Top Spots for Water Sports in the Azores: Canoeing at Lagoa das Furnas, São Miguel
Joana Vasconcelos, Azorean Crochet, Two Lobsters and Versailles?

Top Spots for Water Sports in the Azores: SAILING, DIVE and SNORKELING at Santa Maria Island

Santa Maria Island, the AzoresLocation, weather and sea conditions make the Azores a unique place for diving and to observe diverse species of flora and fauna underwater. One of the benefits of diving here is that touristic companies only allow small groups which guides are specialized in marine biology.

Landing on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores, you could easily think it was a major travel hub. From the air, the airport seems out of proportion to the island, which only measures about 50 miles square.

It’s not that Santa Maria is off the beaten path. The Azores islands sit about a third of the way between New England and Europe, making them the perfect stopover for mariners since the earliest seafaring days. Of the nine islands, Santa Maria is the southernmost, with the driest and warmest climate in the Azores.

Around Santa Maria Island you can find around 55 dive spots filled with caves, passages, massive walls and underwater plains. There is a strong possibility of see the most diverse species in a short range, which makes diving in the Azores such a unique adventure.  Some companies provide some more specific types of diving such as towed dive, the dive scooter or blue water dive.

But if you just want to have fun with your kids, you can always try snorkeling which also provides some unique moments. The Clube Naval de Santa Maria has sailing and diving courses since 1988. They promote sports event like fishing, sailing competitions and submarine photography exhibitions. With 24 years of experience, this is a great opportunity to start enjoying the underwater with your family.

These activities can be practice all year long: the clear waters ensure good visibility (on good days can exceed 60 meters), which associated with mild temperatures make diving an activity not to be missed. For either mode of diving can be found in the Azores agencies that provide equipment, monitoring by trained personnel.

Praia Formosa in Santa Maria Islands, the Azores
Credits: Paulo Magalhães
The beach is about a mile long and is sparsely populated from September to June. The water is a clear, light green, and quite warm in the fall. The undertow is almost non-existent. Beyond that, two things make the Praia Formosa beach a real treasure. First, the ruins of a 16th century fort built to dissuade pirates, now mostly washed away by the sea.

Then there are a series of natural tidal pools that offer a close-up view of the island’s diverse sea life, including small shrimp, hermit crabs, and all types of little fish.

Praia Formosa is a Blue Flag beach, an international standard awarded to only the highest quality and eco-friendly beaches. The sand is a rich golden color with streaks of black. Just as important to families, the beach has bathrooms, changing rooms, and parking. There’s also a restaurant on the beach, O Paquete, made to look like an old steamship eatery, which features a nice selection of fresh local fish, drinks, and a large open esplanade.


Family-Friendly Accommodation

Hotel Colombo, Santa Maria Island, the Azores
Credits: Hotel Colombo

Time for holidays, time for leisure. This is the motto of Hotel Colombo, in Santa Maria Island. It is perfect for families with a range of different types of accommodation: standard bedrooms, senior suites and family suites. The facilities are carefully prepared to give you the ideal conditions for relaxation and enjoyment: a swimming pool with a beautiful view over magnificent landscapes.

While you relax by the pool, you can enjoy wide green zones and an ample deck. You can also try the health club, which offers a wide of services such as Gymnasium, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath, massage and relaxation room. Enjoy yourself in the sunniest island of the Azores and defy your family for healthy rides throughout the island. Bicycles are available at the reception desk.

Find more Top Spots For Water Sports in the Azores:
Surf in Santa Bárbara beach, São Miguel
Snorkeling at Ilhéu de Vila Franca, São Miguel
Canoeing at Lagoa das Furnas, São Miguel


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