Whale Watching Holiday with Private Villa, Pico Island
DATES 2021 & 2022: March – October (flexible dates)
Spend quality time with loved ones and relax in a private secluded cliff top villa. On the rural island of Pico, life slows down. During your holiday you explore the island and enjoy thrilling sea excursions on a private vessel, accompanied by a renowned marine biologist.
Pico Island, Azores
Prices from £665 per person
Exclusive use of RIB Zodiac getting you closer to the action
About this holiday
Best place to see dolphins and whales in the wild
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.
Spending time on Pico gives a real taste of the traditions and heritage of the Azores as it is one of the less populated, more isolated volcanic islands of the archipelago. Enjoy breathtaking views of the dramatic geological formations and caves surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean crashing on to the black craggy cliffs of volcanic rock below.
The sightings here are exceptional with very few other boats. Pico Island formed from a volcano and the majestic Mt Pico stands tall above the island, luring many people to make the ascent to the top, above the clouds. The sides of the mountain also descend deep into the ocean on the south coast of Pico which sets up the perfect conditions for an upswell of the phytoplankton where the whales can feed. Our whale expert chooses to conduct his research here as the sightings are so exceptional. You will be given talks about whale behaviour and recent discoveries, with opportunities to observe their feeding, hunting and socialising. The research boat will go to areas off the main whale watching trail and will frequently be surrounded by curious dolphins and whales.
Private villa, with pool and ocean views
You will have exclusive use of this incredible villa, perched high up on the cliff top with stunning views across the Atlantic Ocean. There are 2 double bedrooms and a twin room. A large spacious living area, an open air kitchen and dining room with a large terrace overlooking the bay of Lajes. Lounge by the outdoor pool or curl up on cushioned seating on the veranda, relax with your book or take a few minutes to start organising your photos. The villa boasts mature manicured gardens, bursting with life.
A delicious fresh, locally sourced breakfast will be delivered to villa each morning and subtly cleared away during the day before you return from your days activities
During your free time you can enjoy walks from the villa and of an evening enjoy the outdoor BBQ. The villa is located a shot drive form our boat base in Lajes, car hire is highly recommended.
Exclusive use of RIB Zodiac
Your party will have exclusive use of the boat during your whale watching trips to sea accompanied by your own private guide. They will teach you about the different species of animals you will see as well as the incredible biodiversity of the ocean and why so many of the worlds Ocean Giants choose the Azores This is a unique opportunity to have one to one time with our expert guides and marine biologists, so be sure to ask lots of questions.
The boats used are hard hulled inflatable RIB boats (exclusive use). The boats are very sturdy and can move easily and reach the whales swiftly, even if the sea is choppy. However, there can be some jerky movements on rougher seas. If you have back problems, or feel you prefer a boat with toilet facilities, we recommend you go on the Ocean Giants small group tour on Ponta Delgada as this tour uses a large stable catamaran.
Often, our boat is the only vessel around the animals which is very special. The research boats go to the best places to see the whales and approach with minimum disturbance in order to see as much natural behaviour as possible.
“We were on the boat 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
Island Tour included in your holiday
Included in the holiday is a full day tour of Pico Island. Exploring the history of the island from the first settlers to modern day, you’ll see that many aspects of life have remained the same. A gentle walk up the slopes of Mt Pico, the tallest mountain in Portugal, will give way to breath taking views across the archipelago and the Atlantic Ocean. Pico boasts one of the largest colonies of Cory’s Shearwater, known locally as ‘Cagarra.’ Marvel at the daily spectacle as the birds come home to feed their hungry chicks, nestled in the hillsides. You can also treat yourself to a delicious glass of wine whilst we visit one of the islands many volcanic vineyards.
Location and Flights
Location: Pico Island, Azores. The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, are an archipelago of 9 islands in the mid-Atlantic. This holiday is based on Pico Island, Azores (part of the central group of the islands). The abundance of dolphins and whales around the Azores makes Pico Island one of the key locations worldwide for whale and dolphin watching.
Flights: Flights are not included in the cost of our holidays.
You will need to fly via Lisbon to get to and depart from Pico. Alternatively, fly via the neighbouring island of Horta (direct flights from Lisbon ) and get the ferry to Pico from there (approx. 30 mins with Azorean ferry operator Atlantico Line).
Flying to PICO (PIX) via Lisbon (LIS), Portugal is the most straight forward. Air Portugal operate regular flights to Pico from Lisbon. There are many budget airlines who fly to Lisbon from the UK and other destinations and from there you can get a flight to Pico. Online price comparison portal such as skyscanner or expedia will show you best prices with various options. If you need overnight accommodation in Lisbon or elsewhere due to your flight schedules, our dedicated travel consultant Rupender Bhoday can book the most convenient flights together with overnight accommodation if required. Please contact: Rupender.Bhoday@flightcentre.co.uk or call 0207 925 1114
Arrival in the Azores and transfer to the villa. Take the rest of the day to settle in. Take a dip in the pool or snooze on a sun lounger listening to the birds. If you feel more energetic you can take a walk along the stunning cliff tops, straight from your villa.
Board the RIB Zodiac for your first morning whale-watching trip. Your on-board guide will provide in depth information about the wildlife and will be available to discuss the sightings, share his research and help you get the best shots of the whales!
Days 3 to 6
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. There will be opportunities for excursions around the island to fit with your three half-day trips to sea. 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.
A full day tour of the island is included to give you a chance to appreciate the island’s rugged beauty and charm. Learn about the local culture, the volcanic origins of the island and see the vineyards, caves and mountain villages There is access to swim in the sea from a sheltered lagoon (temperature permitting), nearby walks, bird watching, snorkelling and diving. We also offer talks and presentations on marine and land birdlife. There is a whaling museum giving the history of the old whaling culture which stopped 25 years ago.
Departure day. Transfer to airport from villa.
Be inspired! Marine wildlife, sea air and the wow factor
Your expert whale watching guide in Pico
On this exclusive private holiday you will be joined at sea by our whale researcher and guide, Rui Santos, he will be your very own private guide. He has worked as a whale watching guide for the last 12 years and is always very popular with the guests. He is very enthusiastic and passionate about dolphins and whales – you will certainly learn a lot. He genuinely wants to do everything to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Rui Santos has a masters in Marine Biology and has been conducting his ongoing research in Pico since 2008. He has had several publications and lectures about some of his discoveries on this remote location.
Land based lookouts to locate the whales
Our expert lookouts or ‘Vigia’ can spot the whales from land as they pass close to the volcanic islands and they direct the boats by radio contact to locate the whales. This makes for consistently excellent sightings, said to be some of the best in the world. It is a much more efficient system than searching for whales when out at sea. The lookouts were historically used to sight whales for hunting which was banned in the Azores nearly 30 years ago. The lookouts are employed by the whale watching companies instead for tourists to appreciate the beauty of these magnificent creatures rather than killing them – a true win for conservation.
Private Whale Watching Holiday with Secluded Villa
Location: Pico Island - Azores
- Exclusive use of a secluded private villa
- Three half day trips to sea dolphin and whale watching
- Exclusive use of RIB Zodiac boat, accompanied by expert guide
- Full day island tour
- Talks and presentations from local marine biologists
- 7 nights accommodation
- 7 days car hire ( 1 or 2 cars depending on occupancy)
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 Sao Miguel or visit other islands
Accommodation: Private secluded villa for 6 persons. Fresh breakfast delivered daily
Meals: Breakfast included. All other meals are self catered
Price: From £665 per person. See below for further details.
Flights: Not included. We give you guidance on booking flights to Madalena airport, Pico Island, Azores. See location and flights above
2021 & 2022 dates: March to October (flexible dates)
Flexible dates: This holiday can be arranged to start any day of the week to fit with flights
What people said!
“Seeing so many whales and dolphins, the group I was with, the fantastic hotel I stayed in. The holiday benefitted local people and supported conservation. A magical holiday.
Pick the exclusive small group tour, I think there is a bonding when there are only 12 people, compared with having a lot more people. Also you get longer at sea, and as for Horta – it was so beautiful! For all that you get, it works out so cheap. I don’t understand how they can give you so much for that price!” Alice Caldwell
“Our tour was fascinating, led by an expert guide and whale researcher, really lovely guy who gave short seminars after the trips recapping on what we had seen and allowing us time to consider and ask questions as he was passionate about sharing his fascination for these animals and their conservation. The sightings were outstanding and all the team ensured we were always where the action was!” Richard Christie
“What I liked about this tour was that often we were the only boat out with the whales – we felt privileged to have so much time with the whales and observe their behaviour first hand” Rosy Hughes
Prices for this Holiday including Acccommodation
Our luxury cliff-top villa with beautiful landscaped gardens and private pool, overlooks the sea and Mount Pico. The split level interior is tastefully designed and local stone, materials and labour were used wherever possible during its’ construction. The villa is well equipped for the convenience of our guests and breakfast is delivered to the property each morning by our local supplier.
The pool, although unheated, has been specially insulated and is located in a sun-trap. The fantastic plant resource on the island was used as a basis for the planting. The Island has only one beach. It does however have many safe natural swimming areas, enhanced and improved, for the public to use. The nearest of these is directly in front of the Villa, less than a minute walk away.
Private Whale Watching Holiday with Secluded Villa
From £665 per person*
* Price based on full occupancy of Villa (6 adults). Please enquire about supplements for groups of 5 adults or less or combinations of adults and children aged up to 12 years.
2021 and 2022 dates: March to October (flexible dates)