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Whale and dolphin watching

The Azores sit along the annual migration route for cetaceans heading between feeding grounds in the northern and southern hemispheres and about 25 different species can be spotted off the islands during the year. This half-day tour takes you out onto the water where an on-board biologist will help you to identify sightings and teach you about the species you see. With everything from blue whales and humpbacks to dolphins and rays plying the deep waters around the islands, the trip offers an exciting opportunity to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

You’ll meet your boat at Madalena marina on the east coast of Pico and be fitted with waterproof gear and a life vest before boarding a small Zodiac rigid inflatable boat and setting off on your shared whale and dolphin watching tour.

The waters around the Azores are unusual in that there is no shallow shelf around the islands meaning deep-sea species can swim right next to the coastline. Land-based spotters help in the search for whales and dolphins which increases the chance of sighting these creatures, although it can require a bit of patience and sightings of particular species can never be guaranteed.

While you’re waiting to find the whales and dolphins, a biologist on board will talk about the many species that can be found here throughout the year and why everything from sperm whales, pilot whales and orcas to blue whales and humpbacks pass through the waters here.

Dolphin species you might spot include bottlenose, common and Atlantic spotted — your biologist will help you learn to tell the difference between each species. You might also spot the occasional sea bird, including the endemic Monteiro's storm petrel. At certain times of year, you might pass their nest sites along the coast’s rocky outcrops.

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Audley Travel specialist Cara

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Other experiences in the Azores

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

  • Hiking Pico’s wine region
    Windmill, Criação Velha, Pico

    Hiking Pico’s wine region

    Hiking Pico’s wine region

    Take a guided walk around the UNESCO-protected vineyards of Pico, an island cultivated with vines since the 15th century. Learn about the history of viticulture here and the unique growing conditions before sampling local wines at the island cooperative.

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  • Kayaking at Furnas Lagoon
    Furnas Lagoon, São Miguel

    Kayaking at Furnas Lagoon

    Kayaking at Furnas Lagoon

    A crater lake cradled by a dormant volcano, Furnas is surrounded by lush hills, geothermal fields and small villages. Paddle around the lake with a local guide to learn about its volcanic heritage as well as its plant and animal life.

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  • Ponta Delgada walking tour
    Aerial view Ponta Delgada, São Miguel

    Ponta Delgada walking tour

    Ponta Delgada walking tour

    Tour the narrow, cobbled streets of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, with a local guide. Learn about its foundation, architecture and defences and its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries when wealthy merchants constructed imposing Baroque buildings.

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  • Sete Cidades 4x4 and cycling tour
    Twin lakes, Sete Cidades, São Miguel

    Sete Cidades 4x4 and cycling tour

    Sete Cidades 4x4 and cycling tour

    Explore by 4x4 and bike to get far-reaching views of the enormous caldera at Sete Cidades as well as a more a personal introduction to this unusual landscape, its history, legends and lakes as well as the volcanic activity that shaped it.

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