Santa Maria, the Island of the Sun, is the southernmost and smallest of the Azores archipelago. With only 90 km2 of surface and a population of 5,000 inhabitants, it boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Azores, with crystal-clear waters, beautiful bays, and natural pools.
For divers in love with the Azores, we have created two collections: one of diving T-shirts and hoodies, and another of Azores T-shirts featuring the most representative marine species of the archipelago.
The fact that Santa Maria has become the most sought-after destination for divers looking to explore the depths of the archipelago is due to two visitors it receives during the summer: the whale shark, often accompanied by schools of tuna and carangids, and groups of tarapacana mobulas.
In “Ambrosio”, just 3 miles off the coast, we can find as much marine life as in other distant spots like Princess Alice. There, during the hottest months of the year, dozens of mobulas gracefully dance around the divers. This spot allows less experienced divers to see these majestic animals as they are at depths not exceeding 15 meters, but it also allows those with many dives to descend to 40 meters on a small platform where many rays, dogfish, and even some moonfish pass by.
Santa Maria has eight other diving spots where both beginners and experienced divers will find many attractions. We can find caves and tunnels like the islet “Baixa da Maia”, which, thanks to the currents it receives and the fishing prohibition, allows us to see schools of tuna or barracudas and features beautiful formations of yellow anemones that host many nudibranchs.
In the “Blue Grotto”, we can explore a cave over 150 meters long that offers different environments and beautiful light effects, as well as encountering black skates. Another beautiful lava tunnel is the “Funda Grotto”, with depths between 15 and 40 meters, with a sandy bottom where many skates, breams, and schools of carangids reside. Another interesting area with vertical walls and currents is the "Banco João Lopes" which, in addition to the typical fauna of the Azores, receives visits from pelagics such as barracudas, carangids, and, with some luck, mobulas in the summer.
In Santa Maria, we can also find marine reserves full of life like “Pedrinha”, easy to dive with different dives, environments, and small rocky landscapes of great beauty. In Pedrinha, hakes, breams, dogfish, or groupers are very common, and with some luck, we can also see a mobula.