Desertas Island Cruise Expedition
Bird, Whale and Dolphin Watching

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Price: € 80
Duration: 1 day (9h00-19h00) h
Minimum: 6 Persons
Maximum: 16 Persons
Lunch: Included
Available days: Sunday, Wednesday, Friday

The Desertas are a small group of three oceanic islands, that can be seen from Funchal about 22 nautical miles away. This Nature Reserve is included in the Natural Park of Madeira and is protected since 1992 as Biogenetic Reserve. IN 2014 AWARDED AREA WITH DIPLOMA OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE FOR PROTECTED AREAS. From the local and global standpoint the biodiversity of these islands is incalculable.

quoting  The ex-libris of these islands the colony of Monk Seals (Monachus monachus) that in the past were in danger of extinction but nowadays have a safe and stable population. This specie is very difficult to observe because they are very shy, but is always possible to spot them if you keep the eyes on the sea.
Monk Seal - Monachus Onachus - Desertas Islands
Monk Seal © AIFagundes

These islands are home for many seabird colonies extremely important in the Macaronesian region and in the world. Outstanding among these are the world only colony of Desertas Petrel (Pterodroma deserta) with approximately 150 breeding pairs and the largest colony in the Atlantic of Bulwer’s Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii). Other species with significant populations include Madeiran Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma castro), Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) and Macaronesian Shearwater (Puffinus baroli). If visiting in the breeding season we might see Bulwer´s Petrel and Cory’s Shearwater on their nests.

Bulwers Petrel - bulweria bulwerii - Breedng grounds
Bulwer's Petrel © B&C
quoting  The vascular flora of these islands is composed of around 200 species, of which 15% are endemic to the archipelago of Madeira and a further 10% endemic to the Macaronesian region.

There are also three species exclusive to Desertas a liverwort – Frullania sergiae and two spermatophytes - Sinapidendron sempervivifolium and Musschia isambertoi, the latter having been discovered only a few years ago.

Loggerhead sea turtle 
© René Pop

The trip to Desertas island is made in a boat with all accommodations, kitchen and wc’s. During the trip, you will have the opportunity to observe some of the breeding seabirds on the islands and the most common cetaceans occurring in our seas, such as Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncates), Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), with always the chance to get other animal as the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).

Desertas Islands clear waters
Desertas Islands © B&C

When we arrive to Deserta Grande, the largest and highest of the three islands, the lunch will be served on board and after a very nice meal we will visit the island for about 1 hour. Here you can do an interpretative guided walk and visit the interpretation centre in the warden's research station, where we can find information about the protected area and conservation projects made by the Natural Park of Madeira.

quoting  You will have the opportunity to swim in the clear of waters Desertas islands and make snorkeling if you wish!

In the back journey to Madeira island there is always the chance to observe new species of birds and sea mammals.

Desertas Islands Madeira Natural Park
Desertas Nature Reserve © B&C

birds and company highlights INCLUDED IN THIS TOURBOOK NOW

  • Naturalist guide, Field guides, Lunch on board (Vegetarian option available on advanced request), Personal insurance, Taxes.
  • Recommendations: Warm/water proof jacket, swimsuit, hat, sunscreen.
  • 1 day trip, Fridays - All Year;  also Wednesdays and Sundays in some weeks between June to September.


  • Also available Desertas Island Tour with overnight (2 days) 145€

    Tuesday to Wednesday or Saturday to Sunday (1 a week) only between May to September
    10:30h to 16:00h of the 2nd day
    Includes all meals and tents

highlight  3€ of the value are for the conservation programs in Desertas Nature Reserve.
Please contact for the availability. 


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