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wildlife & nature • 9 days, 8 nights

Living Islands: Whales, Water & Volcanoes of the Azores

wildlife & nature • 9 days, 8 nights

Living Islands: Whales, Water & Volcanoes of the Azores

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  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    Outdoor Expedition
from $4,980 USD per person
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Trip Overview

From April to October, the seas surrounding the Azores swell with the gentle motion of giant creatures gliding along their migratory paths. Just beneath the ocean’s surface, the water pulses with the chatter of bottlenose dolphins, the flash of a fin whale in pursuit of a squid, and clicks so loud they could burst a human eardrum—the sonar-like sounds emitted by passing sperm whales. On this nine-day journey, we’ll make our way across the Azorean islands of São Miguel, Pico, and Faial, delving into the rich marine life that surrounds them and local history and culture on shore and at sea. We’ll take to the seas almost every day, keeping our eyes peeled for dorsal fins and breaching bodies. Along the way, we’ll meet marine biologists, conservationists, local historians, and former whalers who will introduce us to the long, turbulent history of whaling in the Azores, and how the relationships between humans and cetaceans have evolved. Back on land, we’ll survey the rolling green landscapes of Nordeste, marvel at the towering Pico Mountain, and explore volcanic islands—sipping on wine from lava stone fields and munching on freshly caught seafood as we go.

  • Natural warm-water pools heated by a volcano
  • 200-year-old garden inside of a crater
  • Ocean swims with dolphins
  • Dynamic whale watching with marine biologists
  • Wine tasting at volcanic vineyards
  • Local conservation work
  • Hikes through volcano craters


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Additional Info


The listed price of the trip is per person based on double occupancy.

Traveling Solo?

You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you:

Shared Room: You’ll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender.

Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $825. After booking your trip, please request a private room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll add the option to your booking and final balance.

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins with an orientation walk and welcome dinner on Day 1. You may book your international flight for arrival any time on Day 1. You’ll meet up with your guide and group at the hotel lobby around 4:30 p.m., then head out for a walking tour of the town leading to dinner at a local restaurant. Our trip concludes in the morning on Day 9. If leaving Ponta Delgada directly after our trip, we recommend departing any time that day.

*Airport transfers are only provided if arriving & departing on the trip dates, or if pre/post arrangements have been made through Atlas Obscura. 

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking two to four miles over the course of each day, spending time in nature, remaining on their feet for long periods of time, and sometimes walking on uneven terrain. Travelers should also be comfortable spending time on boats, in the water, and around waterfalls.

  • Accommodation throughout the trip at comfortable hotels
  • All meals as described in the itinerary
  • Transportation throughout the trip, including arrival and departure airport transfers
  • An experienced Trip Leader to accompany you for the duration of the trip as well as special guests throughout
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events
  • Internal domestic flights (from São Miguel to Pico Island and from Faial to São Miguel Island)
  • Ferry boat tickets
  • A curious group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers!
  • 24/7 emergency assistance during your trip, provided by Global Rescue (terms apply)
  • Special access to unique places and extraordinary experiences
  • Transportation and flights to and from Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island, Azores
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages
  • Passport and visa fees, if applicable
  • COVID-19 testing requirements
  • Tips for Trip Leader, drivers, porters, and wait staff
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Trip FAQ

Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated, though in most cases ingredients can't be substituted or omitted from particular dishes. If you have a severe allergy, please contact us to find out if this is the right trip for you.

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Upcoming Departures

  • Sep 9–Sep 17, 2023
    from $4,980
    Few Spots Left
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