The Ria Formosa coastal lagoon is protected by barrier islands, arranged parallel to the coast along 60km (covering the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António).
The area is approximately 18,400 hectares and is considered one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal and according to some authors, its origins date back 11,000 years. The sea level will then have undergone a rapid rise, flooding elevations of sand formed in 3000 years earlier, thus becoming islands.
The Ria Formosa is a complex and dynamic system is now a protected area status of Natural Park since 1987 (previously in 1978 had been classified as a Nature Reserve).
Departing from Faro, Formosamar provides a pleasant boat ride with a duration of 2 ½ hours where you can find two of its barrier islands: Deserta Island and Farol Island.
This experience is held in our boat catamaran “Grey Heron” which sails slowly through the channels of the Natural Park towards this system one of the bars where one can see the Atlantic Ocean. We aim to visit the Ilha do Farol – Island Lighthouse, which lies to the east of this bar and Barreta Island, located west of the bar where you can meet some of the wonderful beaches of the Algarve.
Ilha da Barreta or Deserta Island
Ilha da Barreta is also known as Ilha Deserta, being the only one of five islands that are uninhabited, and therefore known by this name. On this island you can walk for white sands and meet aa natural beauty, enjoy the pristine waters and even meet some of the plants the dune system sees this protected area while the cable of Santa Maria.
Ilha do Farol
The Ilha do Farol – Island Lighthouse, contrary to what most people think is not an island but a settlement on the island of Culatra. Very different from the Desert Island, the Lighthouse is where our catamaran Heron makes its second stop to visiting this location.
The village Faro is one of the three existing in Culatra and here it is worth mentioning the Lighthouse of Cabo de Santa Maria which gives its name to this village. Fully operational and a resident lighthouse keeper, this can be visited on Wednesdays. From the top of his forty-two meters, the view is breathtaking, in any direction. Enjoy also to stroll the streets lined with white houses to the beach where you will marvel at the crystal clear waters that bathe this coast.