This is the perfect ‘away from it all’ destination. You can expect to find sleepy towns with colorful little houses, hilly landscapes, limestone valleys, acacia forests and coconut palms and tranquility in abundance. There are long stretches of perfect white sandy beaches, warm clear waters with very little commercialism and the friendliest locals anywhere in Cape Verde. Despite its isolation Maio is a beautiful island to visit and the perfect place to enjoy long uninterrupted walks along the deserted beaches. If you want to get away from it all this is the place for you…
There is no international airport on the island of Maio, but the island can be reached by either plane or ferry from the capital of Cape Verde, Praia. The 15 min flight from Praia is operated by the local airline, TACV. Please note the flights do not go every day. Flight times can be checked and booked on their website.
The ferry from Praia to Maio does not operate every day and the crossing takes about three hours. The ferry is operated by Polar Lda. The ferry can be booked by going to the office (Polar Lda, Rua Andrade Corvo nr 6, Plateau, Praia, Santiago) or by buying a ticket at the jetty in either Maio or Praia.
The waters around the Cape Verde islands is teeming with sea life. There are two marine reserves around Maio where it is possible to see a large variety of fish within a protected ecosystem. At the reserve at Ponta Preta there are caves and walls available to divers.
There are a number of attractive villages, acacia forests, Morrinho sand dunes, which is a protected wildlife area and the Centro Ceramico Pottery which is in Morro. Organised tours can be undertaken by truck, or it is possible to hire a car. Another site to visit is the Salinas where salt is collected and you can see the piles of salt. An organised tour will be more informative, giving you background and history.
Visit Vila do Maio
The capital of Maio is also known as Porto Inglês. It is the main centre of habitation on the island and it is where the ferry jetty and the airport are located. Built on the site of a hill the little cobbled streets provide lovely glimpses of the sea as you explore this pretty little town. The Town Square has recently been reconstructed and provides a lovely sitting area in front of the small church. At the lovely beach you can see the fishermen landing the fresh fish.
Night time trips
The lack of street lighting means that it is possible to view a large number of stars from the island. At the right time of year (June to September) it is possible to see the turtles laying eggs and also the watch the babies going into the sea. Some people may wish to take a tent and sleep on the sand dunes under the night skies.
There are good opportunities for fishing from the island of Maio. The variety of fish that can be found from boats include wahoo, dorado, tuna, blue marlin and grouper. Other fish can also be caught from the beach such as bream and red mullet.
Three Bedroom Detached Villa Ocean Views (Sleeps 6)
This attractive villa will accommodate six people. The property has two ground floor bedrooms, one with double bed and one with two single beds and then a mezzanine bedroom with two single beds. The double room has attractive sea views and also views of the shared infinity pool. The kitchen is fully equipped for self-catering needs and the comfortable living room has views of the garden and the sea.
The beautiful tropical garden provides two terraces – one offering shade and the other sun. The gardens are well maintained and attractively laid out. The shade terrace provides an excellent location for outside dining, with a table and chairs where you can enjoy your meal while looking at the garden and the sea. Two cushioned sun loungers are provided in the garden and there are two hammocks for use in the shade.
Maio can windy, but the villa is ideally located and provides shelter from the north east winds, so it is always warm and pleasant. Close to the villa (20m) there is a shared salt-water infinity pool, which is the perfect place to cool off on a hot sunny day. The garden and the pool face west and benefit from views of the sunset over the next island of Santiago. There is also a small private beach with access down steps from the infinity pool.
The villa is within a gated compound and this gives an added sense of privacy and seclusion. The main town of Vila do Maio is only a few minutes walk away, and there are two small supermarkets close by. Stella Maris is located between two lovely beaches. Through the town you reach the main beach (Bitxe Rotxa) and in the opposite direction a short walk takes you to Ponta Preta Beach. Both are beautiful sandy beaches and very often almost deserted.
Photos of Maio island