We first set up shop in a tiny rented space which flooded mercilessly in the wet season due to its collapsed roof on the floor above. It is on the plaza, close to the pontão, which is bordered by the Museum; Finanças, based in the Alfândegas (old Customs building); private homes and Terraço das Quitandas. Back then the majority of all the buildings mentioned were ruins. Now that corner shop is occupied by Vivo Island Safaris with Amisse at the helm. Amisse was in the very first cohort of guides that trained with Ilha Blue. He has countered the ‘tinyness’ of the shop by spreading out around the plaza. (And the roof got fixed!)
When Ilha Blue arrived there was no other formal tour operator on Ilha. Little by little the professionalism in the industry has grown and other businesses have popped up, although unfortunately the Pandemic has forced some of the start ups to step down.
These days we operate from our own premises, also situated on a plaza, in the heart of Stonetown. It’s very spacious, with a spectacular tiled floor harking back to a much earlier tourism era in the 50s. The renovation of the building was only completed in 2020. https://ilhablue.com/blog/ilha-blue-restoration-of-our-unesco-world-heritage-listed-building/
In the early days we started out with free bicycle tours and lots of training workshops. Now we offer a broad range of experiences on land and, above and below sea. The Ilha Blue space also houses Cafe Azulejo with the best coffee on Ilha.
Ilha Blue also hosts Axinene Ari Vava (check out instagram @axinene_ari_vava) an effervescent women’s collective who produce a range of naturally dyed, hand embroidered textiles imbued with stories from the island.
And Orampelela is the newest venture to be hosted at Ilha Blue. Owned and operated by Samira Jamu, a young woman born and bred on Ilha, @orampelela offers snorkelling experiences for beginners right through to advanced, for adults and children.
So, it’s a busy hub and there is always something happening. Drop in, have a coffee, a snack, a famous smoothie or even one of our signature cocktails. And with free Wi-Fi it’s a great spot to hang out pre and post tour, meet friends (or make new ones), do a business meeting and even initiate your own start up!