13 independent reviews for Blue Whale tour in the Azores

Reviews for Blue Whale tour in the Azores

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review 6 Jun 2017

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

Seeing whales, fin, blue and sperm whales in their natural environment- Lisa our guide was fantastic

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

Be prepsred for inclement weather

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?


review 21 May 2017

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

It was all very exciting, but the very best part was when we found a blue whale and a fin whale swimming side by side. This allowed us to clearly see the differences between them - almost as if they were doing it for our benefit. I was also happy that the whales seemed to be undisturbed by our boat. I hope that's true.

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

Definitely bring a peaked cap that stays on your head - the glare from the sea can give you a headache. Bring everything you're told to bring in the information leaflet. The weather can change in a second.

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

It certainly benefited local boat owners and restaurant owners. I don't know if it reduced environmental impacts, but Lisa, our group leader, photographs all the whales for identification purposes, which I guess supports conservation. Also, I suppose the fact that whale-watching is a viable tourism model gives local populations an incentive to look after the seas.

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

Excellent. Great experience.

review 13 May 2017

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

Terra Nostra botanical gardens.

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

Be aware that the boat trips to see whales may be cancelled due to sea conditions. And when they do go out the conditions can be choppy resulting in sea sickness. Weather unpredictable. Disappointing lack of whales seen on our trip.

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

Yes I did feel that.

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

The island was lovely. Local people very friendly and polite. Hotel good and staff helpful. Buffet dinner howeverhad little variety and did not cater for vegetarians. We mentioned this to lady in charge of evening buffet. Quiches all had ham in them, all we could have was salad cheese etc. Room service menu good. Disappointed not to see many whales in 4 trips out to sea.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Maureen, Thanks so much for your review. We shall certainly give your feedback to the hotel re offering more options for vegetarians. As our vacations are not full board, we suggest guests try out local excellent restaurants. The restaurant guide we gave you had details of an excellent vegetarian restaurant 5 mins walk form the hotel, loved by our other guests, so hope you got to go there. Sorry you had bad weather, it is challenging, but glad you enjoyed the island which offers so many great alternative activities. Kind regards, Amanda

review 1 Jun 2016

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

Very difficult to say as there were so many memorable moments: seeing five sperm whales "socialising" together and swimming in a perfect line, almost managing to synchronise their "blows", catching a great picture of the tail fin of the massive blue whale, seeing the huge side fins of the humpback just under the water giving them an eerie blue colour, or probably the best of all seeing first a pod of c10 orca cavorting in front of us, the male one with a massive fin of more than 2 metres in height, and then about an hour later seeing either the same animals again or a different pod, this time as two smaller groups. This is not to mention all the amazing pods of dolphins we saw, common, bottlenose, risso and striped plus false orca which we did not even know existed until the scientist on board identified them.

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

Take some warm clothes including a waterproof/windproof top coat, preferably things that can be layered as, despite the sun, the wind can be very cold when on board especially when the boat is going quite fast tracking down a sighting which may be several miles away out at sea. Take high level sun block.

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

This vacation definitely supported conservation; the information that our scientist on board was gathering was being fed into international databases capturing details about migratory whales and photo-matching individuals. Local people were employed to help run the vacation and without exception everyone in our group ate at a variety of local restaurants. The local economy benefited by members of the group buying souvenirs and taking part in local tours when not out at sea.

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

We would rate our vacation somewhere in between 4 and 5 stars; not sure we could honestly say we were "reborn" but this has certainly been the vacation of a lifetime. We were very lucky with the sitings we had; literally being more or less in the middle of the Atlantic, which is vast, and being able to "find" these creatures is amazing in itself; the scientist on board was very knowledgeable, friendly and keen to share her knowledge. The animals' well being was always the most important factor and so we did not stay long at each siting to allow the whales the freedom to continue with their journey. Overall the vacation was brilliantly managed.

review 28 May 2016

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

Whales, whales and more whales, plus lots of dolphins.

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

Take warm clothes for the boat and travel motion remedies as the swell can be quite something

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

Boat company were very responsible when viewing the animals in order to minimise their stress. All the staff were local to the area.

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

Excellent experience on all counts, good animal sitings, good hotel and beautiful islands.

review 5 Jun 2015

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

During our first week on Faial, being lucky enough to see our first blue whale within an hour of setting out in the catamaran.Then seeing over 50 whales (blue, fin, sei, sperm ) and over 100 dolphins (common ,bottlenose, rissos ) over the three days.It was amazing. During our second week on Sao Miguel,walking round the beautiful gardens in Ponta Delgada...and Terra Nostra in Furnas,with all its other fascinating landscapes. Driving up to Sete Cidades for the second time,this time on a clear day,and walking by the lake in the sunshine.

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

The vacation provider listened to our requests and tailor made the vacation for us.If you want to see whales then Faial is the island for you,the Hotel do Canal in Horta is really comfortable and Lisa Steiner is an excellent and very knowledgeable guide. Being on the small catamaran gives the best opportunity to see whales. On Sao Miguel I recommend hiring a car for some of the time to see as much as you can.However the trip guides are really helpful and very knowledgable too so you really learn a lot about the island and its history.

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

Yes,we spent money in the hotel, shops, cafes, car rental and with tour guides. The operator gives guidance on being environmentally aware and we followed their advice. The whale watching trips supported research into whale and dolphin conservation.

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

Fantastic! We saw everything we hoped for ...and more. The Azores are an amazing vacation destination,we will be back.

review 28 May 2015

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

Seeing so many whales and dolphins, the group I was with, the fantastic hotel I stayed in

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

Pick the exclusive trip, I think there is a bonding when there are only 12 people, compared if there were a lot more people. Also you get longer at sea, and ask for Horta, it was so beautiful, also for all that you get, it works out so cheap, I don't understand how they can give you so much for that price?

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

Supported conservation

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

Magical

review 7 Jun 2015

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

Seeing far more whales, & more closely, than I ever expected.

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

Check on the information given about daily talks & presentations included in the cost of the vacation; we had just one.

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

I think it supported conservation.

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

A wonderful experience.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Anne Thanks for your review and glad you had a wonderful vacation with so many whales The expert guide who accompanied you on the full day boat trips has 35 years experience as a researcher in The Azores. Most of our guests found her extensive knowledge very informative. She always makes herself available on the boat to share this information and invites people to ask questions and as it is a small group, everyone can listen to her answers. We were under the impression that all day on the boat there are opportunities for information. I think the guide tends not to offer too many formal presentations as it can be too much for some people who are not very scientific, so I am sorry you were expecting more in that way. Did you ask her to describe any aspects of cetacean science and research? I am sure she would have happily shared her extensive knowledge with you if she had known.

review 28 May 2014

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

Seeing the ocean giants so close it was amazing

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

Book this experience but add on to it an extra week visiting the other islands

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

The company carries out research and so raises awareness of the whales and dolphins and how amazing they are The information given by Lisa and Nortbuto was fantastic They work with the university and so are not just taking out vacation makers but informing student research as we'll

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

Excellent

review 29 Jun 2014

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

amazing observations of the Cetaceans

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

Not to hesitate: more than 100% worth it.

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

Yes without any doubt

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


review 26 Jun 2014

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

The Blue Whales

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

There weren't any things I wasn't prepared for.

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

Research into cetaceans.

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

Excellent

review 7 Jun 2013

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

- Crystal blue seas and skies - Seeing so many whales and dolphins in their natural habitat and on their own terms, with human beings having to play second fiddle for a change - The passion, knowledge and genuine love of their work shown by all the guides - The group bonding that derives from a common shared experience

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

- Take waterproof trousers and a fleecy gilet plus a thin fleecy jumper to wear under the jackets provided. It can get cold on the boat, especially if your clothes get wet. Also a headband or hat to protect your ears against the wind and sun. - Be aware that this is not a BBC wildlife programme, so come with realistic expectations of what you might see. You might not actually see very much of the whales themselves unless they happen to breach right out of the water or come close to the boat. Most of the animal is below the surface. A camera/videocam with a good zoom or a pair of binoculars gives a much enhanced view, but take a plastic bag to protect from salt spray. - If you stay at the hotel be prepared to have to spend additional money on a taxi to and from the whale-watching base. The hotel provides transport there and back for the boat trip, but if you want to go back down to the harbour again later on it is at your own expense (about 5 euros a trip). With hindsight the harbour hotel would have been more convenient, although the hotel we stayed in was beautiful, comfortable, and had a good restaurant. - Get a clear understanding of what the additional organised trips involve before you book. Some involve rough or steep terrain which might prove difficult for the elderly or those with mobility problems. But well worth going on, especially the indigenous flora and fauna one.

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

Yes, yes and yes. All the guides at the base were local people who had a deep commitment to animal welfare and to minimising the environmental footprint of our vacation. Trees are planted to offset the fuel used by the boats. We witnessed tagging of turtles, research into the behaviour of Risso's dolphins, photo ID of whales to monitor their migration routes, and the clearing of debris from the waters to keep the ocean clean. In addition the vacation boosts the local tourist trade through restaurants, bars and taxis etc.

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

This was the most wonderful week ever. I cannot thank Espaco Talassa and the operator enough. I would not hesitate to go back again, and very much hope to do so in the future.

review 3 Jun 2013

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

Being out on the water with dolphins and whales.

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

No need to go through an agent just book flights and look for accommodation on the net , hire a car all very easy.

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 organisation of the agent was not always of a high standard. I would suggest the agent at least offers to book flights as TAP is not easy to log onto.

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