was very sensitively done, there was no chasing or harassing the animals – it was completely on the animals’ terms at all times and carried out with respect. I was very impressed.

Also the staff were all very knowledgeable and able to answer all questions, as well as provide very interesting info throughout the trips. They were great! This was a fab holiday and experience. To experience these animals in their natural environment was just amazing. We also saw flying fish, turtles, three types of dolphins and a fin whale – wow!!” Denise Watson

“We thoroughly enjoyed our whale-watching trips where we saw many sperm whales and several different types of dolphin, and also a trip to Furnas where we spent an hour or so in the hot pool there. Worth a visit, and the gardens are lovely.

Take advantage of the island tours on offer, to see as much of the island as you can as the scenery is spectacular. The local travel guides are very knowledgeable and provide a lot of background information on the island. The boats were careful not to get too close to the whales or disrupt their activities. I am sure the local economy is benefitting from the tourist trade, helping local people and employment.

A very memorable trip – all the locals we met were extremely nice and helpful and we were very lucky with our whale and dolphin sightings.” Mary Gardener

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 Ocean Discovery Holiday Prices

 4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel

 

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

  • Solo traveller (single room) £1015
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £760
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £790
  • Upgrade to sea view single/double/twin £20 per room per night
  • Price does not include flights

 

High Season • 01 May - 30 September

  • Solo traveller (single room) £1195
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £850
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £790
  • 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.