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Ilhéu de Maria Vaz

Nature Reserve

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Also known as Ilhéu da Gadelha (islet), the Ilhéu de Maria Vaz occupies 9.79 hectares and is located at approximately 100 metres from the northwest coast. It has a rounded shape, with a small platform on the top, and a maximum altitude of 151 metres.

It is the biggest islet of the island and is composed mainly of geological formations associated with submarine volcanism of basaltic nature, namely altered surtseyan tuffs.

It is particularly covered by vegetation, namely the Festuca petraea, the Erica azorica and the Azorina vidalii. This place is visited by a high number of seabirds, such as the Sterna spp., and it is an important nesting site, especially for the Larus michahellis atlantis.

The visit to the islet is prohibited, in order to maintain its unique characteristics and due to its high scientific interest. 

It is possible to see this islet through the Fajã Grande - Ponta Delgada (PR1FLO) and the Great Route of Flores (GR01FLO) walking trails.

This area includes the Costa Nordeste Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) within the Natura 2000 network and an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) of the BirdLife International organization. Its exterior limit borders a Protected Area of Resources Management.

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