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Dear MadeiraBlog readers,

You might have noticed that these last few days (weeks) the publish frequency of this blog has been low. It is not that there is nothing else to write about anymore …. au cointraire! … there is (still) a lot to tell you about Madeira Islands.

Unfortunately two reasons have hold me back to post new articles on this blog.

One is the amount of work and projects that I am involved. My involvement in this area has increased the last few months. Plus at the same time I need to preserve my attention to my wife and loved ones, preventing any prejudice on this (private) level.

The second reason for my madeirablog-muteness is that I see certain developments are taking place that are threatening to damage that what, in my eyes, represents the beauty and the real Madeira. Authorities are changing areas and replacing it with so called ‘modern infrastructures’ …. all in the ‘benefit of the tourism’. Natural heritage are interfered with constructions and buildings …. ecological environments are not maintained and consider low-priorities (or even none) …. historical landmarks are forgotten or neglected … the focus is only to improve the tourism business … which often results in non-natural constructions. Each plant is considered to be a weed …. each cobblestone path needs to be removed and replaced with asphalt …. banana plantations are passé and bartered with hotels and large apartment constructions. And so on … and so on …

The objective of MadeiraBlog was to promote Madeira its nature, culture, history and beauty. This is done by virtue of the love and admiration I have for the islands. Providing you with information and recommendations that can be useful when you come and visit / stay on Madeira. In other words … promoting tourism.

Now … tourism is not a bad thing …. as a matter of fact tourism is very vital for the economy and survival on Madeira. However it is being used as the motive to justify the changes I mentioned above. Ergo promoting Madeira is supporting developments that damages ecological and historical heritages.

Bottom line is …. as long as there is no clear indication that the authorities or responsible organizations are ALSO investing in the environmental protection and Nature preservation of Madeira Islands,as well becoming more eco-conscious in all areas …. lacking any of these I will cease any promotional activity. Unless it assures that it will result in improving the last mentioned issues, in that case I will consider to give attention.

In simple words: my blog has become some what slow … till things improves.

Warm regards,

Don Amaro (editor Madeira Blog)

Read also:
What is this blog all about?


marcel · December 21, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Dear Don Amaro,

As a dear friend as well as a regular reader of your blog I have sympathy for the reasons you find for not publishing any new items on your blog. The first reason, private ones, are in a certain way good. However I am shocked and surprised by the second reason, the lack of environmental perception by the Madeirian Government. You know as well as I know that the people suggesting and develloping these plans have high positions within the government and they decide who can do what to fill their own pockets. However I think stop writing and promoting Madeira doesn’t help. People will still visit the island and silence is only helping the government in realizing their stupid plans. May be it is time to choose a side and write (more critical)about the other side of Madeira as well. It is a beautifull island with lovely people and breathtaking landscapes, but it has it’s backside too. May be we should focus on that as well. I hope my post can inspire other readers as well to leave a comment in order to change your mind.

Um Embraco

Sonia · December 22, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Please, could you post an address (email or mail) that we could write to the authorities with regards to their apparent lack of concern for the natural environment of the island.
Does each voice matter?

Editor · December 22, 2008 at 4:23 pm

@Marcel: The only way I see that authorities will change course to be more eco-conscious and invest in natural environment as well as the historical heritage … is that Madeira visitors demand it. Tour operators, travelers and travel companies abroad should express their concerns and views on the developments on Madeira. Authorities must open their eyes and learn the real reasons why people love to visit Madeira. They will be surprised that most of these reasons are what they have neglected and are ‘destroying’.
I will consider your suggestion … to focus and write with more criticism.

@Sonia: Yes … each voice matters. The more there are … the better. Unfortunately the voices till now are not enough.

For a list of authorities you can write to and see if you can achieve any attention …. you will find them on the next webpage:

Matthijs Does · December 22, 2008 at 5:53 pm

jammer dat ondanks alle protest men gewoon doorgaat met het eiland te vernielen. zoals je vast weet ben ik een regelmatig bezoeker van zowel Madeira als jouw site en het doet mij pijn te horen wat men nu weer met Rabacal wil gaan doen. Toerisme is belangrijk voor Madeira dat begrijp ik maar ze kunnen toch ook gewoon Rabacal bewandelen en desnoods door de lange tunnel als naar beneden of boven lopen te zwaar is Tevens vind ik het erg jammer de laatste tijd niet zoveel nieuws meer te lezen op jouw site ( bezoek het ongeveer 3x per week net als de site van Hugo )) Don houd je haaks en houd ons op de hoogte wat er toch allemaal gebeurd op dat wonderschone eiland

PS- mijn Engels is niet zo perfect zodat ik dit dan maar in het Nederlands doe hetgeen jij uiteraard begrijpt mogelijk wil jij dit voor mij in perfect Engels vertalen.

keep up the good Work Don

noud · December 23, 2008 at 7:17 am

As the majority is silent like always, we need desperately the few that speak out loud!!! So Don, keep on screaming out loud all for the good cause.

Phil · December 23, 2008 at 12:53 pm

From what I read elsewhere (TripAdvisor) it sounds as though Madeira has reached saturation point with hotels struggling to fill rooms. It was always a place suited to the type of tourist who just required a quiet break in a balmy climate with perhaps some “home grown” entertainment such as levada walks. To try to skew this tourist trade towards the “sun sea & sangria” market is not going to work because Madeira cannot compete price-wise and these people just will not come, or if they do will most certainly not return. I am not trying to be judgemental, just pointing out that the requirements of mass-market tourism are not found in Madeira. Do you perhaps think that the financial bonanza that membership of the EU has brought is perhaps responsible for much of the spending causing damage to the environment in its wake. As for banana plantations, if they were financially viable they would still be there. The EU demands bananas conform to a certain shape and may have killed off the market. It may also be that building a hotel provides many more and better paid jobs which will always be a strong motivation for politicians seeking votes. I doubt Madeira will ever return to the gentler, more rural place it was even just 20 years ago and we have to hope that financial reality will dawn that there is no future covering the land with concrete hotel rooms which are never going to be filled. Sadly at the end of the day it is only money which talks.

Raul · December 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Yes, this is a concern. The authorities don’t seem to know what attracts people to Madeira. Its market is very different to what the government is trying to make it.

People that are looking for a hedonistic type of place will be very disappointed. Madeira’s landscape doesn’t fit into this type of market and will never do, no matter how much the government tries to change the island by adding beaches etc…

People who come to Madeira are usually very cultured, intelligent and mature people, who love the environment and the outdoors and are looking to meet likeminded people. People who are looking to relax, enjoy their surroundings and the uniqueness of the culture/location. By changing Madeira as the government is, Madeira is starting to lose its identity and is just becoming like any other place. It is losing its uniqueness and what attracted people to it in the first place.

The population of Madeira need to speak out and let their voices be heard. I think this current government has been in power for far too long (over 30 years) and as no idea what they are doing any longer. It is time for change and it can’t come soon enough.

I think people that love Madeira as i do, should leave a comment here about this situation and perhaps we could then forward this to someone that will listen.

We don’t want to lose our identity and our uniqueness!!!

Samantha · January 2, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Hi Don

It’s not often I look at your blog but when I do I always enjoy what I see and admire the enthusiasm you have for this and hold you in high regard for continueing with it. I am really saddened that you feel the way you do as I thought and do think like you and at times feel like giving up, staying silent and saying to myself,I love this island and want to show people what I love but the government are changing it and not into something I am proud to promote anymore. Well, it’s time for change and that is for people like us to stand up and scream about our passions for the island and try and make our very small voice heard…….the politians that have the budgets think they know what the island needs but it is the people who live here who really know, that don’t have those budgets to even consider but just live and enjoy what is around them, half the reason why I moved here and feel proud to show my family and freinds what this life and style of living is all about!
Iam working on a new site which is still promoting the island BUT will air all the foibles as well and maybe this is the time where people like ourselves should set up our own government party dedicated to the preservation of the island and the real needs of tourism and give the establishment a bash over the head by screaming very loudly about the f@@kups they are making before it’s too late!

Samantha · January 2, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Raul, lets not forward these comments to someone who will listen, let’s get together and join as a unit and voice them directly ourselves.

Raul · January 3, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Viva la revolucion! lol 🙂

Now seriously! Well yes that would be a much more effective way of going about it, as an ultimate goal. Creating a community around this would be a good idea and then perhaps step by step something could be made of it. It would be interesting to see what other locals and visitors alike have to say about it. It would be something interesting to do as a hobby at first. Creating the “The Madeira Appreciation Society” i imagine that probably already exists but you get the idea. The island is a fairly small place, change could possibly be made easier.

Fred · January 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Having just returned to the island after a 4 year break I was shocked to see the differences. As already stated by others my reasons for coming to Madeira are not consistent with what is happening. If I wanted beaches I would go to Portugal or Spain. I used to enjoy eating in local restaurants but after going into Funchal for the New Year and being accosted at every turn by touting staff I will never return to the city again, I will remain in the quieter areas. The government are destroying the very reasons I love travelling to the island and I hate to see such wonderfully warm people lowering themselves to this type of behaviour.
I will return again but it will be with one eye on future developments.

Phil · January 14, 2009 at 11:54 am

I don’t think being accosted outside restaurants is new – I remember on my first visit nearly 20 years ago that all the restaurants at the harbour and some in other areas also tried to encourage us in. I just took it to be a local custom and none of them were rude like the “slime-share” touts. I returned two years ago after a 10 year break and, although there had been a lot of building (beside the Cliff Bay had been a hole in the ground then) there had been improvements too. The new promenade is a welcome place to walk away from traffic for the less active who don’t feel up to levadas. The cable car I’m less enthusiastic about. The buses took you up to Monte and the Botanic Gardens very efficiently and when you’ve done the cable car once there is no real incentive to use it again. I am sure the locals don’t use it to any appreciable extent so what value is it to the island? On my earlier visits I have to admit to never venturing further than the Lido (other than in organised tours) so I can’t comment on what that area was like although I do believe that just beyond the Forum Centre was a rather unsightly oil terminal, now gone thankfully. And I suppose that without all the tourism development in that area building the Forum Centre would not have been a viable proposition. I suppose I am viewing all of this from a tourist point of view and, apart perhaps from the greatly improved roads, little else has been for the benefit of the locals other than the increased jobs tourism creates.
Elected politicians the world over, with the exception of those who only wish to line their own pockets and those of their partners in crime, want to do things that make them popular and encourage people to vote them back into power. Anything that people can see and touch, that they can experience for themselves does this and there are no votes in quiet, subtle changes for which it is difficult to claim the credit.
At the end of the day, Madeira can only offer a relaxing break amongst delightful, friendly people and in an idyllic climate. It has few other natural resources and without tourism would probably remain a subsistence economy which, with today’s communications available, would very likely lead to either mass discontent or mass emigration to where the (supposed) benefits of the consumer society can be obtained. To turn the island into one of those off-shore tax havens is possibly the only other route but I can speak from personal experience that this only creates an even more fragmented society with a (very) few extremely wealthy individuals and a majority of resentful locals.
I have gone on long enough, I think, but, from a tourist’s point of view, I haven’t found too much changed about the island. The demographics of tourists coming to the island have skewed a bit in that 20 years ago it seemed to be mainly older British people in the winter with no children to be seen and the travel companies then closed down their Madeira operations between the end of April and the following November so it was difficult to get there. Nowadays this has all changed and year-round flights are available which has no doubt boosted tourism and the demand for hotels etc.. It is called progress and, while it brings many less welcome changes with it, it is going to happen regardless.

Hettie · January 27, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Hi Don,
I am from South Africa and a regular visiter to the most beutiful place in world in my eyes. My in laws are all in Madeira and in fact one in the goverment. I can’t write his name down because he is very well known, but his comment about the above subject is “They touching the heart of Madeira and they will regret it still.” What else can I say. Leave it like it is.My husband was born in Madeira and we think to come there for good. Just one last thing keep up your good work. You are one in a million.

Schalk Visser · February 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I am from Stellenbosch in South Africa. I am one of the so-called Boers (Afrikaner)and I just bought a house in a loveley area called Canhas on Madeira Island. No place in the world can be perfect but Madeira is damn near to it! I love Madeira since I set foot to it for the first time in 1988 and fell in love with the island and it’s people!

Ricardo Rodrigues · May 27, 2009 at 8:02 pm

I am absolutely flattered to read the above comments, clearly from highly intelligent people who have Madeira’s best interests close to their hearts.
I was born and brought up in the Camara de Lobos region as my parents, who were fairly uneducated, they’ll forgive me for saying, were forced to emigrate to the UK in search of work, as the prospects in Madeira were weren’t great in the mid 80’s. I joined them in London in 1996 aged twelve and enjoyed a fairly good education. At 24, I have now achieved the most professional line of work of all my family outside the construction and the service industries.
My family has since moved back after putting everything they earned to better themselves and build a confortable home there. I, however, have not been back to Madeira in almost 10 years, but I’ll finally be doing so this August, hence my reading up on people’s views. As both a local and soon to be a tourist, I believe I have quite a unique perpective on this, in that I strongly believe Madeira has improved for the better, i.e. infrastucture, local amenities, piped domestic water to the entire island etc. but I alo recognise that the tourist demographic has changed since I was last there.
The majority of residents are very happy with the changes and they have been well received. Significant tourist attractions, such as the cable cars, are always going come at some environmental cost, but they are also of interest to the locals, some of whom still haven’t seen parts of the island they and generations before them have lived in. While the massive modernation of the islands is welcomed by most, famous landmarks such as the Savoy Funchal are now being demolished or rebuilt to make way for the new and this is where I agree with previous comments. This is the sort of change which is likely to alienate the type of demographic that first visited Madeira as tourists. However, the natural pleasures they go there to see and experience, if not the hotels, will always be there and the government is trying to make them more accessible by more people to drive the economy further. And this, in turn, is providing jobs for local people such as my family.
If anyone reading this will be in Madeira in mid August this year, please contact me, as I’d appreciate a tour guide with an outside view: (e-mail address can be inquired at editor)

Johnny · June 4, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Hi Don,
Since a very young age i always feared that madeira would change or modernise, what i loved about it was that no matter how bad england got i always had my beautiful madeira to calm my soul with its old fashioned life style,lovely people and scenery that makes you think you died without realising and are in heaven. I noticed how much more tourist based madeira became over the years and have even had altrecations with other tourists because they did not treat madeira with respect, vandalising and littering. Madeira needs an export so that we do not need tourists, because they damage our island, go to santana and look at the straw house roofs to see if it has not been torn apart or the road signs towards ribeira da janela. My plan is to make my money and return home to madeira, i hope things will be the same because if madeira ever became like england (more capitalist)i would do whatever it took to send it to the bottom of the sea, i must sound insane but damn it i love my island and will die if i have to, to keep it pure.

Joasinho Pereira

El · June 12, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Madeira always makes me cry, I love Madeira with all my heart since i was a little girl i didn’t know how beautiful it was, I moved to America and always wanted to come back and one day on a visit i fell in Love and moved back. I still cry of happiness and everyday i feel so lucky to be here specially with a new addition to the family.

Biaria · June 17, 2009 at 2:26 pm

As a Madeiran in the tourism business, it bothers me a lot that the Government has been undertaking so much senseless building and, with it, sending away some of our past visitors.

However, people must, also, understand that we couldn’t possibly keep on living like, say, 30 years ago.

Madeline · August 27, 2009 at 12:43 am

I visited Madeira in September 2005 and noticed how it had changed and not for the better. I remember going there with my mom, dad, sister and brother. Riding from the airport through the cobblestone streets among banana plantations. What happened? Where is the Madeira I remembered and loved? It wasn’t as beautiful as it was in 1972. If I wanted to see city streets paved I would have stayed home in the states. Funchal has turned into a touristy amusement park. Where is the beauty that I saw years ago? Where are the wonderful merchants with linens and wicker? Now you go to a museum to see linens? Sorry guys, you are just like any other town, island, country. My mom used to say that Madeira was more beautiful then Hawaii….ummmm… probably not now.

I wonder what the Azores look like..maybe they remain the same…

Martin · September 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I cannot understand why the area of Ajuda has been developed in such an ugly way.
The buildings form canyons between them like an American city, except the designers must have used old Russian plans.
The area now resembles the repetitive, bland and flat soviet style favoured by Stalin and his pals.
The prices being demanded of new apartments are gross and overpriced to catch the unwary foreigner.
I understand from my visit in June 2009 that consent has been granted to expand this ugliness towards Camacha de Lobos.
When the investors are satisfied and made their money the poor old Madeirans will be left to sort it out, to restore lost tourism, because there will be many prettier places for tourists to go.
Wake up Madeira!
Stop the damage NOW!

Martin · September 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I forgot to mention in my previous posting, there is no reason why Madeira could not have beautiful buildings, which would attract visitors.

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