Porto Santo is a small very dry island with a 9 km beach of yellow sand known by its therapeutic effects. The beach is considered one of the best of the world not only for its extent but mostly for its mild temperature and clear waters. The 9 km walk each way is a fantastic fitness for those who don’t like to just lay on the sun.
Porto Santo is however much more than just the beach and those who just want to get their feet on the sand are loosing quite a bit of the great mountain and country landscapes of the island. You may get an idea by having a look at some photos I took on August 2010 here http://www.fotopedia.com/albums/XVGaukkq7oQ
a new experience
Last week, I came back to the island for a three day stay. Although windy, the two first days were sunny and hot making the hours at the beach almost unbearable. Local people usually take sun umbrellas and wind-protectors to the beach.
On the third day, I went on a tour on horseback. Yes, you heard it, you can ride a horse through the mountain or fields trails of the island. Paulo Ornelas is the man you need to meet to arrange for these walks. He’s such a nice guy and has a special gift to deal with children who can be somehow afraid on their first contact with horses. You must contact him the day before to arrange for the walk but this is not difficult. You’ll find him every night at the main peer, right in the center of the village, with one of his horses, where he offer his services with mini-mini-tours for children.
Paulo is a local, with a deep love for the island and for its nature. He strongly believes nature is all about culture and should be preserved on the best interest of the local economy who need tourism as bread for the mouth. Tourism is really essential for the survival of local people and it’s mostly seasonal, from June to September.
He started this business with the know-how of his father, with whom he learned to deal with horses since his early age. His little knowledge of foreign languages will not be a problem to communicate with him, yet his making an effort to learn more English language to interact better with his customers.
Thousands of birds can be heard and seen all day long, the goats and gooses walk on the fields, dogs and cats stay out on the small country houses yards. Riding on the back of a horse will give you a different perspective of the landscape and the way people live. Children will love to feel they can be cowboys for an hour and the adults will enjoy the silence and being miles away of the turbulent urban life.
Don’t miss this activity when you’re on the island of Porto Santo. I leave you with the contacts of Paulo Ornelas.
Telephone: (+351) 964 682 937
I hope next time you’ll arrive at Porto Santo, either by plane of by boat, you will remember to search for Paulo and his horses. If you ever tried it, feel free to share your experience on comments.