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Ilha Deserta Boat Trip

Planning to visit Ilha Deserta for your next vacation?

Barrier Island is a very dynamic system and a sensitive area in terms of coastal erosion. As the name suggests, the islands in Natural Park act as a barrier to Ria Formosa from storm erosion, subsidence and sea level rise.

Relationship of local culture with Ria Formosa, Barrier Islands and Cape St.  Mary is the subject of history books. During the fifth century, the area we know as Faro, was named “Santa Maria de Ossónoba”. The myth of Santa Maria continued the name of the city for 9 centuries, until it developed into ‘Faroon’ and then Faro.

Cape St. Mary is the southernmost tip of mainland Portugal, in Ria Formosa, the city of Faro. This is the point on the beach curve on the island of Barreta, which also has the name of the island of Cape St. Mary or Ilha Deserta. Cape St. Mary is located on the primitive island of Cape St. Mary  The opening of the definitive Barra Nova canal, to serve the ports of Faro and Olhão, in the first quarter of the 20th century, divided the island into two – Culatra Island and Barreta Island.

Needed to reach Cape St. Mary, and visit one of Faro’s unimaginable historic landmarks – a 30-minute walk on the causeway, or the white sandy beach located at the bottom of Europe.

How to get to Cape St. Mary by boat?

Cape St. Mary can only be reached by boat. You can book Ilha Deserta boat trip tickets online on our website. This will save you time at the ticket desk in Faro, and guarantee you a place on the boat. During the Ilha Deserta boat trip, it is possible to see several species of birds, such as flamingos, in Ria Formosa Natural Park. The Ilha Deserta boat trip adventure adds to the experience of visiting a desert island.

Our Ilha Deserta boat tour fleet departs every day, all year long, from Faro (Porta Nova Pier). We have various types of boats, suitable for a number of group sizes, and prepare for different weather conditions that we can find throughout the year.

Our fleet has all navigation and safety equipment that complies with coast guard regulations, insurance, and provisions required by law.

Our concept is to give you a perfect vacation day: after a boat tour along Ria Formosa Nature Park, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a gastronomic experience at Restaurant Estaminé, with fresh fish, local seafood, and some Portuguese wine, and finish on the beach lying in the sun lounger.

Animaris has created several products in the field of Nature Tourism. Since we started in 1986, our focus has been on respecting and preserving the environment, especially the Ilha Deserta boat tour. At present it is still the only uninhabited barrier island of Ria Formosa.

The Estaminé Restaurant, recognized and awarded for its gastronomic quality and energy efficiency, is the only structure on the island. Open every day of the year, with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and Natural Parks, we specialize in fresh products from the sea and the Ria, such as fish and seafood.

We also manage beach concessions on the island, with support services such as sunbeds and sun shade, and a coast guard team during the bathing season (June to September).

Our fleet, for transportation and boat tours, consists of various types of ships (semi-rigid, speedboats and catamarans), with capacities ranging from 10 to 200 passengers.

Our multilingual team is experienced in guided tours, personalized experiences for families, business groups, school groups, tourists and residents.

Ilha Deserta is one of the 5 barrier islands in Ria Formosa Natural Park. The question that is often asked is whether the island is called Barreta or Deserta. Barreta is the island’s geographical name, Deserta, which means desert or deserted, appearing as a nickname among the fishermen.

Below are the best things to do during your Ilha Deserta Boat Trip :

Ria Formosa Birdwatching

Every year more than 30,000 birds use Ria Formosa during migration and in winter, making this one of the three most important wetlands in Portugal.  Several species have European interests because of their important breeding populations, including Little Tern, the Pied Avocet and the Audouin Gull. The wide diversity of habitats here leads to the occurrence of a large number of species, one of the highest in Portugal, especially waterfowl, including waders and ducks in particular and, in smaller numbers, herons.

Ria Formosa is also famous for the highest number of Wigeon Eurasian winters and the breeding of red-crested Pochard in Portugal. In the mainland several paser forest species occur, as well as various raptor.

More than 300 species of birds have been recorded here, some of which are very rare and others internationally recognized as endangered, such as the Purple Swamphen – symbol of the Natural Park.

Ria Formosa is one of the most beautiful and important wetlands in Portugal, featuring a wide range of sandy barrier islands parallel to the coast that protect the ria’s interior from the sea and create environmental conditions similar to estuaries.

Boardwalk

The Santa Maria boardwalk, along the Ria Formosa Natural Park, was built in Ilha Deserta in 1999, and it become one of the must-visit places in Faro and Ria Formosa, in the Algarve.

Can you imagine : Your journey has begun with Ilha Deserta boat tour, and you are already on the paradisiac island. The Santa Maria boardwalk in Ilha Deserta is only 5 minutes from the pier, and this begins with a scenario of the main elements in the local ecosystem: the Atlantic Ocean floods Ria Formosa, creating a labyrinth of channels guided by swamp salt biotopes over seagrass beds and the Barrier Islands, protecting  Ria Formosa of all the powers that can be expressed by the Atlantic Ocean.

As you walk, you can feel the flow of biodiversity and gradients between complex dune systems. The line runs for two kilometers and ends at the southernmost point of the mainland of Portugal – Cape St. Mary

After reaching the beach, you should take a walk along the wave line on a white sandy beach with a stretch of shells. The diversity and abundance of shells at Ilha Deserta are well known, and to preserve them we sincerely ask you, as you go along the beach, to take pictures instead of taking them home.

Cape St. Mary

Cape St. Mary is the southernmost tip of mainland Portugal, in Ria Formosa, the city of Faro. This is the point on the beach curve on the island of Barreta, which also has the name of the island of Cape St. Mary or Ilha Deserta. Cape St. Mary is located on the primitive island of Cape St. Mary  The opening of the definitive Barra Nova canal, to serve the ports of Faro and Olhão, in the first quarter of the 20th century, divided the island into two – Culatra Island and Barreta Island.

Needed to reach Cape St. Mary, and visit one of Faro’s unimaginable historic landmarks – a 30-minute walk on the causeway, or the white sandy beach located at the bottom of Europe.

Ilha de Armona

Armona Island is the ideal place for perfect holidays. The sandy barrier of Armona is wide, with a losing sight that extends to Fuzeta Beach (approximately 9 km long). The beaches closest to the continent offer visitors warm and tranquil waters. The open sea beach is busier, and the seawater is almost always churning and cold. The few natives who live on the island live mainly from tourism and fishing.  In the small fishing village there are a few mini markets, cafes and simple restaurants. 

Ilha Deserta

Sand and sea. No more, how far can the look can go. This Ilha Deserta in the Faro district, Portugal. The simplest experience of total connection with the simplest nature.  And without going to the other side of the world. The beauty of the trip is they can surprise you when and how you would never expect. You have thought about them and in the end they made you rethink about yourself.

Ilha Deserta Beach is completely covered by shells, which are bright with reflected sunlight, like the surface of the water. Here and there you can also find several starfish, dragged by the waves of the night. Being the island’s first land route coming from the south, there is a lighthouse. And some fishermen at his feet.

The beaches in Ilha Deserta have the highest rank in the region in terms of water and air quality, and for 20 years now, we are proud to be the Blue Flag.

During the summer bathing season – from 1 June to 30 September, to ensure your safety, Deserta Beach has a lifetime of protection along the coast. And for your convenience, we have a beach concession, equipped with sun shade and a sun bed.

The closest airport to Ilha Deserta is Faro Airport, which has fewer airlines flying every day. From there, you can reach the island with our Ilha Deserta boat tour in Faro. 

Animaris operates a fleet dedicated to Ilha Deserta and Ria Formosa natural parks. Starting from Faro and Olhão (Jamanta), you can choose among several Boat Tours options. Every day of the year! 

Why choose our Boat Tour in Faro?

Our Faro Boat Tours will take you to the most popular places above. 

Our Faro Boat Tours has more than 30 years of experience in tourism with a team of certified professional marine biologists and skippers, multilingual and friendly staff, timeliness and safety, our boat tour in Faro also gives guests the freedom to spend time on the island and choose your return  schedule!

However, a visit the islands in Faro and Ria Formosa are cannot be missed while visiting Faro and it is very much worth a visit!

What are you waiting for? Book your Ilha Deserta Boat Trip with us now!