Swimming with Wild Dolphins & Whale Watching Azores

Last-minute availability September, October 2021, booking now!

2022 & 2023 DATES: April – October

(flexible arrival/departure dates to fit with flights)

 This is the perfect holiday for those that want the best of both worlds – above and below the waves. Come eye to eye with playful inquisitive dolphins as you swim alongside them and get up close and personal with some of the worlds largest whales on an exhilirating voyage to sea.

Sao Miguel Island, Azores

Prices from £800 per person

Once in a Lifetime Experience

Come eye to eye with wild dolphins in their natural habitat as you learn and understand more about their underwater world

Incredible Sightings

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

About this holiday

 

Be well prepared for this exciting new experience

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Under water swimming with dolphins AzoresYour 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.  We supply wetsuits and snorkelling equipment as part of the holiday. 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

“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 and family

Meet wild dolphins from the boats and underwater

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A 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 with joy over the ocean waves, jumping and dancing in the bow waves just an arms’ length beneath your gaze. Both 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. 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 a very exhilarating feeling and we ensure all approaches by the boats and people are done with minimum disturbance where the encounters are on the dolphin’s terms. They are very curious and it is a delight to witness their natural behaviour hunting, socialising and playing.

Best place to see whales and dolphins in the wild

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humpback breaching in the 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.

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.

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.  

 

swimming with wild dolphins Azores
Sample Itinerary

Day 1:

Travel day. Transfer to the hotel from the airport, with time to settle in.

Day 2:

After a leisurely morning exploring the local town with its stunning architecture head down to the boat base for your first half day whale and dolphin watching trip to sea. If there is any weather disruption your trip to sea will be moved to another day or later in the day so that you go out during the best possible weather and conditions.

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 lifetime 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:

Free day or take another half day at sea whale and dolphin watching giving you more chances of sighting the giant whales or add a full day tour to Furnas and explore the geothermal activty deep in the heart of the island, you can also take time to relax in the hot thermal pools set in beautiful botanical gardens.

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

 

Expert Guides

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Marine BiologistOur expert dolphin swim guides and marine biologists are there to ensure you get the most from this holiday.

During your whale watching excursion 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. There will be talks and presentations before heading out to sea so you will be well prepared.

Best Sightings

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Vigia tower in the AzoresThe “Vigia” or 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, the best in the world some say! We see whales & 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.

 

Safety and support

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Swimming with dolphins entering waterBefore you embark on your Swimming with Dolphins adventure you will be given pre-trip preparation information and a safety briefing on board the boat. Our guides are there to look after your safety every step of the way. They will give you tips on how to behave in the water to ensure you have some incredible encounters with the dolphins and by the end of the week you will know so much about these beautiful marine mammals, their behaviour and communication as well as having lots of interesting scientific facts about how they live and information on conserving the habitat of the dolphins.

 

Welfare of the wild dolphins

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Dolphin watching from RIB boatWe 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.

 

Overview

Swimming with Wild Dolphins & Whale Watching
(code ADCOMBI)

Location: Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island - Azores

What’s included:  

  • Three half days swimming with wild dolphins trips to sea
  • One half day whale watching trip to sea on sturdy catamaran boat with viewing platform
  • 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

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Price: From £800. See below for details

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

Dates 2021 / 22: April to October

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

What people said!

“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

“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 

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. 

Swimming with Wild Dolphins & Whale Watching Holiday Prices

 4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel

 

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

  • Solo traveller (single room) £1065
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £800
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £840
  • 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) £1245
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £895
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £840
  • 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.