With an area of approximately 97 km and about 5600 inhabitants, Santa Maria was the first island of the archipelago to be officially discovered by Diogo Silves, between 1427 and 1432.
Also known as the island of sun because it is the warmest island in the archipelago, with a dry Mediterranean climate, Santa Maria is adorned by several bays, coves and beautiful sandy beaches and clear warm waters, making it a desirable holiday destination.
The island also offers fantastic landscapes, coloured by the yellow, green and ochre of the soil and crops, and the deep blue of the sea that presents excellent conditions for practicing sports such as surfing, windsurfing, sailing, diving and deep-sea fishing.
Also unavoidable is the rich cuisine of the island, including fresh fish and seafood, delicious desserts and fine regional wines and liquors.
For those who like to combine leisure with culture, the island of sun has a peculiar architectural heritage with housing units that resemble the Algarve and the Alentejo, where the first settlers came from.
Vila do Porto, the capital of the island, is the oldest Azorean town and the only municipality of the Azores with soils of sedimentary origin where one can find a wide variety of marine fossils.
The airport was built in 1944, which, with its prime location between Europe and America, provides Santa Maria with great strategic value, making it a stopover point for transatlantic flights. Today, the aviation industry still has an invaluable importance for the economy of Santa Maria.