We are from South Africa and settled in Portugal in 2016. We had been looking for a property to convert into a retreat centre and searched in many countries on many continents, but it was in Portugal’s Ribatejo that we found our dream farm. From the moment we drove up the driveway and got out of the car, we knew we were home. We have made deep connections with truly wonderful people here; we love our new home country and are truly blessed to call this magical place home. Read more about our story here.
Yes, the pond is safe to swim in. The water is kept clean naturally by the reeds and plants, and there are fish and turtles living in the pond too. Adding salt and oil to the water harms the ecosystem, so we request that you do not perform any rituals with salt or oil anywhere on the farm, and particularly near the pond – our fish and turtles thank you!
Quinta Carvalhas is a place of peace and tranquility, where very often guests are doing a lot of deep inner work or simply enjoying the quiet. It is for this reason that we don’t admit children under 16 while there are retreats on, as participants or as private guests.
We constantly keep it clear of litter and anything that no longer has use is re-homed – recycled or given away. Keeping the farm clutter-free and litter-free is part of why the property has such wonderful energy. Caring for the environment does not only mean nature ‘out there’; it also means your immediate environment inside your house and right outside your door.
Yes, it is. Our water supply comes from Aguas de Santarém so is perfectly safe, and we also have filtered water on tap available at Oak Café.
In summer the flies and midges bite the horses, and some of them have reactions to the bites. The masks are see-through and don’t impede their vision, but stop the flies and midges biting. The blankets are actually super light-weight and breathable and protect the rest of the body in the same way.
In winter some of the horses need thicker rugs overnight and in the mornings to keep warm; we only rug those who really need the extra warmth.
No prior knowledge is needed; the interaction is on the ground usually and involves connection with the horses with the aid of a facilitator. Horses have incredible energy and can mirror what we are feeling and experiencing – giving us feedback for deep insights. Everyone has a favourite horse after the interaction – some loving the big Mr. Blue and others preferring the smaller horses like sturdy Bentley.
‘Quinta’ means farm, and ‘Carvalhas’ oak trees. So it means, Oak Farm.
We invite you to join us on an exploration of flavours, of mindful eating where you take time to eat slowly and discover new ways to enjoy your food, all without meat. Our goal is not to convert guests to vegetarianism, but rather to inspire awareness of where your food comes from and open up the possibility for you to eat delicious meals without meat, more often. Our farm is chemical-free and we grow our own vegetables, continuously working to improve our methods to improve taste and quality.
For many people it is a new experience to enjoy such delicious vegetarian food; it has become famous for its taste and wonderful variety of flavor and texture. We are asked all the time for recipes, which we are happy to share with you. Many of these are included in our newsletters so if you would like to receive extra culinary inspiration in your inbox, sign up here.
We are small producers: we produce enough for our hotel kitchen for the year, and some extra to sell to our guests. Our olive oil is organic and hand-picked, and the harvest yields between 300 and 600 litres.
We offer private classes as well as group classes on request. We have three yoga teachers, offering Vinyasa, Couples Yoga, Hatha, Yin and Ashtanga in our beautiful yoga shala with its incredible energy, Pine Hall with its added space or the deck at the pond for the connection to nature.
Yes, if your dog is well socialized and you are here as a private guest, no problem. Taking care of the dog becomes a challenge on a retreat so if you are part of a group then they are best left at home.