Maio Cape Verde offers a perfect destination for a quiet ‘get away from it all’ holiday. You can expect to find sleepy towns with colourful little houses, hilly landscapes, limestone valleys, acacia forests and coconut palms and tranquility in abundance. There are long stretches of perfect almost deserted white sandy beaches, warm clear waters with very little commercialism.
This is a lovely, forgotten island. If you enjoy long walks, or just sitting and relaxing, this is the place for you. It may be a little harder to get to, but it is well worth the effort. Maio has a charm all of its own and the local people are some of the friendliest in the country. This is a lovely, sometimes overlooked island.
The southern part of the island is largely desert, and in the north there are forests and a slightly more mountainous terrain. Cobbled roads connect all the small villages such as Morro, Calheta and Morrinho to the main town of Vila do Maio (also known as Porto Inglês). The roads are quiet and a guided tour of the island is a pleasant experience and will give the visitor an interesting day. A tour will take in the attractive little villages and the sand dunes at Morrinho, acacia forests (now the largest continuous wooded area within Cape Verde) and the charcoal pits.
The main town of Vila do Maio is located in the south west of the island. It is on the coast and is where the airport and the ferry jetty are located. It is a quiet, attractive little town with very few cars. The quaint streets offer glimpses of the sea as they slope down the hillside. At the centre of the town is the Town Square, recently re-designed with attractive planting and places to sit. There are a few bars and restaurants dotted around the town, including Bar Tropikal on the beach.
The deserted beaches are an attraction to a variety of sea birds and there are turtles found in the waters. Between June to October you may be lucky to see the turtles laying their eggs in nests in the sand dunes. Then see the babies make their way into the sea. Organised trips can be arranged, as it is important not to endanger these beautiful creatures.
A local guitarist and composer, Tibau Tavares is prominent in the music life of Cape Verde. He is identified in what has become known as new Cape Verdean music, which includes a combination of modern and traditional dance. The local music is infectious and you may well find yourself dancing with the locals in one of the bars, or even outside in the street. In early September there is a beach festival in Vila do Maio.