Blue Whale tour in the Azores
Come with us at this special time to see these ocean giants (Blue, Fin & Sperm Whales) as they migrate past the Azores Islands & stop to feed in large numbers(also known as the "Gulp Stream").One of nature's great spectacles!
Description of Blue Whale tour in the Azores
The Portuguese islands of the Azores sit conveniently in the middle of the mid-Atlantic feeding grounds of the world’s largest animal: the Blue Whale. Our small group, Blue Whale tour in the Azores is an incredible opportunity to observe these giants in their natural habitat, and sightings over the past few years have been exceptional. Your chances are boosted further as you’ll be travelling on this Azores Blue Whale tour with an expert marine biologist, and be hosted by one of the most established and responsible companies on the islands, who have been running whale and dolphin watching trips here for 20 years. Tour details: two full day and one half day excursion to sea aboard a sturdy catamaran with toilet facilities and elevated viewing platform (your small group of 14 people will be onboard with your guide and there will be other passengers aboard the vessel too), one full day land tour to Furnas to see steaming fumeroles, bathe in geothermal pools and eat “Cozido” lunch cooked underground. The tour is hosted by our expert whale researchers and guides who live in the Azores. Seven nights in a modern 4**** harbour hotel sea view room with balcony, including breakfast. Complimentary welcome drinks. A group meal at the beginning and end of the holiday, with your guide. Accompanied by a guide for the duration of the trip. Your whale researcher and guide will give talks and presentations to share their extensive knowledge of whales. Back on shore, your 4**** hotel overlooks Ponta Delgada marina and is located conveniently close to town. Our skilled and respectful boat drivers know how to approach the Blue Whales with minimal disturbance. Our commitment to responsible tourism extends to the land as well.
Why are Blue Whales choosing the Azores? In Spring, a phytoplankton bloom in the waters around the Azores attracts huge gatherings of hungry Blue, Fin and Sei Whales, which are migrating to their feeding grounds further north in the Atlantic. Sperm Whales are often seen here, too, as are short finned Pilot Whales, Orcas and seven dolphin species. Keep an eye out for sea birds, manta rays and sea turtles. May and early June are the peak months for optimum Blue Whale sightings. Land-based lookouts spot them coming in to feed on the phytoplankton and direct our boats towards these ocean giants. Our Blue Whale tours are offered when sightings of all species are most likely. When you’re not out on the water, you can choose to take jeep tours of the islands to Sete Cidades lakes or Lagoa do Fogo, hike through the stunning volcanic scenery, explore the caves and more.
Flights are not included in the cost of our holidays. This holiday takes place on Sao Miguel island, Azores and you will be staying in Ponta Delgada, a 15-minute drive from the airport. Ryanair have flights year round and SATA Azorean Airlines and BA operate flights in high season. For ease we have a dedicated flight agent who can help arrange and book flights for you should you wish (excluding Ryanair).
|Day 1:||Saturday (extra nights can be booked to fit with flights). Arrival in the Azores. Transfer to hotel. Welcome briefing and introductions, complimentary drinks, orientation in the local area. You have time for a rest! Schedule of whale-watching boat trips will be discussed and you will have a chance to meet the whole team and your expert guide during your complimentary dinner in the evening. Your guide will be available to discuss the plan for the week and answer any questions you may have.|
|Day 2:||Sunday. Board the catamaran for full day whale-watching. You will return to shore for an hour of free time for lunch and to pop back to your hotel. Out to sea again in the afternoon to enjoy further whale watching and hopefully the look outs will have spotted some great sightings for you! Audio-visual briefing about the whales and dolphins of the Azores, with lots of visuals and information about the species seen today. Your guide will provide in depth information about the wildlife and be available to discuss the sightings and compare photos.|
|Day 3:||Monday. Board catamaran for a half day whale-watching. After lunch you will have free time to explore the cosmopolitan town of Ponta Delgada and have a rest!!|
|Day 4:||Tuesday. During the holiday there will be plenty of talks and presentations about the research and conservation work done by your guide and other local researchers that is relevant to your experience.|
|Day 5:||Wednesday. As day 2|
|Day 6:||Thursday. You will be collected from your hotel this morning for a full day tour to the village of Furnas on the East of the Island (approx. 45 mins journey time). One of the most active thermal locations on Earth with steaming fumeroles, the Valley of Furnas is a volcanic crater which has been dormant since 1630, the date of the last eruption. The most popular attraction for most visitors to Furnas is no doubt the thermal baths and you will enjoy bathing in water from the interior of the earth, charged with minerals at the thermal pool of Terra Nostra Park. You will also sample the local “Cozido” at lunch time in a local restaurant – a meat or vegetable stew cooked geothermally underground.|
|Day 7:||Friday. An opportunity for an additional trip to sea or another land tour. The evening will be an opportunity for a celebratory drink in the bar where you can share some of the photos taken and remember your highlights of the holiday followed by a complimentary meal with your guide.|
|Day 8||Saturday. Departure day and transfer to the airport from your hotel.|
25 Reviews of Blue Whale tour in the Azores
Reviewed on 28 May 2022 by Jacqueline DunkertonWe have some bad weather unfortunately but on an island in the Azores it has to be expected. Even with bad weather we still went out on the boat and ssw wildlife including whales so it was excellent. Read full review
Reviewed on 25 May 2022 by Alex DuckworthIt was one of the best holidays I have experienced and I have traveled a lot. The scenery, people, food and beautiful gardens were memories to cherish. Only hope I will be able to return and visit more of the islands. Thank you for a wonderful holiday. Read full review
Reviewed on 22 May 2022 by Paula TurnerOutstanding value for money and a fantastic experience- incredibly well organised and hosted by lovely and knowledgeable people. Read full review
Reviewed on 11 May 2022 by David TaylorI believe this tour helps the local economy and the way the tours are conducted is done with great respect for the whales in keeping distance and not ‘hounding’ them. Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Apr 2022 by Barbara PotterI didn't feel welcome and found the local people unfriendly Read full review
Reviewed on 09 Jun 2021 by Nicholas FletcherThe memories we have of this holiday will last a lifetime. Everyone we met on the island was extremely welcoming and the landscape and wildlife truly breath taking. I would rate it a 10/10. Read full review
Reviewed on 19 May 2019 by Barry BrownThe most memorable part of our holiday? All of it ! Read full review
Reviewed on 28 May 2018 by Wendy CadmanThe highlight was the blue whales. A superb experience, and we would have changed hardly anything once we were there, although we had big problems with the flights both ways. Read full review
Reviewed on 20 May 2018 by Swee-Im UngActually getting to see the whales as described - Blue, Fin, Sperm and Sei, as well as 3 different types of dolphins. Lisa is so experienced and enthusiastic, and the skipper of the boat was very skilled too. Read full review
Reviewed on 07 May 2018 by Jean TuckInformative, even as to the exact moment to click the camera shutter, skilled in being in the right place at the right time, positioning the boat for everyone's advantage, including the whale's, knowing the whales' routines, and even helping organise the non-water days. Read full review
Reviewed on 01 Jul 2018 by Barbara and James KnightSeeing the whales and dolphins in their own environment. Read full review
Reviewed on 09 Jun 2018 by Mike SegalA great trip, it was exciting to see so many huge and rare animals, and it was also very interesting to visit the Azores, see and learn about their extraordinary geology. Read full review
Reviewed on 06 Jun 2017 by Ian PatersonSeeing whales, fin, blue and sperm whales in their natural environment- Lisa our guide was fantastic. Read full review
Reviewed on 21 May 2017 by Trish ByrneExcellent. Great experience....It was all very exciting, but the very best part was when we found a blue whale and a fin whale swimming side by side. This allowed us to clearly see the differences between them - almost as if they were doing it for our benefit. Read full review
Reviewed on 01 Jun 2016 by Tim HallBest bits: seeing five sperm whales "socialising" together and swimming in a perfect line, almost managing to synchronise their "blows", catching a great picture of the tail fin of the massive blue whale, seeing the huge side fins of the humpback just under the water giving them an eerie blue colour Read full review
Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by Janet GatenWhales, whales and more whales, plus lots of dolphins. Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Jun 2015 by David TurleyDuring our first week on Faial, being lucky enough to see our first blue whale within an hour of setting out in the catamaran.Then seeing over 50 whales (blue, fin, sei, sperm ) and over 100 dolphins (common, bottlenose, rissos ) over the three days. It was amazing. The Azores are an amazing holiday destination, we will be back. Read full review
Reviewed on 28 May 2015 by alice caldwellMagical! It was so beautiful, seeing so many whales and dolphins. Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Jun 2015 by Anne WhittleSeeing far more whales, & more closely, than I ever expected. A wonderful experience. Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Sep 2014 by Anne AriettiExcellent....We actually saw 16 blue whales in one day. Read full review
Reviewed on 28 May 2014 by Sarah GrandyExcellent....Seeing the ocean giants so close it was amazing Read full review
Reviewed on 29 Jun 2014 by Christiana LorenzAmazing observations of the Cetaceans Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Jun 2014 by Jean BirdExcellent...The most memorable part was seeing the Blue Whales. Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Jun 2013 by Alison PembleThe most memorable parts were: Crystal blue seas and skies, seeing so many whales and dolphins in their natural habitat and on their own terms, with human beings having to play second fiddle for a change, the passion, knowledge and genuine love of their work shown by all the guides, the group bonding that derives from a common shared experience. Read full review
Reviewed on 03 Jun 2013 by James FraterBeing out on the water with dolphins and whales was the most memorable part. Read full review
PlanetThe way the boats approach the whales follow local regulations to protect the marine life. We only use licensed boat operators who are very sensitive to the well-being of the dolphins and whales. There is a good spirit of cooperation amongst the boat companies and agreements to respect the animals as a priority.
Research is ongoing on the boats, so these trips are helping to build our knowledge of these fantastic animals. Many of the skippers are professional photographers and maintain a comprehensive photo ID database, in particular sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales. The more we can learn about the whales and dolphins of the Azores the better we can understand things like their migrations and social structures. All this moves us closer to protecting them and the marine environment in a more knowledgeable, effective way.
Guests are encouraged to send in any photos they have taken on the whale watching trips that can be used in the ongoing photo identification projects. Every trip has a huge emphasis on conservation and sustaining the marine environment so future generations may also have the privilege of seeing marine mammals in the wild.
PeopleWe only work with local suppliers who employ at least 80% local people which means financial benefits to families here. The land based lookouts whose immense skill at tracking the animals previously earned money from whaling now earn money from tourists - an enormous change that we are passionate about supporting. Many of their adult children now skipper the whale watching boats and work within the small scale tourism.
Our whale watching company offers presentations in local schools to educate the children about the marine life on their doorstep with an emphasis on conservation. They are also planning to host an Azorean Whale Festival to promote the islands as one of the key locations worldwide to see whales. The Dolphin and Whale Connection donates a percentage of it's profits to the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), helping to protect whales and dolphins worldwide.
All the activities we recommend locally are run by Azoreans and are designed to maintain good relationships between visitors and the local people. For example, we sell and promote only local crafts to our guests to support local craft makers and artisans and to spread tourism income to many islanders. Our favourite restaurants are all run by Azorean people, and we do recommend that our visitors try the delicious local cuisine while supporting sustainable local fishermen in particular.
As well as whale watching we offer geological and cultural tours hosted solely by experienced local guides with an in-depth knowledge of their island and its landscape. We support the local vineyards where guests can sample the fantastic Azorean wine and take these locally produced gifts back to people at home.
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