This is our personal rating description of a dolphin watching experience. It can be applied to our tours or others.


Rating zero, means no cetaceans (dolphins, whales, porpoises) had been found. This tours are still very enjoyable for those that aren’t accustomed to go out to the Ocean. The scenery, sea birds, sharks, endless ocean, the city and the monuments that we stop by, are usually enough to make it a memorable experience.

This happened in 2% of Lisbon tours in 2023. We have a +40 miles plafond for avoiding these kind of experiences.


Rating 1, means we found cetaceans, but we never managed to approach them. This happens when the animals run away from the boat, or in bad weather conditions we lose them very early in the sighting. This is the rating for majority of the Harbour porpoise and half of the whale encounters. Having a tour rating 1, it’s usually because we only found the Harbour porpoise as they are very common year-round in the area, but very shy.

This happened in 3% of Lisbon tours in 2023. The sentiment in the end of the tour is very close to the rating zero.


Rating 2, means we managed to approach the cetaceans and spent a good amount of time in their presence. However the animals were not interested in the boat and kept their distance for the most of the time. Guests with zoom lenses are able to take good pictures but smartphones are not able to capture more than tiny dots. Hearing their breathing is only possible with engine off and you can’t see details like the eyes, mouth or gender.

This is the average experience for dolphins in the river, and that’s why we recommend the ocean tour, as the dolphins in the ocean are more prompt to offer a higher rating experience. Also this is the average rating for a whale sighting.

This happened in 8% of the tours in 2023. This meets the expectations of most guests, as it’s what you get in large boats offering dolphin watching experiences.


Rating 3, means we managed to get the cetaceans at an arm’s reach. Guests with zoom lenses can’t frame the dolphins as they’re too close, smartphones and wide angle cameras thrive in these experiences. Hearing their breathing is the ‘soundtrack’ of the experience, you can see details like the eyes, mouth, gender and even their parasites!

Despite our advertising, this ranking exceeds most guests’ expectations. Under sea state 0 you can have incredible experiences, for some, dreams become true and tears on those that waited for too long to meet dolphins. With this sea state, we reach rating 4 level experience, so we give these encounters a rating 3,9.

This is the usual rating for our experiences. You will be unlucky if you have a tour ranking lower than 3.


Rating 4, means we managed to find multiple species of dolphins and get a rating 3 experience with least one of the species.

This is the difference between a <50€ and a 60€ tour, we look for more than just the first encounter. It’s true that some dolphins species just look the same, but most of the time they’re so different that guests say “and I thought it couldn’t get any better”.

Most summer and fall experiences rate 4 and comprised 51% of the tours in 2023.


Rating 5, means we managed to find multiple species of dolphins and at least a whale encounter rating 2 or more.

These experiences are super emotional, usually it means lots of tears, synchronized gasps, there are those who can’t stop jumping, even the bored family member jumps from the seat! These will be lifetime memories.

Low-cost dolphin watching tours don’t deliver this level of experience, if they do it’s by exploiting our search effort.

We had ranking 5 in 9% of the tours in 2023.

To get more information, check our weekly update to see the average rating of the latest tours!