Swimming with wild dolphins in the Azores

“Your first time swimming with wild dolphins, you'll be overwhelmed. The second time, you'll be excited. And the third - you'll finally relax into their blissful marine world.”

Highlights

3 - 5 dolphin swimming excursions | Visit to 'vigia' lookout tower | Your photos used as part of ongoing research | Optional: Beach, hiking and nature walks, bird watching, jeep tour of island, botanical gardens, geothermal craters and geysers,

Map

Check dates

Trip departs every Saturday in May through to the end of October
Our top tip:
Get some snorkelling practice in beforehand, at your local pool - or even in the bath!
Trip type:
Small group. Min. age 7.
Activity level:
Moderate - swimming and snorkelling in the sea.
Accomm:
4* hotel, family rooms available. Outdoor pool, gym, sauna.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Included:
Accomm., breakfasts, transfers, 3 or 5 dolphin trips, tour guide.
Meals:
Breakfast included. Many local/ international restaurants nearby.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Swimming with wild dolphins in the Azores

Environment

The way the boats approach the dolphins 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 dolphin swimming 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.

Community

We 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 dolphin swimming boats and work within the small scale tourism.

Our dolphin swimming 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 swimming with dolphins and whale watching tours 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.

Reviews of Swimming with wild dolphins in the Azores

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 27 Sep 2016 by

Amazing, met all my expectations and more. I intend to return and do it all again along with taking in more inland trips. The swims with dolphins being the priority though. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Sep 2016 by

Amazing !! Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2016 by

Words cannot express the magic of swimming in amongst a pod of wild Bottlenose dolphins! Those moments will last a lifetime for me. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Jun 2016 by

Swimming in the water near bottlenose dolphins on one of our boat trips and on another trip swimming near a huge pod of common dolphins and their young - some very young! Amazing! Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Aug 2016 by

The highlight of the vacation was obviously swimming with wild dolphins. The teams were great and helped everyone aboard to overcome their apprehension. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Jun 2016 by

The experience was spectacular. It was everything I had hoped for. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Jun 2016 by

Swimming with dolphins right next to the boat, under and around us - magical experience Read full review

Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by

We saw a Blue Whale, several Fin Whales & many dolphins. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2015 by

One of the very best vacations we have ever had. We loved it. We all want to go again!! And we'd like to visit some of the other islands too. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Aug 2015 by

Swimming close to the dolphins, never seen as many dolphins in my life! Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2015 by

It was one of our best family vacations and I would not hesitate to recommend it. We would like to go again!! Read full review

Reviewed on 31 May 2015 by

Seeing whales and dolphins on each of our four trips out to sea. The sightings were awesome. A great vacation, both for the whale and dolphin encounters and beautiful scenery inland too. Read full review

Reviewed on 23 Sep 2013 by

Just four words, really: out of this world. Oh - and unforgettable....The first time the dolphins came close to us in the water: being able to hear the clicks and squeaks as they sussed us out, seeing the bubbles they blew at us and watching them look us in the eye as they shimmied past. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2013 by

Superb. All I had hoped and more....it was good to be somewhere relatively free of tourism, and with a company which proactively thinks about limiting impact on the natural life and the environment...this philosophy helped make the experience special. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Nov 2011 by

Seeing the wild dolphins in the middle of the Atlantic and the one sperm whale that we saw on our dolphin trip...Good. I just chose the wrong time of the year. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Jul 2011 by

A wonderful experience. The location was great, the waters around the Azores are naturally teeming with sea life. Being in the water with wild dolphins swimming around us was such an amazing privilege. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Sep 2010 by

This was probably the best vacation I have ever been on. Both my son and I will never forget it. I absolutely relished being close to nature out at sea and on the island. I am definitely considering traveling to see more dolphins or whales in other parts of the world. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Oct 2009 by

The most memorable moment was the first time we went into the water. It was so clear and beautiful. We saw a pod of dolphins dive below us and watched them swim away... Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Sep 2009 by

The Azores are really beautiful and unspoilt. It was wonderful when the dolphins were leaping alongside the boat. The view from the guest house was fantastic. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Aug 2009 by

Amongst many memorable experiences, the absolute highlight for me was when the dolphins were swimming and playing so close to the boat you could almost touch them. The setting of the beautiful ocean in the glorious sunshine added the final touch. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2009 by

My daughter and I enjoyed the boat trips and getting so close to whales and dolphins. Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Aug 2008 by

The whales we saw blew me away and I particularly enjoyed seeing and learning all about the different whale species although I originally went to see the dolphins! Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Sep 2007 by

Being so in touch with nature, especially when in the water - an experience that will stay with me forever Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Aug 2007 by

The highlight was the first water encounter with a huge number of dolphins and the swim with the manta ray just before we left. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2007 by

Seeing the dolphins swimming in the bow of the boat was the highlight. So beautiful! Seeing them leaping from the waves in perfect timing with each other. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Sep 2007 by

Swimming with the Dolphins in their natural environment and watching the Whales. Magical. We stayed in a beautiful hotel with friendly staff and were in a group which gelled into a fantastic team spirit. Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Sep 2007 by

I felt like it was one of the best vacations in my life. The service was second to none and the three members of the team had an excellent group dynamic that worked so well for all of us. I would recommend this vacation to any nature enthusiast or anyone that really needed to recuperate from a stressful time at work. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Aug 2007 by

Quite a few most memorable moments... The moment when wild dolphins approached me in the sea and circled me, resulting in pretty much eye-to-eye contact with one. An evening re-scheduled boat trip with more than usual opportunities to get in the sea and views of a magnificent sunset. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Aug 2007 by

Getting on the water was the highlight of the vacation Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2007 by

The amazement on my supposedly "cool" teenagers' faces when they got really close to dolphins and whales. Riding at speed across the waves on a semi-rigid inflatable was tremendously exciting too. Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Sep 2006 by

The amount of dolphins we saw during the 10 days was extraordinary. I had no idea that the sea was so alive with mammals! The wildness of the environment and the raw nature - and wild animals allowing you into their space. Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Sep 2006 by

The most memorable parts of the vacation was being in the sea with wild dolphins for the first time and not quite being able to believe what I was seeing, there were so many of them, and also climbing Mount Pico on a beautiful clear day. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2006 by

The most memorable parts of the vacation were seeing the dolphins underwater when they were swimming towards us. But also the clean and deep sea. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2006 by

The most memorable part of the vacation was the sheer depth of 'the deep blue' every way you looked (serious gulp), and then the blessed relief of the dolphins bobbing along and past you! Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Aug 2006 by

It really was a vacation filled with the wonders of the world; the size of the sea, the spray from a sperm whales blow hole, and the swimming with the dolphins... My son loved the pink colour of the underside of the bottle nose dolphin. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Aug 2006 by

We both thought the group of 10 we were in was fantastic - we did everything together and the banter was fast, spontaneous, and great fun. The glimpses of the dolphins we got and hearing their sound were some of the best bits of the trip. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2005 by

The most memorable part was definitely the experience of being allowed in the sea with dolphins and sharing their environment. Climbing the mountain and staying overnight to watch both the sunset and sunrise was a very close second. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2005 by

The most exciting part of our vacation was seeing the dolphins swimming and jumping around the boats and then quickly getting into the water in time to see the dolphins swim past or under us. It was just magical. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2005 by

The most memorable moment was the sound of wild dolphins approaching me in the water and then swimming directly under me. An image I will never forget... I can honestly say that this was our BEST EVER vacation as a family. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2005 by

A magnificent close encounter with spotted dolphins who swam merrily around the cruiser and allowed a close encounter in the water - pure magic! Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2005 by

This is not a mass tourism location; locals seem to be genuinely happy to see us around and help. Well organised but relaxed as well. Sea outings & dolphins of course were the highlight of the vacation. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2005 by

The most exciting part of the vacation was spotting pods of dolphins (and also sperm whales) and getting into the water with the dolphins. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2005 by

The most exciting part of our vacation was seeing the dolphins for the first time and watching my 2 children 10 and 8 swim in the Atlantic Ocean with the dolphins. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2005 by

Most memorable and exciting part of the vacation was being in the sea with my daughter where there were two dolphins below us swimming downwards and one stopped and looked back at us as if to say "what are those strange beings". Magical. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Jul 2005 by

The most exciting part of this vacation was viewing the marine life at such close quarters. Read full review

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