For the past 4 years Archipelago Choice has been running one of the most amazing and in-depth nature focused trips you’ll ever find to the Azores, our guided Natural History tour of the islands visiting São Miguel and Terceira.
This year’s trip will be led by the leading Azores naturalist, Josh Jones. Josh’s main interest is birds, though he does also have an unhealthy interest in electronic music, which no doubt adds a little interest to the discussions around the dinner table each night! The trip also draws on the expertise of local island naturalists. On São Miguel you’ll be accompanied for a day by the island’s leading ornithologist, Gerby Michelsen and for the second day, you have the passion and enthusiasm of Pedro Freire, who will bring to life the volcanic origins of the islands and also explain some of the current environmental issues the islands face.
If your love and passion is for all things to do with the natural world, then this trip is for you. It doesn’t matter if you are a wildlife generalist, or passionate enthusiast, there should be something for everyone. During the week you’ll learn about the characteristics of endemic birds, cetaceans, botany, insects and marine wildlife of the Azores. The 9 islands of the Azores straddle the mid-Atlantic ridge and are, by nature, volcanic and active. It’s therefore impossible not to visit the islands without escaping the fact that these forces still have a huge impact on the islands, its people and wildlife.
This year’s 7-night trip starts on Saturday 30th June 2018 :
We feel this is the optimum time for the best wildlife experiences and during the week we hope to experience the following highlights:
Whales, dolphins and other marine life: The Azores is one of the best whale and dolphin watching destinations in the world. Most commonly seen species include Sperm Whale, Common, Bottlenose, Spotted and Striped Dolphins with regular sightings of rarer beaked whales and roqual whales. On our trips we also often see Blue Sharks, Loggerhead Turtles, Sunfish and more rarely the Oceanic Whitetip Shark.
Endemic and speciality birds: The Azores host two endemic bird species, Monteiro’s Petrel and Azores Bullfinch, in addition to the Azores Chaffinch, Azores Gull, Azores Buzzard and the Macaronesian endemic Atlantic Canary. Speciality seabirds include Barolo’s Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel and a chance of sighting vagrant seabirds such as Swinhoe’s Petrel.
Exploring the Laurisilva Forest and Volcanic Landscapes: On this trip we will spend the first day looking at the volcanic landscape of the Azores which underpins the natural history. We will also look at the Laurel forests and explore the island’s rare and endemic plant species which support the birds and other wildlife.
Other endemic island life: These include an endemic bat, the Azores Noctule, and also several endemic insects such as the Citrine Forktail, the Azores Grayling and other interesting butterflies.
This is the only tour that looks at all the fascinating aspects of Azores nature and the islands’ endemic species- the marine mammals, the birds, insects, botany, ecosystems and geology.
Frequently asked questions :
1. What is the group size? We have a maximum of 10 people, with average group size of 8 people plus leader.
2. How long are we at sea for the whale watching and pelagic trips? The whale watching trips are usually up to 3 hours long. For the pelagic trip we would normally be at sea for a full day (around 6 to 7 hours). We always recommend taking sea sickness tablets before each boat trip.
3. Can I opt out of any of the day experiences? Yes, it is possible to opt out of the day experiences. Your leader will make some suggestions of other things to see and do.
4. Do I need to be an experienced naturalist to join this trip? No, but as this is a natural history tour, those people who have a keen interest will get the most out of the week.
5. Can I join this tour from outside the UK? Yes, the trip is open to anyone from anywhere in the world.
6. What additional costs are there? Evening meals are not included, and you should budget around €20 per night for a 2 to 3 course local meal. Some lunches are not included, and you should budget around €7 per day for these.
7. Do I need to be fit to join this tour? This is not a sit on a bus type of trip and you will need to be in reasonable health and be able to walk up to 6 miles over uneven terrain. Walking boots, with ankle support are essential.
8. What will the weather be like? You can expect average day time temperatures of around 24 to 26 degrees C. You can also expect showers which are tropical in feel. The higher parts of the islands can be up to 1000m above sea level and it will be up to 10 degrees C cooler.
9. Can we extend the trip and stay on longer? Yes, this is possible, and we can help with additional travel arrangements.
10. Do we need to tip? There is not a great custom of tipping in the Azores, however it is polite to leave a small tip at restaurants and to tip the leader at the end.
The Azores Holidays Specialists
We are a member of AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators) which encourages the highest standards in all aspects of tour operating. All members must adhere to the AITO Quality Charter.