Trip Summary: Caves and Dolphin Watch
Best thing about this trip: Caves and dolphins combo, the natural beauty of the coast.
Departure Point: Albufeira Marina.
Route: Albufeira Marina until Carvoeiro Lighthouse.
Drinks Included: No, but there’s a bar so that you can buy drinks if they want to.
Visits inside caves: Yes.
Swim stop: Yes.
Dolphins: More than 80%; July and August >90%. Sometimes they’re also able to see other animals (for example: orcas).
Best thing about this boat: Safety, stability, equipped with all rescue resources. There’s no other boat like this one in the whole country.
Type: High speed, but when it needs to also can go slower to observe better the scenery.
Motor or Sailing: Motor.
Maximum Capacity: 45 people.
Indoor space: No, it’s an open-deck boat.
Watch the Video of this Trip:
Trip report by Algarve Fun’s writer Vicente Lourenço. Having spent most of his life in the Algarve, Vicente knows most of its secrets and loves to share it with newcomers. He likes travelling, outdoor sports and exotic food.
The Algarve is a stunning region where the sun shines for over 300 days a year and where beaches have golden sand. The cliffs and caves that proliferate along the coast hide pirates’ treasures and form beautiful paradisiacal scenes that look straight out of movies. Its crystal clear waters exude a delicious freshness that invites us to bathe in them, but also to travel to discover its secrets. Among its most popular secrets are the groups of dolphins, orcas and whales that pass along the Portuguese south coast every year. Many of the dolphins are resident all year, and it is possible to observe the larger cetaceans during their migrations, in the Algarve seas, twice a year, when the migration occurs first in one direction and then in the other.
Boat trips on high speed boats allow you to discover the various caves and rock formations of the Algarve, as well as to visit the best places at sea to see dolphins, killer whales or whales. Passengers are usually asked to be present at the Marina about thirty minutes before the boat departs. This way, the crew has time to accommodate all passengers. In high-speed boats it is particularly important that the crew has time to profile all passengers, since the boat’s constant bumps can cause problems to those with back pain or to young children, which is why they are asked to sit at the back of the boat so that they are not affected. There is a trade-off on high-speed boat seats: people sitting in the back do not feel the bumps, but they get very wet because of the waves hitting the bow of the boat; people sitting on the front of the boat do not get wet (because of the rail that gives them protection), but are the ones feeling the real impact of the bumps. Safety procedures are also explained to passengers at the beginning of the trip.
Because it is a high speed boat, it is possible to visit several caves and rocks scattered throughout the Algarve and also have time to visit the places where dolphins usually lay. The first cave to be visited is invariably the Cave of the Swallows (also called the Swallow’s Nest), Gruta das Andorinhas in Portuguese, where the lack of natural light and the absence of human presence make it the ideal place for swallows to nest. The next stop is on the promontory where stands the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rock (Capela de Nossa Senhora da Rocha). The Chapel of Our Lady of the Rock is a popular place to organize weddings because of the beautiful landscape it provides. Initially, the Chapel was a military structure tasked with protecting the Algarve from attacks by pirates and privateers.
The famous rock called Yellow Submarine (Submarino Amarelo) is usually the next stop on the route. This gigantic rock has the shape of a submarine on the surface of the water. The yellowish colour of the stone led the rock to inherit the name of the famous Beatles song.
The next cave to be visited is the Cave of the Birds (Gruta dos Pássaros), where there is also the rock with the profile of King Neptune (Rocha do Rei Neptuno). Inside the Bird’s Cave there is a beach without natural light that is called, as a joke, the Batman Beach. After the Bird’s Cave, passengers visit the Arc de Triomphe (Rocha do Arco do Triunfo), an extremely beautiful rock formation that, as the name suggests, resembles the Parisian monument of the same name. Near the Arc de Triomphe Stone are the Captain’s Cave (Gruta do Capitão), the Crocodile Head Rock (Rocha Cabeça de Crocodilo) and, a few hundred meters away, the Elephant Rock (Rocha dos Elefantes).
Cupid’s Beach (Praia do Cupido) is also on the course, because of its virgin and golden sands. Cupid’s Beach remains a mystery to most people residing in the Algarve because it can only be reached by boat. Just a few minutes from Cupid’s Beach you will find the most famous cave in the area – the Benagil Cave (Gruta de Benagil). It is in the Cave of Benagil that the Algar de Benagil is located, a hole in the ceiling through which the light that illuminates the coloured walls of the cave enters. This cave was voted the 15th most beautiful cave in the world by the Michelin Guide and was used as a screensaver of Windows 10.
Once finished the visit to the caves and rocks of the Algarve coast it is time to look for dolphins, whales or killer whales. It is much rarer and harder to see whales and killer whales, since these species of marine animals do not stay in the Algarve, but rather use it as a channel to reach other destinations. However, it is quite common to find bottlenose dolphins or common dolphins in the seas of the region, and the best time to find them is between April and September.
There is no sensation that compares to seeing dolphins in their natural habitat. The elegance, agility and strength that these marine animals emanate is contagious and will surely brighten your day. As dolphins are curious animals, they usually approach the ships and swim around them, even jumping out of water into real spectacles of exhibitionism.
In total the trip took two and a half hours, although the duration and course may vary according to the weather and the tides.
Algarve Fun also offers other boat trips from Albufeira so do not forget to check them out. We also advise you to book your trip in advance, as boat trips are some of the most popular activities to do in the Algarve.
Come and explore the Benagil caves though the amazing boat trips from Albufeira! The natural beauty of those caves are unique and incomparable! A must see in the Algarve.
The Benagil Caves and Dolphin Watch from Albufeira (2.5rs duration) is an amazing trip that goes through the beautiful Benagil caves and also goes on a search for the wonderful wild dolphins that lives in the sea. A truly wonderful boat trip!
Enjoy the famous Benagil caves and the sea to the fullest in the Algarve!