This is a hugely popular escorted tour in first-rate accommodation and gives a real taste of the traditions and heritage of the Azores on one of most popular islands of the archipelago. Land tours into the geothermal regions of the Island are included so you can bathe in the hot springs and wonder at the steaming fumaroles. This give you an understanding of the volcanic origins of the island which are a 1 hour drive from your hotel. This full day tour includes a traditional lunch (cozido) cooked underground. Enjoy the breath taking views of the dramatic geological formations , vast crater lakes from high up you can see the north and south shores of the island and the wild Atlantic Ocean crashing on to the cliffs below. Cultural tours to see the vineyards and hill villages can be combined with guided walks and bird-watching. You are free to plan your own free time around the boat schedule – see “other activities” around the islands below this itinerary. We offer a restaurant guide which helps you select some fine dining experiences and explore the excellent restaurants in Ponta Delgada. Your guide will offer various presentations to fit around the schedule and on several evenings there will be a talk from a specialist about research projects on the dolphins and whales around the islands.
Day 1 Saturday (extra nights can be booked to fit with flights). Arrival in the Azores. Transfer to hotel. Welcome briefing and introductions, complimentary drinks, orientation in the local area. You have time for a rest! Schedule of whale-watching boat trips will be discussed and you will have a chance to meet the whole team and your expert guide during your complimentary dinner in the evening. Your guide will be available to discuss the plan for the week and answer any questions you may have.
Day 2 Sunday. Board the catamaran for full day whale-watching. You will return to shore for lunch with your guide at the harbourside and even have time to pop back to your hotel if you wish, then out to sea to enjoy further whale watching and hopefully the look outs will have spotted some great sightings for you! Audio-visual briefing about the whales and dolphins of the Azores, with lots of visuals and information about the species seen today. Your guide will provide in depth information about the wildlife and be available to discuss the sightings and compare photos.
Day 3 Monday. Board catamaran for a half day whale-watching. After lunch you will have free time to explore the cosmopolitan town of Ponta Delgada and have a rest!!
Day 4 Tuesday. During the holiday there will be plenty of talks and presentations about the research and conservation work done by your guide and other local researchers that is relevant to your experience.
Day 5 Wednesday. As day 2
Day 6 Thursday. You will be collected from your hotel this morning for a full day tour to the village of Furnas on the East of the Island (approx. 45 mins journey time). One of the most active thermal locations on Earth with steaming fumeroles, the Valley of Furnas is a volcanic crater which has been dormant since 1630, the date of the last eruption. The most popular attraction for most visitors to Furnas is no doubt the thermal baths and you will enjoy bathing in water from the interior of the earth, charged with minerals at the thermal pool of Terra Nostra Park. You will also sample the local “Cozido” at lunch time in a local restaurant – a meat or vegetable stew cooked geothermally underground.
Day 7 Friday. An opportunity for an additional trip to sea or another land tour –
The evening will be an opportunity for a celebratory drink in the bar where you can share some of the photos taken and remember your highlights of the holiday followed by a complimentary meal with your guide.
Day 8 Saturday. Departure day and transfer to the airport from your hotel.
The boat trips are taken early in the week. If there is any weather disruption they will be moved to another day later in the week, so that you go out during the best possible weather and conditions. Evening meals will be a combination of eating with the guide in a local restaurant and doing your own thing in restaurants or in the hotel There will also be further talks and presentations from the marine biologist giving you a rich understanding of the whales of the Azores, local history and culture.
Additional tours of the island can be pre booked or booked when there. You will have a lot of opportunities to appreciate the island’s rugged beauty and charm, it’s green meadows and rolling hills, hiking n some of the scenic walking trails, bird watching or taking a trip to the activity centre at the lakeside to go mountain biking , kayaking etc