Islet of Vila Franca do Campo

Islet of Vila Franca do Campo

Islet of Vila Franca do Campo
4.5
About
Located right off of Sao Miguel island, this beautiful islet—with its perfectly circular lagoon of clear and turquoise waters surrounded by lush vegetation—is actually the crater of an ancient volcano. A great spot for nature lovers, you can take a birdwatching or whale-watching tour, or put on your snorkeling gear to get up close and personal with the area's unique marine life. The islet is also famous for hosting cliff diving championships that extreme sports fans can watch from a boat. Since it is a nature reserve, the number of visitors allowed is limited—so be sure to get there early. – Tripadvisor
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Top ways to experience Islet of Vila Franca do Campo

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles620 reviews
Excellent
388
Very good
164
Average
40
Poor
12
Terrible
16

Carmen M
2 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
We went here with the ferry, for €12 per person. We are filmmakers and wanted to fly around with the drone we brought. We only found out on the island itself that it was not allowed to fly with a drone. So it would have been nice to know in advance.

I would recommend to bring your swimwear and maybe go snorkel there, if you want to make it worth your money.

It's a very touristic place. Make sure you get your tickets early in the morning! Ticket sale starts at 9:45.
Written 28 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

29explorer
Kleinburg, Canada374 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
This is a great site for drone photography. Can can simply fly over it and get great shots of the whole island.
Written 19 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tripdebbiet
Menlo Park, CA96 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
We learned while standing in line that only 50 tickets per day are sold on-line and access limited only to a certain amount of people as it is a nature reserve. We got in line at 8:45am and got on the 3rd boat at 11am. The short ferry ride is a beautiful way to approach the islet. There is minimal shade on the rocky lagoon. Bring towels, food and water, and at minimum, goggles to see the fish.
Written 8 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jjluke
Calgary, Canada1,758 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
If going to Sao Miguel, this should be on the list to check out for what it is. However, it is a bit overrated and the place can get busy. As well, the ferry that takes you there is pretty basic and though the ride is short, it can be rough. We did not snorkel there, but many of the fish are visible without putting your head underwater. There are some areas you can hike as well to add an extra experience to your time here. Cool to see crabs on the rocks. Note there are no places to eat, very little shade depending on time of day and washrooms are pretty basic. All in all, this was something we expected to be a highlight, but it ended up being overrated. We probably would skip this the next time we visit the island. Please indicate if you found this review helpful as it will allow me to hone in my future efforts!
Written 10 December 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Patsy N
Humble, TX78 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022
The people could not be any more friendly. Great place to take kids and swim. Please note that there are place to change and you must bring your own towel. It is rocky so be sure to bring flip flops. When you get out of the water you are covered in sand. Good idea to have a bottle to get water to clean off your feet and legs etc. If you plan to spend the day you need to bring your own food. Great places to picnic with amazing views.
Written 14 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mandy W
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Family
This was an excellent adventure and very well worth the money. Our biologist guide was very knowledgeable and you could tell that she loved her job! I would highly recommend this activity.
Written 17 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maxim S
Somerville, MA33 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
A fun short ride on a boat (departs hourly from the wharf of Vila Franca do Campo) takes you to this lovely islet. Nearly circular lagoon is quite picturesque. Space is limited on the rocky outcrops; during low tide a small sandy area appears. Water is slightly warmer in the lagoon vs the nearby beaches. Some fishes could be seen while snorkeling.
Written 11 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lady DG
13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
Fantastic experience. Warm and clear waters, very good to do snorkeling. The kids loved it but just enough to stay 2 or 3 hours.
Written 1 September 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ays Espiritu
Bonn, Germany375 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
This island is a gem!

As far as I know you can only get to the island through one official boat company, either to buy the tickets online or in the ticket office in the port. Other boat tours can go around the island but cannot dock on it. You can reach it by a paddle boat but you won't be allowed to get in. So bear that in mind.

I have been trying to get tickets online but it was so difficult. I guess it is due to some technical issues with the website. So we went there early to buy the tickets in person. There was already a long queue. Still got lucky though!

I think it is best to stay on the island for the almost whole day to really enjoy it. One good thing on being there early is that you can choose a good spot where you can lay down and leave your stuff as the place can get crowded.

On low tides, the water in the lagoon is shallow so you can enjoy walking on its sandy part which is also good for the kids. There are still deeper parts for snorkeling though. On high tides, you can swim better and snorkel in most parts.

There are not much shade in the area so have some sunscreen with you or bring an umbrella if you want to avoid the sun (or rain). There is also no place to get food or drinks so bring some with you. There is a toilet but it is not so clean. So make sure you do your business someplace else before heading to the island. It is also better if you are already wearing your swimwear as there is a limited space to change.

The boat trips are frequent enough so you can leave whenever you want. We left on mid-afternoon to avoid the crowd.

The b
Written 30 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mattcipc
Edmonton, Canada278 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
As far as i know there are three ways to get tickets. With a tour guide, online, and in person the day of. The problem with the online tickets is that during the high season they sell out quite fast if the weather is going to be good. And if you book too early you cant guarantee a nice day. I believe the website said you can book from 15 days in advance until 24hrs in advance. you should be able to find the website if you search "ilheu de vila franca do campo tickets". The tours operate from June until October.

For the day of tickets, you must arrive early! AT LEAST an hour before the ticket booth opens if it is going to be a nice day. Bring sunscreen or something to block the sun because there is no shade where you line up and it gets hot fast even though it is morning. I cant remember what time the booth opens, but its best to go and ask the day before what time they recommend you show up. Also ask about kids pricing because it is free up to a certain age.

The problem with this system is that if you do arrive too late there is a chance you will wait for hours for nothing. There is a maximum amount of people who are allowed to go to the island per day, so once that amount of tickets sold is reached they cut off the line. It is impossible for them to know when they will have to cut off the line because they do not know how many tickets each person in line is purchasing (there is also a maximum per person though...another thing to ask in advance if you have a large group). There was quite a few families behind us in line who had waited for hours only to be eventually told ticket sales were closed for the day.

Understandably these families were upset, but they do this with good reason. The island is quite small and is also a nature preserve. If they sold too many tickets, the island would become overcrowded and would not be an enjoyable experience AT ALL. So although the system is not perfect, have patience, because it is done to help preserve the island and to make the experience of visiting more Ejoyable.

There is limited services on the island. There are washrooms with a small area for changing, as well as life guards but that is it. If you plan to stay for a few hours you should bring your own food/drink. Depending on the tide, there is a small sandy beach, but most of the available space for laying out a towel is quite rocky. Water shoes are great if you have them. The ticket booth also has snorkel gear available for rent. It's not exactly the best to visit here with small children because you have to watch them very closely as it is very rocky and in the water the depth can change dramatically. We ended up staying not as long as we wanted to because the little ones in our group were getting restless.

Despite the difficulties, it is a very unique experience, and definitely worth the visit. But be patient and be prepared! lol
Written 30 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Islet of Vila Franca do Campo - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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