Santa Maria Island - Azores 2013
Azores, nine pearls geological planted in a vast ocean whitewater. Santa Maria, stands out for its geology, which differs from its eight sisters. Is geologically the oldest of the Azores, with features that surpass the 8.12 million years old, so it is the only island in the archipelago that has no recent volcanic activity. The comparatively advanced age gives maturity to relief and explains the presence of extensive sedimentary formations where you can find several species of rare endemic extinct marine fossils.
And I, could not go from there... to join the pleasure of traveling and returning again to the Azores, joined the enjoyment of personal rediscovery of these spectacular fossiliferous deposits, Santa Maria. Back to the Azores is a privilege and a pleasure... I feel like I'm at home, even if it is hundreds of miles from that point.
Barreiro da Faneca (Red Desert) Geopark Santa Maria
Santa Maria, is located at the southeastern end of the archipelago, integrated in the Eastern Group. Have been the first island to be sighted around 1427 by the Portuguese navigator Diogo de Silves. In February 1493, Christopher Columbus climbed on the island returning from his first trip to America.
Santa Maria, distinguished by aspect Mediterranean landscape, in contrast to the rest of the archipelago. Its surface flattened and low, with a maximum altitude of 277 meters above sea level, so does not allow interception of atmospheric moisture as in the other islands, so creating a drier climate with pronounced contrasts in the landscape.
Anyone who has been to the Azores, is the idea that the islands differ little in the landscape and geology characteristically volcanic. Santa Maria, however let us feel a world apart from the rest of the archipelago.
With the approach of the plane to the island, in the retina of the eye is the vision of the barren desolation of a world devoid of plant life, in late summer. Nothing can be more misleading than the primary idea that you can get the barren waste... this is what makes the difference from other islands of Azores. Santa Maria, surprising the extent that we rediscover every corner of its magnificent natural geography, shaped by the erosive persistence time. To me, left me completely surprised... was more than I could imagine finding.
Geography and history - Santa Maria: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_Island
Praínha - Formosa
Fisherman's Feast - Family Football Championship 2013
Santa Maria island, Azores 2013
Negative; Traveling to the Azores from the mainland (Portugal), is unfortunately not yet accessible to all pockets... there is no low cost flights, low cost from the mainland (Portugal), they do compete with TAP and SATA, but there are from other European countries! The island of Madeira already has...
Positive; Almost all. The Azores Islands are still a little paradise here on the doorstep. For how long? God only knows... Santa Maria, left me full of desire to go back there.
Some Councils; Go with time and with calm, enjoy the tranquility of the serene and cozy atmosphere of the island. For those who enjoy good walks, enjoying the natural scenery and indomitable good dives... if possible, one week. Santa Maria has a lot to see and discover.
Stay; The range of hotels and residential on the island is not much and the prices are depending on the time of year quite expensive. In Vila do Porto, there is a Youth Hostel... I think it very expensive.
Option; Personally I do not like big vacation plans... the idea of tourism packages with everything already done and pre-destined, get me the pleasure of the unexpected. The "Marienses" are gentle, willing to help. Just come and talk to local people about who rents a house, a room, car or anything else. There is always someone who gives us the right information... and can be much cheaper, thus contributing to a better distribution of business opportunity to others.
If you can rent a car; The island is not large, but it is more practical and meets major goals. Travel by taxi, you can get much more expensive. Public transport does not cover the entire island. Walking or cycling, is also not great option... You can try to rent a car in a repair shop or a private individual. It gets a little more into account, even though the car may be a little older than in Rental Cars... solves the same and not have to give collateral.
Clothing; Light clothing and fresh, lightweight footwear all terrain but comfortable. A waterproof is also advisable, depending on the time of year. Azores is normal for sudden rains in most of the year, less likely in Santa Maria.
Local cuisine; Santa Maria, do not have much to offer in terms of local cuisine. I found nothing that deserves great relevance counseling is usually expensive and poor quality.
The best place I found; Quality + price, was the Naval Club Vila do Porto. It has daily specials at reasonable price, goldfish fresh and good beef. Do not forget the fresh cheese...
Activities; If enjoys a nice dip in the crystal clear, with good temperature and many fish to color... going prepared. For those who like surfing some good waves... find good conditions for the practice of surfing, the Beach of Formosa, the only beach in the Azores islands with white sand. Lovers of hiking and mountain biking will find spectacular walking routes... with varying degrees of difficulty. And of course, do not miss them, Fossils Deposits of Santa Maria... very rare in recent volcanic islands.
Security; Maxim. It is almost 100% guaranteed to not have any problem with violence or theft. The "Marienses" are good people...
Tourist map of the Santa Maria island - Azores
Santa Maria - Azores, September 2013