Best time to visit
Schooling mobula, mako sharks, blue sharks, baitballs, conger eels, excellent visibility
Intermediate - Advanced
Santa Maria is the smallest and southernmost island in the Azorean Archipelago, meaning that this tiny gem gets the most sunshine in the chain. With a population of ust 5,500 people, divers will really feel away from it all here. Being the closest to the region’s best dive sites, the offshore seamounts of Formigas and Dollabarat, this is the natural choice for divers who just want to get stuck in and are all about the diving. Accessed directly from Lisbon or with a stopover in Sao Miguel, diving holidays in Santa Maria work really well as a combination trip for those interested in island-hopping.
Even aside from the impressive offshore seamounts, the local diving around Santa Maria is arguably the best in the Azores, with excellent visibility of 40m+ and a healthy abundance of marine life. Amberjacks, tuna, huge clouds of Turkish wrasses, moray eels, slipper lobsters, rays and even the odd turtle can be seen at the local sites, so divers needn’t be disappointed if they are limited by the conditions or by experience. Ambrosio is only a 45 minute rib-ride away, and allows intermediate and advanced divers the chance to see devil rays a little closer to home.