For anyone looking for peace and quiet in lovely surroundings, Maio (or "May" in English) is a great place to be. There are several quiet and traditional towns dotted around all over the island, all with colorful buildings and a sense of the Portuguese colonial days, and all are a little sleepy. Time seems to stand still here.
The capital of the Island is Vila do Maio, also known as Porto Inglês, and the town is a little more lively and is located right on the oceanfront in the southwest of the island. In the center of town, the Praça Fina is the popular meeting place of the locals in the evenings and a fun place to be. The town offers a selection of restaurants and bars and a fair amount of shops.
As for beaches, travelling west from Vila do Maio, it is worth visiting Praia da Vila and going eastward, Praia Ponta Preta is an excellent swimming beach.
Exploring the forested area in the west of Maio, Morrinho and Calheta are two small towns worth seeing. While Morrinho is pretty much a ghost town but still interesting to view, Calheta is pretty, with colorful houses and homes lining the streets.
Nearby, visit Morro, a town nestled within a grove of coconut palms and offering a beautiful swimming beach. Take care during the summer months, as this beach is also popular with the turtles, which lay their eggs around that time. Tourists are asked to please keep their distance from the nests, as the turtles can easily become upset and desert their eggs.
Among other landscapes on Maio, there are hilly scenes, an almost desert terrain, limestone valleys and salt marshes. There are also flourishing acacia forests which form the largest continuous woodland region of the whole of the Cape Verde archipelago.
The island is particularly popular with birders, who will see a variety of different species, including ospreys, bar-tailed larks, sea swallows, waders, cream-colored coursers and more.
The only drawback with this quiet and lovely place is the fact that Maio is not all that easy to get to. The island only has air connections with Praia, capital of Santiago, and flights are not available on a regular basis. Also, while the harbor can handle ships, there are not that many boat connections for visitors to the island. Suffice to say, if you are planning to visit Maio during your Cape Verde vacation, plan well to avoid disappointment.
To see more of this lovely destination, watch the video included above showing scenes of Vila do Maio and other parts of the island.
Photos in the compilation above are CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Pedro Hormigo