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Best Diving Season


Why You'll Love Diving In The Azores (sao Miguel)!

  • Numerous underwater arches, tunnels, caves, and cliffs, provide a haven for subtropical fish and great photographic opportunities
  • Between May and October various pelagics can be seen including a myriad of whale species and a variety of dolphins
  • There is so much to do and see in the surrounding area for non diving partners and family members

Diving Holidays In Sao Miguel

The stunning Archipelago of the Azores consists of nine volcanic islands found in the North Atlantic Ocean, situated around 1,300 km west of Portugal and 3,900 km from North America. The islands in the Azores archipelago are separated into three groups. The Eastern group includes Santa Maria and Sao Miguel, the Central group is made up of Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial, and the Western group includes Flores and Corvo. The distance between Pico and Faial is a mere 6km, whereas the maximum distance between two islands is from Santa Maria to Corvo, measuring 600km.

The Archipelago is influenced by the Gulf Stream, providing the islands with ideal conditions for a resting place to some of the world's largest pelagic species. Featuring a rich and unique marine biodiversity, the Azorean waters host five species of sea turtles, over 20 different species of cetaceans, and about 600 species of fish, including large schools of pelagic fish, several species of sharks, graceful manta and devil rays, and friendly dusky groupers. Along with the abundance of fascinating marine life, an Azores diving holiday offers numerous underwater arches, tunnels, caves, and cliffs, providing a haven for subtropical fish and stunning silhouette photography opportunities.


Sao Miguel is the island in the Azores with the most variety to offer visitors. The cosmopolitan town of Ponta Delgada offers the visitor a mixture of contemporary lifestyle with a historic flavour. Sao Miguel's monuments, turn of the century architecture, parks and cobblestone streets are interlaced with a modern marina, nice restaurants, shopping, bars, night-clubs, and ocean-front cafes.

Diving In Sao Miguel

Strong currents promise experienced divers pelagic encounters in the summer months. Volcanic seamounts attract interesting marine life from miles away. Testament to the volcanic origin of the archipelago, the Azores Islands feature a coastline with a very diverse seafloor relief, giving the dive sites an added geological interest with impressive arches formed by ancient lava flows and deep caves, often with several interconnecting chambers. The coastal marine life is characterised by the presence of friendly dusky groupers, curious schools of grey triggerfish, as well as several species of small, colourful nudibranchs, octopuses and moray eels that hide between rocks. Small fish give colour to the black rock seafloor, such as the Mediterranean rainbow wrasse, the ornate wrasse, the damselfish, the Mediterranean parrotfish and many others. At greater depths, the red scorpionfish, the barred hogfish and reef fish can be found often along large stretches of black coral. But don’t be distracted by the species that roam the seafloor, because the water column is often filled by schools of yellowmouth barracudas, almaco jacks, white trevallies and, for the more fortunate, a majestic devil ray, turtle or ocean sunfish. 

The seamounts far from the coast are undoubtedly the best places to spot large pelagic fish, with schools of sometimes thousands of beautiful, large almaco jacks patrolling the seafloor and hundreds of large yellowmouth barracudas still in the water column observing the divers. It is in this Atlantic depth that the Azores stand out and become a unique destination for diving. Dollabarat Banks and Ilheus Das Formigas are some of the favourite sites in this area. Divers with less experience won’t miss out though – there are plenty of shallow sites closer to shore where octopus are typically spotted.  

May to October is the best time to visit this area for pelagics. A myriad of whales (sperm whales, humpback whales, false killer whales) and a variety of dolphins can often be seen from the boat and heard underwater, but encounters while diving are not assured.

From diving with the world’s largest fish (whale shark) in crystalline waters to finding yourself surrounded by dozens of graceful devil rays and agile blue sharks, everything is possible in this oasis of Atlantic marine life.

Non Diving Activities In Sao Miguel

Above water, the volcanic landscapes of the archipelago turn a visit to these islands into a unique experience marked by green hills cut by cliffs, fajãs (flat, low-lying strips of land by the sea), lakes and waterfalls where tranquillity, harmony, peace and quietness reign supreme. Extra dive holiday activities in Sao Miguel include whale watching, swimming with the abundance of dolphins, walking, trekking, and hiking, fishing, jeep safaris, bird watching, sailing, snorkelling, swimming, golf and many other outdoor and indoor activities with something for every family member.

View diving images from our dive centres

Best Diving Season

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