The last Day

Today we walked the last part of the 5 day tour around Santa Maria. On paper only it sounded easy: No big climbs, a distance of 22 km. We started on pretty paths along the coast: „tunnels“ through the woods and a little red dessert, pastures surrounded by stone walls, most of the time with ocean view. Break at a seawater pool and afterwards in the same fashion. For the moment…
Then it became tough: Dry grassy landscape and along an endless fence of the air control area with big antennas. And it was hot, very hot and humid. Sweat was pouring and no breeze to cool down. It got even worse: Up a hill and we stood infant of the fence around the airport, which we had to circle around (6 km…). The path followed more or less exactly along the fence direction south. Truly boring! We found the only existing shade by a ruin where we had our lunch break. Since the trail was so tedious, we decided to shortcut direction Vila do Porto and skip the southwestern tip of the island. „Forget the lighthouse!“. See the yellow dotted line in the map. 

After a long walk on roads we finally reached the end of our tour: A bar where we had a couple of ice cold beers. Given all the blood sweat and tears, this day was our personal Queen’s stage.

© Ilha a pé
© Ilha a pé

Final Thoughts

This day was not enough to spoil the whole tour. We’re happy that we did the hike around Santa Maria! 5 days out in the nature, most of the time far off from people and fuss, bueautiful paths made it an unique experience for us.

All the shelters are in heavenly locations, nicely remodeled and well equipped. We’re glad that we were alone in the shelters. Boeing there with other hikers could’ve been a bit close. If you are a group of say 4 people, I’d recommend to book the tour exclusively for your group.

Contact the organizer:  www.ilhape.com. Ioannis and his wife are nice people, very helpful and flexible. 

I highly recommend the tour to all hikers with an average fitness. It’s an awesome adventure to hike 5 days in a row, every night in a different place and experience the complete island. We were pretty lucky with the weather: No rain at all. That can be different in other times of the year. So you should carry rain jackets etc. I walked in flat trekking shoes which have been absolutely efficient. When it rains you want proper sealed hiking boots. Moreover the path might get slippery and muddy. In this case hiking sticks can also help, we didn’t use ours though.

You can fill your water bottle in the shelters, fix a sandwich and take some fruits on the tour. Around noon there’s always a small restaurant for your break, except day 4.

For the night before the tour start I can recommend the Vila do Porto’s Youth Hostel, which has a high standard (ensuite rooms and, as mentioned earlier, an infinity pool). For dinner we walked down to the harbor where they server excellent seafood. I had my first limpets, which are definitely not my last on this travel.

All in all a great tour!