Azores, Best Sustainable Tourism 2014-2015

Azores islands are the recipient for The Platinum Quality Coast 2014/2015 award

Quality Coast is the word's largest certification operation, it has researched multiple sustainable tourist destinations in order to assign its first edition of the award.

As main sustainable features of the Archipelago, the organization has identified its costal areas, nature, marine life, pristine waters, hotels, identity of the populations, landscapes, environment, culture and socio-economical factors as outstanding.

The volcanic islands gather several natural wonders, as the UNESCO biosphere.

The existence of a well protected sea world, where dolphins, a wide variety of fish, sea turtles, Wales and corals dwell, was also highlighted.

 
Santa Maria

Located on the most South Eastern part of the archipelago, Santa Maria was the first of 9 Azorean Islands to be ported [1423 and 1427 A.D.]

Due to its southern position, this most sunny Island is set on the same Algarve parallel, being known as the Island of the Sun.
The island spans from 17km length to 9 km on its larger width, counting four seaside leisure areas, Praia Formosa, Maia, São Lourenço and Anjos.
Praia Formosa has been classified amongst the 10 most beautiful and quality beaches of Portugal, and it’s a perfect destination for a family vacation.
São Lourenço’s Bay, seen as one of the most beautiful bays of Azores, presents a shy sand beach that grows in extension every other year. São Lourenço also offers the use of a sea water swimming-pool, like Maia and Anjos. Little fish, crabs and shrimps can be spotted in its waters, being a kid’s delight.

Santa Maria can be experienced by bycilcle on its green landscapes, or on one of the 3 hiking trails, by horseback riding or discovered through adventure sports like canyoning of paragliding.
The sea offers multiple experiences, either on kayak, sailing or powerboating, rock or boat fishing, snorkelling, free diving, scuba diving or underwater spear fishing.

Santa Maria’s waters are cristal clear, and its temperature reaches 24º by Summer’s end, allowing a unique bathing feel on its calm waters and fine sand.

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