Ponta Delgada Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Ponta Delgada Nature & adventure

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.

São Miguel West: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

3. São Miguel West: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

Explore the highlights of the western half of São Miguel island on this guided tour by van. Discover the famous crater lakes of Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo, picturesque waterfalls, amazing cliffs, and stunning rock formations around the coast of the island. Start with a visit to Ribeira Grande, one of the most picturesque towns of the Azores, followed by a surprising view of some amazingly beautiful cliffs on the North coast. Then travel to the inner areas of the island to see the gorgeous waterfall of Salto do Cabrito, surrounded by wild vegetation. Drive to the top of Fogo Volcano to enjoy views of the most pristine and magical of the crater lakes of São Miguel. From the top of the mountain, enjoy the stunning views over a large portion of the island. After a tasty meal to restore your energy levels, head to Sete Cidades, to understand why this is considered by the postcard of the Azores. Enjoy views from two completely different perspectives over the famous twin lakes.  End the day in Mosteiros, on the western coast of the island, where the lava rocks have formed enchanting small islets and natural pools.

From Ponta Delgada: Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip

4. 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

5. 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.

São Miguel East: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

6. São Miguel East: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

Explore the highlights of the western half of São Miguel island on a guided tour by van. Discover the hot springs at Furnas, the waterfall at Ribeira dos Caldeirões, as well as the remote rugged beauty of the Nordeste region. Enjoy the beautiful scenery along the northern coast of the island until you get to the Santa Iria Lookout, with a spectacular, ample view of the north coast in both directions, before continuing to Furnas. Find yourself in Furnas and admire a spectacular panoramic stop to gaze over the lake and town. Descend where you will be given the choice of visiting the geothermal fields and tasting the sparkling waters, or bathing in the hot springs, for an additional fee. Next, discover a traditional way of cooking as your lunch of cozido (stew) is pulled from the warm volcanic soil. In the afternoon, continue the journey eastward, with a stop at the charming waterfall of Ribeira dos Caldeirões.  Explore Nordeste, the most unexplored and rural part of the island. Visit two amazing lookouts over the high cliffs that characterize the East coast of São Miguel, before returning to Ponta Delgada.

Sao Miguel: Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

7. Sao Miguel: Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

After either gathering at the meeting point or being collected from your accommodation, you will make your way to Parque da Ribeira dos Caldeirões, located in the north-east part of the island. It takes around 45 minutes to drive from Ponta Delgada. Get the chance to do rappels, jumps, slides, and rock slides. Start your adventure by trying your first decent, abseiling alongside a waterfall of around 5 meters. Continue your way down the river on an exciting water slide (toboggan), followed by the first jump of around 2 meters in height. Then enjoy wading through the river as you approach the second abseil of around 7 meters which ends in a natural pool. There will be some time for the equipment distribution with the help of your guides before you take a short hike in order to approach the stream followed by a security briefing. On average it is about a 20 to 35-minute hike, depending on the pace of the group. During the full-day option, you will stop for a picnic, and later finish the tour by returning back to town by car.

Azores: Sete Cidades Scenic 4WD Tour from Ponta Delgada

8. Azores: Sete Cidades Scenic 4WD Tour from Ponta Delgada

Get off the usual tourist trail on a 3-hour 4WD tour of the Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) region of the Azores island of São Miguel, departing from Ponta Delgada. Traveling by 4WD vehicle, you will experience the dramatic scenery of the volcanic crater and its flora and fauna in a more immersive fashion.  Drive to the mountain top to look down on the 2 impressive lakes of the caldera (basin), one with blue water (Lagoa Azul) and the other with green water (Lagoa Verde). Along the way, take in many other picturesque spots of São Miguel, including the peaceful lakes of Lagoa das Empadadas, Lagoa de Santiago, and Lagoa do Carvão.  Enjoy stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, volcanic cones, and stretches of green, and go to villages that have played a vital role in the story of the island.

São Miguel West: Sete Cidades and Fogo Tour with Lunch

9. São Miguel West: Sete Cidades and Fogo Tour with Lunch

Your first stop on this full-day circuit will be at Pico do Carvão viewpoint. From here you'll be able to see the north coast (Ribeira Grande) and south of the island (Ponta Delgada) of São Miguel Island, against the backdrop of a vast expanse of volcanic cones between the incredible Sete Cidades volcano and the majestic 900-meter-high fire volcano. Continuing to one of the most emblematic viewpoints of São Miguel, in the Azores, Vista do Rei, known as the King D. Carlos and Queen D. Amélia. Time to continue your incredible all-day circuit into the massive volcanic interior of the Sete Cidades, considered one of the most incredible locations on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores, amid epic paths and flanked slopes of hydrangeas. If you have never known what it is like to be inside a volcanic crater, then this is yet another reason to book this incredible full-day guided tour. Admire the Seven Cities Lagoon at a must-stop on the famous bridge that divides it, in the center of a volcanic crater. Breathe nature in the quiet parish of Sete Cidades and visit São Nicolau church. With a heart purified by nature, time to go to the Escalvado viewpoint, situated on a pyroclastic cliff, where from the top, you can admire the Monasteries and Ferraria, generated by the volcanic force of this area. Lunch break (lunch included). After lunch, time to return to head towards the second highest point of the island of São Miguel, at 900 meters, where the Pico da Barrosa viewpoint is located. From here you can see the north coast with its city of Ribeira Grande and the city of Ponta Delgada on the south coast of the island, as well as the entire amazing Lagoa do Fogo crater. Going down the north coast, the next stop will be at the Lagoa do Fogo viewpoint. Next up is the Caldeira Velha Environmental Interpretation Center for visiting or bathing in natural hot springs pools. (Entry not included, available by choice or at customer’s expense). The last stop of your full-day tour will be at the Pineapple Plantations to learn the whole process of growing pineapple in greenhouses and see for yourself why pineapple is considered the King fruit in Sao Miguel, and the Azores.

São Miguel, Azores: Sete Cidades Half-Day Jeep Tour

10. São Miguel, Azores: Sete Cidades Half-Day Jeep Tour

Drive off the usual tourist trail on a 3.5-hour jeep tour of the Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) region of São Miguel, part of the Azores, departing from Ponta Delgada. Traveling by 4WD jeep, experience the dramatic scenery of the volcanic crater up close, and see unique flora and fauna. You will drive to the mountain summit where you can look down on the impressive lakes of the caldera, one called Lagoa Azul for its blue water, and the other known as Lagoa Verde (Green Water). En route, take in other picturesque spots of São Miguel, including the church of São Nicolau. Enjoy stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, volcanic cones, and stretches of green, from Vista do Rei, and drive through villages that have played a vital role in the story of the island.

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Frequently asked questions about Ponta Delgada

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Ponta Delgada?

The best day trips and excursions from Ponta Delgada are:

Furnas

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What people are saying about Ponta Delgada

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 1,093 reviews

Starting our short vacation in Sao Miguel we do not imagine the real beauty of this place. The main person responsible for this revelation was our guide, Hugo Melo, from Green Vision Tours (www.greenvisiontours.com), who with his liveliness, willingness, knowledge, but above all with his love for his place, made us love his island too. The program we had agreed on was absolutely respected, and Hugo was very consistent in his services and in all his obligations and further on, making us feel like a friend. Thus our discussions extended to many other issues, which went beyond the information about the areas we visited, interchanging experiences and thoughts for our countries and socities, and for their common european future. Hugo, Thank you very much for what you showed us and taught us and we hope to meet again on your island and have your company again. Maria & Nikiforos, Greece

What a great day. The east side of the island with all its thermal activity is fascinating. Lunch was a stew cooked in a thermal oven, hole in the ground. Our guide was very nice. When we arrived at the pickup he asked us if we had brought swimsuits and told us we would be disappointed if we couldn’t go in the thermal waters. He took us back to our hotel so we could pick up what we needed. I would highly recommend this tour and Pure Azores tour company.

This was an absolutely awesome tour! You start by hearing lots of facts as you travel to Furnas, then there’s a beautiful view point, a big dinner with stew and wine, then a trip to the springs (which were great) and a magical walk around Furnas in the dark, seeing the steam come out from the ground. Eduardo was a really knowledgeable and friendly guide - thank you!

Amazing quad-bike experience with spectacular views. Our guide was very friendly and helpful and also informative. Definitely worth the money! And what a beautiful island indeed!

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