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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
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