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Azores Whale Watching Futurismo | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Bottlenose dolphins with our catamaranViewing the coast of São Miguel island from our catamaranHumpback whale breachingFuturismo's catamaran with bottlenose dolphinsWatching dolphins from our catamaranSperm whale diving

Futurismo Azores Whale Watching operates year-round whale watching and dolphin swimming tours from São Miguel Island. Our second base in Pico Island operates additional tours during the summer season. Join us on a unique wildlife experience aboard one of our boats, whether it is one of our adventurous zodiac boats or our new stylish catamaran with extra comfort, stability and 360º viewing decks.

Futurismo's boats

Languages spoken by our guides: English, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swedish, French, Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Italian, Scandanavian, Bulgarian, Estonian, Ukranian, Russian, Polish.

All our whale watching tours are preceded by a briefing in which one of our marine biologists talks about the historical background of Azorean whale hunting and its conversion to whale watching. We explain why the waters around the Azores are rich in marine life and have a well-deserved reputation as one of the best whale watching destinations in the world. During the briefing we give a general overview of species that may be sighted and how we approach the animals for observation. Similarly, our swimming with dolphins tours are preceded by a briefing in which the guide talks about the species we may swim with as well as guidelines and regulations on how to behave around wild dolphins.

During each tour our guides talk more about the species that are sighted, using visual aids to point out identifiying features. The guides also explain what behaviours are being observed and how we study the animals by collecting scientific data during all tours. Passengers can see for themselves how we use photo-identification to keep track of individuals sighted. Passengers can also take part in our research by contributing their photos to our catalogues.

The Azores is one of few places on the planet where we can observe more than 25 different whale and dolphins species. Our tour success rate is 89-99% throughout the year, with most tours sighting 2-3 species. During the peak season (spring to early summer) we can sometimes encounter 7-8 species in a tour!

The most frequently encountered dolphin species are those that are resident in the Azores: the short-beaked common dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin and Risso´s dolphin. We also get the yearly summer guests like the Atlantic spotted dolphin and the striped dolphin. Sperm whales are resident in the Azores and are therefore the most sighted whale species on our tours. We also encounter many migrating baleen whales including blue whales, fin whales and sei whales, especially during the spring months. Additionally, we often encounter other seasonal species including pilot whales, false killer whales and sometimes even killer whales. As well as cetaceans we regularly observe other marine species including turtles, sharks, rays, flying fish, Portuguese man-o-war and birds.

See our blog for our sighting statistics: www.azoreswhales.blogspot.com

 

Months

January • February • March • April • May • June • July • August • September • October • November • December

Duration

Short (1-3 hours) • Multi-day

Vessel types

Large boat (50+ passengers) • Rigid inflatable • Small boat (0-50 passengers)

Times and prices

Tour times for our year-round whale watching and dolphin swimming excursions:

  • 8:30/9:00am
  • 13:00/13:30pm
  • 4:00pm (extra tour during the peak season)

Tour prices (subject to change):

  • Half day whale wactching: €55 (adult), €27.50 (child)
  • Swimming with dolphins: €65 (adult), €32.50 (child)

We also offer a variety of package deals including full-day combined tours and a full weeks swimming with dolphins program. Please contact our staff to enquire about the full range of tour options that we offer.

About our skippers and naturalist guides

All of our tours are led by an experienced skipper and one or more guides (depending on the size of your whale watching vessel). Both the skipper and crew members give explanations about the marine life as well as the local culture and landscapes that are sighted along the island. Additionally, Futurismo employs marine biologists that give a 10-15 minute pre-tour briefing about the rich history of whaling in the Azores, the benefits of our conversion to whale watching, a description of the species that may be sighted during the tour and how we approach the animals for observation. Our aim is to make each tour educational by giving detailed descriptions of species sighted with the use of visual aids to point out identifying features. Additionally, during all tours are biologists take ID photos and collect encounter information as part of our scientific research that adds to our knowledge of the cetaceans of the Azores.

Facilities

Access to wheelhouse • Deck with 360?vision • Disabled access • Hands-on materials (bones, shells etc) • Naturalist guide(s) as well as skipper • On board video • Onboard research • PA system • Posters / displays / maps • Public participation in research • Reading material available • Restrooms / toilets on board • Scenic backdrop to encounters • Support conservation • Swim / snorkel included • Use a code of conduct

We frequently

See a whale's tail • See leaping dolphins • See leaping whales • Swim with them in the wild • Watch whales and dolphins

Baleen Whales

Blue Whale • Bryde's Whale • Fin Whale • Humpback Whale • Minke Whale • Sei Whale

Toothed Whales

Dwarf Sperm Whale • False Killer Whale • Killer Whale / Orca • Long-finned Pilot Whale • Pygmy Sperm Whale • Short-finned Pilot Whale • Sperm Whale

Beaked Whales

Blainville's Beaked Whale • Cuvier's Beaked Whale • Gervais' Beaked Whale • Northern Bottlenose Whale • Sowerby's Beaked Whale • True's Beaked Whale

Ocean Dolphins

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin • Bottlenose Dolphin • Risso's Dolphin • Rough-toothed Dolphin • Short-beaked Common Dolphin • Striped Dolphin

Other wildlife and points of interest

Seabirds, turtles (loggerhead turltles and occasionally other species), sharks (including whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and mako sharks), manta rays, Portuguese man-o-war, flying fish, sunfish and occasionally other fish species.

Address
Marina Pêro de Teive, Loja A
Town / City
Ponta Delgada
State / County
Azores
Zip / Postcode
9500-771
Country
Portugal
Website
Tel
+351 296 628 522
Email
Danielle Vervloed
Amazing trip, defenitely be going back there!
Traveled: 2014-09-18, Reviewed: 2014-09-21
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
When on vacation to São Miguel I had the opportunity to go a couple times out to sea with Futurismo from 18 September till the 26. Nine times to be exact which gave me the opportunity to encounter Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Risso Dolphins and Pilot Whales. This vacation I booked specifically with the idea of going out to sea as many times as I could which Futurismo helped me out with and I was certainly not disappointed. Every single trip was amazing and to be fair, it was even more then I had dared hope for.

I’ve been on two different boats, the catamaran and the zodiac. They were both nice, clean and well maintained. Both had their own allure. It gave different ways to go out to sea, which I both enjoyed. Not only have I been able to sea different dolphins, this also gave me the opportunity to go swimming with them, two times. Best experience ever! Hearing them talk, seeing them looking up at you from such a close distance with their family, free and wild as they should be.

The first thing I noticed was the crew. They were welcoming, friendly and you could see that they put their heart and soul into their job. Every single time we encountered a different species, no matter if they saw them every day, they were as excited about it as their passengers. I myself had many questions which were all answered passionately and with a lot of knowledge about every subject.

The woman behind the desk was nice, spoke good English and was very informative even when it was busy because people were lining up to go out at sea with them. Before every trip you get a talk about safety, what to expect and a bit of background information about whaling and safe whale watching. This happens in multiple languishes, depending on the customers of that day. Every time the talk is different which makes it fun even if you have heard it before. After/before (depending on the boat) you go to the boat where someone gives you a hand to hop on board. And then it’s time to go out!

I had the chance to talk to a lot of other costumers. Parents with their young kids, people enjoying their pensions, environmental lovers and people who’ve only ever seen these animals in captivity. They all had the same answer when I asked them what they thought of the trip, that this was the best way to sea these animals. Which made me off course very happy.

Every time you saw a sign of a dolphin/whale you could see the excitement rise. Some strange waves, a lot of birds or even some other boats. When we encountered a specie the crew gave us some information about them. Also I’ve been able to hear them thanks to a hydrophone that was put multiple times into the water, the dolphins actually seemed to respond to this! But they always kept a safe distance from the animals al do they, especially the common and the bottlenose dolphins just came swimming next to the boat. They did a lot of jumping and playing and they seemed to have lots of fun doing it. Also, when we came a cross some rubbish the crew fished it out of the water, which to me was a really good sign. Afterward, on boat, they went around with a map, giving everyone extra information about the animals we had encountered. And then there was a special tea for us to enjoy in the briefing room where you could also ask your last questions to the marine biologists that had been on the tour.

In the briefing room there are always some video’s being showed which gives you the chance to relax and take a look at what they encounter the rest of the year. There’s also a glass cabin with some fun things to look at which gives even more information about dolphins and whales. Also there is a nice little shop where you can buy some souvenirs. I myself bought a beautiful painting, a book and some cards for my friends and family at home.

For me it was extra satisfying to know that, by going on board with Futurismo, I was supporting their research which I think is a good cause. You can follow them on their facebook and blogs where they share all their information which helps with the tracking and conservation of all these species. I also liked the fact that they gave some insight as into why this was the best way to see these animals, like why captivity is wrong and also they pointed out things like the killings in Japan, Faroe Island and Iceland. Not in a way that scared people or hurt children, but in an informative way which hopefully will help for the better. Also it’s a nice way to see the island from a different point of view. You get a beautiful look at the coastline and, thanks to the crew, you can learn a lot more about the island.

Anyway, for me this was the best vacation ever and I would recommend everyone to go on a tour with Futurismo when they visit the Island. Every trip is different, which means every single time you go out to sea you will have a different experience so lots of adventures are waiting out there! And the best part? It’s fun for all ages!
Sarah & Jorgen
excellent trip!
Traveled: 2014-09-21, Reviewed: 2014-09-15
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
good crew, they gave lots of info, very calm with the boat around the animals
we saw pilot whales, buffalo dolphins, common dolphins and sea turtles
we'd recommend the trip to everyone!
fred miller
was so go i went the next day
Traveled: 2014-09-21, Reviewed: 2014-09-13
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
this was a great trip ,plus learning about the mammals in the sea
this is the only way to see theses mammals ,not in captivity where they are like show dogs doing tricks for profits

the mammals are having so much fun in the sea,please take more whale watching trip and do your part not to go to any zoo's or aquariums

cant wait to go back again
Anna Isaksson
Went back 6 years in a row!
Traveled: 2014-08-05, Reviewed: 2014-08-20
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
I've visited the Azores 6 years in a row (and will continue to do so) and there are a lot of things I love about this place but one of the main reasons is the marine life: the opportunity to see whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. Futurismo is an excellent organizer and on different occasions I've tried their different kinds of boats, all of which give a slightly different experience. The staff is great, with a lot of knowledge about the sea life and environment issues, and you can tell that they're passionate and love what they do. Every time you leave the shore you don't know what to expect because the encounters, obviously, can be very different from one time to the next. I would recommend a tour (or several!) with Futurismo to anyone of any age who comes to the Azores!
Marta Soler
Un día increíble!
Traveled: 2014-08-09, Reviewed: 2014-08-04
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Pensamos que la experiencia sería divertida para Daniel y Samanta, de 7 y 9 años, y ¡ha sido increíble para ellos y para nosotros!! Todo el equipo que nos ha atendido ha sido genial. ¡¡Muy muy recomendable!!
David
Great experience onboard Cetus
Traveled: 2014-06-09, Reviewed: 2014-06-27
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Last 09/06/2014 me and my family decided to go take a tour of whale whatching. To this end we chose the company FUTURISMO, which has diferent types of boats, we went on the catamaran cetus. Excellent boat especially for those who have young children ... I must confess that my wife and I were very pleased with all the service and logistics around the tour. First at the reception desk a fast, professional and very friendly service. After boarding a briefing in several languages by the crew/biologists ​​elucidated us on all aspects of safety to have on the boat. When starting the trip the captain gave us a warm welcome and also explained what would happen on our trip. As we know, not always is possible to spot whales, but hoping we were going to see them .... however and after just over half an hour away, we begin to see a jets of water that rise a few meters above sea level ... all people on board assumed their positions so they can enjoy the magnificent view of fin whales.... Speechless ....the boat stopped not very close to the whales, and the crew has informed that it was the distance permitted by law, however, and what was our astonishment to see the whales approaching, curiously there alongside the boat ... beautiful moments .... very interesting to see the crew / guides/ biologists always available and in constant communication with passengers in several languages ​​... to explain everything from which species they were, the colors, the shadows in the sea, the type of food .... a very nice interaction for all. We also observed sperm whales and dolphins on the trip...
On our way back the crew/biologists were explaining individually to the people in their languages what we have seen and some other details about the mammals. Great people, great crew, wide knowledge about what we were doing....Back to land they offered some Tea near their office.... what else can we say....great work.
Finally, i congratulate the excellent morning that FUTURISMO gave us aboard their boat CETUS, with a special gratitude to all the people envolved on that tour...

Keep on Going..... :)
laurens rogier
excellent!!!!
Traveled: 2014-05-06, Reviewed: 2014-05-13
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
The excellent and enthusiastic guides made both of our trips a brilliant experience.
The crew was able to adust the complexity of the explanations to make the trip a learning experience for everybody on board.
We have seen many fin whales, a fin whale mother with cub, 2 types of dolphins and a leatherback turtle.....it was really a great experience!

Thansk!
Doris Thomas
Perfectly done whale watch and dolphin swim
Traveled: 2014-04-16, Reviewed: 2014-04-28
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
I had the opportunity to go out with Futurismo from Ponta Delgada/Azores several times during April 15th until April 28th, big boat CETUS and zodiacs.
I am totally impressed how the staff is working. It starts that everything is well organized, but does not appear impersonal because of that. Each tour starts with a briefing, in a special room or on board of the bigger boat CETUS. The zodiacs are a bit more adventure but CETUS is a boat which has a great way to move on the water, offers a lot of good views on the water and the animals and...the dolphins love this boat and join for bow riding often. The staff is friendly and qualified and always makes efforts that everybody is satisfied and get some new insights. Beside a fantastic information about the animals they never miss to point on other important themes like pollution and whaling and of course why captivity is wrong. They take care of the safety of the guests as well as they take care not to harras or distrub the animals.
Last year I tried already the dolphin swim and it was well done too.
The skippers even don't hesitate to stop to pic up some garbage from the ocean. On my last tour we picked up a part of a lost net and maybe safed some animals which could be entangled.
Science is done by own staff and/or by volunteers. The company supports students so that they can join the tours and researcher by data collecting and sharing.
I think if somebody is not satisfied with the offer of this company this person will not be satisfied at all.
The sightings are amazing. This time, spring, I saw blue whales and fin whales, false killer whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins.. 24 different species can be seen during the year, which region can offer this? I just can recommend to visit the Azores and book tours with Futurismo Whale Watching.
David
The way whale watching should be carried out
Traveled: 2014-04-15, Reviewed: 2014-04-20
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
I do a lot of whale watching and was extremely impressed with the way Miranda carried out the trip with minimal disturbance to the animals. She explained every thing clearly and for the interest of the animals being a priority. 10 out of 10 and I can highly recommend that if any one is visting the Azores they should book a trip with Futurismo.
Dave Ralph
Unforgettable experience!
Traveled: 2013-09-03, Reviewed: 2013-09-03
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
My partner and I visited the Azores in early September 2013, mainly because we'd heard it was a whale watching hot spot, we were not disappointed. After some research we found that Futurismo came highly recommended, so we booked an afternoon trip on one of their 12 seater Zodiac boats. Before jumping into the boat there was a short presentation covering the history of whale watching in the Azores, and an overview of the species we were most likely to see.
The trip begins, we set sail in the RIB style Zodiac boat, this in itself was fantastic, bouncing across the waves, admiring the beautiful coastline. Every trip is accompanied by a marine biologist, our guide was friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgable. Between her and the equally amiable skipper, no one in our small group was left with an unanswered question.
After about 20 minutes of sailing we came across a very playful and inquisitive pod of resident Common Dolphin, it really was incredible. At no point did it feel forced or unnatural, it was as if the dolphins were just as interested in us as we were in them. To my partner and I this was the most impressive and important thing, we are nature lovers and it was clear that the staff at Futurismo are too. It never felt intrusive, they showed the Dolphins the utmost respect and it was always on their terms.
The trip continued in the same vein. An encounter with a pair of Sperm Whales (mother and baby), then several more Sperm Whales who treated us to a fantastic display of fluking. Then a pod of shy Atlantic Spotted Dolphin and a pod of majestic Bottlenose Dolphin, effortlessly riding the waves.
After plucking some potentially dangerous debris from the sea, our guide informed us we would be heading back to port, thoroughly satisfied we settled in for the scenic trip home. Then all of a sudden, dolphins everywhere! Leaping and playing around the boat, a fitting crescendo to an unforgettable experience.
I really cannot recommend Futurismo enough. Their professional, respectful attitude towards the animals and the environment is impressive and heartwarming. Their staff are not only knowledgeable but passionate and friendly. They are interested in the bigger picture, recording their sightings and sharing them with the scientific community and via their (very active) blog, promoting conservation and admiration for these wonderful creatures. In fact we enjoyed ourselves so much, we booked another trip a few days later and added the Striped Dolphin to our list of sightings. This is certainly not our last trip with Futurismo, we are already counting the days to our next.
Charlotte Hughes
Amazing experience!!
Traveled: 2013-05-07, Reviewed: 2013-05-18
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
It was my first time to see Fin Whales, and two at one time, was absolutely amazing! The marine biologist guides were excellent at explaining the species and giving any extra information I asked for. I also got to see common dolphins as well, jumping and being very curious close by to the catarmaran. Then we saw a huge group of socialising sperm whales, about 7 at once. Was a great experience and I would highly recommend the catamaran or any of the tours from Futurismo.
Eelco van Tuyll
Five species seen in 3 trips!
Traveled: 2013-04-20, Reviewed: 2013-04-23
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
I took 3 trips (3-4 hours) during the thrid week of april 2013. All three trips were on their catemaran ship Cetus. Each time we were accompanied by at least two enthousiastic and communicative marine biologists. In total I saw lots of common dolphins, a big group of bottlenose dolphins, some very spectacular striped dolphins, a couple of huge jumping bluefin tuna, a curious orca family that has been around for a couple of months there and is clearly considering becoming a resident at Sao Miguel and finally we met three majestic sei whales. I was very happy with that result! The staff was friendly, passionate, and they told us about the research they do. I am pretty sure that they follow strict guidelines for safely approaching the cetaceans, but I would have liked to know a little bit more about that in their PR. Besides this little learning point I can definetely recommend a trip with Futurismo. I feel deeply grateful for the experiences they gave me.
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2013 Responsible Whale Watch Partnership:Click here to read more about the partnership