Overview

The Azores are Europe’s leading whale and dolphin watching destination.

The seas around the Azores’ island of Sao Miguel are one of the best places to observe cetaceans – home to a variety of dolphin species such as bottlenose, common, Risso’s and Atlantic-spotted dolphins. Resident sperm whales can be seen throughout the year, with blue, fin, pilot and minke whales all passing through at different times of the year. Peak season is from April through to October, with the larger migratory species passing through in early spring.

With our whale and dolphin watching holiday on Sao Miguel, you’ll spend a week with one of our favourite crews in the Azores: the team at Terra Azul. We’ve been working with Terra Azul for twenty years – since their creation back in 2000 by local naturalist and whaling historian Miguel Cravinho. It’s Miguel’s philosophy that permeates through the whole team: whale tourism that supports wildlife studies and conservation.

Terra Azul are a key member of MONICET, a voluntary research organisation which collates the sightings data from teams across the whole of the Azores, to provide a year-on-year record of the lives of their resident whales and dolphins. As you can imagine, tourism and whale watching play a crucial role in supporting their continuing research. It’s also important to understand how whale hunting fits into the history of the islands: to recognise the social, economic and ecological effects on the Azores when the hunting ban was introduced in the 1980s, and how this led to the islands’ successful transition from whale hunting to whale tourism. You’ll have some one-on-one time with Miguel later in the week, looking at these important pieces of the Azorean jigsaw.

You’ll also have some time on dry land during Whale and dolphin watching holiday on Sao Miguel – time to explore the spectacular landscapes across Sao Miguel with our resident guide, including a visit to the springs and geysers at Furnas for a dip in the famous geothermal pools.

Itinerary

You’ll begin your holiday by flying to the Azores - direct or via Lisbon. You’ll be transferred by our driver to your accommodation in Vila Franca do Campo.
You’ll have a free first morning to allow you to relax and explore Vila Franca.

In the afternoon, you’ll head down to the local marina to meet the team at Terra Azul. After a chat through the week ahead, you’ll head out to sea for the first of four whale and dolphin watching trips.
You'll return to the marina this morning for your second whale and dolphin watching trip.
You’ll spend today on dryland, touring the island with our resident guide, including visits to the summit of Pico da Barrosa (one of the highest points on Sao Miguel at 947m), a traditional lunch in Furnas, and a dip the geothermal pools at Poca Dona Beija.

Your tour also includes a visit to the lookout point ‘Vigia da Furada’ at Ponta Garca. During your trips to sea, your pilot Tiago has been receiving directions by radio from his colleague Filipe in the vigia. The whaling lookout was abandoned in 1984 following the the hunting ban - Terra Azul renovated and re-purpose the vigia in 2000.
It's back to sea today for your third whale and dolphin watching trip. In the afternoon, our marine biologists will chat through their current research and the history of whaling in the Azores.
You’ll have a free day to relax – you might like to add a tour of western Sao Miguel and the great crater at Sete Cidades.
You'll head back to the marina for your fourth and final whale and dolphin watching trip.
You’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

From £1400 per person

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

INCLUDED: international flights, accommodation in twin/double en-suite rooms on a B&B basis, return airport transfers, four half-day whale and dolphin watching trips, a marine biologist and whaling history session, and a full-day guided tour of Sao Miguel.

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