Maio – forgotten beaches



Of volcanic origin, Maio was discovered by the trade winds that flattened the island, recalling perhaps the deserts of Africa, though a mountain named Monte Penoso can be found on the island, with less than 500m height.


Maio was the old port from where salt, produced on the island until the 20th century, was exported.  And it awakens a deep sense of eccentricity when one enjoys its immense beaches of golden sand and various shades of blue.  A multitude of secret places, almost as if they were illegal, perpetuate the romance in the air.  The wind and the clear water, rich in marine flora and fauna provide an idyllic environment for the practice of nautical and water sports. 


How to get to Maio?

You can reach Maio by a 15 minute- flight from Cape Verde’s capital Praia on Santiago island.

In case you are a bit adventurous, you can charter a sailing boat from São Vicente, Sal or Boa Vista that brings you safely to Maio!

More information:



Where to stay?

(coming soon)




The island can be toured in one day by car (a four-wheel drive by preference) or by the public transports.  The island’s best beaches are located close to the Village of Maio, directed to the north, and can be reached by foot. 


Regular transport connects the Village of Maio with the other small villages, such as Alcatraz or Morrinho.  Nevertheless, the best way to make the circuit of the island is by bycicle!  (for rent in the village)


Make sure you bring plenty of water, sun protection and food with you.  Renting a car for a day costs €57 and €64 with a driver.



Meat dishes are very popular, as well as ‘caldo de peixe’ = fish soup, ‘bife de atum’ = tuna steak, lobster and seafood.  There are different choices of restaurants and bars in the village. 



Maio is the perfect spot for water sports!

Rental of water sports equipment and lessons:

(under construction)




Places to visit


Vila do Maio

It’s also called Porto Inglês.  In the centre of the village, around the main square, you will witness the architecture of the buildings which is a mixture of British and Portuguese colonial styles. 




The village spreads up to the small and steep slope until the Church of Nossa Senhoa da Luz, a building in baroque style (1872).

The fort of São José, an 18th century restored building, is located in the Southeast limit point of the island.  Make sure you visit the Ponte Velho (the old bridge), the farol (lighthouse) and the Architecture Cooperative Association operating in an African like hut. 


There is a beautiful 5km long lagoon with salt located in the north of the village, surrounded by vegetation adapted to the existing difficult hygienic conditions.




It’s worth visiting Morro for its beach, with an extension and shape that varies according to the tides and to the seasons.  Make sure you also visit the Ceramic Cooperative Association.






A small fishing village with a black sandy beach.





The beaches


-Biche Rotcha:

Right at the exit of the village of Maio.  Besides the new pier, the beach is some kilometers long.  Going towards the south for about 45 min, you’ll get to the beach named Praia de Ponta Preta.


-Praia do Morro:

In the north of the village of Maio, after the salt pits.  If you walk 3km up, you come to Praia de Calheta, a small fishing village.


-Praia de Santana:

Leave Morrinho towards northwest by an irregular trek and you’ll get to Praia de Santana, one of the wildest and most hidden beaches of the island.   Close to this place, in Porto Cais, you’ll find the beaches of Tartarugas and Cais and on the right there is a huge salt pit.


-Praiona, Prainha and Boca Ribeira

A little bit to the south, after Figueira de Horta, in the direction of Ribeira de João on a 10 min walk, you’ll get to a magnificent beach of blue sea.



Hospitals and health centers

Delegação de Saúde do Maio tel. 255 10 10

Posto Sanitário de Calheta tel. 256 11 30