One of the oldest and still most popular attractions of the Algarve is to watch dolphins in their natural environment: the ocean.
Today you can board a fast zodiac (Greenpeace style) in the marina's of Lagos, Portimao, Albufeira, and Vilamoura. And although the boats look the same, there is a great difference among the several operators.
The Zodiac's of Seafaris are manned by professional, qualified skippers. One of them usually has a background in marine biology. So on a trip with them you don't only watch the dolphins of the Algarve, but you also learn about all aspects of marine life in the Atlantic Ocean.
Often dolphins are met more then 12 miles out of shore. To go that far a license is needed which demands full safety and communication equipment, as well 2 qualified skippers.As Seafaris boats are licensed to go up to 20 miles out of the coastline they give you the best change, although guarantees never can be given.
The search for dolphins starts with spotting flocks of seagulls, actively engaged in diving and fishing, which indicates dolphins in the vicinity. Once the dolphins are in sight the Zodiac will approach carefully, giving these nosy animals a change to spot the boat. Nobody is able to explain why they then approach the still sailing boat, and start to play around and underneath it. A magical sight, specially the moments when the dolphins turn on their sites and try, or pretent, to make eye contact.
What else you will see?
The ocean of the Algarve has a lot more to offer then dolphins only. Although far less frequent, several species of whales, including orca's can be encountered. In the more shallow waters you can come across hammerhead sharks, and seabirds of all species are all around.
The ride on these Greenpeace style boats is a very exciting activity on itºs own. Boosted by lots of horse powers they can reach speeds of 60 km/hr, jumping from the top of the waves. Exciting, but always safe. The buddy style seats offer full protection, the drivers know exactly what they are doing after years of experience with the different condition of the Algarve part of the Atlantic Ocean.
A dolphin trip is suitable for all ages, and gives an experience one will never forget
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Zoo Marine, entertainment park close to Albufeira, has, among others, dolphin shows. If you want to swim private with dolphins, this is the place to be! You need to book ahead, as this is a very popular thing to do in the Algarve.