Swimming with Wild Dolphins Holiday, Azores

Dolphins! Dolphins!

2023 DATES: 01 April – 31 October

Prices From Adult £925 per person; Solo Traveller £1180

Meet these curious and playful mammals underwater wearing your mask and snorkel looking through the crystal clear ocean depths and see them from the boats jumping and dancing in the bow waves just an arms’ length beneath your gaze. 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.

Swimming with Dolphins

Sao Miguel Island, Azores

The abundance of dolphins off the coast of the island provides endless opportunity for you to join them in their magical underwater world.

Incredible Sightings

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


Location: Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island - Azores

What’s included:  

  • Three half days swimming with wild dolphins and dolphin watching trips to sea with preparation and training before going out to sea in the boats
  • Maximum 8 people on each trip to sea
  • All wet suits, snorkel and masks provided
  • Specialist guides to assist on the boats when approaching the dolphins and entering the water and how to get the best encounters.
  • Talks 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.

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

Optional activities: Book additional trips to sea and land tours



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

Dates 2023/24  April to October

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

About this holiday


Be prepared for this exciting new experience

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Your experience starts with a briefing about how to swim in the open ocean with the wild dolphins. It is important you are familiar with wearing a mask/snorkel, or learn before you go out. Our expert guides will ensure you know what to expect – your safety and confidence are at the heart of the preparation. As part of the holiday we supply wetsuits, which provide bouyancy, as well as the snorkelling equipment and snorkelling life jackets. You will go out to sea in small groups of eight people. The way in which the boats approach the dolphins and swimmers enter the water follows responsible guidelines.

Meeting wild dolphins from the boats and underwater

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Dolphin watching from RIB boatA 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 over the ocean waves, jumping and dancing in the bow waves just an arm’s length beneath your gaze. Observing both from the water and 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 an exhilarating feeling and we ensure all approaches by the boats and people are done with minimum disturbance – 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.

Optimise your time with the dolphins

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Swimming with wild dolphins Azores 2

You can immerse yourself in the underwater world of the dolphins taking three to five trips (three hour duration) to open the sea with masks and a snorkel. Each time is different and as you get the hang of it you will have more and more amazing experiences.

We prefer people have as many opportunities as possible so the experience is not rushed and we can be calm as we share the underwater world with minimum disturbance.

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*. A budget option is available to reduce the cost of the holiday.

Location and Flights

Holiday location: Ponta Delgada (PDL), Sao Miguel Island, Azores.

The Azores are an archipelago of 9 islands in the middle of the Atlantic - the only territory between America and Europe. There are 3 groups of islands: the eastern group (Sao Miguel, Santa Maria), the central group (Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Terceira and Graciosa) and the western group (Corvo and Flores).

This holiday takes place in Ponta Delgada, the capital of Sao Miguel Island, in the eastern group and 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. A Portuguese territory, the nine islands, dominated by a volcanic mountain range, offer a rare and unspoiled natural beauty, having retained their cultural integrity and escaped the ravages of commercial tourism. There is a wild and elemental quality here, the ocean’s presence is never far away and breathing the air alone is invigorating. Some say, it is the last vestiges of the lost continent of Atlantis! Hot springs steam into the fresh and unpolluted air. There are meadows filled with the scent of wild herbs and vivid, colourful flowers line the roads. It is the perfect setting to relax and slow down.

Flights are not included in the cost of our holidays. DIRECT day time flights from the UK to Ponta Delgada are available with Ryanair from Stansted on Mondays (April - October 2023) and with British Airways from Heathrow on Saturdays (Mid June to end of August 2023). On most days of the week there are flights from the UK to Ponta Delgada via mainland Europe. Direct flights also operate from America and Canada and some European cities including Paris. See all current flight options at Skyscanner. 

For ease we have a dedicated flight booking agent, Rupender Bhoday from The Flight Centre. Rupender knows our holidays and can book the best flights for you. Please email:  [email protected]  or call: 07442 857639. You can also reach her via The Flight Centre main contact number 0207 925 1114 (ask to speak to Rupender Bhoday on the “Associates” team).


Marine Biologist Azores

£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 talks from our marine biologists 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 talks from 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.  

This is a 6 hour tour consisting of 4 hours out at sea and 2 hours at the boat base with talks and presentations. A packed lunch is given with the choice of eating out at sea or at the boat base.

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:

Have a leisurely breakfast. Take a stroll (and discover the surrounding area) to the boat base to review your schedule for the week and meet the team. We highly recommend a whale watching trip to sea in the afternoon which you can pre-book.

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). There will be talks from the boat from marine biologists about the many dolphin and whale species in the surrounding waters.

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 life time 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:

Take a full day tour of the island’s geysers and geothermal craters, and eat local dishes cooked underground using the natural thermals or take another whale watching trip to sea.

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.



Memorable moments

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Leaping dolphins Azores You will take home some beautiful memories that are guaranteed to stay with you. Guests visiting with family and friends will treasure moments shared on this adventure of a lifetime – you will have some amazing stories to share.

“Eye to eye with a wild dolphin underwater is surely one of the most profound experiences of my life – it was as if the dolphin could see into my soul!

Learn the best way to approach the wild dolphins

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Learn responsible boat approaches from our expert skippers and how to behave in the water in a relaxed and confident way resulting in minimum disturbance to the dolphins’ natural behaviour. This also means the animals will be calm with us rather than swimming away to avoid us.


Our special program – learn about the Azores dolphins from the experts

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Marine BiologistOur expert dolphin swim guides and marine biologists are there to ensure you get the most from this activity. They give pre-trip preparation information and safety briefing on board, looking after your safety every step of the way. They will give you tips on how to have really great encounters so at the end of the week you will feel you really know a lot about these beautiful marine mammals, their behaviour and communication. You will be given interesting scientific facts about how they live with information on conserving the habitat of the dolphins.

Welfare of the wild dolphins

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We do everything to minimise 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.

Best encounters with dolphins

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swimming with wild dolphins AzoresThe week-long program ensures you get the best opportunities for sightings and that you become skilled and relaxed swimming with wild dolphins. They will accept you as part of their world and can be very curious. The dolphins are often found close to the shore in smaller groups or you can meet the super pods of hundreds of dolphins. Your trips are booked in advance going out from less-crowded areas. If there is any bad weather you will be given priority replacement of trips.

“The wild dolphins can often be found close to the shore and they are very curious to ride in the bow wave of the boat – we were very close to their shimmering skin as they burst through the crystal clear water coming  up to breathe. 

There were so many dolphins leaping and twirling, it was as if the sea itself was alive!”

What people said!

Our time in the Azores was absolutely magical. Our swim with dolphins was the highlight of our trip!  The Atlantic Spotted Dolphins surrounded and circled around my sister and I for the full time of our swim with them. It was so surreal! They were so close we could almost touch them! Looking into the eyes of these magnificent beings was so magical; I don’t even have the words to describe it. Kaitlin Wistey, September 2022

“We had Common Dolphins approaching at speed towards the RIB and we had to slide as calmly as possible into the water as possible. The 40+ pod passed us below and to see them in their environment from above was fabulous. The second time was again with Common Dolphins but we were closer and some of them, including a mother and youngster, seemed to swim towards us – amazing! For our third time the boat crew found a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins. These characters seemed to want to swim towards us and enjoy our company. Michael Bird, July 2022

“I was blown away by my first trip swimming with dolphins and saw a pod of 80 dolphins including tiny babies over and over … it was an amazing experience” – Clare Davies June 2022

“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. Nick Tullett

“I celebrated my 50th birthday on this truly incredible holiday. 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. I was so lucky and had a dolphin swim directly towards me. It was truly amazing. We also saw Sei whales and sperm whales. Amanda and Gaynor helped make my dreams come true.  Linda Hunt


Prices for this Holiday and Acccommodation

 Use the tabs below to find out more about our different accommodation options


 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 Holiday Prices

 4* Sao Miguel Park Hotel


Mid Season • 1 - 30 April & 1 - 31 October

  • Solo traveller (single room) £1180
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £925
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £1095
  • Price does not include flights


High Season • 1 May - 30 September

  • Solo traveller (single room) £1370
  • Adult price, per person (2 sharing a double/twin room) £995
  • 3rd adult sharing a room (triple) £1095
  • 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.