The MantaMaria dive center is located on the beautiful island of Santa Maria nearly 1,500km offshore from the coast of Portugal. Here you can dive with devil rays in the crystal clear waters of the Azores archipelago, with visibility up to 40 meters.
Santa Maria island is perfectly located next to the natural reserve of Formigas and Ambrosio bank, a shallow rock formation considered by many “the best” diving in Europe. The best time for diving in the Azores if from June through September when conditions are perfect for creating an unforgettable experience.
There are several dive site close to shore just outside the harbor around 10 minutes by boat suitable for all level of divers. The shallow seamounts are further from shore about 1:15hr by boat, however well worth the distance.
The seamounts are in the open sea and are subject to strong currents and great depths. For this reason, diving is recommended to expert divers and only under good atmospheric conditions.
For experienced divers, June to October is the best time to dive with the elusive Chilean Devil Rays. These oceanic wanderers are found at the Ambrosio seamount in groups around the shallow banks, and the Azores is one of only a few locations in the world where the rays gather in such large numbers.
MantaMaria has received a tripadvisor certificate of excellence and voted #1 thing to do in Vila do Porto Santa Maria Island. They offer guided tours with a knowledgable dive team and have transportation available for divers visiting the island.
In addition to guided dive tours MantaMaria offers boat tours around the island of Santa Maria to visit the unique sandy beaches of the Azores and spontaneous encounters with whales and dolphins.
One of the things that stand out about the MantaMaria dive center is passionate owner Jorge Botelho was born and raised in Santa Maria. His passion for the island and the diving is amazing and contagious, he transmits it very well, and enjoys taking people around the island to show guests everything, including regional festivities, food and even having people at his house for dinner.
Explore Santa Maria
The Island of Santa Maria is the oldest island of the Azores and the first to be discovered and eventually populated (XV Century), by the Portuguese. Christopher Columbus made Santa Maria his port of call upon his return voyage from his first trip to the American Continent.
The coast is ragged, forming bays and small coves or inlets resulting in the pleasant and welcoming beaches, the well known are São Lourenço Bay and Praia Formosa, being the only light colored sandy beaches in the Azores.
One of the great contributors to the natural patrimony of Santa Maria is it’s geological and geomorphologic aspects. It is the only island in the Azores that hold deposits of marine fossils (Pedreira do Campo, Grutas do Figueiral, Cré and Pedra que Pica) Sites not to be missed!
The best way to get to Santa Maria, is by air with direct flights from Lisbon and the island of São Miguel, as well as be ferry boat from São Miguel. For more information you can contact the MantaMaria dive center through their website, or facebook page.