Azores activity holiday, incl swimming with dolphins
Child (8-16yrs) from £695 to £965.
Description of Azores activity holiday, incl swimming with dolphins
This Azores activity holiday packs a very exciting and eclectic range of adventures into one week, mainly thanks to the superb variation of landscapes on offer here. Based in a four-star hotel in Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island, our first outing is to Sete Cidades Lake, one of many volcanic features on this island, where we get to kayak on its crater lake, but also go mountain biking around this western side of the island. This is a perfect family holiday.
Our day of whale watching is a highlight for many of our guests, and the Azores are recognised as not only a leading whale-watching destination but also a highly responsible one, where you have a chance to see over 25 different whale and dolphin species. And for those keen to have more time with cetaceans, there are few experiences to beat snorkelling with dolphins out in the wilds, all handled in a very responsible way, of course, respecting these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
Volcanic terrain continues to be a theme on this Azores holiday, with trips to Furnas, where we cook lunch using heat straight from the ground, Terra Nostra Botanical Garden where we bathe in hot thermal springs, Gruta do Carvão where we visit a vast lava tunnel and Santa Barbara where we swim at its black sandy beach. Other water-based adventures include canyoning in Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park and swimming in waterfalls. There’s a lot of water in this wonderful archipelago, and more at your hotel too, as the São Miguel Park has indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a spa.
The price of this holiday includes transfers, hotel accommodation, 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner, expert guides. And activities that include: Sete Cidades adventure tour, whale watching, Vila Franca do Campo visit, Furnas, snorkelling with dolphins, jeep tour to Fogo and canyoning.
Image credits: Futurismo Azores Adventure
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1 Reviews of Azores activity holiday, incl swimming with dolphins
Reviewed on 30 Jul 2019 by Patrick Hadoke
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
It was all great. If I had to choose highlights it would be the whale watching, Swimming with Dolphins, and snorkelling in the Lagoon.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Go prepared to relax and enjoy the experience. The trip crams in a wide range of activities and experiences without ever feeling rushed.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes. I was particularly impressed by the environmental and local concerns of the Rep and the steps taken to ensure that activities did not have an adverse effect on the local flora and fauna.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
PlanetThe 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.
PeopleTourism 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.