Located 58 km north of Mangalore, the St. Mary’s Island beach is special for the unique formation of basalt rocks which have crystallized into columns and split into vertical hexagonal blocks. This group of islands is accessible by ferry from Malpe which is a major fishing harbor.
Contrary to other beaches with endless stretch of golden sand, St Mary’s Island’s rocky terrain does not encourage swimming or strolling along the shores. One can only gaze around and marvel at the idiosyncrasies of the expansive rock formations strewn around the beach.
St Mary’s group of islands got their name courtesy Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama who descended on these islands in 1498 before he reached Calicut. Gama called one of the islands “El Padron de Santa Maria.” The northernmost island is about a square mile in area and not more than 250 yards in width. It has a coconut grove, which makes it the shadiest island of the group and gives it true South Sea color.