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Last updated: 28 October, 2023

This isolated Atlantic Ocean archipelago of 9 individual volcanic Islands is dolphin central and arguably the place to swim with dolphins, for three reasons.

First, it’s sparkling waters are home to five different species: Bottlenose, Atlantic Spotted, Common, Risso’s and Striped. Second, you can swim with them all year round – climate and water temperatures are fairly stable. Third, visibility is excellent, up to 60m.

Trips are led by experienced crews, who are not only experts at finding the dolphins, but who offer up lots of information about these intelligent creatures and how to interact with them.

Logistics

Price from: £75
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 3-4 hours

Getting there & doing it

Tours mainly run from Madalena Harbour on the island of Pico, but also from the islands of Terceira and Sao Miguel. Success rates are up at around 97%.

The dolphins are wild and no lures or bait is used to bring them close to people – they’re naturally curious.

When the dolphins are located, swimmers enter the water two at a time to avoid scaring them. All the equipment you need is provided – just bring a towel. You need to be comfortable using a mask and snorkel.

There’s no minimum age for the tour, but children should be able to swim. Boats are exposed to the elements, so take protective clothing and sunscreen, and sea-sickness tablets if you are prone to it.

When to do it

Tours run all year round, seven days a week, weather permitting

Although temperatures are pleasant all year round, the best time to go is the dry season from June to September, with better light. It’s sporadically rainy from October to April. From November to February, tours will only run when weather conditions permit.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Whales and Dolphins + Vila Franca Islet (full day with lunch)

Ponta Delgada

Whales and Dolphins + Vila Franca Islet (full day with lunch)
The trip will be a true expedition because we are invited , not only to know the natural habitat of magnificent cetaceans, as well as the islet of Vila Franca do Campo, one of the most exclusive bathing areas of the island.

Price: €97

Min age: 1

Rating 4.46 / 5 [107 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Whale and Dolphin Watching in Pico Island - Half Day

Pico

Whale and Dolphin Watching in Pico Island - Half Day
The Azores are in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, where it is possible to observe about 27 different species of cetaceans. Come and live close up this experience with a professional team of skippers, biologists and “Vigia”, who will guide you on this journey to meet these fascinating animals

Price: €50

Min age: 1

Rating 4.45 / 5 [84 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour at Terceira Island

Terceira

Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour at Terceira Island
Discover the beautiful waters of Azores in this half-day tour of watching dolphins and whales. Admire the Azores marine mammals in their natural habitat.

Price: €60

Min age: 0

Rating 4.64 / 5 [17 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Round-ups

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Round-ups that include this experience

18 Best places to swim with dolphins

These intelligent, social beings have long held a special place in our hearts – a result of their seemingly-smiling faces, playful frolicking and friendly disposition. Here’s our round-up of some of the best places in the world to swim with them.