Who can go?
All guests are welcome to our dolphin expeditions tours in Lisbon and we have most of the conditions to meet our guest’s needs. However in the absence of a request from the guests, we will proceed with the standard expedition’s module. We had guests from 6 months old to 85 years old, but these extremes usually have some issues to cope with:
Most of the restrains of the standard expedition modules are the boats. Guests with back problems and pregnant women (specially earlier stages) are the usual guests that are not recommended on the standard speed boats. The rides are usually soft and upon request we can save the most comfortable seats. But we might encounter an unpredictable rough wave, that might deliver a stronger hit. We remind that the usual boats don’t have toilet and the tours can take up to 4 hours. If you have either of these issues, contact us before booking, to assess the conditions and we might arrange to go on a bigger boat.
We usually say that: all guests that are capable of being seated for 3h on a bus, are ready for the expedition! But we will go in detail on the ones that need adult supervision.
Can children go?
Children are the most important guests! This experiences are safe for children if their movements are supervised. Children and teenagers require to be accompanied all the time by a responsible adult, but our expeditions are long and keeping them entertained usually is the only problem. On average the children over 4 years old are mature enough for these experiences. If your child is under and you still think that they are capable, contact us before booking, to ensure that we go on a boat that takes guests younger than 4 and has small life-jackets available.
Can incapacitated Guests go?
The standard boats are not adapted for motor incapacitated guests, it will depend on the disability degree and the capacity of the guest to adapt. Contact us before booking.
Guests with developmental disorders, like children, will need to be accompanied all the time by an responsible adult. And applies the “rule” if they are capable of being seated for 3h on a bus, are ready.
Are Pets allowed?
At the moment the boats do not allow pets onboard. Only allowing if the boat is fully booked by the owners. We are working on a solution for this issue.
Are the dolphins guaranteed?
No. We and everyone else, can not grantee the dolphins (not even the zoo does), these dolphins are completely wild animals and in most of the cases they are just visitors of the Lisbon area. We have no control over them, there are no GPS trackers on them, no spotters on land, we just rely on the crew knowledge and experience to find them. This basically is a safari on the Sea, with some possibility of not finding the dolphins (6% in 2019).
In case of not finding the dolphins, we can ensure that before giving up looking, we will put extra effort and time in finding them. Doing so, the the costs of the trip will increase two times the average, resulting in the complete incapability of refunding the tickets. But everything else is still included, the sightseeing, the boat ride and the explanations.
This can feel unfair, but we are no different from other bookings. Picture a sunset tour or a week on a beach hotel, there will not be a compensation in case the sun does not shows up. Dolphins are just like the Sun, but it is more likely to find dolphins than getting a clear sky at sunset.
On average the expeditions take 3h long. In case of being difficult to find the dolphins we can expand to 4h. If the expedition will be in the alternative areas, transport included will not take less than 4h.
Is departure from Lisbon?
Yes, you will always depart from Lisbon. When conditions are not met for a reliable tour in Lisbon area, the boat might have to depart from the next ports on the alternative areas. There will be land transportation from the meeting point to the boat free of charge and it will take around 4h.
Is it on a sailboat?
No, the usual boats are speed boats, our experience is to meet the dolphins the boat experience is secondary. We can arrange a sailing tour with dolphins on request. In sailboats comfort comes first, meeting the dolphins is second, as looking for dolphins often require covering many miles and sailboats are very slow and very prompt to seasickness.
Can I get seasick?
The used boats are the best type to prevent motion sickness (boats, not ships). However some guests are just too sensitive, specially during the dolphin observation. We have some of techniques to cope with seasickness, notify the crew as soon as possible. If you already know that you’re prompt to motion sickness, we have pills to be taken before departure.
Prevention pass through avoiding liquids during and 30 min before departure and definitely avoiding partying to late hours on the day before the experience.
What if it Rains?
The usual boats do not have shelter. When rain is forecasted, we will notify the guests and schedule a new date. Consistent and long lasting rain can be predictable with days in advance and we will not confirm expeditions under this type of rain. However we will confirm most of the expeditions under showers regime, this rain can last only for 5-10 minutes and usually can be avoided during the expedition by the crew.
What about Waves?
We have an established limit around 2m high waves to cancel the tours in Lisbon Bay and go for the alternative areas or schedule a new date. This is not due to safety reasons (the boats are safe), but due to low chances of dolphin spotting and increased chances of seasickness. Most of the uncomfortable waves where the Tagus river meets the Sea, when few guests (children) might find this environment overwhelming.
Why there are not pictures of guests enjoying the tour on the whole website?
Fair question! We used to have some, but they induced guests in error regarding the boat. Since we use 5 different boats, guests pointed out that the boat was not the one on the pictures and so we removed everything that has a boat on. Also the used camera has a zoom lens, making that task very difficult. Additionally Francisco is the photographer and his main purpose is getting photos for research.
Guests will get full refund if cancelled 48h before the experience.
Cancellations within 48h and 24h from the experience are illegible to 50% refund.
Cancellations with less than 24h before the experience or no-shows, will be no refund. However you might reschedule the experience.
How will be the tour?
Our expeditions aren’t commercial dolphin watching tours. We designed a true experience and our target costumers hope to hear more than they already know about dolphins and are looking for more than a transportation service to the dolphins.
Our expedition tours are divided in 4 main steps:
- Travelling to the spotting areas, usually with a basic introduction to dolphin diversity and biology.
- Dolphin searching where the guide will not speak and will be fully dedicated in looking for the dolphins.
- Dolphin observation which by law are restricted to 30 minutes for each group. Additional information will be given regarding the species found and the behaviours that are being observed. If we find the dolphins soon, we might look for other groups, sightseeing the place or stop for a bath. If takes too long to find them, we will initiate the return soon after leaving the dolphins.
- And travelling back, after leaving the spotting areas, the guide will deliver more scientific information like anatomy, behaviour and evolution (regardless of guest’s beliefs). He often will start with a pertinent question to trigger an interactive discussion before giving the answer (definitely will be a break on your vacations!). Meanwhile we usually approach the coast for some sightseeing.
We understand that some guests have the simple goal of seeing dolphins. Or that disagree with the information given (like the evolution of the dolphins). We will stop giving the information upon request, but if there are other interested guests, we will not deprive them from the information.