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Santo Andre is a small village near Póvoa de Varzim, a coastal town in the Porto region, in the north of Portugal. At this location, a small rocky cove allows for underwater explorations, when the ocean conditions allow. Between the rocks and the kelp forests, you can observe several species of fish and invertebrates.

Santo André, Póvoa de Varzim
Santo André Cove, Póvoa de Varzim.

How to get to Santo André snorkeling spot?

To reach the Santo Andre cove, head towards Póvoa de Varzim, a small town located about 12 miles/30 kilometers from Porto city center. Leave your vehicle in the car park next to the Hotel Santo Andre. The spot is located between the two rocky points, about 200 meters south of the hotel.

Santo André, Póvoa de Varzim snorkeling map
Santo André, Póvoa de Varzim snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Santo André

Water entrance is from the small beach (see map). As this location is wave-exposed, snorkeling is possible only when the ocean is perfectly calm. If there is swell, or the water is simply rough, do not get in. With the water being cold in the Atlantic Ocean, wearing a wetsuit is recommended, even in summer.

Santo André snorkeling exploration tips

Santo André is a small cove, 60 meters wide at most. Only when the ocean is perfectly calm (absence of waves and currents), you can consider snorkeling outside the cove and exploring the rocks on the right and left.

Weedy seabed at Santo André
A Kelp forest at Santo André.

Near the beach, the seabed is mainly sandy, with some rocks covered with algae (↕3-6 feet/1-2 meters). These shallow open areas are ideal for observing mullet, bream and schools of small silverfish that find shelter in the cove.

Mullet at Santo André
A Mullet at Santo André.

Moving away from the shore, you’ll reach deeper rocky areas on which kelp forests have developed (↕6-12 feet/2-4 meters). These create a pretty underwater landscape in which numerous gobies live, as well as a few sea stars.

Spiny starfish in Portugal
A Spiny starfish.

Restaurants and accommodations nearby

Hotel Santo Andre, which has its own restaurant, is located practically opposite the spot. Another restaurant, A Tasquinha do Silva, is along the road towards the village of Santo Andre, about 200 meters from the parking lot.

 

  • Level required Advanced
  • Maximum depth12 feet/4 meters
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersCurrents, swell
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These spots are only recommended to good swimmers, in good physical conditions, and with excellent snorkeling skills. These spots can experience currents, moderate waves, important depths, tight or narrow passages, or tricky water entrance, and can be located near hazardous areas (channels, boat traffic, strong currents…). The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas can be important - up to 500 meters. The “advanced” category includes drift snorkeling (transported by currents) and snorkeling off the coast.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell.You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.