São Miguel Island Safaris & wildlife activities

Our most recommended São Miguel Island Safaris & wildlife activities

Azores: Whale Watching and Islet Boat Tour

1. Azores: Whale Watching and Islet Boat Tour

Begin the excursion with an introduction to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and other marine species, their natural habitat, communication, migration, and behavioral patterns. After the briefing, board the designated boat and head out to sea. Approach the whales slowly and carefully as the naturalist guides and marine biologists on board provide commentary. Next, take a tour around the Princess Ring Islet of Vila Franca do Campo, for an up-close look at the volcano and resident wildlife. Light food is permitted on board, and a camera is essential to capture the wildlife you spot on the tour.

São Miguel Azores: Half-Day Whale Watching Trip

2. São Miguel Azores: Half-Day Whale Watching Trip

Enjoy a half-day whale watching trip in the Azores, one of the ‘top ten’ whale-watching spots in the world, and get the opportunity to meet the ocean giants in their natural habitat. Meet the boat crew and get a short briefing about safety and code of ethics and then put on your life vest and head out in the ocean. Listen as the crew follows the instructions given by radio from the lookouts placed in strategic points along the coastline using military-grade binoculars to find and communicate the position of the animals. Take comfort that the crew has a 99% success rate of sightings. If whales are spotted it´s time to enjoy the company of these magnificent animals, always keeping a safe and respectful distance. It´s usual that more than one group of whales and dolphins are observed per trip. On the way back to the marina, observe the geological formations of the island as the boat sails close to the coastline. If no whales or dolphins are spotted, you will receive a full refund, or you can book another trip for free.

From Ponta Delgada: Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip

3. From Ponta Delgada: Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip

Set off on a whale-watching day trip from Ponta Delgada and witness the marine mammals of the Azores. Look out for minke whales, dolphins, turtles, and more, and learn about the environment from your marine biologist guide. Begin with a briefing by your guide, who will explain the history of whale watching in the Azores. Learn about water safety, rules of observation, and respect for the animals. Depart from the Ponta Delgada harbor and sail into the Atlantic. Situated between Portugal and North America, the Azores are a permanent home or point of passage for more than a third of the world’s whale and dolphin species. Keep an eye out for sperm whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins, which are present throughout the year, along with turtles, seabirds, and other marine life. In the summer months, spot dolphins, pilot whales, and striped dolphins. In spring, enjoy the opportunity to see migrating baleen whales such as blue whales, fin whales, and sei whales.

Sao Miguel: Swimming with Dolphins

4. Sao Miguel: Swimming with Dolphins

Join the ultimate swimming experience on an encounter with wild dolphins in the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Head out from the Azores in a Zodiac boat for an unforgettable adventure. This 2-hour activity is carried out in small groups and led by a qualified biologists or nature guides. Each swimming tour is preceded by a briefing in which one of the biologists explains how to swim with wild dolphins while respecting them. You’ll also learn how to enter the water and behave around the dolphins, how to use the mask and snorkel and how to get the most out of your swimming experience. Masks, snorkels and wet-suits are provided.

Ponta Delgada: Whales and Volcanoes Tour with Lunch

5. Ponta Delgada: Whales and Volcanoes Tour with Lunch

Benefit from mini van pick-up at your accommodation in Ponta Delgada and the area around and then explore the coastline of São Miguel island by boat. Spend 3 hours looking for majestic whales and playful dolphins in their natural environment.  Reconnect with the natural world as you go in search of the sperm whales, blue whales, humpback whales, fin whales and sei whales that make the archipelago one of the best places in the world to see different marine mammals. Keep a look out for turtles, flying fish, sea birds and jumping dolphins along the way.  Disembark at the marina and enjoy a tasty lunch at local restaurant. Afetr lunch make your way to the volcanic landscapes of Lagoa do Fogo crater lake. See one of the most beautiful lakes in São Miguel and experience the amazing interior of the island up close. Learn about how is used the volcanic heat to produce renewable energy to the island.

Sao Miguel: Vila Franca Do Campo Islet Scuba Diving

6. Sao Miguel: Vila Franca Do Campo Islet Scuba Diving

Kick off your scuba diving experience with a small introduction session during which you will learn all about diving equipment, techniques and underwater communication. Then head out to the sea by boat, allowing a supervised and relaxed way to experience diving.  Your dive will take place at the Natural Reserve of Vila Franca do Campo Islet, an island formed by a volcano crater. Explore an area close to wrecked cannons from the 16th century and see how nature incorporated them into marine life.

São Miguel: Wild Swimming with Dolphins

7. São Miguel: Wild Swimming with Dolphins

Experience a once-in-a-lifetime treat as you swim with dolphins in their natural habitat, in the incredible environment of the São Miguel coastline. Relax in the company of trained professionals who will brief you on best practice in the high seas, and how to interact with the dolphins. Marvel at the rugged beauty of the São Miguel coast as you have unforgettable fun swimming alongside the dolphins, and return home with memories to treasure for a lifetime.

Azores: Vila Franca do Campo Islet Kayaking Experience

8. Azores: Vila Franca do Campo Islet Kayaking Experience

Paddle along the beautiful coastline of Vila Franca de Campo. Choose between the morning or afternoon tour and embark on a kayaking adventure suitable for families with children. The level is appropriate for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. Your professional instructor will make sure that everyone feels safe and comfortable. Get geared with the necessary equipment for your kayak tour. Then, receive a safety briefing from your instructor before heading out onto the waters. This tour takes you on a 4.5 kilometer stretch along the beautiful Vila Franca do Campo Islet. During the excursion, you may take a dip into the refreshing waters and try some snorkeling.

Azores: São Miguel and Lagoa do Fogo Hiking Trip

9. Azores: São Miguel and Lagoa do Fogo Hiking Trip

Explore the impressive landscapes and amazing panoramas on a hiking trip to São Miguel. In the area of “Lagos”, start the trail on a dirt road that will get considerably steeper for the first 3 km, at which point you will meet an irrigation channel that will lead you to Lagoa do Fogo. Wander along an easy path through the forest, where soon you will find yourself hiking inside the crater, with its massive walls of greenery all around you. Reaching the shores of this famous lake, take a break and enjoy a picnic lunch of regional products with a view. Setting off once more, continue upwards slightly for better views of the lake and then head back down to the starting point through another steep and winding trail, with views of the south coast and the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo along the way. Return to the starting point while enjoying another perspective of the south coast and the Atlantic Ocean. Visit the bathing zone of Caloura, or Agua D’Alto Beach, where you can practice snorkeling.

Rabo de Peixe: Sperm Whale Sanctuary Expedition by Speedboat

10. Rabo de Peixe: Sperm Whale Sanctuary Expedition by Speedboat

Set out on a speedboat expedition to see sperm whales, the largest of the cetacean family. On this learning adventure, explore the northern coast of São Miguel and its diverse flora and fauna. Discover facts about sperm whales from marine biologists as you look for them in their protected habitat.  Your tour begins with a briefing from marine biologists at the yacht club on the northern side of the island. You'll find out about the different species you might see, learn about the whale watching history in the Azores, and understand how biologists and whale watchers respect the animals. Next, board the boat and set out for the Atlantic waters. Enjoy the beautiful coastal landscape and keep your eyes peeled for marine life. On the coast, you may see dolphins, Portuguese man-o-war, or turtles. As you enter the deeper waters of the sanctuary, stay on the lookout for sperm whales.  Finally, return to Rabo de Peixe Harbor. The team of marine biologists will tell you more about the species you just saw. Hear more about the cetaceans, their habits, and their routes to round out your tour.

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Frequently asked questions about São Miguel Island

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What people are saying about São Miguel Island

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 249 reviews

It was a nice hike. A bit difficult for the first three Kilometers, but after that it was easy. The sandwich for lunch was very tasty and the lake was beautiful. Our guide, Danielle is lovely and helpful. I enjoyed the trip and recommend it to anyone who loves hiking.

The tour company Fun Activities is responsive, punctual, and our guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and supportive. Enjoyed the entire experience and would recommend this tour company.

The whole experience was incredible. It was the best sea kayaking experience I have had in the world thus far. Bruno was a fantastic guide throughout the entire time.

Una excelente forma de empezar nuestra estadía en Sao Miguel, no vimos ballenas pero vimos muchísimos delfines de varias especies. Los guías muy amables!

Excellent guide, could see dolphins closely and spermwhale from a distance