Whale watching on holiday in the Azores
A family whale watching trip is one of those memories that lasts a lifetime. Nothing compares to hearing the excitement from your children as they see the spurt of water from a whales’ blowhole or a flick of the tail as these mighty animals dive down into the water. During a whale watching experience while on holiday in the Azores, you’ll explore the surrounding waters of the incredible volcanic archipelago and look out for the many different species found here.
As one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries, you’re in with a great chance of spotting whales during your holiday in the Azores. In fact, whales and dolphins are seen on 98% of the boat trips. What’s more, you’ll be following in expert footsteps as even the BBC and National Geographic have visited the Azores due to its whale watching potential!
When is the best time to go whale watching on holiday in the Azores?
The great thing about Azorean waters is that it is home to a number of different whale species so your family can enjoy a whale watching experience throughout the year. The waters are also a migratory path for other species to pass through, giving you even more chance of spotting a whale during your holiday!
Though whales can be spotted throughout the year, the main whale watching season runs from April to October because of the migratory whales making their way through the waters. That’s why our Azores family holiday with whale watching takes place at this time.
There’s no best time of day to see the whales and we run our boat trips either in the morning or afternoon depending on the weather and sea conditions.
Which whale species will I see in the Azores?
You and your family will be on the lookout for more than 20 different types of cetaceans that are found in the Azores.
The most commonly sighted is the resident sperm whale as they love the Atlantic because of the giant squid found here.
April and May have been found to be the best months for seeing some of the larger species including blue, fin and sei whales and October is usually best for humpback whales. However, we have also seen sei whales in the summer and blue whales in the winter, so you need to have a keen eye at all times!
There are also many other types of marine life to look out for including dolphins, turtles and seabirds.
What to expect during your whale watching trip on holiday in the Azores
Our whale watching trip takes place on a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). This is an adventure in itself as you speed away from the beautiful coastline and out to the waters filled with marine life. There may be an option for a catamaran instead but you will need to enquire about this at the time of booking.
All you’ll need to bring with you on the boat is a camera to make sure you have evidence of this fantastic trip!
A skipper and a marine biologist will accompany you and will talk about the different species you and your family could see. They’ll also help you spot the animals in the water.
Seeing these animals in their natural habitat is a truly amazing experience, and though you can’t swim alongside them, we do offer wild dolphin swimming experiences to really make the most of the wonderful marine life here.
Which island is best for whale watching in the Azores?
Due to the brilliant whale watching opportunities, there isn’t a specific island in the Azores that is best for whale watching. In fact, ‘vigias’ or whale observation posts are dotted all around the archipelago. Traditionally, these were used in whale hunting times but now skilled spotters use these posts to inform whale watching tours of nearby sightings. Though it takes a very trained eye to identify a species from miles away, you and your children could give it a try and see who spots a whale first!
Our trip departs from Ponta Delgada, the capital situated on São Miguel Island as this will be your base for your fabulous holiday in the Azores.
Protecting the whales of the Azores
The safety of the whales is taken very seriously in the Azores. They are a protected species and there are different measures in place to ensure that interference is kept to a minimum. Your whale watching activity on holiday in the Azores is all about seeing the whales in their natural environment, without disturbing them.
To help protect the whales, a code of conduct was put in place to prohibit; chasing, disturbing or feeding the cetaceans, swimming with the whales or making too much noise (whales are very sensitive to noise) and polluting the sea. There shouldn’t be more than three boats in the same spot at once and the boats only ever approach the cetaceans from behind. They will also leave the whale alone if they seem agitated in any way. The boat must keep at a constant speed and stay more than 50 metres away, or 100 metres if there are babies present.
Though this distance is in place, many whale species are naturally inquisitive, so they may approach the boat. When it is completely their choice, it is absolutely fine for them to be a bit closer!
Click here to start planning your family activity holiday to The Azores, or speak to a Family Travel Expert on 01670 613 584.