São Miguel Island
Boat Tours & River Cruises

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Our most recommended São Miguel Island Cruises & Boat Tours

Azores Whale Watching Expedition and Islet Boat Tour

1. Azores Whale Watching Expedition and Islet Boat Tour

This 2.5-hour excursion begins 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. The boat will approach the whales slowly and carefully as the naturalist guides and marine biologists on board provide commentary. The boat trip also includes 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.

From Ponta Delgada: Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip

2. From Ponta Delgada: Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip

Set off on a 3-hour whale-watching excursion to see some of the most magnificent marine mammals in the Azores. You’ll be on the lookout for mink whales, dolphins, turtles and more. The marine biologist on board will provide historical information and commentary. Begin with a briefing by a biologist, who will explain how local people have converted whale hunting to whale watching in the Azores. You’ll also receive information about safety, rules of observation and respect for the animals and an overview of what may be sighted during the tour. Leaving from the Ponta Delgada harbor, you’ll sail in style out onto the Atlantic. Qualified biologists and nature guides will provide detailed explanations and collect scientific data during the tour. Situated in the Atlantic Ocean 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. Sperm whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and Risso’s dolphins are present around the Archipelago of the Azores throughout the year. Other species visit or pass by during specific seasons so that the sightings vary considerably during the year — and often from day to day! Summer months are the best time to see Atlantic spotted dolphins, pilot whales and striped dolphins, whereas the spring months are the time to see migrating baleen whales such as blue whales, fin whales and sei whales. Although nature offers no guarantees, whales and dolphins are regularly seen during the tours, along with turtles, seabirds and other marine life.

São Miguel Azores: Half-Day Whale Watching Trip

3. 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. Once whales have been 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.

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.

São Miguel: Glass Bottom Boat Tour with Snorkeling

5. São Miguel: Glass Bottom Boat Tour with Snorkeling

Discover the life that lies deep in the Azores Sea from the comfort of this glass-bottom boat, with an expert crew and guide. Your adventure begins at Vila Franca do Campo Marina. A biologist will give you a briefing about the itinerary and then you can set off. Learn about the marine life, nature, and historical curiosities of Vila Franca do Campo. You can spot the unique sea life of the protected area and observe the seabirds and crustaceans that fill the islet landscape. The biologist will help you identify the species, but you can expect to see everything from colorful shoals of fish, to starfish, sea cucumbers, and underwater volcanic activity. When you want to cool off you can go for a swim and snorkel, and get closer to some of the wildlife you've been spotting.

Whale and Dolphin Watching with Vila Franca Islet Visit

6. Whale and Dolphin Watching with Vila Franca Islet Visit

Take the opportunity to see some of the sea life found in the Azores including dolphins, whales, turtles and seabirds. Before the boat trip, listen to biologists explaining the safety measures aboard, the history of the area, the local wildlife and how to respect them. Then set off! After the 3-hour whale watching tour, stop in Vila Franco do Campo to enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Following lunch, board a converted traditional fishing boat and head to Vila Franca do Campo islet, a volcanic crater off the coast that encloses a natural lagoon. Take one of the provided snorkels and diving masks and see the numerous protected fish species in this natural reserve. Following the tour, transfer back to Ponta Delgada by boat or van.

Ponta Delgada: Whales and Volcanoes Tour with Lunch

7. Ponta Delgada: Whales and Volcanoes Tour with Lunch

Benefit from pick-up at your accommodation in Ponta Delgada, and then explore the coastline of the Azores 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 and orcas 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 the boat and enjoy a tasty lunch, and then make your way to the volcanic landscapes of Lagoa do Fogo and Caldeira Velha. See one of the most beautiful lakes in São Miguel and experience the amazing interior of the island up close. Learn about the many uses the volcanic landscape gives to the island, from its medicinal mud to its energy source. 

Sao Miguel: Vila Franca Do Campo Islet Scuba Diving

8. 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

9. 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: Sete Cidades Village and Lakes Half-Day Tour

10. Azores: Sete Cidades Village and Lakes Half-Day Tour

Begin your tour of Sete Cidades and the lakes of São Miguel with a visit to some pineapple greenhouses. See the plantation and production process of the Azores famous crop from start to end. Continue towards the village of Sete Cidades ("Seven Cities") stopping en route for some panoramic views of the west of the island of São Miguel. Marvel at a stunning scenery of small hills and green pastures, and see the peak of Carvão, from where both the north and south coasts of the island can be seen. Discover some of the island's smaller lakes such as the Lagoa das Empadadas, Lagoa do Canario and Lagoa de Santiago. Experience the island's most famous observation point, considered one of the "7 Natural Wonders of Portugal." Then, continue into the peaceful village of Sete Cidades, dramatically located at the bottom of a volcanic crater. Acclimatize to the serene way of life in this extraordinary place, and visit the harmonious church. Get stunning views of the fishing village of Mosteiros from the Escalvado viewpoint, from where you can admire the local summer houses, exquisite beach and natural pools created by lava formations.

Frequently asked questions about São Miguel Island Cruises & Boat Tours

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Other Sightseeing Options in São Miguel Island

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What people are saying about São Miguel Island

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 150 reviews

Wonderful staff, really friendly, knowledgeable and great with the kids. We are a family of 4 with 2 kids (5 and 7). everyone had a really enjoyable experience - specially the kids. All our questions were answered with kindness. Great photo opportunities. highly recommend!

Great excursion, the boat trip alone is a lot of fun. We were also very lucky and were able to observe a fin whale family. Also lots of dolphins

Beautiful, exciting and formative experience. The guide was friendly, engaging and professional. We had fun on the boat, fast and safe!

It was a very nice experience and very well organized. We were lent all the necessary equipment to not get wet and for safety

great tour Unfortunately we didn't see any whales but many dolphins.