Intro to the Azores - Consisting of 9 beautiful islands, the Azores Archipelago boasts a variety of geographical diversity and a number of vacation activities. Each island features unique attractions, cuisine, and cultural charm. Suspended in the volcanic Atlantic between Europe and North America, this Portuguese island group has developed its own special identity throughout its dynamic history, and today boasts natural beauty and friendly, welcoming residents.
The relative isolation of the island group means the dive environment has remained pristine. Many of the Azores dive centers prioritize environmental conservation and educational eco-tourism, protecting the unspoiled beauty that attracts scuba divers from all over the world. A few of the varied sites include swim throughs and caves created by ancient lava flow, giant crater lakes, and World War II shipwrecks.
As it is surrounded by the wide-open Atlantic, the Azores serve as a veritable beacon for whales. Resident sperm whales are joined by migratory blue, fin, humpback, minke, and sei whales plus orcas and several species of dolphins. The peak of whale spotting season is early spring, a period that also features a rare sight: Portuguese man o' war amass here in the thousands, thriving in the rich waters before vanishing as the temperatures increase.
An up-and-coming destination for shark diving, scuba centers are now facilitating blue and mako shark encounters in the deep blue water setting. Manta rays are also prevelent in these outstanding depths, along with occasional whale sharks, hammerheads, and a wide array of large fish.
Mediterranean parrotfish, large grouper, triggerfish, rainbow wrasse, red scorpion fish, yellowmouth barracuda, ocean sunfish, devil rays, and sea turtles are just a few of the hundreds of coastal marine species thriving in this rich environment. These waters are also home to several species of nudibranchs and other macro subjects.
Water Temperature: Range from 63-77ºF (16-24ºC)
Visibility: The best visibility in the Azores is found from June to October, when it can reach up to an impressive 90 feet.
Weather: The Azores have a maritime subtropical climate, the average temperature is 17ºC/63ºF
Santa Maria - It's a very popular site due to he large number of marine species that can be found in its 10 dive sites. Santa Maria gives you the opportunity to dive with whale sharks during the summer, and in Ambrosio, three miles from the coast, there's the chance to dive with many mobulas tarapacana.
Pico - Home to Pico Volcano, the highest point in the Azores, Pico Island also offers a variety of dive spots, with steep walls, canyons, pinnacles and sand plateaus on the coast. It also gives you access to one of the best dives offshore, the Princess Alice, where you can dive with the mantas.
Sao Miguel - Sao Miguel is the largest island in the Azores archipelago. It offers exceptional visibility, a variety of shallow rocky reefs, arches, caves, World War II wrecks, and a rich marine life in subtropical waters.
Dom João de Castro bank - This underwater volcano will provide you with the cleanest waters and greater visibility in the Azores archipelago. You'll encounter vertiginous walls which attracts amazing pelagic creatures like schools of tuna fish, wahoos, sea turtles or mobulas, to an area full of wildlife typically found in the Atlantic Ocean.
Nightlife is sociable and the local residents are exceedingly friendly. Each island culture boasts its own special cuisines and traditions. With 9 diverse islands to choose from, no matter the interest, the Azores hold a special experience for everyone.
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