Santo Espírito and Ponta do Castelo
Half-day (3 hours)
In order to understand the importance that the whaling industry had on the island of Santa Maria, a visit to the main center of this industry is required. This center was the anchorage in Ponta do Castelo, in the southeastern part of the island, an area where sperm whales would pass by in abundance.
To start, the Museum of Santa Maria is a must-visit for anyone who would like to take a “journey to the past” and experience what it was like to live in a traditional azorean house, since this space still preserves much of its typical layout. Inside, among different sections and objects, we can learn about the various trades, daily life habits and economic activities in the region.
Next, we proceed to visit the Ponta do Castelo Whaling Station, the most isolated whaling complex in the Azores, solely accessed by a short walking trail along the cliff. We go down to the port and into this “magical” place, where, although having been transformed by the passage of time, we can easily imagine the hustle and bustle experienced here in other times, as we find countless traces of structures, that demonstrate the importance that this whaling complex had in the past: Dorms of Castelo, the Old Boathouse, the New Boathouse and Warehouse or offices, the Hauling Ramp, the Cutting Platform and the old Tryworks House.