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We had the pleasure of staying at Casa Vale Da Lama Eco Resort for 4 nights in September. It’s a great time of year to visit the Algarve because the weather is still warm and the summer winds have died down. The tourist spots in Lagos are still busy but it’s definitely manageable. Situated on a permaculture farm just outside of Lagos, Casa Vale Da Lama is the perfect escape after a busy day exploring the Algarve’s hot spots. It’s an off-the-beaten path haven for those who like some quiet and solitude at the end of the day.
Besides the quiet location, we chose this eco resort because of their commitment to sustainable tourism, as well as giving back to their community. After touring the grounds on a Sustainability Tour (thank you Miguel!), we were so impressed at how seamlessly they work with nature to minimize their impact on the environment without compromising many of the luxuries we all enjoy while on holiday.
Here are the top 6 sustainable practices that blew us away:
1. Farm to table: The onsite organic vegetarian restaurant uses food from their permaculture farm and the rest is purchased from local producers and like-minded suppliers in tune with their ethics; grown by farmers and producers who protect natural resources, do not endanger wildlife, do not use pesticides in soil and water, do not destroy biodiversity and do not accelerate climate change. They also offer boxed lunches to take on-the-go, served in reusable tupperware (we took ours on a day trip to Sagres and had a picnic lunch at the beach). The food was simply delicious and our hats are off to the chefs!
2. Locally run and supports their community: Supporting the local economy is an important part of sustainable tourism. Casa Vale Da Lama is a family-run business with mostly local staff. What was really heart-warming was their summer camp programs to help disadvantaged youth in Portugal get exposure to the outdoors and experience nature in a positive and educational space.
3. Utilizing renewable energy: There are several solar panels on the property that feed into the Algarve’s grid.
4. Zero waste: This is the 2nd time we’ve been to a zero waste hotel. Many hotels have cut back, but it’s very rare you see one using 100% reusables. We honestly couldn’t find single-use plastic anywhere! The rooms had toiletry dispensers built into the walls, the kitchen had loose leaf tea, sugar, honey, milk and coffee in containers instead of packets, takeout lunches were served in reusable containers, and even the keys to the room were actual metal keys instead of plastic cards. They even had their own homemade komboocha in glass jars.
5. Composting and Recycling: The resort is fully equipped with compost bins, recycling bins and waste bins. Most of the food waste went to the happy hens.
6. Permaculture farming: While we are no experts in farming, we felt like it after our farm tour! We were very happy to learn about all the various ways Casa Vale Da Lama is using regenerative farming to protect and improve the land to grow food, all while having the utmost respect for their farm animals (sheep and hens) who help to keep the soil healthy.
BONUS: They rescued 2 donkeys. Honestly – we could have gone just to see these donkeys and been satisfied with our stay. We love these affectionate animals and we are so happy they have a loving home!
If this hasn’t convinced you yet, some more highlights:
- outdoor salt water pool
- yoga studio with free classes
- monthly pizza parties in the summer
- walking distance to the beach
- friendly and helpful staff
- and of course, free WiFi
UNIQUE ITEMS TO PACK FOR THIS HOTEL:
- reusable water bottle
- non-toxic natural skincare and toiletries to preserve their eco-friendly septic system
- yoga attire
- walking/hiking shoes
HOW TO GET THERE FROM LISBON:
- Train – Eco-Choice: You can take the train from Lisbon to the Lagos Train station. A good option if you’re planning to hang out at the hotel or pick up your car rental in Lagos.
- Car: Rent a car from the Lisbon airport and take the highway straight to Lagos. We booked with Alamo Car rental. We chose to drive because we were visiting several areas of the Algarve and this was the most cost effective.
- Fly: You can fly into Faro Airport and drive about 45 minutes to the hotel.
We are always looking for places that help you travel well and not just be “well travelled”. Casa Vale Da Lama Eco Resort is definitely a place you can achieve this.
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– Christine and Sarah