Maio is an island in Cape Verde, with an area of 269 km2. The population of the island is about 6700 inhabitants. It belongs to the leeward group of islands, south of Boavista and east of Santiago. Although the island is volcanic, it is mostly plain and the highest elevation is Monte Penoso, with 437m.
Geomorphologically, Maio is the oldest island in the archipelago. Porto Inglês (also known as Vila do Maio), is the biggest urban centre in the island. Apart from the town, there are 12 other villages: Morro, Calheta, Morrinho, Cascabulho, Praia Gonçalo e Santo António, Pedro Vaz, Alcatraz, Pilão Cão, Ribeira Dom João, Figueiras e Barreiro.
Even though it is one of the most arid islands, Maio has the biggest forest in Cape Verde. With a total of 3500 hectares, comprising mainly acacia trees, it was planted as part of a reforestation plan. The northern part of the island is very desertified, due to the strong northwest winds. Maio is known for its long thin sandy beaches.
In 2020 UNESCO designated Maio, along with the island of Fogo, as a Biosphere reserve. The aim of a Biosphere is to involve the local community in planning and management in areas that include the conservation of biodiversity and cultural diversity.
Organisations such as the Maio Biodiversity Foundation (Fundação Maio Biodiversidade or FMB) have been working in the area of conservation for some years. They have had a particular emphasis on the protection of turtles. The loggerhead turtles nest in the sand dunes on Maio, but for many years were hunted.
Our team at Maio Eco Tours has a great respect for nature. We understand it is everybody’s responsibility to engage in the task of environmental conservation. Maio Eco-Tours cannot shirk this responsibility, so we have created a programme to support non-profit organizations working with nature conservation. With every client that passes through our agency 2% of the payment is earmarked for nature conservation.