Figueirinha Ecoturismo wants to be self-sustainable
On the way to ensure its self-sustainability, Figueirinha Ecoturismo invests in clean energy and permaculture. Here ecotourism is not a vain word or a mere expression that is in vogue. It is practiced every day in all our activities.
Figueirinha Ecoturismo is a true oasis in the heart of Alentejo, in an area of 1,975 hectares sheltered between São Luís and Relíquias and 27 kilometres from the most beautiful and wild beaches of the Costa Vicentina. This piece of land is part of the National Ecological Reserve and Natura 2000 network. Here one can feel a real connection with nature, but also the warmth of human relations becomes simpler. In a more rural Alentejo comfort has not been forgotten in the rooms and tents, supported by solar panels that guarantee almost complete energy self-sufficiency and a biological swimming pool where water oxygenation is ensured by 23 different species of aquatic plants, at the bottom, on the surface and banks, creating a perfect habitat for small frogs, newts and tortoises. Two thirds of the pool is reserved for plants and one third for swimmers.
Slow Food and regional products
At our table we serve, whenever possible, products of biological origin from our own garden (vegetables); fruits from our orchard or harvested in the area; homemade seasonings, jams and liqueurs (produced from fruit surplus); and olive oil from our olive grove (processed in the Colos mill). The bread is kneaded and baked in a wood oven in the surrounding villages; such as sheep’s and goat’s cheese; honey is purchased from a local or Odemira beekeeper; black pork, lamb and beef also originate from the region; and the fish comes from the artisanal fishing communities of Sines, Vila Nova de Milfontes and Zambujeira do Mar.
We practice the Slow Food philosophy, an ecogastronomic movement created to respond to the negative effects of fast food, counteract the disappearance of regional culinary traditions and reverse people’s growing disinterest in their food. Slow Food stands for good, clean and fair foods while preserving biodiversity, taste education and culinary culture. Organized in conviviality, the movement today has over 100,000 members in 150 countries, namely Portugal.
Fair Trade and Ethical Tourism
In Figueirinha Ecotourism Fair Trade products are consumed, namely, 100% uncrystallised brown sugar from organic agriculture, also known as “pan sugar”. This sugar maintains a high percentage of nutrients, vitamins and minerals as its process is absolutely natural. Fair Trade is a social movement, created with the goal of transforming the current models of economic relations, proposing alternative circuits of commercialization of goods and services. Fairtrade is a development model based on solidarity economy, which values people, collective work, equity and cooperation, in the face of competition and concentration of wealth in transnational corporations; advocates the local transformation of products, also valuing the role of local producers, who are not seen as mere suppliers of raw materials; and food sovereignty in the South and North, which is the right of people to decide how and what food they want to produce. Fairtrade favours domestic and local markets by strengthening smaller circuits without intermediaries; a direct and transparent relationship between those who produce and those who consume; the traditional processes; and organic farming. On the other hand, it seeks to work with producers who work collectively, committed to the social, political and environmental reality of their territory.
The movement for ethical, responsible and supportive tourism originates in Europe based on the principles of Fair Trade. It is the starting point for the sustainable development of the sector. By complying with ethical principles and criteria the objective is to achieve conditions for the financing of sustainable development projects, training and infrastructure, as well as partnerships in real work experiences.
Environmentally Friendly Activities
Bring your own bike or rent a bike in Vila Nova de Milfontes to ride in the vicinity or to the villages of Monte da Estrada and Ribeira do Seissal.
As a listed company of Rota Vicentina, we sponsor the Circular Circuit of Srª. das Neves, a 14-kilometer walking trail, where our guests are invited to wake up to the magic of nature.
Guests have free access to our organic garden and orchard, picking fruits and vegetables according to the seasons.
Diving among water lilies, damselflies and frogs in our biological pool is an unforgettable experience.
The communal kitchen, the wood oven, the barbecues and the large round table turn the meals into delicious moments of communion with nature.
We invite our guests to explore nature at all times by providing picnics on top of Srª. das Neves, olive grove activities or stargazing. We offer our guests various activities with local partners, such as hiking the Rota Vicentina (historical route and fishermen’s route), horse riding, canoeing on the Mira river and stand up paddle in Vila Nova de Milfontes.
Dissemination of local and regional products
Our breakfast includes a wide range of local products such as Ribeira do Seissal Alentejo bread, Campo Redondo sheep and Cercal goat cheese, and self-produced products (jams, cakes, juices and fruit).
The olives from our olive trees are processed in the Colos mill and Vale Figueira organic olive oil has been part of the Slowfood Foundation’s Ark of Taste since 2014.
Our guests are invited to explore, visit and eat in the establishments of the surrounding villages and towns.
Information about the region is provided at the reception, supported by maps, guides, itineraries.
We actively participate in the dissemination of the best touristic sites of Vale Figueira, Costa Vicentina and the interior of Odemira municipality, through photographic reports.
We are part of a network of local partners that offers unique animation experiences, giving up any commissions.
We hire local workers for agricultural tasks, construction and maintenance.
Reduction of environmental impact
Our electricity is 100% photovoltaic (25,920 kWh per year, equivalent to a reduction of 13,299 kg of CO2), captured by means of solar panels (we are not connected to the grid).
Led lamps give light to our lodgings.
Exterior lighting is kept to a minimum to avoid energy consumption and light pollution.
Our heating is carried out through wood burning stoves (double rooms) and wood burning stove with radiators and water towel rails (main house).
The water heating of the double rooms is obtained by means of solar thermal panels.
Glamping tents feature organic compost toilets, contributing to the production of 2 m3 of compost per year.
Our guests do not change towels daily, to help reduce water and detergent consumption.
The soaps are handcrafted and produced in the region using local raw materials.
Toilet paper and napkins are 100% recycled and of national origin.
Our sewers are treated in a biological tank.
We recycle and encourage recycling in each of our homes by placing ecopoints.
Our green areas are spontaneous meadows that do not require watering.
Maintenance of outdoor spaces is carried out by manual and mechanical means without the use of pesticides.
Our pool is biological, and its balance is assured by recreating a natural ecosystem, where plants ensure the purification of water.
We minimize the printing of advertising materials on paper, favouring other means of lower environmental impact.
An essential decision factor in our consumption is the number of kilometres travelled. Whenever possible, we buy locally.