5 things you need to know about whale watching in the Azores
If you’re visiting the Portuguese islands of the Azores, you’ve probably heard about the dolphin and whale watching tours. And if you’re passionate about whales, you've probably already heard about the Azores. Yes, when visiting the Azores, whale watching is a must.
Here are the 5 things you need to know about whale watching in the Azores:
1. When to go whale watching
Overall, the best months to go whale watching are spring and early summer. First of all, because the weather is pleasant and the sea tends to be calm. And also because, during those months, quite some migrating whale species can be spotted passing by the Azores on their way up North. Some resident species, like sperm whales, are most easily spotted during summer. This species can generally be found all year round.
Regarding dolphins, there are three resident species. During summer there are usually more dolphins around the region than in the colder months, so chances of spotting more than one species per tour should be in Summer. So if you’re flexible about when to travel to the Azores, the months between April and July are the best!
2. How many species of cetaceans can be spotted?
More than 25 different species of whales and dolphins can be seen around the Azores throughout the year. If you go whale watching during spring, it’s very likely that you will see species like blue whales, fin whales and sei whales. Sperm whales, as we mentioned before, are frequently spotted all year round. There are also three resident dolphin species.
If you’re lucky, you may even get to see rare whale species like orcas or beaked whales during the migrating months in spring!
3. How do tour providers deal with wild animals?
The dolphins and whales are wild animals. They are not fed and should never been touched. There’s always a risk of not spotting any wild life, however, the skippers are very experiences and have very high success rates in spotting cetaceans. Most tours also have marine biologists onboard, to help spotting the animals and to explain their behavior while observing them. If you’re concerned about the sustainability and respect for the animals, no worries, on SeaBookings, you’ll only find tour operators that comply with local guidelines for respecting the environment.
4. What type of boats are used?
The dolphin and whale watching tours take place on two types of vessels: comfortable and stable catamarans or fast and agile RIBs. You can choose upon booking. The catamarans are recommended for families and people with back and neck problems as they are more stable and spacious. The RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) are good fun for true adventurers!
5. Is it possible to swim with whales or dolphins?
Yes, it’s possible to swim with dolphins. Not with whales. Swimming with wild dolphins is a truly magical experience. Once you’ve found a pod of dolphins that presents the conditions required to swim with them (they’re not feeding, they don’t have babies and they need to be common dolphins), you’ll put on your snorkel and mask and get into the water. You’ll be holding onto the boat and touching the dolphins is not allowed. Some dolphins are really curious and come close, while others prefer to keep a “safer” distance. We strongly recommend this very close encounter with such magical animals in the wild. It’s a life-changing experience!
SeaBookings is an online platform where you can discover the best sea experiences in Portugal. The platform was founded by 2 Dutch sisters who fell in love with the Portuguese sea when they started surfing and sailing. All the experiences on SeaBookings are curated, so you'll only find the very best. You can easily discover and book cave tours to Benagil or Lagos, BBQ cruises, dolphins watching tours, surf lessons and others, along the whole Portuguese coast and islands! Click on the link to visit the website SeaBookings