Madeira’s Sister Island of Porto Santo
Porto Santo is a small island discovered by Portuguese navigators in 1418. It was the first of many islands to be discovered by Portugal’s maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries. The island is located 29 miles northeast of Madeira Island, the larger of the Archipelago islands. The island’s location is approximately 520 km off the African coast and 1000 km from the European continent, around a 90-minute flight from Lisbon. This is a white sand lovers paradise as the coastline stretches the entire island, providing ample leisure room on these clean, pristine beaches. Although a small island in size and terms of population with just over 5500 residents living on the island, the Porto Santo community has its own schools, health-care center, police detachments, churches, several local squares, museums, shopping centers, bars, hotels, and of course some great local restaurants. It was here that Christopher Columbus began his life as a young navigator and married the governor’s daughter Filipa, where they had a son they named Diogo. The family’s residence still stands today, and it was in this home that Columbus poured over ancient maps and weather charts of the seas and wind patterns inherited from his father in law; the discoverer of the island. The famous discoverer’s home is now used as a museum with many of his original artifacts and information about his Atlantic journeys still exist in their original form. This is a popular spot for academics and historians to come and explore the early life of Columbus and his family while gaining the first-hand experience of an island culture that has changed very little over the centuries. However, the island’s flora and fauna have changed dramatically since it was initially discovered in 1418, although the Portuguese govern-emphasized the restoring and preservation of the island’s unique ecosystem. The legend of the island of Porto Santo became a cautionary tale for all subsequent discoveries and colonization of new uninhabited lands. The 1st Governor of the island, when he began colonizing the island in 1419, brought with him a pregnant female rabbit that caused a mass overpopulation of the island with rabbits that began to consume much of the island’s original flora. Unlike Madeira, which is mountainous, the island has a similar temperature to that of the Canary Islands, which belong to Spain and are located south of the island. Many unique, unpaved marked trails lead through the plains and hillsides of the island, which offer breathtaking views into the ocean, and on clear days you can see the larger island of Madeira. This is a popular destination for golfers, surfers, and beach lovers alike since it offers some of the most beautiful coastlines and clean blue water the Atlantic has to offer. The golf course on the island, which has hosted the European Cup, is an 18 hole course with various terrains, making it a challenging course in the middle of the ocean. Also, another sport in recent years that has been gaining popularity and international awareness is surfing. The island’s location, temperature, and water current fill are the requirements for making this an ideal surf location. In the winter months, where the waves tend to be 3-5 feet, and the water temperature is warmer than anywhere in Europe, it makes this a lowkey spot to get in a great surfing session. The summer months are big with stand up paddle boarding and other water activities where the crystal blue ocean and white sand beaches are popular with kayakers who want to admire the coastline and unique rock formations of this untouched paradise.
Looking forward on visiting