In this ecotourism project on São Jorge Island, guests sleep in yurts, traditional tents from Mongolia.
More than just a business venture Retiro Atlântico is a life project and is the first glamping (glamorous camping) space on the island of São Jorge, in the Azores. With a certified biological farm, the idea was born at the hands of a local couple, always connected to nature. In this small paradise, as it is called, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy in the comfort of a yurt, a circular tent traditionally used by nomadic shepherds in Mongolia. The lodge has a total of four tents and has been operating since August 2019, and is just one of the many "green" initiatives making the Azores an increasingly sustainable destination. Let's have a look at this Azorean refuge and meet the owners, Natacha Moitinho and Hugo Mesquita.
Hugo, one of the masterminds behind the project, has a degree in Nature Guides, is a native of the São Jorge Island, and is a specialist in permaculture. His passion for plants motivated him to build and develop this biological farm. Natacha has a degree in Social and Cultural Communication, as well as a Masters in Women's Studies. She previously volunteered in India, China and Cape Verde and in 2012 decided to "follow her heart" and moved to this Azorean island.
The couple, who say they have always been connected to nature, decided to bet on tourism and do something innovative, but also sustainable. And that's how the Atlantic Retreat was born, a glamping project where guests sleep in yurts and can "wake up to the sound of the birds, let themselves be enveloped by the countless varieties of plants present in the space and marvel at the view over Mount Pico", in the words of Hugo and Natacha. They chose the unusual Mongolian yurts because they are "beautiful, resistant and suitable for the surroundings".
The project had the support of the Regional Government of the Azores, through a programme called Competir+, and took about a year and a half to complete. The construction was completed by a contractor on the island, but "a large part of the stone walls, trees and roads were made by us and Hugo's father", says Natacha.
The Glamping experience is joined by a biological farm, which began as an amateur and personal project but is already certified. It has over 2,500 varieties of edible plants and a collection of rare tropical fruits. Let's have a look inside this glamping and farm complex.