Whale Watch Azores

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Whale Watch Azores offers people from all walks of life a relaxing whale and dolphin watching holiday that can make a real difference to the environment. We regularly see 6 or 7 species of cetacean, against the backdrop of the beautiful Azores archipelago. Home for the tours is the 12m motor catamaran “Physeter”, with accommodation and most meals included. Best of all, is that your tour fee funds our research, ongoing since 1988 and you can even help too (optional). Put simply, your money ensures that your holiday of a lifetime can be there for the next generation to enjoy.
Member since: 06 Oct 2014

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

Local people are employed as a vigia (lookout) and a skipper.

We run an expedition during April & May with Biosphere Expeditions, which is a charity that supports scientific projects around the world.

Students have been sponsored to gain research experience and use data collected on board for 3rd year or MSc. theses at no charge to them.

Lisa provides matching of sperm whale photographs to any company or person that has sperm whale photos from around the Atlantic at no charge.

Local suppliers are used to provide services for the clients, such as airport transfers and island tours.

Food for lunches is sourced locally wherever possible

Evening meals are taken in local restaurants.

After the earthquake off Faial in 1998, we ran some extra whale watching trips and raised almost €1000 for the earthquake fund.

A rowing challenge in Cardigan Bay raised money and awareness for WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation).

Environmental responsibility

We are committed to the following policies:

  • Using methods of interacting with cetaceans that do not significantly affect or in any way harass the animals
  • We do not offer swimming with dolphins, since we believe this activity disturbs the animals normal behaviour
  • Our tours stay out for the full day, so we do not have to race at high velocity to the animals and use more fuel.
  • Our vessel has diesel engines and propellers that make very little noise under the water to disturb the animals.
  • We were involved in the introduction and implementation of whale and dolphin watching regulations in the Azores which protect the cetaceans and their habitat (first stage introduced in 1999, second stage was introduced in 2004).
  • Assisting in the education of the Azorean people and visitors to the islands in relation to the cetaceans and the environment of the islands.
  • Recycling wherever possible.
  • Discourage use of plastic water bottles, suggesting clients bring a water bottle with them and use tap water (clients are sent a comprehensive pre-departure booklet with many other tips on being an environmentally friendly traveller)
  • Cutting down on paper use wherever possible, pdf brochure & pre-departure booklet.
  • Communicating our environmental policies to employees and guests
  • Regularly assessing our environmental performance and improving our environmental policy.

Social responsibility

Guests have time to explore the islands on free days. They are given information on the museums, which document the history of the islands and the whaling culture that existed here until 1985. Most people opt for a taxi or jeep tour of the islands which include these museums. Our pre-departure booklet has a lot of information on the history and culture of the islands. During the time at sea, the vigias, lookout posts which are used to spot the whales, are pointed out, as well as Lajes, the last town that hunted the animals. The local whale boats can often be seen sailing or rowing, preparing for the regattas they are now used for. Clients are also made aware of the scrimshaw (carvings on teeth & bone) that they will see in the local shops. We let them know that they should not purchase these items, first since they are not permitted to cross international borders under CITES and secondly, we do not want to create a market for them.

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