NEW TRIP

The Azores and Canary Islands

Exploring the Azores, Canary Islands, Morocco, Spain, and Portugal Aboard the Sea Adventurer

The Azores and Canary Islands route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $9980  
Length: 17 days
Arrive: Ponta Delgada, Azores
Depart: Lisbon, Portugal
Lodging: 15 nights aboard a 110-passenger vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level: 15-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours
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Highlights

  • Step ashore on six of the nine lush, volcanic Azorean islands—São Miguel, Graciosa, Pico, Faial, Terceira, and Santa Maria
  • Hike through the bizarre volcanic landscape of Roques de Garcia on Tenerife, home to Spain’s highest peak, El Tiede
  • Enjoy wine tasting in Madeira, and learn about the viniculture techniques that have produced the namesake local vintages for centuries
  • Join an optional excursion to Marrakesh, famous for its intact medieval architecture and bustling souks
  • Search for rare and endemic birds, including the Bulwer’s petrel, houbara bustard, laurel and Bolle’s pigeons, plain swift, and blue chaffinch

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Our voyage aboard the Sea Adventurer brings us to the volcanic islands of the Azores, with their dramatic scenery, magnificent architecture, lush gardens and vineyards, exotic markets, and a long and storied history. We search for endemic birds on the Canary Islands and stroll through charming towns laced with shop-lined cobblestone streets. Heading to Morocco, we enjoy sensory-filled experiences as we explore from mosques to souks in the exotic cities of Casablanca and Agadir, with an optional excursion to Marrakesh. Our incredible voyage ends with explorations of the historic sites of Cadiz or Seville, Spain, the lovely seaside village of Faro, Portugal, and enchanting Lisbon.

Itinerary

Days 1-2, April 28-29, 2015
Fly to Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores / Embark the Sea Adventurer

Fly to the Azores. Upon arrival in Ponta Delgada, transfer to the Sea Adventurer. The afternoon is at leisure with a welcome reception, dinner, and overnight on board.

Day 3, April 30
Ponta Delgada

Depart this morning on a full-day excursion highlighting the picture-perfect landscape of lush green fields lined with basalt and adorned with flowers; the smoking fumaroles in the town of Furnas; and the crater lakes of Fogo and Furnas. After a stroll through the Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens, we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Birders can explore in the area near Caloura. This evening there is free time to explore or dine ashore on your own before the ship sets sail.

Day 4, May 1
Santa Cruz, Graciosa Island

Join naturalists on deck to search for sperm whales and dolphins as the ship cruises toward Graciosa. We visit the museum at Santa Cruz, then drive inland and pass through several picturesque villages, making a stop at Furna do Enxofre, where a deep cavern is pierced by sunlight streaming through a narrow funnel. Continue along the north coast for stunning views of the indigo sea on one side and verdant green meadows on the other. Or, board Zodiacs for a birding tour.

Day 5, May 2
São Roque do Pico, Pico Island / Horta, Faial Island

Pico, whose name is derived from the 7,713-foot volcanic cone of Mt. Pico, is the second largest of the islands and a designated World Heritage Site for its vineyard culture. Enjoy a beautiful morning drive through highlands of spring flowers and endemic vegetation, visit the Whaling Industry Museum, and stop at a Madalena vineyard where we sample local wines and cheeses. We dock in the natural harbor of Horta for the afternoon and go ashore to explore one of the most popular yachting harbors of the Atlantic.

Day 6, May 3
Angra do Heroismo, Terceira Island

Angra, a World Heritage Site, was a necessary port of call from the 15th century until the steamship came along in the 19th century. A walking tour includes the highlights of this spectacular and photogenic town. After lunch on board, or on your own ashore, join a cultural tour inland to São Sebastiao; Praia da Vitoria, with its central plaza and historic district; and a wine museum. Or, choose an active hike up Monte Brasil with its scenic overlooks and botanical wonders, then visit the famed cave near Algarda Carvao.

Day 7, May 4
Vila do Porto, Santa Maria Island

Drive to the east, visiting villages, a church, and a museum. Panoramic views are superb at São Lourenco and Maia. In the afternoon, enjoy either an active hike between two charming villages, or a scenic tour to the village of Anjos—where Columbus landed after his first passage to the Americas. View the beautiful 15th-century church where he and his crew prayed, one of the oldest places of worship in the Azores.

Days 8-9, May 5-6
At Sea / Funchal, Madeira Island

After a full day at sea, we're sure to be on deck the next morning to witness the stunning volcanic contours of Madeira appear on the horizon. A half-day tour takes us from the town of Funchal by cable car to the top of Monte, with its 18th-century church and splendid views. Back in Funchal, a local guide shows us the town’s historic sites: the main square, São Lourenco Palace, and the 15th-century cathedral. We watch a lace-making demonstration at an embroidery factory before visiting the open-air market—one of the most sumptuous in the Atlantic. Or, choose an excursion through western Madeira, with its craggy green peaks and luscious valleys. Stop in small wine-making villages to learn about local viniculture and gaze out over the second-highest sea cliff in the world. In Porto Moniz, enjoy a wine tasting 
accompanied by local delicacies.

Days 10-11, May 7-8
At Sea / Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife Island, Canary Islands

We spend a relaxing day at sea as our lecture series continues. On May 8, choose a full-day exploration of the southern side of Tenerife to visit the Botanical Gardens, the attractive town of La Orotava, and Teide National Park. Here we will find twisted volcanic formations surrounding El Teide, Spain’s highest peak. After lunch at El Parador, we take a hike to view the Roques de Garcia—bizarrely eroded rocks set in ochre plains at the mountain’s base. Birders enjoy an excursion to spot many of the 200 species that populate the varied habitat. Or, choose a half-day excursion visiting the northern side of Tenerife, with its charming small villages, dramatic miradors (viewpoints), and the university town of La Laguna. This World Heritage Site, designated for being the first, non-fortified Spanish colonial town, has superb examples of 16th-18th century architecture.

Day 12, May 9
Arrecife, Lanzarote Island

A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Lanzarote is a volcanic island with some 300 cinder cones pockmarking its rugged landscape. Today we have three tour options to choose from. A scenic drive north brings us to the Mirador del Rio, with superb views over the Famara Mountains and islands off the seacoast. A highlight is the Jameos del Agua, a lava-tube cave transformed by famed local artist César Manrique into a delightful series of pools, gardens, and a natural amphitheater. A second option goes south to Timanfaya National Park, which showcases the island’s stunning volcanic landscape and 177 species of rare plants, many of them unique to the Canaries. The third option is a birding tour to search for the rock dove, Cory’s shearwater, and Eleanora’s falcon.

Day 13, May 10
Agadir, Morocco / Taroudant

After an early lunch on board, we drive inland from Agadir to Taroudant. Often called “little Marrakesh,” the village is surrounded by red ramparts. Walk the fortress ramparts and continue through the central plaza and the souks. The Berber Market offers a fascinating array of spices and vegetables, while the artisan souk displays silverwork, leather goods, and carpets. (You may also wish to do the two-day optional extension to Marrakesh, see below.)

Day 14, May 11
Casablanca

We explore Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city and economic capital, beginning with an excursion to the colorful Central Market, followed by a guided interior exploration of the Hassan II Mosque, the only mosque in Morocco open to non-Muslims. This seaside building is a stunning example of contemporary religious architecture. Its 688-foot minaret, the tallest in the world, is visible for miles.

Day 15, May 12
Cadiz, Spain / Seville

We travel inland for a full-day tour of splendid Seville, the capital of Andalusia. Or, join a tapas and wine tour in Cadiz, including a visit to the historic city center.

Day 16, May 13
Faro, Portugal

A walking tour of old town Faro includes a visit to the lively fish market, Moorish ramparts, and the cathedral. Or, choose a birding excursion to Ria Formosa National Park.

Day 17, May 14
Lisbon / Depart

We disembark in Lisbon and transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flights.

Note: This cruise is not an exclusive Wilderness Travel departure. The itinerary, lecturers, and other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the ship operator.

Optional Two-Day Extension to Marrakesh

Join an optional excursion to Marrakesh, famous for its intact medieval architecture and bustling souks packed with vendors touting everything from fresh produce to high-quality leather goods.

Day 1, May 10
Agadir / Marrakesh

From Agadir, drive inland to the romantic rose-red city of Marrakesh, perched on the edge of the pre-Saharan Plains along the Berber trade routes that made this city one of the great citadels of the Islamic world. Explore the opulent 19th-century Bahia Palace, the medina—a World Heritage Site—and the Koutoubia Mosque. You will also visit the imperial Saadian tombs and Djemaa El Fna Square, a vibrant crossroads of magicians, acrobats, henna tattooists, and snake charmers. Browse the nearby souk where you can buy almost anything. From spices to shoes, jellabas to kaftans, tea pots to tagines, and much, much more. In the evening enjoy a dinner of traditional Moroccan specialties. Overnight at Marrakesh hotel.

Day 2, May 11
Marrakech / Casablanca

Today, choose to explore the Majorelle Gardens, an oasis in the heart of this desert city; the Palmeraie, a vast area of date palms; and the bustling souk. After lunch at a local restaurant, drive through the stunning scenery of the desert and Atlas Mountains to arrive in Casablanca where you will reboard the ship. Or, you may join an optional full-day birding excursion in the Atlas Mountains. Drive through a vast expanse of low desert with splendid views of the snow-dusted mountain range. Winding up into the mountains, make several stops to search for a variety of birds including the scarce and localized Barbary falcon, black wheatear, Atlas chaffinch, and flocks of aerobatic red-billed chough. With a great deal of luck, you may also encounter one of the great raptors of the world, the massive lammergeier.

2015 Cruise Collection Brochure

We’ve searched the world to find the finest small ships and most active adventures, from Greenland to New Zealand to the great rivers of Europe.

Download our online digital brochure to view on your computer or mobile device, or as a PDF! Or request a printed copy to be sent by mail, or by calling 800-368-2794.

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated 1, Easy. For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, over rough terrain and cobblestone streets, and climb stone steps that may not have handrails. Temperatures will range from 55°–70°F throughout our itinerary.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2015
Apr 28-May 14, 2015  Sea Adventurer

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Category 1 $9,980
Category 2 $10,980
Category 3 $12,180
Category 4 $12,780
Category 5 $14,680
Category 6 $15,680
Suite $19,480
Owner's Suite $21,680
Marakkesh Extension Twin Occupancy: $980
Marakkesh Extension Single Occupancy: $1260
Single Category 2: $13,780
Single Category 4: $15,280
Additional singles may be available in other categories at 1.6 times the share rate.

Deck Plan

 

Cabin Descriptions

  • Twin cabins on Main and A-Deck are similar in amenities and average about 136 square feet; all cabins on Promenade Deck are slightly larger and average 165 square feet; suites are 211 square feet.
  • All cabins have a bathroom with shower, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, in-room music system, an intercom system for announcements, European-type outlets (two round sockets) at 220 volts, ample wardrobespace, full length mirrors, locked drawer, emergency buttons to call reception, desk and chair, and hair dryer.
  • All cabins have two twin lower beds. A few triple cabins are available.
  • Ocean view: cabins on A-Deck have two portholes, 12 inches in diameter; cabins 200-211 have one porthole, 12 inches in diameter; cabins 212-231 have one window, 24 inches by 17 inches; and cabins on Promenade Deck and the suites have one window, 22 inches by 16.5 inches.

 

Trip Cost Includes:

  • All gratuities
  • Accommodations on board the Sea Adventurer as outlined in the itinerary
  • All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows
  • All group activities and excursions
  • Landing and port fees
  • $50,000 of medical expense coverage and $75,000 in emergency evacuation insurance

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

All air transportation; optional Marrakesh extension; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages other than listed above, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: 25% of trip cost
130 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $750 per person
180-120 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
119-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
59 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Sea Adventurer

The 110-guest Sea Adventurer is a superb oceangoing vessel equipped with stabilizers and an ice-hardened hull that allow her to navigate easily in the most rugged natural environments. The vessel is outfitted with satellite navigation and communication equipment. A fleet of Zodiac landing craft permits us to land anywhere nature or curiosity dictates. Each cabin has an ocean view, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, an in-room music system, and en suite bathroom. Facilities on board the Sea Adventurer include a dining room, lounge, library, gift shop, laundry, and small gym.

Expedition Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Rick Price

Departure Dates: April 28-May 14, 2015

Rick began his career as a marine biologist in 1978, working for the British Antarctic Survey. He spent five winters at the BAS base on Signy Island in the South Orkney Islands, two of them as Base Commander. His interest in underwater photography evolved into a career as a freelance wildlife ...
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Mike Messick

Departure Dates: April 28-May 14, 2015

One of the best expedition leaders in the business, Mike embarked on a full-time career in adventure travel shortly after graduation. Since then Mike has traveled to over 195 countries and conducted research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in its onshore laboratory and aboard one of its ...
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Mark Brazil

Departure Dates: April 28-May 14, 2015

Mark developed his fascination with the natural world, especially birds, during his boyhood in the landlocked English county of Worcestershire. He earned his Ph.D. from Stirling University, Scotland, for his work on avian ecology and behavior in Iceland. He is the author of several ornithological ...
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Rich Pagen

Departure Dates: April 28-May 14, 2015

Rich first became enthralled by the wonders of the natural world around the tide pools and forests of his native New York. Since then, he has embarked on a career in  conservation biology that has ranged from teaching science and environmental awareness to teenagers from Los Angeles, to ...
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