AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE AZORES
Birds, butterflies, dragonflies, mammals and endemic botany of the Azores
Tour dates: 30th May to 06th June
Day 1. Fly Gatwick to Sao Miguel. Accommodation at Hotel Matriz.
Day 2. Today we shall take a jeep safari to the western side of the island with our expert volcanologist. The day will give a basic introduction to the geology of Sao Miguel and an excellent overview of the island's stunning landscape, its geological formations and its relevance to the many aspects of the Azorean wildlife that we will be looking for during the week. We shall take a restaurant lunch in the coastal town of Mosteiros and then spend the afternoon taking in the wonderful scenery of probably the most famous of all Sao Miguel’s volcanic craters, Sete Cidades, as we drive around the edge of the crater! (Lunch included).
Day 3. Transfer to the airport and fly to Graciosa - The afternoon will be spent exploring the island.
Day 4. Included - Full day (usually split unto 2 x 3 hrs trips) whale and dolphin watching trip. This is the baleen whale migrating season and our focus will be to search for the blue whales which pass through the islands in late spring. In the afternoon we'll head back out to sea in search of sea birds and the endemic Monteiro's Petrel (includes lunch).
Day 5. Included - Full day (usually split unto 2 x 3 hrs trips) whale and dolphin watching trip. This is the baleen whale migrating season and our focus will be to search for the blue whales which pass through the islands in late spring. In the afternoon we'll head back out to sea in search of sea birds and the endemic Monteiro's Petrel. (includes lunch).
Day 6. Transfer to the airport and fly to Terceira for the afternoon. On arrival we shall be met by a local botanist and travel to Santa Barbara National Park for an introduction to some endemic plants of the area. The reserve is located around 1000m above sea level and gives fantastic views around the island (if the weather is unsuitable then we will spend time on the coast). The interior of the island has pristine forests of juniper (juniperus brevifolia) and areas of dense Sphagnum moss. If time we'll also visit the Cabo da Praia quarry area which is without doubt, Europe's premier wetland for American wading birds (lunch included). Evening flight back to Sao Miguel. On arrival transfer to the volcanic basin of Furnas.
Day 7. Included - full day tour visiting the east of the island including a visit to the Priolo project (Azores Bullfinch protection area), where we shall learn about the hard work that is being done to protect this vulnerable species and the Laurel forest in which they live.
Day 8. Transfer to the airport and depart
TOUR COSTS INCLUDES
The tour cost quoted above includes :
* Accommodation as detailed above on a bed and breakfast basis in single en-suite rooms throughout
* Return airport/hotel transfer on Sao Miguel
* Return airport/hotel transfers on Graciosa
* 4 x 3 hour whale and dolphin watching trip per person from Graciosa
* 1 x full day Geo-tour per person on Sao Miguel (with lunch)
* 1 x half day botanics tour per person on Terceira (with lunch)
* 1 x full day birds and botanical garden tour per person on Sao Miguel
* Return flights from Gatwick to the Azores with SATA International / TAP Air Portugal via Lisbon
* Inter island flights as detailed above with SATA Air Azores
* Comprehensive pre-departure booklet detailing information about flora, fauna, and the history of the Azores and a list of restaurants recommended to us by previous clients.
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