Santa Maria, an Island with History

Beyond the sea there is much to explore!

The surroundings and natural richness of this small island, in the Atlantic Ocean, invites us to the discovery of nature, leaving the hustle and bustle of modern times beyond the horizon line.

Santa Maria Island is the oldest of the Azores and the first to be discovered and later populated (15th century) by Portuguese from the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo.

Christopher Columbus passed through here on his return from his first voyage to America, a fact that is marked in the Anjos place.

The contrasting landscape is one of its great charms. It can be said that the island is divided into two distinct zones. One extends from south to west, flat and sunny, with scrubby vegetation, while the other is north and northeast, mountainous, with abundant green vegetation.

Its coast is very indented, forming bays and small inlets that give way to quite pleasant beaches, the most famous being São Lourenço Bay and Praia Formosa, which have the particularity of being the only ones with white sand in the Azores.

One of the greatest contributions to the richness of Santa Maria's natural heritage is its geological and geomorphological aspects. It is the only island in the Azores that has marine fossil deposits - Pedreira do Campo, Grutas do Figueiral, Cré and “Pedra que Pica”; the Paleoparque Sta Maria offers the unique Fossils Route in Atlantic islands; places to visit.

Main dive spots on the island

  • West

    Ilhéu da Vila - (Beginners)
    Baja da Cagarra - (Beginners)
    Calçada do Gigante - (Beginners)
    Baixa de Fora - (Intermediate)
    Cabeço João Lopes - (Experienced)
    Ambrósio - (Experienced)

  • East

    Pedrinha - (Beginners)
    Baixa da Cré - (Beginners)
    Baixa da Maia - (Intermediate)
    Shrimps Cave - (Intermediate)
    Pedrinha da Maia - (Intermediate)
    Pinheiro - (Experienced)
    Blue Cave - (Experienced)
    Cabeço Badejo - (Experienced)

  • Northeast

    Natural Reserve of Ilhéus das Formigas and Dollabarat - (Intermediate / Experienced)