Azores whale and dolphin watching holiday

“Many voyage to the Azores to witness the incredible marine life - then wish they'd stayed longer to explore the fascinating landscapes. This land, air and sea tour allows for a combination of both.”


Three boat excursions | Visits to three islands | Bird watching | Full day tour of Faial Island | Crater lakes and Fire Lake | Hot springs | Guided tour of Horta | Scrimshaw Museum | Briefings by local biologists | Optional extras: swimming with dolphins, wine tasting at vineyard, zodiac boat tour with snorkelling

Description of Azores whale and dolphin watching holiday

You cannot beat whale and dolphin watching in the Azores with a bounty of lush volcanic foliage complementing fascinating island heritage and excellent accommodation to ensure this small group holiday places you right at the heart of the region's wildlife watching hot spots.

The marriage between marine adventure and cultural insight is made to last with travellers invited to watch whales and dolphins between the islands of Sao Miguel, Pico and Faial as well as being able to explore on land and savour the beaches for swimming and snorkelling.

Every island in the Azores has its very own unique character and you’ll be presented with plenty of opportunities to find out more about conservation projects as well as meeting local people in order to learn about life on the islands.

From whale and dolphin watching to bird abundant locations and UNESCO listed vineyards, the Azores is simply captivating with white sand beaches and exciting thermal activity adding to an exotic adventure that’s as naturally insightful as effortlessly relaxing.

Travel Team

If you would like some help or advice, or just want to discuss your ideas for your next trip, do give us a call.


Check dates, prices & availability

31 Aug 2019
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 31 Aug 2019 departure
Our top tip:
Some whale species are resident year-round, while others migrate - speak to the company to discover the best time to see the species that interest you most.
Trip type:
Small group, usually 4-16 people, min. age 16.
Activity level:
7 nights in two 4* hotels, one with a pool, both with central locations.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Accomm., transfers, internal flights, international flights if booked, tour guide, listed activities inc. 3 boat excursions.
All breakfasts, 5 lunches.
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Azores whale and dolphin watching holiday

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Leaders & local suppliers
Both companies used for our whale and dolphin watching tours respect the animals during times of feeding or resting by maintaining a distance and avoiding any interference. We use a small family-run company in Ponta Delgada who use small boats and in Horta the company plants a tree every time they go to sea to help reduce the carbon impact. Our hotels source as much local food as possible and conserve energy where possible. Leaders and biologists are employed locally and are very conscious of environmental concerns so they ensure clients follow them in the best practices to reduce our footprint.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.

3 Reviews of Azores whale and dolphin watching holiday

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 19 Jun 2017 by

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

See whales, dolphins, turtles at sea together with the beautiful scenery

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

Be prepared for changing weather. There is a local saying that you can experience all four seasons in one day, which is true, so pack for fog, rain, wind, sunshine, hot and cold weather

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

Yes, on all the trips at sea, bird watching or botanic gardens the guides explained the conservation work that is on going locally and were very passionate about it. The current issue of plastics being eaten by fish, mammals and birds was explained so that everyone on the trip was aware and will hopefully look to reduce their use of plastic.

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

A highlight and recommended

Reviewed on 12 Jun 2017 by

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

Seeing a blue whale from our catamaran!

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

Even though the Azores doesn't get sunshine all day at this time of year, it is still possible to get a 'sea' suntan when out on the water so bring a sunblock if you burn easily.

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

Yes, because we we had lunch in a variety of local restaurants throughout the week and the dishes were prepared using local ingredients. Small tour operators were used for both the sea trips and the land trips.

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

Reviewed on 15 Jun 2014 by

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

Seeing the whales and dolphins, of course! I also really loved the hot springs. And the botanical gardens.....and the tea plantation.......and the food and the great group and Nunu- what an incredibly knowledgeable guide!

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

Some people were seasick. I took a Kwell, used travel bands and chewed ginger gum and I was fine. I might have been fine without all that - I'll never know.
Take clothes for all weathers.

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

Yes, tourism is a very important part of the Azorean economy.

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

I enjoyed it very much. It was all very interesting and I learned a lot. The food was exceptionally good. The people we met were all charming. The amount of whale watching and other activities was just right.
The hotel on Faial was perfect. The hotel in San Miguel was sadly, lacking. Several of our party had ants in our rooms which was very unpleasant especially when they they got in the bathroom, bed and my bag! I would not have called it a four star hotel.
I have been on trips with other companies and the one thing that I found really beneficial was that they gave us a bottle of water every morning. There were some quite long periods when we did not have access to water.
All in all however, it was very good.

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