Wildlife holidays in Azores
Tell me about The Azores …
The Azores archipelago stretches for more than 600 miles, and lies in the Atlantic Ocean midway between Europe and North America.
The archipelago consists of nine volcanic islands, which lie in an arc along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Its highest point is Mount Pico at just over 2,350 metres. It has a mild oceanic climate and the surrounding seas are warmed by the Gulf Stream.
The islands shelve steeply into the sea, creating an underwater topography that is perfect for attracting deep-diving whales.
These are friendly, attractive and unspoilt Atlantic islands, which combine a relaxed atmosphere with an interesting natural history and geology.
Our Azores specialist recommends..
"I recommend our ‘Whales & Dolphins of the Azores’ tour where we go in search of Sperm Whales and host of other cetacean species around this spectacular archipelago."
What’s special about the wildlife?
Islands often harbour unusual wildlife and the Azores are no exception. While the islands are home to some interesting bird and plant-life, some of their marine-life – in particular the whale and dolphin-watching – is world-class.
Whales and dolphins: 27 species of cetacean (whales, dolphins and porpoises) have been recorded in the waters around the Azores, including Sperm Whales, Blue Whales, many dolphin species and some of the elusive beaked whales.
When should I visit?
The weather can be variable in March and April; however, these months represent your best chance of seeing baleen whales such as Blue, Fin and Sei Whales as they pass through Azorean waters at this time of year. Sperm Whales and several dolphin species are present throughout the year. Spring and autumn are the best months for seeing passage birds.
August and September usually have more settled weather, with temperatures reaching highs of about 25ºC, and at this time of year Sperm Whale mothers and calves are present, as well as dolphins, beaked whales and other marine-life such as flying fish, turtles and sharks. Cory’s Shearwaters may be seen on nests.
Naturetrek Tours to The Azores
We offer two holidays to the Azores: a 10-day natural history tour visiting four different islands focusing on the endemic species found in the archipelago; a dedicated 6-day whale and dolphin watching tour on Pico.
What wildlife might I see?
- On our 10-day tour we look for the archipelago’s only endemic land bird, the Azores Bullfinch, as well as local races of Common Buzzard, Chaffinch & Goldcrest. Seabirds include Roseate Terns & shearwaters. We also enjoy the islands’ plant-life & do a whale & dolphin-watching pelagic
- On our 6-day whale watching break, we search for Sperm Whales, Blue, Fin & Sei Whales, beaked whales & dolphins such as Striped, Atlantic Spotted, Risso’s & Common
WHAT YOU'VE BEEN SAYING ABOUT OUR Azores HOLIDAYS
High quality sightings of 9 species of cetacean - especially Sperm Whale, Fin Whale, Northern Bottlenose Whale and the wonderful Risso's Dolphins. I really enjoyed the land day too - especially exploring the lava cave tunnels and the Cory's Shearwater chick. Great to hear the Cory's on the evening excursion too.
Ed was an excellent guide - knowledgeable and very helpful. Local guide, Justin, was excellent too.
This was my first holiday alone and all my anxieties were unfounded. The organisation and attention to detail were excellent and most of this praise should be attributed to our leader, Ed Drewitt. Our sightings did not disappoint although there was no guarantee - we were extremely fortunate to see so much! I firmly believe that without Ed as our leader, the holiday wouldn't have been half as enjoyable, his enthusiasm and compassion was very infectious and for a novice like myself I was caught up with the delights of sightings. I would have no hesitation in booking another holiday with Naturetrek.
The organisation was amazing, especially when the weather was against us. The friendliness of the local guides and the trip leader. Having never been into wildlife, this was a fun and inspiring trip that's opened my eyes.