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May Island

The island of Maio was discovered in 1460, it was only populated at the end of the 16th century when salt exploration began. Like the other islands of the Cape Verde archipelago, it has volcanic origin, but it is almost flat (its highest elevation – Monte Penoso – is 436 meters high).

Although it is one of the most arid islands in the archipelago, it has the largest forest perimeter in the entire Cape Verde archipelago. Next to the village of Calheta there is  a 3500-hectare patch (something unusual), made up essentially of acacias, and which is the result of a reforestation plan.

The north of the island is quite arid, due to erosion caused by strong northwest winds from the sea.

The island can be visited throughout the year, as it always maintains a mild temperature.

As it is a very remote and hidden island, something forgotten by time and even by people, Cape Verdeans and tourists alike, it remains a stronghold of Cape Verdean beauty, authenticity and culture.

On this island are some of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Verde – white sand beaches and translucent waters that invite you to long walks and invigorating dives. The calm sea of Baía da Calheta is a reference. The island of Maio is a place for all lovers of bathing tourism and who want total rest – there is a tourist offer in this sense.

But even if you go to rest, you have to dedicate some of your time to get to know the island and its people, its culture and traditions and taste its wonderful cuisine.

We highlight in the built heritage:


The Picturesque Villages – towns of Barreiro, Calheta, Morrinho, Pedro Vaz and Ribeira de São João, Porto Inglês is also a must-visit place – the main avenue and the alleys around the Parish Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz and the Salinas are a must. reference, and at the end of the afternoon you can even let yourself be swept away by a stunning sunset.

Beaches: All beaches invite you to take a dip in their clear waters and the perfect temperature! Praia do Porto Inglês (full of fishing boats, young fishermen and fishmongers), Praia da Ribeira de São João and Praia de Ponta Preta (has natural pools, where you can relax, especially at low tide), where you can give some invigorating diving, the beach where, in addition to diving in the turquoise waters, you can delight the eyes and senses in a sand full of whelk; Praia das Dunas, which is close to the village of Morrinho, and which is yet another corner and dream of this island; Praia da Calheta, which has black sand, but which is fantastic, and where at the end of the day the kids dive before heading home; and Praia do Barreiro, where, in addition to diving, you can see the spawning of turtles and Praia Real , Praia de Pau Seco and Porto Cais.

Hiking: you can take long and pleasant walks along the beautiful beaches with gleaming white sand; can walk through the dunes in the northern part of the island.

Fauna: In the summer you can see some turtles on the beaches of Ilha do Maio, and in the north of the island, you can also observe some rare sea birds.

You cannot miss a concert by the Band 7 Sóis e 7 Luas at the SeteSóis e Sete Luas Centrum (Porto Inglês), a visit to the Tropical Bar is also mandatory (Vlia do Maio).


The gastronomy is also rich and it is mandatory to delight in Creole gastronomy. Highlight for the “Caldeirada de Peixe” served with grouper and lobster. It is mandatory to taste the Queijo do Maio – pure goat and cheese with a peculiar flavor (distinct from the islands of Boa Vista, Santo Antão or Fogo) and the Queijo Pudim (goat cheese) which is a specialty of Cape Verdean cuisine. Then there are the Sweet Fruits – papaya, marmalade or gaoiabada – to enjoy alone or to accompany slices of cheese.


Fish Stew
 Maio's Cheese

Maio Island is a piece of paradise that is waiting for you and that you must visit!

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