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IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRAVEL TO THE CÍES ISLANDS OR THE ONS ISLAND FROM EASTER AND MAY 15 (EXCEPT CAMPERS), before buying the ticket, you must obtain the authorization requested by La Xunta de Galicia, in which they will provide you with the pre code -reserve (necessary to acquire the boat ticket).

5 reasons to visit the Island of Tambo

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Especiales

The Island of Tambo, nestled between Poio and Marín in the Ría de Pontevedra estuary, spans 28 hectares with an elevation of 80 meters. Renowned for its unparalleled beauty and rich historical and environmental significance in the Rías Baixas, a visit to Tambo is a must at least once in a lifetime. 

In Galician, it bears the name ‘Illa de Tambo,’ although historical accounts suggest variations like Thalavo, Tanavo, and Toambo. However, the nomenclature most akin to its toponym is linked to the Latin root ‘tumulus’ or the Greek ‘tumbos,’ highlighting its circular and elevated terrain, resembling a burial mound. Hence, the legend connecting the island’s name with the word ‘tumba,’ meaning ‘grave’ in English, holds a meaningful resonance.

Currently, tourists have the opportunity to explore the Island of Tambo, nestled within the Concello de Poio municipality. In this article, we provide you with 5 reasons to consider a visit and essential details to keep in mind when planning your journey with our Mar de Ons ferry company.

Rutas de senderismo en la Isla de Tambo

Group visits to the island of Tambo

Until a few years ago, the Island of Tambo was under military jurisdiction. Nowadays, it is under the management of the Concello de Poio municipality, allowing for group visits. However, this unique enclave holds a substantial cultural and natural heritage that requires protection and care. As a result, visits are limited and require a permit. 

Therefore, to explore the Island of Tambo, participation in a guided tour with professional guides within a group setting is mandatory. It’s important to note that group sizes are limited, and visits are restricted to a maximum duration of 3 hours. To secure your visit, along with the necessary permit obtainable here, make sure to book round-trip tickets for access to the island via our ferry company, Mar de Ons, departing from the port of Combarro. Visit our website to check available dates. 

Join us on an exploration of the hidden treasures of the Island of Tambo, indulging in a truly unique experience. Contact us at to secure your guided group tour. Discover the enchanting secrets of Tambo Island, available for visits 365 days a year.

You’ll uncover pristine beaches of unparalleled beauty

The Island of Tambo beckons visitors primarily for its rich natural environment, diverse fauna, and vibrant flora. The spotlight falls on its two captivating beaches, drawing the attention of every traveller who ventures to the island. Additionally, three small jetties and the picturesque Faro de Tenlo lighthouse adorn its coastline, adding to the island’s allure.

Once you disembark on the island, to the right is the beach of Area da Illa, featuring fine sand and crystal-clear waters. Adjacent to this beach, there is a picnic area affiliated with the army, also serving as a pilgrimage site. The Island of Tambo’s other beach, A Dreidá, is situated in the southern part, near a small peninsula called O Tenlo, which also houses the historic Tenlo lighthouse. This beach carries historical significance, as it was once utilized by Protestants for clandestine nighttime christenings. Both beaches remain unspoiled and stand as a major attraction for visitors to the Island of Tambo. 

Explore tales, legends, and traditions on your visit to the Island of Tambo

Apart from presenting stunning natural landscapes, the Island of Tambo harbours numerous stories and legends within its interior. These tales have etched their presence on the island, evident in ancient buildings that bear witness to human habitation throughout various ages.

Lazareto de la Isla de Tambo

What was the Island of Tambo used for?

Prior to your visit to the Island of Tambo, it’s essential to understand its diverse historical roles. Once home to Benedictine monks, the island faced attacks during the Middle Ages and later served as a prison and isolation hospital. In recent history, it fell under the management of the Ministry of Defence, leading to restricted access for visitors. However, in 2022, the administration was transferred to the Concello de Poio municipality, ushering in a new era of accessibility for visitors.

 The isolation hospital of the Island of Tambo

Inland, the island reveals the remnants of an isolation hospital, once designated to house and quarantine crew and passengers arriving at the port of Marín with contagious diseases or symptoms thereof. Erected in the mid-19th century, the hospital operated until mid-1879 when it was relocated to the Island of San Simón in the Ría de Vigo estuary. Traveling to this island is also possible with our ferry company, Mar de Ons, departing from the ports of Cangas and Vigo

Remains of an army camp

During your visit to the Island of Tambo, you’ll uncover the remnants of an army camp operational from 1950 until its full demilitarization in 2022. In the northern part of the island, explore the former residences of officials, along with the remnants of an underground ammunition dump beneath the marina.

An ancient monasterial church

In this privileged location bursting with history and traditions, you can also find the remains of a Benedictine monastery dedicated to Our Lady of Grace.  It was built in the Middle Ages by Saint Fructuosus and all that remains is an ancient monasterial church dedicated to Saint Michael.

You’ll embark on hiking routes showcasing unforgettable scenery

One of the most captivating reasons to explore the Island of Tambo is to traverse its hiking routes and trails, offering an unparalleled encounter with nature. It’s important to note that these trails are well-marked and have a set duration, typically around 2 km. Visitors are only allowed to follow the designated routes and must be accompanied by guides. Additionally, access to the aforementioned buildings is not permitted. 

These routes provide the perfect opportunity for adventurous experiences, sports enjoyment, and up-close encounters with the island’s rich flora and fauna. We strongly recommend wearing comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear for tackling the routes. Additionally, it’s advisable to carry a bag to store any waste you generate and dispose of it when leaving the Island of Tambo, as there are no bins available on the isla

Excursiones guiadas con Mar de Ons en la Isla de Tambo

You will have the most stunning photos of the Ria de Pontevedra estuary

Lastly, we suggest ensuring your mobile phone and camera batteries are fully charged to capture the best memories of this special day. Moreover, the Ría de Pontevedra estuary, with its picturesque views of coastal towns like Combarro, Marín, or Raxó, stands as one of the most photogenic settings. Along the estuary’s coastline, discover breathtaking beaches and natural landscapes that blend the lush greenery of trees with the serene blue hues of the sea.

Join us for an unforgettable group excursion along the estuary aboard our catamarans, where you can immerse yourself in the serene scenery and relaxation of sailing. Upon disembarking in this unique setting, you’ll explore the island with our team of expert guides on a day trip available year-round. It promises to be an unforgettable experience! Our services are tailored to cater to all ages and audiences, including schools, associations, businesses, conferences, and more. 

Reach out to us at and we’ll promptly provide you with the best rates and timetables. We look forward to hearing from you!