What people said!
The Sao Miguel Park Hotel really suited our needs. The room was large, even with 4 of us, and we had views of bats from the balcony, which the kids thought was great… We made use of the indoor pool and it was often just us in there, which was a bonus! Sally Smart April 2022
On Friday we did the full day trip to Furnas, definitely the best geothermal site. As a family we were fascinated by the Victorian equipment still being used in the tea plantation we visited in the morning. Seeing the fumaroles and eating the food cooked in them was a real novelty. We swam in the pools in the afternoon, which was great again. These ones had much more iron in them than the ones at Lagoa do Fogo so it was important not to have our ‘best’ swimming costumes and towels on that day as they got a bit stained. – Sally Smart April 2022
On Thursday we did the half day trip to Lagoa do Fogo. It was a bit of a wet morning but we made the best of it and the geothermal pools were in a beautiful setting – very Jurassic Park! We swam in the pools and then drove to the beach where we saw an old lava flow and a layer of pumice several metres thick. This trip gave the kids a really good understanding of the volcanology of the island. – Sally Smart April 2022
Our Wednesday Marine Biologist for the day tour was the highlight of a great week. The Zodiac boat got us closer to the animals and we had extended views of about 5 sperm whales. The kids were also excited to see a turtle and Portuguese man o’war right next to the boat as well as the red crabs on Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo. On the back we saw 50+ bottlenose dolphins, again right next to the boat, which made a great end to the boat trip. – Sally Smart April 2022
Thank you so much for all your help over the last 2 1/2 years, I am so glad we finally made it to the Azores. We had the most amazing family holiday and it was certainly worth the wait. Sally Smart April 2022
On Monday we did the inland tour of Sete Cidades, cycling round the crater and kayaking on the lake. There was only our family and two guides, who were both really informative, and this was a fantastic introduction to the island. The cycle ride was suited to our level of cycling (not too hard!) and the kayaking was about the right length for us as it was a windy day. The views from the top were clear and it was a really great adventure – I would thoroughly recommend this trip for families. Sally Smart April 2022
Most memorable part of the holiday “viewing 2 Finback whales at close quarters”. Excellent and would certainly recommend to others 5***** Alistair Neilson – April 2022
“The Alcides hotel was clean and comfortable with very friendly, helpful staff. It was also very central for trips and the town centre. I would certainly recommend it” – Jane Swinney April 2022
“The recommendation to go to Terra Nostra was absolutely spot on – the place is heavenly!” Sue Eve – October 2021
“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
“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
“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
“There were so many memorable moments: seeing five sperm whales “socialising” together and swimming in a perfect line, almost managing to synchronise their “blows”, catching a great picture of the tail fin of the massive blue whale, seeing the huge side fins of the humpback just under the water giving them an eerie blue colour, or probably the best of all seeing first a pod of ten orca cavorting in front of us, the male one with a massive fin of more than two metres in height, and then about an hour later seeing either the same animals again or a different pod, this time as two smaller groups. This is not to mention all the amazing pods of dolphins we saw, common, bottlenose, risso and striped plus false orca which we did not even know existed until the scientist on board identified them.
We could honestly say we were “reborn” but this has certainly been the holiday of a lifetime. We were very lucky with the sightings we had; literally being more or less in the middle of the Atlantic, which is vast, and being able to “find” these creatures is amazing in itself; the scientist on board was very knowledgeable, friendly and keen to share her knowledge. The animals’ well being was always the most important factor and so we did not stay long at each siting to allow the whales the freedom to continue with their journey. Overall the holiday was brilliantly managed.” Tim Hall
“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
“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
“My trip to the Azores was tremendous. I was a bit apprehensive of a 2 star hotel but lovely, bright, clean, functional rooms and excellent cooking, served beautifully, was just right.
The local team and the skippers went out of their way to look after me. The sight of being in the middle of around 500 dolphins will stay with me for a long, long time. Both the sea and land crews did everything possible to make my holiday exceptional. I would recommend this holiday.” Alex Gordon
“Many thanks to you and the team. We had a really lovely holiday. Loved our two days out at sea, in particular the ‘Be a Marine Biologist Day’. We saw sperm whale, sei whale, risso’s dolphins and had an amazing encounter with a large group of bottlenose dolphins. Kids also fascinated by flying fish and Portuguese man o war. Really knowledgeable and engaging guides, they really caught the kids attention who were very excited to learn how to use a hydrophone and listen to the animals underwater
Also enjoyed getting out and about on Sao Miguel, using the hire car to reach a number of fab walks provided by tourist information office and also swimming in thermal pools. Accommodation was great, all the arrangements worked perfectly smoothly and it was a bonus to be in Ponta Delgada for their annual festival. All in all a great experience. Thank you!” Rosalind Roberts
“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
“With active volcanoes, crater lakes, moss-‐draped forests and shores composed of swirls of lava, this is an archipelago packed with natural drama.” Emma Gregg, Travel Writer
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“I could just write four words to describe our holiday: “ Out of this world ”. All three of us had an absolutely fantastic time, had loads of dolphin encounters with three of the four species, saw sperm whales breaching, pilot whales breathing on surface, Bryde whales being elusive ….. truly magical, and better than we had dared to hope for.
Have to say how much we were impressed by the local team as well. Their commitment to the welfare of the cetaceans was really humbling – and their commitment to ensuring that everyone of us had the most amazing time possible.
We could not have asked more from anyone. This holiday was worth every penny we paid. Thank you. When we decide to go on one of your holidays in The Red Sea we will definitely be in touch.” Lisa, Andy and Jenny Newman