This is Soul & Surf Portugal. Our Algarve Surf, Yoga & Therapy retreat... with soul.
Our journey began in Varkala, India. We have spent the last 10 years (almost!) on that cliff, building a community of surfers, dreamers, yogis and voyagers who share our love of soul and surf. We stretched across the Arabian Sea after popping up in Sri Lanka, creating a new home in the jungle; and now after three years of returning to Portugal’s south coast, we made things a little more permanent in the Algarve in 2019.
The farmhouse is steeped in the Portuguese hills, just a short drive from those Atlantic rollers this place is famed for. It’s a far cry from our jungle villa in Sri Lanka, or cliff top hotel in India; we are right on the fringes of Europe here, and we’re celebrating that in all its exposed, rugged and wild glory.
The Soul & Surf philosophy.
We’re all about bringing people together whether it’s out in the lineup, stretching in the yoga shala or around the dinner table. Imagine yourself waking up in the heat of the Portuguese countryside, surfing waves overlooked by tawny sunkissed cliffs, chowing down on local fare – obviously starting your day with a coffee and a pastel del nata, because when in Portugal…
Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Then this year, Covid-19 happened.
Just as we were supposed to be opening our doors for our second season, the world started going into lockdown. Like so many others, our lives – and every aspect of our business – were put on hold.
The good news is, things in Portugal are starting to go back to normal. This means that, tentatively, we can too (or at least a new normal).
On 6th July we re-opened
for our second – slightly belated! – season. And we are so happy about it. God knows we all need to stretch, unwind, immerse ourselves in saltwater. To play again.
Of course, life has changed since the start of Covid-19, and there are a few things we’ll need to do differently to ensure we can comfortably, safely and in good faith begin hosting you again. We have created our own internal protocol that meets and exceeds both Portuguese and international guidelines on cleanliness and safety, and we’ve adapted our offer to meet with these guidelines. This means – amongst other things – that we will be operating at reduced capacity, and with amended check in and check out times to give us sufficient time to clean and air rooms. We’ll also be ensuring all our staff are fully trained to deliver the required cleaning and safety procedures, and are equipped with the necessary PPE.
It’s not quite the season we imagined, but by opening we are providing an opportunity of income for our team on the ground – and much needed support for Portugal’s economy, which relies so heavily on tourism. And whilst hanging out wearing face masks, or teaching yoga without hands-on adjustments, feels kinda weird..we think it’s better than nothing. If you’re comfortable coming, we’re comfortable hosting you.
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We set up Soul & Surf with the intention to do something positive, however small and insignificant it may seem. So alongside our aim of giving our guests a dose of health, inspiration and good times we are committed to giving something back on three different scales; whether it is on our doorstep with our surf club for village kids in Kerala, locally with our support for the charity SISP in Kerala or globally with our commitment to donate 1% For The Planet to Surfers Against Sewage.
We’ve had a lo-ot of time to reflect of late, and something we have been battling with for years is the question of how we, as a travel company, can take positive ethical action, without greenwashing or empty words.
We are committed to taking measures to improve our carbon footprint, and amidst all of this are taking the first steps in a process to change the way we do business. We have a way to go, but one of these commitments is our new partnership with Mossy Earth – we will plant two trees for every person that books a holiday with us, included in the price of the holiday.
There is no box to tick, no opting in or out. It’s all done for you.
Our celebration of the Algarve, Portugal