Visiting the island of Maio

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Visiting the island of Maio

Maio is an island almost entirely surrounded by beaches of white thin sand contrasting with the blue of the crystaline warm waters. Praia Preta, Praia Real, Pau Seco, Porto Cais and Boca do Morro are some of the most well-known. Visiting Maio means to shelter oneself in an almost wild world which invites to rest and to embark in a diving adventure to enjoy the extremely rich maritime fauna. Very common and seasonal is the appearance of turtles that choose these pure beaches to spawn.

Although stark, stockbreeding has a significant expression and even nowadays the capture of wild donkeys in a sort of rodeo is a highly appreciated event.

Vila do Maio, known as Vila do Porto Ingles (British Port Village) due to the continuous presence of British boats which in the past transported the salt, is dominated by the peace and quiet its inhabitants make a point of preserving. Its main monuments cannot be over looked, for they marked the history of the development of the island: the grandiose Igreja Matriz (mother church), Maio’s Castle (built in the XVIII century as a defense against pirates) and Farol de Sao Jose (Sao Jose Lighthouse). Other interesting places include, a little up to the north, Calheta, a fishing village with a charming bay and home to the largest forest area of the country made up of acacia trees, refuge to the only wild fauna, the “galinha do mato” (hazel grouse).

There are beaches everywhere and in particular the one in Ponta Preta is preferred by tourists. Praia Real, Pau Seco, Porto Cais and Bitche Rotcha, the latter facing Vila, are much frequented by wind-surfers and other nautical sports enthusiasts.

There are lots of traditional feasts in all the villages and it is a hard choice. In almost all the feasts, the central attractions are the Tabanka, Batuko, Rabecca (violin) dances, accompanied by an abundant helping of braised goat and xeren.

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