Azores activity holiday, incl swimming with dolphin

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Azores activity holiday, incl swimming with dolphin


The whale-watching on this trip is led by highly experienced local guides who are more than familiar with the waters and routes travelled, preventing any interference with whale or dolphin pods. Likewise, when spending time in important outdoor areas like Ribeira dos Caldeirões and Terra Nostra Botanical Garden, holidaymakers are taken on non-disruptive trails, allowing them to enjoy without being destructive.

We make it a point to ensure that clients are educated about the valuable environments which they enter; moreover, that they become more aware of the necessity to maintain and protect them. Priolo Environmental Centre is one location which fulfils these aims, with a useful interactive exhibition on the flora and fauna of Serra da Tronqueira and a programme dedicated to the conservation of Azores bullfinches.

We are proud to support swimming with dolphins in the wild. A series of National Geographic articles published in May and June 2015 examined current research on dolphin intelligence, as well as the ways in which captivity can affect the mental and physical wellbeing of these animals. As is well-documented, dolphins are highly intelligent, social creatures. Confining them to parks and performance routines can lead to neurosis and make them incapable of thinking independently. While visiting such parks can build audience awareness of dolphins, it may lead to them being seen as pets, rather than big-brained wild animals.

In comparison, clients on this Azores holiday will be able to see dolphins in their natural habitat, building appreciation for them as members of the natural world, rather than of artificial environments. Those taking part receive in-depth instructions on how to swim responsibly with the dolphins – observing, but not disturbing.


Tourism is a mainstay of the Azores service sector, providing an essential means of finance for many of its island population. According to annual reports from Instituto Nacional de Estatística (Statistics Portugal), it is the Algarve which continues to draw the largest number of tourists out of all Portuguese destinations, with around a quarter of the total number of overnight stays. The Azores, in comparison, hosts less than two percent.

This holiday therefore contributes to the smaller Azorean holiday industry, providing a stream of holidaymakers against the mainland pull. The use of local experts – whether park guides or marine biologists – directly benefits Azorean inhabitants, rather than those from abroad.

Much in the same way that animals separated on an island from their mainland species may eventually develop into a new species, so the cuisine of the Azores has developed into a new species after being separated from its original Portuguese ancestor. It has, to extend the analogy, been adapted to its island environment, creating rather unique delicacies as a result.

The ‘Cozido das Furnas’, for example, combines a classic Portuguese stew with an innovative steam-cooking method which relies on the geothermal activity of Furnas, São Miguel. Similarly, ‘Fofas da Povoação’ demonstrate how continental pastry-making practices have become specifically associated with an Azorean village. Taking clients to enjoy these products allows them to interact with this rich and individual gastronomic tradition, supporting it in the process.

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