20 independent reviews for Azores tour, island explorer

Reviews for Azores tour, island explorer

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review 17 Aug 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Swimming with a pod of up to 50 wild common dolphins! Seeing whales and dolphins in their natural habitat.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If possible, book extra trips with the whale watching tour operator as their company is really excellent. Upgrade your second dolphin and whale watching trip to swimming with dolphins. Join in with everything!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It definitely benefited local people as all the companies used were local. The whole approach and ethos of the whale watching company is to look after wildlife and reduce the environmental impact on their habitats and daily life. The trips were collecting marine data not just a tourist attraction and the strict rules regarding how to approach and treat these creatures was always paramount.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Absolutely superb and well worth the journey to this unique and beautiful island!

review 27 Jun 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing Sperm whales close up

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Leave yourself a free day near the end of the week to add an additional sea trip if you wish.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, the tours seemed to be responsibly handled and the tour companies employed local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent

review 29 May 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

seeing a blue whale with it's calf and a humpback with calf and then a pod of orcas was something i will never forget

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

book a couple of restaurants in advance as they get booked up

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

The marine biologists and all the whale watching staff we met were amazing

review 23 May 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the Sperm whale.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

We went to book extra trips and some were full so booking in advance would be our tip.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes definitely.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent!

review 23 May 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the Sperm whale dive and the tail coming up

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Book trips in advance. The Cat and the Ribs were brilliant each had there own advantages. Swimming with dolphins in the open sea was brilliant so don't be afraid to try it. I am 67 years old and loved it

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Tourism very important for the Island.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent, one of the best vacations both at sea and touring the island.

review 12 Apr 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

It was all excellent, but the rib boat and encountering whales was probably the most exciting.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I have no doubt it benefited local people, and likely supported conservation efforts. But going out on boats and taking tours in vans and jeeps doesn't strike me as reducing environmental impact. However, really glad we did it.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

All around excellent.

review 27 Jun 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing a sperm whale

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for all types of weather

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Was not really made aware of any benefits of tourism to conservation on the island

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks for taking the time to write a review and glad you had good sightings. Tourism brings enormous financial benefits to the islands which is felt by all the locals. Our boat company works in partnership "giving back to the local community " with local schools educating the children about the wealth of marine life in "their" ocean, giving free trips to sea for them and other locals and teaching how they can protect the marine life for future generations. There are regular community beach cleans, marine festivals which are a celebration and also raise awareness. Finally the Azores has been given "whale Heritage site status " by a leading cetacean conservation organisation WCA which endorses their efforts to promote a more responsible,& sustainable whale watching tourism. This has encouraged efforts by local suppliers from responsible boat approaches, more efficient fuel use in boats as well as less boats to promoting locally sourced food and new vegan restaurants are opening. We have details of ongoing changes on our web site. The guides on the boat do usually describe the conservation initiatives.

review 3 May 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Trip to Sete Cidades and a hike that we did ourselves to Pico du cascalho

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Donít stay in the city. Book more whale tours as half get cancelled. Review trips that are booked, furnas tour very gentle, which would suit many but we were after a little more adventure

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We had conversations with this with the tour guides, tourism obviously has increased so much for them in the last 10 years but sounds like itís way too crowded in the summer! Potentially increase environmental awareness but not sure if it directly had an impact on environment

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We were probably after a little more adventure and a little disappointed two of our whale tours were cancelled but the one that was ok to rebook was really great and they really tried hard for us to see as much as we could. The guides weíre great and one lady in particular at the central office too. Hotel room was lovely and staff were super lovely but the hotel was very noisy at night especially at the weekend and smelt of smoke a lot but the pool was lovely and the hot tub too. Our final tour was the best so we wish we had done it at the beginning or booked a hiking trip earlier on.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Katherine Thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed your vacation. Our guests want varying levels of activity so always good to check. Your hotel is one of our most popular and we have never had reports of noise and smoke which would have come from the bar in the street ( No smoking or noise inside hotel ) if you had told us we could have tried to move you to a room on other side of building. Most guests prefer to stay in the town as it is convenient for boats and restaurants. We try our best to pick quiet hotels at all times and this is the first time we have heard of this on such a usually quiet street with no traffic. If you stay in another part of the island the logistics can be very complicated ! I am sorry you had 2 boat trips cancelled due to bad weather. Obviously this is challenging and the local team did offer a re schedule which they try and do at every opportunity for our guests. Thanks for your comments and we shall certainly ask hotels to pick the quietest rooms kin regards Amanda

review 27 Apr 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

bathing in the hot springs, seeing the calderas and driving along their rim

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

although the vacation is called "dolphin and whale watching", be realistic, there is no guarantee that one will see whales

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

yes. though we did see other tours driving 4-wheeled vehicles which did not seem environmentally friendly

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

great hotel, great tours

review 7 Aug 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the large male sperm whale dive.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Just book it. Even on the day spoilt by cloud, making it difficult for the spotters on land to see the whales and dolphins, we saw a sperm whale and dolphins. Saw sperm Whales, a Sei Whale, Beaked Whales, Bottle Nosed dolphins, Common Dolphins, and Atlantic Spotted dolphins.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Tourism is a big income for the island. The company used by the tour operator were very sympathetic to the animals and never got too near.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent.

review 3 Jul 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Four different species of dolphins in enormous pods spectacular, we loved the tea plantation and kayaking in the crater lake, we also really enjoyed learning about the work marine biologists do in the Azores too.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Make sure you do book in advance as many activities are popular. You also need to accept that the weather may cancel your plans! A trip on the rib gets you closer to the action than the bigger boats. Do take the opportunity to see the volcanoes and the geothermal places the island is so beautiful.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We certainly got to see what sort of things happen locally but Iím not sure we improved the environment local people although they were all very friendly and we did buy mementos.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It really was just sometimes breathtakingly beautiful and wonderful to be so close to such a natural beauty.

review 25 Jun 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Whale watching....we did three trips.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

The whale and dolphin watching is a must. I would highly recommend booking with this company, they were superb on the water. Very knowledgeable with marine Biologists on board each boat, giving us great information and the best chance of seeing these wild animals without disturbing their natural behaviour. We unfortunately observed other operators who were driving there boat in a manner that disturbed the dolphins, very poor practice, so be careful about what operator you use. This operator is the one to choose, like I said were excellent.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We used a lot of local bars and restaurants..... away from the main town as well as ones in it. Environmental impact was poor. Flew there, hired a car went on 4 boat trips. Conservation. Yes, the local operator have marine biologists on every boat and they are collecting data. However they never explained how the info is used or how much of the money goes where. (But thinking about it I never asked!!!)

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very good. Hotel was very good. People on the Island were friendly. Suggest you recommend books to use for guides to the Islands, or other vacations. I bought mine second hand, without them i would have not had such a good experience.

review 22 Apr 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Viewing 2 Finback whales at close quarters while on one of the boat trips. Also relaxing in the geothermal pools in Furnas. Magnificent scenery and botanics there.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

One of the boat trips was a bit rough due to the weather. If you do suffer from sea-sickness, select a calm day! Recommend that you explore Sao Miguel Island (not just Ponta Delgada) to get the most out of your vacation. For a 10-day vacation, a visit to the other islands not really practical (due to distance) - requires another visit!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Made use of lots of local services, particularly restaurants and other food outlets, to boost the local economy. Seeing dolphins/whales in their natural environment, certainly preferred to a 'sea-life' center.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent and would certainly recommend to others.

review 25 Sep 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the dolphins and whales in their natural environment.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Consider visiting one or more of the other nearby islands as well.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We ate out everyday so yes, we contributed significantly to the local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We were very lucky with the weather and most of the guides on the tours were excellent, so we really enjoyed the week.

review 23 Jul 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whale and dolphin watching trips were excellent. Female sperm whales and a baby, a male sperm whale showing his tail on a deep dive and an amazing acrobatic display of wild dolphins.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Carry suntan cream and a rain coat as the weather changes during the same day. Relax and enjoy island pace.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes hotel and businesses are owned by locals. The whale/dolphin trips adhere to environmental standards.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Great vacation, nice hotel, good restaurants and friendly knowledgeable guides on all the trips.

review 14 Jun 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing common dophins playing in our bow wave.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Book a hotel with character, with outdoor space/pool.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Overall we had a nice if not overwhelming vacation. The hotel was clean, pleasant but very 'beige' and impersonal - we could have been anywhere in the world! I should have chosen something with more character, some outdoor space/pool so we had somewhere to relax other than in our room and with tea and coffee making facilities. The operators staff were lovely. We had okay dolphin encounters, no whales on the two trips we went on, but know other people did see them on other trips. We should have gone on a third trip but having been a bit disappointed on the first two, missed out. The trip to Sete cidades was great, we could have spent a whole day there! The vehicle which took us from and to the airport had totally bald and dangerous tyres - we let the local operator know at the beginning of the week and were told it was run by one of their partners, but it was the same when we left.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your useful feedback and so glad you had an enjoyable vacation. Yes we do have a selection of lovely hotels with character to suit all tastes. I am giving your feedback about the tyres to the company as this is unacceptable and we do carry out regular safety reviews to ensure all services offered to our guests comply with required standards. It is useful to have guests noting anything that they feel could be improved, so thank you.

review 20 Oct 2021

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Using the thermal pool at Terra Nostra under the stars!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Wander out to the local bars and cafes as the locals are really hospitable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The vacation definitely benefited local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent!

review 2 Nov 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the whales & dolphins

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If sea is calm do as many boat trips as you can .. seas can get rough quickly and stay that way for a few days

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes .. definitely benefited local people .. hotels & shops use way too much disposable plastic but recycling very prominent

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent

review 2 Jun 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

All of it really but maybe the trips were the standout.. exceptionally good. Great whale and dolphin viewing, and the land tours were very interesting.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Hire a car for the day and explore the spectacular wilderness coastline and stunning waterfalls.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

2 out of 3 yes. Not sure flying 3.50 mins reduced environmental impact, but the development of tourism is needed in this part of the world, to ensure the young people have a future.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was fantastic, all elements were superb and the hotel staff were very professional and everything kept very clean. The operator's partner is an excellent ground provider, though could maybe introduce life on the Azores a little more. We were 2 adults and 3 under teens children and everyone had a wonderful time.

review 28 Sep 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

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