It has been six months now that I returned to my home country and to my usual life, and yet, I haven’t recovered from my post-travel trauma. My phone, desktop and laptop home screens show beautiful views from Cidade Velha. My ringtone is “Nha Manera” by Boy Ge Mendes, recommended by the talented Hilario Silva. I still got Cabo Verde bad, bad, under my skin.
After taking you on a tour of Santiago Island today we’re off to Maio Island, the land of empty wild beaches and deafening calmness.
Maio Island (pronounced as /mayo/ – you’re welcome) is the nearest island to Santiago, less than an hour by plane and about two hours by ferry. A little confession – visiting this island was never in my plans as I couldn’t find any useful or interesting information on the net about the island, what to expect, where to stay and what to do once there. My actual destination after Santiago was Sao Filipe (Fogo).
I booked a return ticket to Maio Island for about €100. For my accommodation, I found many available options on online booking platforms. I stayed in Kaza Tropikal and AH Maio in Vila do Maio (Porto Inglês), which I highly recommend.
Surprisingly there were many activities to do during my stay, such as walking around the city, sailing, going on tour on quads, snorkeling and if I got lucky, I could see a herd of whales traveling (which sadly I failed to).
Following the recommendation of my first host, Caroline, I opted for a walk around the Salinas accompanied by her dog. It is a sort of reserve that provides insightful information about salt, its manufacturing and salt samples which you can check in person.
I wanted to visit the other cities, so I opted for a guided tour scheduled for me by the hotel. It takes about 4 hours to go around the whole island. I visited Morro, Baia, Santana, Calheta Pedra Vaz, and Ribeira D Joào beach. Throughout the visit, you can discover how the people live and go about their daily life fishing, selling fish, fruits and veggies or farming and the kids either going to school or enjoying a soccer game.
It is true that Maio Island does not provide as much as Santiago in terms of activities and entertainment, as tourism isn’t as developed there. However, it should be on your to-go list if you are looking for wild and empty beaches, beautiful views and juicy papayas. Needless to say, the cabo verdeans were humble, warm and very welcoming. If I were to visit this Island again, which I will, I would go on a “Cast Away” experience there.