52 independent reviews for Whale watching in the Azores

Reviews for Whale watching in the Azores

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review 6 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All 3 of our trips. We had amazing sightings of a Blue whale and Fin whales and Bottlenose dolphins and Common dolphins and 1 turtle.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Prepare for possible sea sickness, if not from the sea then from the diesel fumes from the boat! I have never suffered seasickness before! Also if staying at the gorgeous lodge then take earplugs for the cockerel who lives nearby!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, all the locals we spoke to said they encourage tourists, they would like the numbers controlled that come to the Azores but were so welcoming and friendly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. Me or my friend were not overly impressed by the hotel The Azor but were very pleased with the lodge we stayed at for the majority of our trip. The whale excursions were fabulous. We also took a seperate land trip to the Twin Lakes which were stunning as was the whole drive there.

review 5 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Looking for Whales and Dolphins in the wild when we knew we were so close to them.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book the whale watching trips in advance as they get booked up and can be cancelled due to bad weather.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, The whale watching company researches the whales and dolphins that were seen to conserve them for the future

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

fantastic!

review 18 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Several times seeing Blue Whales starting their deep dive with flukes in the air. We saw Blue whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales galore and a solitary Humpback whale which also did a "flukes in the air" dive. We heard on the long towed hydrophone the "song" (actually clicking) of the 20 strong Sperm whale pod socialising while escorted by bottle-nose dolphins. We frequently saw common dolphins and one spectacular display of striped dolphins playing alongside while the boat was travelling at speed. One loggerhead turtle was seen and Cory Shearwaters frequently gave impressive flying displays around the boat.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be sure of your ability not to be sea-sick. Take appropriate medication if in any doubt. The motion of the catamaran on which you will spend about seven hours a day can be fairly uneven although completely safe. Take warm clothing, waterproofs, good head covering that will stay on in a stiff wind and, perversely, high factor sun block. Even on showery days the Ultra Violet index was 8 (on a scale up to 10). Expect to cover your face in sun block then put on a sensible head covering and a "buff" which is a thing you can buy locally and leaves one looking like an old fashioned bank robber wearing a mask. You may scoff at others looking like this on the first day but you won't by the second day. Follow the example of the crew. Cover up or burn at sea off the Azores in May.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All staff were local (the resident cetologist was American by birth but a local by virtue of very long residence). Strict adherence to the code of conduct governing responsible whale watching was evident at all times.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Outstanding. Our expectations were far exceeded. All arrangements from the airport on arrival back to the airport for departure were faultless. The resident cetologist and Jairo (the captain) could not have been pleasanter and more helpful. The accommodation in the Hotel Do Canal was first class and their breakfasts were memorable and welcome before a full day at sea. The two group meals included were excellent examples of local cuisine.

review 13 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Beautiful island with ideal temperatures for walking, hiking and surfing. May rain a bit but usually short lasting. Food is very affordable and prices are considerably lower than in the United Kingdom. Whale spotting is good and it is best to select a small operator who is likely to do that bit extra for you.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Best to book your own travel, accommodation and activities. Hiring a car is easy and a good way to see the island. Choose your whale watching operator carefully as big operators are less personal.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Benefits to the local people can be maximised if you book the holiday directly. If the locals get more from tourism, they can afford to reduce the volume of visitors which in turn would benefit the environment. Travel undoubtedly has a negative impact on the environment but one hopes that a right balance is struck between conserving nature and improving local conditions.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


review 7 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Sighting various species of whales and dolphins, with an amazing, respectful, professional, and flexible , local whale watching company.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for changes to the itinerary, due to weather conditions.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely. The local company that believes in respecting wildlife and the environment, leading by example.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Superb.

review 6 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I loved everything about my holiday to the Azores but the whale watching is why I wanted to go there, it did not disappoint. I saw a humpback whale, two sperm whales of which one showed the tail when it dived under the water and three fin whales. The dolphins gave a show and were very entertaining to watch. The island of Sao Miguel is stunning, very green and beautiful. Ideal for walking and swimming in the hot springs.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I think the end of May/ beginning of June is the best time to see the whales. The weather was excellent and it is not too busy on the island.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It definitely benefitted the local people, I stayed in a lovely hostel/ lodge, shopped and ate in local shops and restaurants. The tours were all run by a local company, who was able to show me the beauty of the island and the ocean.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I would definitely recommend this holiday, it was very well organised. I had one day of rain but it was no problem to move my schedule around so that I could enjoy my tours in the sunshine instead. I felt very well looked after.

review 19 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Following three fin back whales for about half an hour

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book your whale trips at the beginning of your holiday to allow for possible stormy weather

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Tourism is important to the Azores

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great holiday we had three days of storms and still found things to do

review 31 Jul 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the dolphins

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

See more of the islands

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good

review 15 Sep 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing whales and dolphins

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel by Tap not Sata If your room in the hotel is not as promise change it To see this most beautiful have a friendly taxi driver show you around .It is cheaper than excursions.Ours was Paul Camara Paulotaxiazores@sapo.pt

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes if you get local taxis very reasonable priced . The holiday provider and Responsible Travel do their best for conservation

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good .Amanda with whom we booked was always very helpful with info but of course can not control the weather! One trip was cancelled but had another in it's place.

review 12 Sep 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing Sperm Whales during a trip out on a RIB. The RIB was great fun and we were lucky enough to see Sperm Whales with a calf and a huge pod of very playful dolphins!!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Explore the island as the scenery is stunning. Also do as many boat trips as possible to increase your chances of seeing the animals.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I felt my holiday helped support the conservation efforts of the marine biologists and the local people were all very welcoming and clearly tourism helps them financially.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was fantastic!! I would love to go again and would highly recommend it.

review 8 Aug 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole trip was an adventure. The boat trips were amazing. We were lucky enough to see 3 different types of dolphin on each trip and a manta ray on one of the trips.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take sea sickness tablets. I did just as a precaution and therefore could enjoy each trip without sickness.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It definitely supported 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.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Amazing

review 18 Jul 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming with the Dolphin's was excellent and so exciting, would, do it again in a flash, only wished I had booked for 5 swims.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If swimming with Dolphin's I would recommend getting your own mask and snorkel, only to ensure a good fit and some sort of water shoe or diving boot. Don't bother about taking waterproof jacket on the trips as one is provided.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local people benefited by being employed and the Dolphin's welfare was the utmost importance at all times.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was great just wished I had booked more trips to go on

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Jacque Thank you so much for your wonderful review below, so glad you had such an amazing experience with the dolphins in the Azores. Many of our guests are fine with the mask and snorkel that are supplied and often try on a few different ones to get the best fit which is important ( nothing worse than dolphins beneath you and a mask full of water obscuring your vision!). Some people do bring their own gear and snorkeling fins can be taken if you are confident with them , although often not needed. Waterproof jackets are handy on the whale watching boats or on land tours but yes are supplied on the swim boats. Hope to see you again either in the Azores or our program in Egypt, you are most welcome!! May the memories stay strong! Amanda

review 14 Jul 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing wildlife in its own environment but in a non intrusive manner

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book excursions beforehand. Use suncrean even on cloudy/foggy days!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The main reason we booked through you was because I wanted to see Dolphins and whales as they should be seen in the wild and not a swimming pool doing tricks. And boy did you guys deliver. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you to family and friends.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Heart stopping, invigorating, active, peaceful and some times restful.

review 12 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being in the company of a wonderful people and getting to see some amazing wildlife.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be aware that this is weather (wind and rain) dependant so if its not good, then you may not go out.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely - this encompasses what sustainable use of natural resources is all about - nature conservation as well as providing a livelihood and benefit to local people

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Would we go again - yes we would

review 9 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We have been to the Azores before, so for us it wasn't an instant "Wow". We were fortunate that we saw Finn and Hump Back Whales.....very exciting! Nature certainly thrills! The scenery was stunning and impressive

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for the weather! Out there they say you can get three seasons in one day. It was great having whale trips pre booked for you so you were ahead of the crowds but be prepared to re-arrange due to the weather. The boat crew staff were very happy to offer alternatives if required.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely. The local company were excellent. Nothing was too much trouble. Great knowledge of the countryside and of the whales. Very conscious of safety and not getting to close to the whales.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very Good. Very clean everywhere. People very friendly and helpful Good food. What more could you want.

review 6 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Whale watching-it was amazing to see animals in their natural environment. We saw three of the largest creatures in the world.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The Azores is NOT a conventional destination so not for those seeking a guaranteed sun holiday. The best time for whale watching is probably early May but be prepared to be flexible with the arrangements as whale watching is very weather dependant.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly tourism supports the local economy but at present this is nicely balanced with preserving the environment. Whale watching is undertaken on a very careful basis

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

4 star as per definitions below

review 28 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Getting back home safely! No, just kidding. Being underwater with the dolphins (of course!) We got on really well with the Azorians who seem happy to have us there and share their land. The food was tremendous if you knew where to look. Would love to explore again and more of the islands.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Find the free botanical garden in Ponta Delgarda. Utterly fabulous. If the sea is still cold, consider bringing your own good wetsuit or ways to keep warm when out of the water on the swimming trip. Book plenty of trips in case the weather is changeable Find out where the locals and guides eat.... we did and it was fabulous!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly supported local people and conservation through the companies - or at least I hope they do!! I guess our very presence is an impact on the environment, but it seemed everyone was concerned with minimising it and maximising benefts where possible. I wanted more optional talks from the biologists about the sea and land life there - had to keep pestering people who were at work!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I was really taken by the Azores, the people and the wild-life. I would happily come again and explore more. I was also impressed with how smoothly the trip was organised and helpful the operators were.

review 26 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The last boat trip on the zodiac - seeing sperm whales.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be patient and flexible. Patient because whales come and go and one can never be sure to see one. Flexible because the weather is changing, the sea makes it sometimes just impossible to have a boat trip. The holiday provider however has been totally customer-friendly and has always proposed alternatives - be it other boat trip or land trips.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. The environmental commitmemt of the holiday provider - and in particular the sensible way of whale and dolphin watching - must be stressed. Our holidays is a support on a small scale but every little helps.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent-

review 26 May 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All of it! seeing whales and dolphins in the sea.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take warm clothing and be prepared for anything

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes,

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic!

review 27 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing sperm whale and rissos dolphin and loggerhead turtle

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

with internal flights, make sure the flight is actually going at the time stated on the itiniary with the flight company before going to the airport. ours was changed and we weren't notified. (SATA said they had told the company we booked them with, but they did not transfer the information onto us)We therefore waisted time at the airport waiting for the next flight

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes on all counts

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very enjoyable, will definitely go back

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you so much for your wonderful review and so glad you had such an excellent time. I am so sorry you had delays with your flights and I hope you have been able to bring that up with the flight agency you booked through. I am glad we were able to re arrange your transfer to fit with new timings and ensure you were met at the airport. However , as guests book flights themselves, communication from the airline should go direct to the guest at all times or via a flight agent. We are not informed of these changes. Kind regards and I hope you can visit the Azores again some time. Amanda

review 19 Jul 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The most memorable part of the holiday was, without a doubt, seeing the dolphins and whales in their natural environment. The dolphins swam right under and past the boat, also leading it at times! Swimming with the dolphins was also thrilling! They really are such amazing creatures! We saw 3 types of dolphins - bottle nose, common and Atlantic spotted, and a fin whale. Also the land tours to the volcanic crater lakes, hot springs and botanical gardens were great too!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

When you swim with the dolphins you go out on the smaller boats, only take the bare minimum of what you need, in a waterproof bag. The floor of the boat gets wet and that is where the bags are kept. Practice with a snorkel before hand, in the ocean it's not always as easy as when you may have previously used one. Put on LOTS of sun cream!! We had 3 trips to swim with the dolphins and I think this is a must. Although we saw dolphins on every trip, I did not always see them when I was in the water. The more times you go, the more confident you feel in the water and the greater your chances of swimming with them.Definitely book any land tours you want to do before you get there, we didn't, and although we did manage to get on some, they were very busy and we had to reshuffle some of our swim and whale watching days to make it work.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I felt the company who ran the swims, whale watching and land tours were extremely well organised and experienced. The way we 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 knowledgable and able to answer all questions, as well as provide very interesting info throughout the trips, they were great!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was a fab holiday and experience. To experience these animals in their natural environment was just amazing. We also saw flying fish, turtles, 3 types of dolphins and a fin whale - wow!!

review 21 Jun 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The best parts were the 3 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.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take advantage of the trips on offer, to see as much of the island as you can as the scenery is spectacular. The local travel guides are very knowledgable and provide a lot of background information on the island

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The whale-watching trips 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 and helping local people and employment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very memorable trip, all the locals we met were extremely nice and helpful and we were very lucky with our whale and dolphin sightings.

review 16 Jun 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing Sperm Whales in the Atlantic Ocean

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you do take a water-proof bag to protect your camera/phone etc when on the open rib boats. A plastic carrier is probably not sufficient

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All services employed local people. The Azores seemed generally environmentally sensitive.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A good holiday that delivered most of the time.

review 28 May 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The boat trips and sighting dolphins and whales.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book as many trips as you can afford to ensure sightings, but you do have to be prepared not to see anything.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I feel all of the above things.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Because of good weather and many sightings of whales 10 out of 10

review 26 May 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Whales, whales and more whales!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is not as warm as we expectged, in May - so take warm gear, especially for out on the boats

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, definitely supported the whales, giving lots of information, but not sure about the trip to Furnas - the food was disgusting. Same tour but a sandwich lunch would have been much better.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fabulous. The tour operators were awesome.

review 20 Apr 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing three Fin Whales. The group included an adolescent who, being curious, came quite close to the boat followed by the adults; we got a great view. We also saw Hump Back Whale and both Common and Bottle Nosed Dolphins. The knowledgable Marine Biologists on the boat added to the overall experience. I cannot recommend the team highly enough, they showed great respect for the animals whilst providing a brilliant Whale and Dolphin watching experience.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you bring waterproofs and a towel as the weather in the Azores is very changeable and you are likely to get wet. Equally bring a hat and sun screen as you will get burnt when the sun is out. Don't confine yourself to just one trip, there is something different every day and the animals are sometimes hard to find. Do make time to see the interior of the Island. There are a number of dormant volcanoes that have rainwater lakes that are quite beautiful. If you are not hiring a car you can book trips with this company locally; we did this and again found the guides hugely knowledgable about the geological formations of the island, flora and fauna as well as the cultural make up of the Azores.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The whale watching company were very keen to give information about the very negative aspects of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity ,also the environmental impact of human waste, for example plastic, on marine life. San Miguel has many fine, locally owned and run restaurants that provide excellent Azorian and Portuguese food and, fortunately, there are hardly any chain shops so most tourism does genuinely seem to benefit the local population. Our hotel was very "corporate" and, once inside, you could be any where in the world. I do not know if it is locally owned but it did feel like a chain. That said we were not in it much and both the room and service were very good.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip; the people, animals and islands were a joy. The travel company were highly efficient and our itinerary was delivered faultlessly.

review 5 May 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing Bottlenose Dolphins up close

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take plenty of wet weather gear! We would also recommend hiring a car to explore the island and give you a bit more freedom. Car hire, if booked through the hotel, is very reasonable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I would like to think so

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a relaxing holiday and once we got there it was cheap to eat out and visit sites. We were disappointed that the hotel was advertised as 'every room has a balcony with sea views' whereas in fact only half do and we had the embarrassment of having to ask to be moved as the room we were given was tiny with no balcony and a view over the car park. The hotel staff were helpful, but it was awkward nonetheless and meant repacking our cases so they could move them for us once another room became available. We suggest that this is changed in the brochure as it gives a false impression. Poor weather all week meant that one of our whale watching trips was cancelled, but that's just the luck of the draw.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Barbara I am glad you enjoyed your holiday and really sorry you were not given the room we had confirmed for you which was reserved with hotel. This is a very unusual situation and in all other cases our guests are given the room that is described on their voucher and confirmed with the reservations department. We have addressed this matter with the hotel and will ensure it does NOT occur again for future guests, so thank you for informing us. Also if you had contacted us, we would have taken care of asking the reception to change your room on arrival which is part of our customer care and may have spared you some inconvenience and been less awkward. Sadly, we were not aware of the problem until you wrote this email, so we were not able to respond and help. Thanks again for letting us know and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience kind regards

review 12 Jul 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whale watching was spectacular, but the island is also beautiful and unspoilt with great views and lovely walks.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't delay in going

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic we think it is the best thing we have done so far

review 7 Jul 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being with enviromentally passionate likeminded people & seeing all the marine life especially the blue whale .

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Remember the Azores is in the Atlantic not the med'. No beaches , no 24/7 drinking / music, perfect for nature lovers. The weather is very changable. Pack a waterproof fleece & warm layers. I wore my wellies ( beginning of June ) most days.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. I would highly reccomend Serge & his team as the only people to go with.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

11 / 10 if you wish to see the marine life with environmentally respectful people.

review 30 Jun 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Whale watching, we saw 11 whale & dolphin species.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Just relax and enjoy a beautiful part of the world

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Pico is very unspoiled, the peacefulness is something that needs to be preserved. We shopped at local stores and boughtlical produce

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic, a perfect honeymoon. Such a beautiful place.

review 18 Jun 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whales of course! But every trip on the boat was exciting, you just never knew what you were going to see each day. The memories I have from this trip will stay with me forever. And I have to say that the people I met on the holiday also made it for me.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for a long journey to get to the Azores but once you get there it is worth it. I went with the hope of seeing maybe one or two whales but what I saw each day surpassed that expectation. Be prepared for any weather, it can be grey and cloudy in the morning and glorious sunshine in the afternoon. Most importantly - sun protection. When out on the boats you forget how strong the sun can be with the excitement of seeing those marvellous creatures. And, if you suffer from sea sickness a port & brandy should sort you out.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The crews of the boats were local and all the staff at the hotel. We were very aware that everyone around us were very proud of their local environment and looked after it. We were made aware that for every person taken on the trips a donation was being made to plant trees on the mainland of Portugal to replace forests which were lost during forest fires. We were given informative talks in the evenings which made us more aware of our surrounding environment, no matter where we were in the world. To even plant those seeds in our heads will help in some way.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Simply the best! The accommodation was simple but all that was needed. Everyone else on the group all had the same goal - to see whales and we certainly did. I had a fantastic time and have to admit to having a lump in my throat when I saw my first Blue Whale. It is something I will never forget and sometimes have a smile on my face when I think of the time I got to spend sitting out in the ocean in the presence of those amazing animals. If I was asked would I do it again - YES! In a heartbeat. I know that if I did I would have a different experience but that is what it is all about. It is the feeling you get when you see whales and dolphins. Loved it!

review 29 Aug 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The 5 boat trips - each in different conditions with different dolphin/whale sightings.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Fins NOT necessary and Flotation vests not used and not recommended if decent swimmer. You are in the water for a few minutes at a time and do not need the flotation vests to prevent fatigue. The fins cause too much splashing and frighten off the dolphins.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Accommodation spotless and well located. The team are friendly, kind and approachable as well as very knowledgeable. Overall - very good.

review 26 Aug 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I loved to follow whales in their natural environment.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If possible I would suggest to book the swimming with dolphin option, cause you will have the option also to go whale and dolphins watching.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The organization provides a low environmental impact whale watching vacation. They also assure to plant trees in Portugal in exchange of cruise.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

8

review 25 Jun 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The most memorable part of my holiday was seeing Sperm Whales fluke diving, such a magical thing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I would definately stop in Lisbon the night before. There is not a direct flight to Pico, so stopping in Lisbon the night before keeps you refreshed for the following day and not travelling so much

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

yes definately, with me purchasing this package it goes towards the protection of the animals and marine life. It also goes towards other projects i found out about.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I really enjoyed the whole experience. It was my first trip on my own and I was i was quite scared about it all. It was very well organised and the people there were great and met everyone of your needs and exceeded themselves. The company who i booked this through was spot on and there communication with me was excellent. I cannot wait to go again.

review 20 Jun 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your 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. Catching the whale diving and throwing up the iconic whale tail.. And all captured by my camera... I was literally blown away and couldnt wait for the next sighting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book in advance, take a good camera and take a hat that stays on your head !

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes it supported the local people working hard to give visitors the experience of their lives. Instead of whaling the islanders can earn a living from whale watching.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of the best holidays I have ever had. It was exciting , humbling, awe inspiring and such an amazing experience .. Unforgettable and just beautiful. The tour operator, the skippers and all the staff were so interesting, informative and very friendly. If you love whales and the thrill of speeding across the ocean and beautiful scenery all in one the this holiday is a must.

review 6 Jun 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The encounters with marine life exceeded expectation. Nine species in one week including blue, fin, sperm and false killer whales.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

All necessary information was supplied by the organiser and the team.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local people benefited from the employment the holiday provided and feedback from the participants. Research was carried out during the boat trips. Environmental impact is significant. Serge and his team in Lajes do Pico are fully aware of this and are taking measures to counterbalance it.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. The encounters were exceptional; the expertise impressive; and we had fun. Thanks to Amanda Stafford, Malcolm, Dylan Walker and Serge and his outstanding team.

review 5 Aug 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the whales and dolphins so close up was just amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

No need for "dressy clothes". Lots of sun screen when out in the boats.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes to benefitting local people and helping conservation. It’s hard to say if it reduced environmental impact with 2 flights there and back and of course the fuel used for the boats.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Well worth the money. We really enjoyed it.

review 26 May 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the whales and dolphins

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Consider booking direct with the boat company.Go with the flow. Everything runs on Azorean time!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. The whale and dolphin watching company has good eco credentials and visibly took the welfare of the animals seriously. There was good scientific input from guides. The community benefited financially

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent

review 13 May 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Hearing the whales breath

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Have a wet suit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Good

review 25 May 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing pods of killer whales and amazing dolphins in their natural environment

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

While the accommodation was good it was situated in a small village with limited amenities and I felt very isolated as the whale and dolphin watching was limited to three hours a day. I really was very dependent on my accommodation host for my well being despite the tour operator being in the area.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Very much so. The local people were great.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I took this holiday to see whales and dolphins and that was achieved. Knowing what I know now if I went again I would choose a different tour operator and ensure the accommodation package was more central.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Bill I am glad you enjoyed your time on the water with so many fantastic sightings of dolphins and whales. Thanks for the feedback. We offer a range of accommodation options. I am sorry you felt the location of your accommodation was isolated ( 10 minutes form the local town) the host offered free transfers at any time to anywhere you wanted to go and all your airport and boat transfers were included. You were welcome to spend as much time in the local town as you wanted with lots of friendly people. The reason you were in this accommodation was because when you booked, the town hotel and the local town accommodation were all full and we explained the location of our guest house which was all we had left to offer you. Many of our guests love this accommodation with breath taking views of countryside and the ocean . The groups and 95% of our guests stay in the town hotel which is very popular and go out to sea with the RIB boats pictured on the web site. Due to your age we recommended a more steady boat to ensure you would be safe and we offered accommodation that was available for late booking, met with the budget and gave you the support of the host who you said was very attentive. You were also with a group of our guests on the boat with the local team and so you had guides and other guests to share the experience with which is important when you are travelling solo. The tour guides were indeed in the town hotel working with the group tours, going out on the fast boats. We do not recommend anyone over the age of 75 years go on these boats as, if the sea is rough, they can be bumpy. The guides were available to make sure the logistics of your boat trips and transfers all ran smoothly, however you were travelling independently and not on a group tour. I was aware you met up with many of our other guests and you were invited to socialise as much as you wanted. In future, you may find it better to take holidays where you are part of a group tour with a group leader and you would always have other people around you and a few local shops and bars. The very best to you Amanda Stafford

review 18 Jun 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Really hard to choose due to so many memorable and exciting moments. We saw whales and dolphins everyday and every sighting was special in its own way. Seeing a Sei Whale was particularly impressive due to its size and rarity of sightings at that time of year. The people we met (both staff and other people on the trip) also left us with amazing memories as they were all such nice people. The captains and guides seemed to really love their work and were as excited by what we saw as everyone else. They were so friendly and extremely knowledgeable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is worth spending a bit of time deciding when to go depending on what you want to see. Certain animals seem to be more prevalent at certain times during the summer season.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. The guides focused on providing a lot of information about the animals and their environments and how we can help them. A lot of the staff were local Azoreans and the holiday seemed to allow them to make a living doing what they love. We also took a guided trip around the island which gave us great insight into the Azorean way of life. This focused our minds on what is important in life; simple sustainable living can clearly provide a happy way of life.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Holiday of a lifetime. Everything about it was excellent and I wouldn't want to change a thing.

review 26 Jul 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing a female whale with 3 babies on the surface and having the privilege to see babies feeding from their mothers. Although the first day that we went out on the water was amazing skipping over a 4 metre swell. This was exhilarating and exciting! Seeing Risso's dolphins the day after an informative talk about them was wonderful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is not possible to get around the islands by bus as the times don't really fit in with the water activities, so be prepared to hire taxis or a car. And don't forget a plastic bag for the camera as it's a bit wet on the boat!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

As local people were employed in the restaurant and in supplying food etc, it must benefit the local economy, although most of the boat crews, guides were not locals. The revival of the lookout job, passed from father to son as I understand, being utilised for more peaceful purposes can only be good. Effort is made to use locally sourced produce and not bring too much across the Atlantic. The efforts to clean up the sea as we went along were admirable as was the turtle tagging programme.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was an amazing holiday. I have quite a stressful job and I often resort to thinking back to sitting on the boat watching the whales and dolphins and remembering the utter peace and quiet. The trip was wonderfully organised to get me from Faial to Pico. The boat crews and guides were superb and it was obvious that they have a deep love and interest in the wildlife and the islands. This was not just a job to them. I can't wait to go back.

review 21 Jun 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Having dolphins swimming along with the boat, seeing a sperm whale breach and holding a loggerhead turtle.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for variable weather.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, it was a locally run business which actually run the whale watching trips and the hotel we stayed in which seemed well involved in the local community. Yes they were very sensitive to the welfare of the marine life. They took part in a tree planting scheme on mainland Portugal to help offset their emissions for the boat trips.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent - very enjoyable.

review 21 Jun 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Watching young Sperm whales swimming with adult whales and then breaching in the water.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We went at the beginning of June - you do need clothes for all weathers - extremely warm one day and then raining the next - best to take cut off trousers for the boat trips but you need a warmish top to wear under the oilskin waterproofs they provide. We flew from London to Lisbon and then Lisbon to Horta and the same on the return - on our return our flight out of Horta was cancelled due to the weather - this also happened to a friend of mine several years ago so it may be a common problem - you can get easyjet flights from London to Lisbon but I think it is worth people booking all the way with Tap Portugal because at least then they have to get you straight through to London if there are any problems.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - it was apparent that the company in the Azores put the animals’ welfare first.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic and would definitely go again, and book using responsibletravel.com.

review 19 Sep 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

A three hour trip out with three whole hours with a pod of Bottle Nose dolphins. The BEST THREE HOURS OF MY LIFE!!!!!!! Fantastic!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, the local people benefited from us being there, using their facilities etc. The skippers were very good at recognising if the Dolphins preferred us not to be there with them and consequently would find another pod.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

An excellent holiday that was well organised, friendly and informative.

review 11 May 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Simply being in the boat with just sea and sky, waiting for a whale to surface is a memory in my top drawer. It was at those times I felt closest to my late husband. The highlight of the week, for me and my children, was seeing orcas. Magical. (My three-year-old is called Cora – an anagram of orca!)

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Keep your camera in your hand luggage! Our luggage didn’t arrive until two days before we went home. We missed out on some good photographs but this made me realize just how little we actually needed to enjoy this experience. In fact the whole holiday made me realize how little we all need to enjoy life.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. I loved the fact that all the drinks were in glass bottles. Pulling large pieces of plastic out of the sea while out on the trips was a surprisingly powerful experience. There are so many environmental issues to consider. We have been organic, vegetarian recyclers for many years now. This holiday helped take us one step further. We avoid buying plastic whenever possible, buy locally and don’t shop at supermarkets if we can help it. I think the benefits of such a holiday far outway the flying involved. What I have experienced has struck at the heart of the matter. ‘First heal thy self…’

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

5. *****

review 3 Jun 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The open unspoilt volcanic landscapes, being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, seeing whales for the first time, learning more about volcanoes and whales and the ocean.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

To also go inland and see the volcanoes and interesting vegetation. we loved Faial for that matter.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Partially yes. However, how local is the owner of Espaco thalasso (a French, grantedly who has been there for a long time.) We were also recommended to stay in a private house for the 2nd week, only there did we find out the owner is English (his wife comes from the Azores I think). But I felt we could have benefited the local community more by staying in a different accommodation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent, away from the crowds, beautiful nature, and the most refreshing air I've breathed in years.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your comments in this review and we are glad you enjoyed the Whales, the ocean and islands so much! In response to your comments about the owner of the private House. The owners have been married for many years, he is English and she a local Azorean woman whose family all live on the island. They employed local people to build the house and family members are employed to look after the guests and the house, so actually there are some considerable benefits to local people. We send guests to other local hotels who all employ local staff and we try everything we can to ensure that tourism really gives more and more back to enhance the local economy. We appreciate that you value this ethos and want to encourage this kind of tourism.

review 17 Jul 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Close encounters with the marine life.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Give yourself time to visit some of the other islands of the Azores - it is a tranquil and beautiful part of the world well worth exploring.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - the accommodation, expeditions and tours were all organised locally. I found the Azoreans without exception to be friendly and helpful.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The holiday was good value for money and gave a great opportunity to see the marine life at close quarters as well as a fascinating snapshot of the beautiful island of Pico. My one regret is that I didn't give myself enough time to explore more of the rest of the Azores.

review 30 Jun 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Leaving the operator.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't bother with operator use someone else. A much more professional team at no extra cost.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Not totally. The whale operator used by the operator was French. His staff were mostly foreign although very good. He also owned the hotel which I felt was below standard. One guide used for jeep tours was local and was excellent.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very poor.

Read the operator's response here:

We are sorry that you did not enjoy the holiday as much as everyone else. Maybe this kind of holiday was not really what you were looking for and I sincerely hope you find holidays in the future that are more suitable. 80% of the team who work for our boat company are actually local and the French owner has lived in the Azores for over 20 years and has an Azorean wife and family. They are committed to developing a sustainable tourism that gives something back to the Islanders. I am glad you found the boat team very good, they are very experienced, professional and dedicated to the wildlife. Also that you found the local jeep tour guide excellent.

review 10 Jun 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The trips to the sea to see what kind of new species of whales or dolphins we might spot today! And actually being on these remote islands in the middle of Atlantic.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for different kinds of weather, cheap prices, nice island community life with very few tourists...

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

At least the village where we stayed did not seem touristic at all so the local people must still like us. Whale watching is done according to strict ethic code, which is good.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good.

review 1 Jun 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Going up Pico. Having whales near the boat. The gymnastic displays from the dolphins.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It's a great experience! Pico is just an amazing place, and deserves to be better known. The dolphins and whales are just stunning. If I'm honest, I do feel the "added value" from the tour operator was limited - if I go again (which I would like to) I will book directly with the place. I have told them this.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Not sure really. I hope so. We used local people for some things, but maybe a local guide would have been better.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was great - thanks to the whales, the dolphins and the mountain.

Read the operator's response here:

We are sorry to read that the traveller in this instance thought it unnecessary to have a guide. The continued success of these holidays and the excellent reviews they receive are hugely dependent on a high quality guide. Perhaps it is a testament to the quality that this traveller missed the organisation that went on and the constant attention to details and changes that the guide took care of. The guide also offered a lot of information and was constantly available for anything they needed. He also arranged a lot of extra activities that the group requested, they used all their time very well, 7 trips on the water and climbing the mountain on top of other activities all in 7 days! Unheard of previously even in 9 day trips, they could do so much because everything was taken care of for them. The same guide got a 5***** review last year. I have also heard from another guest on the same trip who appreciated the guide in her feedback form to us and gave the holiday a 4**** review! The holiday was an astounding success and if this client had tried to go independently it would most certainly have taken a lot of time and frustration to organise. How would she know who were the best operators? Where is the best place for the incredible sightings? We have researched the best on offer and have built good relationships with our suppliers. We know the best way to arrange everything, lots of excellent local contacts. She chose an escorted group and everything worked seamlessly apart from a small detail which related to her meeting the group (she arrived earlier than the rest of the group and this took a few minutes for them all to find each other at the port, but they did!) The guide responded to all requests arranged additional activities that the clients wanted to do. I think she overlooked all that was provided and is very naive to think she could have done her own independent trip with as much ease as she had on our group. She would have spent her holiday organising rather than relaxing into the experience.

review 4 Jun 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Our holiday was a wonderful experience. Our trips to see the whales was exciting and at times breathtaking. Malcolm, our expert, helped make the trip an enjoyable and well informed holiday, with organised trips. All our needs were taken care of and if you'd like to see whales and dolphins it is an ideal part of the world to choose.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book as early as you can - don't miss out.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

All the local people are involved - it is part of their past and present history.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic experience - one not to be missed.

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