Travellers Guide for your Vacation on Maio
Ilha do Maio Island Tourist Information
Weather & Climate of the Island
Visiting Maio and enjoying the best weather is dependant upon what weather you want. The warmest weather is generally in September and October with average temperatures of 24°C. While the cooler months are usually January to April, where you might experience an average temperature of 19°C.
One of the reasons you might not want to travel to Maio in September is that it sometimes can also be the wettest month with the highest amount of rainfall. Not so bad when it could only rain for around 6 days.
If you don't like the rain then perhaps travel to the island in March to June where you should have the driest time on Maio and may only rain for 1 day, fingers crossed.
With the deserted sandy beaches and turquoise seas, the prospect of swimming is always a great event. The waters have the highest temperatures in September and October and should be tested before entering in March and April.
The climate is very dry and the land is essentially calcium based rock. There is more irrigated land with each passing year as more crops are grown in the middle and north of the island. Eventhough the climate is not particularly favourable, the island does in fact have the biggest forest park in Cape Verde. The Northern region has been well eroded by the rough seas and the strong Northeast winds.
For the water-sport visitors, including kite-boarders and surfers, the windiest month on average is February with speeds of 17mph, 14.8 knots, 7.6 m/s or 27.4 km/h. With the flat sandy beaches, it's a haven for wind-sport lovers.
Why you seek out Maio, not just for its elusive beauty, but its warmth and sunshine. The sunniest time is August and September where you should enjoy at least 6 hours per day of sunshine.
where is Cape Verde, Map of the Islands
where is Maio Cape Verde, Location & Map
Maio belongs to the Leeward Islands group (Ilhas do Sotavento) and is located south of the isand of Boa Vista and about 25 km east of Santiago. It has a surface area of 268 km2, the longest point, in a north-south direction being 24 km and the widest point, in an east-west direction is 16 km. The island is on the whole fairly flat, the highest point, in the middle, is Monte Penoso, with an altitude of 436m. The valleys are arid and dry and not very deep. Although the island is volcanic in origin, there are few signs to show it.
Maio has the second largest airport and located about 2 to 3 km North from the town with the same name, Vila do Maio. The airport of Maio has previously been extended and made longer and can therefore accept larger incoming aircraft. The airport is about 2 to 3 km from the capital town of Vila do Maio.
The island was discovered on the 1st of May 1460 by the Portuguese navigators Diego Gomes and Antonio de Noli, and it was from the name of this month that the island "Maio" got its name.
The economic activity of the island at the time was limited basically to the breeding of goats. Later, at the beginning of the 17th century, the production of salt brought more people to the island.
As many English ships stopped here to get supplies, the port became known as Porto Inglês, which means English Port.
In the 19th century, the export of salt to Brazil greatly boosted the economy. During the 20th century, emmigration began and steadily increased. Life in Cabo Verde was difficult, mainly due to the terrible droughts that hit the country year after year.
Ilha do Maio Tourism
The Island of Maio offers visitors tranquillity and total relaxation in a setting surrounded by sun and sea, with beautiful beaches, exotic places and mild temperatures. Maio is an island of 365 days of sun and sea.
The Island of Maio and charms the visitor holds for its lunar landscape made up of plains, sand dunes, the constant presence of the blue sea. And also for the atmosphere of tranquillity and remoteness that lives and feels the strangeness of the island almost a separate world, where the existence keeps the pace ...
The Island of Maio has made a serious commitment to tourism and has already built several tourist facilities and other demarcated areas for launching new projects, mostly from foreign investors.
Equipped with the required infrastructure such as port, airport, and roads, all the villages were electrified and the ring road recently renovated. Maio also has telecommunication services, good hotels, running water, electricity in all villages, and pathways to the town's beach.
Today the island has modern communications networks and Cape Verde Telecom Company Limited is responsible for the telecommunications network which consists of the network telephone, telegraph and internet.
In Morro, a small hill town surrounded by palm trees is a small craft shop where ceramics are produced which have interesting pieces for decoration in the home.
The main town of Vila do Maio has some of the best options for hotels and Guesthouses, whereas in the Morro there are two holiday villages.
Hiking along the coast between the long stretches of beaches and the rough terrain is advised to really appreciate the details of nature, whilst discovering the traditions of its people, historic buildings, and beautiful scenic landscapes.
Tourists can enjoy some typical dishes of the island, such as the famous Cachupa tchassina in addition to the couscous, bran, camoca and Lobster, lapa, barnacles and squid.
Maio Food and Drink
With Maio's variety of fish and shellfish this allows visitors to enjoy extremely fresh, great quality seafood. The specialities of the island are:
- Melon with local cheese (of the island)
- Local cheese with dates
- Tchassina: salted goat meat which is eaten with "Cachupa"
- Stewed beans: with "feijão longo" (long beans)
- Goat stew with xeren (served at all popular feasts)
- Water melon and Melon salad
- Melon fruit preserves
- Local cheese
Cultural Events, Religious & Festivals
The two most important celebratians are:
3rd of May
The May Festival, Festival of the "Santa Cruz" (Holy Cross)
24th, 25th & 26th June
The Traditional celebrations of St. Joào
Weddings are also celebrated in a very traditianal way, with everyone getting together the night before to give presents and help in the preparations for the big day.
Deserted Sandy Beaches
The Island of Maio has many beaches of fine white sand, transparent and warm clear water. The highlights of Maio’s beaches are the of the beach of Ponta-Preta, Praia Real, Pau Seco, Porto Cais, Bitche Rotcha, praia de “Boca di Morro”, baía da Calheta amongst others.
To gain access to some of the beaches it’s advisable to use 4x4 jeeps. Praiona beaches (Praia Gonçalo), Prainha (Pedro Vaz) and Boca Ribeira (between Alcatraz and Pedro Vaz) are also worth a visit for their beauty, white sand and blue sea.
Leisure, Nature and Discovery
Maio has tremendous potential in terms of tourism and its ecology is of great interest.
Pollution is something that, fortunately, has not yet reached this island. The maritime fauna, varied and abundant will delight any fisherman. The vast deserted beaches are the habitat of a number of species of sea birds. The turtles also use them to lay their eggs. For those who love to lie in the sun and swim all year round, nowhere could be better than these fine golden sandy beaches.
For those who prefer to find the attractions of the island by themselves, just by walking, they can discover areas of incredibly exotic vegetation - coconut trees, date palms, wild fig trees, and beautiful acacias.
The cheerful haspitality and the honesty of the local people is something that helps to make the visitor's holiday even more enjoyable.
Things To Do & Places to Visit on Holiday
Places of interest:
|The Mother Church, built in 1872|
|Lighthouse of St. Joseph|
|Natural Salinas (Salt-pans)|
|Rural Crafts (Morro)|
|Largest forested area of Cape Verde (Calheta) & charcoal ovens|
Places to Visit
VILA DO MAIO
The town of Vila do Maio is located directly opposite the sea which also contains the harbour and a beautiful white sand beach. The small white beautiful sandy beach is where the local fishing boats are moored. Nearby is a fortress (Forte de São José) that was built in the 18th century, to defend the town from the pirate attacks. A little further on, and higher up, is a magnificent church, surrounded by gardens of beautiful flowers. In the same region is a cooperative building very unique architecture as it is built in the form of an African hut, an “fungos africanos”.
VISIT the the SALT PITS & the MORRO-MORINHO:
Although these extraordinary salt pits, 5000 m long and 1500 m wide, are no longer in use, they are well worth a visit. The vegetation in the area is very unique. Two typical species, called locally the "Marra" and the "Salsola Soda" are the main ones to be found here.
A small village practically built along the road side. The local handicrafts of pots and other cooking utensils are very
interesting. It has a very attractive beach and its clear waters are excellent for fishing.
In the same vicinity, between Costa and Monte Batalha is a regian where there is absolutely no vegetation. The mirages that appear here make you feel as in you are in the open desert.
A little further on is CALHETA, a small fishing port. It was in this region that the infra-structures for reforestation were introduced for cattle breeding purposes.
CALHETA de BAIXO has two fine white sandy beaches, sheltered by the rock formations at both ends.
Next on the route is MORRINHO, where to the north is another salt pit separated from the sea by about 1200m.
BAIA de SANTANA
is a deserted beach in the shape of semi-circle. It is the beach that the fishermen from MORRINHO use and the turtles too are also fond of this beach.
Nearby are two more beautiful beaches, BAIA de PORTO CAIS and PRAIA REAL, where the turtles can be seen and where there is an abundance of shellfish.
VISIT to FIGUEIRA DA HORTA & RIBEIRA DO JOÃO:
This trip takes the visitor into the oasis. FIGUEIRA DA HORTA is about 6 km from the town of MAIO. The scenery is truly desert like and unusually attractive. The bird-life found here, well adapted to desert conditions, feeds on insects and can go without water for long periods of time.
There is also another co-operative here in the shape of an African hut. On the road, out in the direction of Figueira Seca, there is an animal drinking trough.
RIBEIRA DE JOÃO is the final stopping point and is a truly magnificent oasis.
TOWN OF VILA DO MAIO
Vila do Maio is the administrative centre and capital of the Island of Maio, which is characterised by its tranquillity, its colourful houses, and a Baroque style church from the late nineteenth century (1872). Vila do Maio was also known as “Porto Inglês” (English Harbour) as once there was a thriving business in the exploitation of salt by the British who used the port to export the product to Europe and America.
The views of the extraordinary salt pans (Salinas), which can measure 5000 metres long and 1500 metres wide, are an outstanding sight for the visitors to Maio. The vegetation in the area is unique and breathtaking and two typical species, known locally as "Maraca" and "Salsola soda" are to be found here.
Morro is a small town built along the road. Local artisans manufacture pots and other kitchen utensils which are very interesting for visitors. There is a very attractive beach and its clear waters are excellent for fishing. Nearby, between Monte Batalha and the coast is a region where there is no vegetation. The miracle is that it seems that it makes locals feel like they live in the desert.
Calheta is located near Morro and is the second largest town of the island and is a small fishing village. It was the region where the reforestation was first introduced to Maio. Morro is about 11 km from Vila do Maio, and has about 1107 inhabitants.
The main occupation of residents is fishing, FAIMO work in the Ministry of Agriculture, whose principal activities are the preparation of land for reforestation, forest management and other services.
The water supply in the town of Calheta to households is a reasonable with piped water and two water fountains. This water is not better and not enough to supply the population. Calheta de baixo has two beautiful beaches, protected by rocks.
The forest near to Calheta is considered one of the largest in Cape Verde where there are still many species of trees such as eucalyptus, acacia, etc.. In addition, new trees are planted annually with the aim of not only extending the perimeter but also to conserve the species.
Near to Morrinho extended salt pans can be found about 1200 metres from the sea. The baia de Santana is a deserted beach in the shape of a semi-circle. It is the beach where the fishermen go fishing from Morrinho and turtles also go to spawn. Nearby there are two beautiful beaches: the baia de Porto Cais and Praia Real, where turtles can be seen and where there are shells and crustaceans abound.
FIGUEIRA DA HORTA e RIBEIRA Dom JÕAO
Figueira da Horta looks like an oasis, about 6 km from Vila do Maio, the scenery is truly seems desert-like, with unusual sights. Here nature is alive, and well adapted to desert conditions. There is abundant water and rich green vegetation. The visitor will also find another “fungos africano” construction which again represents the local cooperatives. Ribeira D. João is a magnificent oasis and well worthy of a visit.
|1st January||New Year; International Peace Day|
|13th January||Democracy and Liberty Day|
|20th January||National Heroes Day|
|1st May||Labour Day|
|5th July||Independence Day|
|15th August||Nossa Senhora da Graça|
(Our Lady of Grace)
|12th September||National Day|
|1st November||All Saints Day|
|25th December||Christmas Day|
Areas of Natural Beauty on Maio
The following table gives the Areas of Natural Beauty and land area details of Maio Island:
|Terras Salgadas||Nature Reserve|
|Casas Velhas||Nature Reserve|
|Barreiro and Figueira||Nature Reserve|
|Lagoa Cimidor||Nature Reserve|
|Praia do Morro||Nature Reserve|
|Salinas of Porto Inglês||Protected Landscape|
|Monte Penoso & Monte Branco||Protected Landscape|
|Monte Santo António||Protected Landscape|
|Length, Width & Height|
|Surface area||269 km2|
|Maximum Length||24.1 km|
|Maximum Width||16.3 km|
|Heighest Point||Mount Penoso (436m)|
Helpful Visitor Information
|Documents||Passport (minimum 6 months) and Visa.|
|Flight Time Around||03h30m, Lisbon - Sal|
|Time Difference GMT||1H (Autumn - Winter)|
|GMT||2H (Spring - Summer).|
|Language||Portuguese and Creole.|
|Commerce||08h00 12h00 and 15.00-19.00 (2nd Saturday).|
|Credit Cards||Use limited to a few hotels and restaurants.|
|Banks||08h00-1400 (2nd to 6th Fair).|
|Currency||Cape Verdean escudo.|
|Currency exchange||Available at the airport and local banks. Money Can Not Be converted.|
|There are notes CVEsc 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200. There are coins CVEsc 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 1.|
Tropical Dry with Two Seasons
|Dry season||November to July, tempered by trade winds.|
|Rainy season (showers)||August to October.|
The Island of Maio has sufficient forms of transport to meet visitors needs. In addition to the rental companies that offer a wide range of vehicles to choose from, there are many Toyota pickup type vehicles that can be hired especially for trips around the island of Maio.
Rent a Car / Quad Bike
Maio Car, Rent-a-Car: Grand Avenue - Vila do Maio - Ilha do Maio. Tel. +238 255 1700
Auto Evaristo Car Rental: Rua Shell, Vila do Maio - Ilha do Maio. Tel. +238 255 2049
Meu Guia para a ilha do Maio, Cabo Verde
Trata-se de um ponto de vista pessoal para os visitantes de Maio, e deve ser utilizado um ponto de partida. Maio é melhor explorada e encontrou conversando com moradores locais e desfrutar de um passeio pela ilha por uma das agências de turismo locais.
Guida Isole di Maio di Capo Verde
Questa è una prospettiva personale per i visitatori Maio, e deve essere utilizzato solo un punto di partenza. Maio è meglio esplorato e trovato parlando con gente del posto e godere di un giro dell'isola in una delle agenzie turistiche locali.
My Guide to Maio
This is a personal perspective for visitors to Maio, and should be only used a starting point. Maio is best explored and found by talking to locals and enjoying an island tour by one of the local tourist agencies.
|Vila do Maio Weather|
|Wednesday at 1:14pm (Clouds)|
|Min — Max
26.62°C — 26.62°C