Maio – The Secluded Island
Maio, the easternmost island of the Sotavento, is located to the south of Boa Vista.
You can expect to find sleepy towns with colourful little houses, some decorated with flowers, wandering goats and, above all, a lot of tranquillity. People sit in front of their houses, dreaming away, and time seems to stand still here.
The vegetation is very sparse, but Maio has more than just deserts. There are salt marshes in the north of the island. Hilly landscapes, as well as limestone valleys, acacia forests and coconut palms characterise the island’s appearance. As a result of afforestation measures, Maio now even has the largest continuous woodland area of Cape Verde. This has once again made it possible for the locals to produce charcoal near Morrinho without endangering the tree population.
If you are a bird-watcher, you will get your money’s worth on this island: bar-tailed larks, coursers, cream-coloured coursers and even ospreys can be observed. You can see sea swallows and waders in the saline pools near Vila do Maio.
The island has beautiful secluded beaches. For example, a broad sandy beach many kilometres in length is relatively easy to reach and runs along the west coast from Vila do Maio (Praia da Vila in the city and Praia Ponta Preta in eastern direction) through the little town of Morro until after Calheta. Swimming is also wonderful to the south of the capital at the Praia da Ponta Preta.
The capital of the island, Vila do Maio, is located directly on the ocean in the southwest. The Praça Fina, the central plaza of the city, serves as an evening meeting place for the people of Maio. A white church, built in the Portuguese colonial style, borders the plaza. To the south of the praça on a side street, there is a little market hall where you can buy groceries.
The towns of Calheta and Morrinho are located in the forested west. The latter shows little signs of activity since some of its houses are vacant. The village church stands on a little plaza lined with oleander bushes. On the other hand, Calheta displays its colourful little houses and a small plaza with a church that has a striking white-yellow facade.
The little town of Morro, surrounded by a grove of coconut palms, is also located in the west of the island and has a very beautiful swimming beach with fine sand. During the summer, turtles can be observed here. But be sure to keep a good distance between you and the nests of eggs because the animals quickly feel bothered and interrupt or stop laying eggs, leaving the nest defenceless. To the northeast of Morro, you will find a range of hills with the Monte Batalha peak (294 metres).
The island only has air connections from and to Praia, but these are not scheduled on a daily basis. Maritime connections are also rare, but the harbour facility is navigable for larger ships due to its expansion.