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Frequently Asked Questions​

Here are answers to the high points. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

We're happy to be in communication.
El Camino de Santiago marker in Porto
El Camino de Santiago marker in Porto
Castelo de Santiago do Cacém
Castelo de Santiago do Cacém

Which airport is closest to Porto Covo and how do I get there?

From North America and Asia, the airport of choice is in Lisbon. If you’re arriving from anywhere in Europe or Africa, then Faro may be an option as well. It is 1.5 to 2 hours from either airport to the Mermaid Retreat by car which can be rented at either airport.
The way to get here is by driving a car. There are busses that come to Porto Covo, but you will still need a car to get around. The only exception is if you’re walking the Rota Vicentina or the Historic Trail.

What’s the best time of year to visit?

Anytime is great so long as the weather and activities available suite your fancy! Spring, summer and early autumn are full of beautiful sunny days. The warmest temperatures are from mid-June through mid-September hovering in the 24 – 27C / 75 – 80F range. The largest crowds are in July and August.
December through January are the coldest, wettest months. That said, it’s still sunny in the afternoons most days and while it gets chilly, it never comes close to freezing here. The lowest is 7C / 45F at night and up to 21C / 70F during the day with enough humidity to require a coat.

Here’s a historic weather link for Porto Covo

Trekking + Hiking Weather: March through May are the times most highly recommended to trek and Historic Trail and Rota Vicentina. Day hikes are great any time of year.

Lisbon sunrise
Lisbon sunrise

How do I create a plan for my group to stay with you?

We LOVE creating experiences for all sorts of people with all sorts of interests!
Simply send an email – found in the Communicate tab of the website – with your request and contact information. Let us know what you want to create or the experience you want to have. Don’t worry about making an outrageous request – we’ll simply have a conversation to see what’s possible.
If you simply want to be tourists and see a bunch of different things, we can help you create an itinerary to experience whatever is most interesting and exciting to you!
So come on, what’s your idea? Let’s create this together!
P.S. We have sample schedules that look like going to summer camp to get you going.

Are you on or near the Rota Vicentina or Historic Trail?

Yes, we are and we would love to meet you!
Walking groups will often times stop at the Mermaid Retreat for lunch. Hikers can either bring their lunch or we can create a meal specially for your group – with prior arrangement. If you bring your lunch, we offer water, tea or coffee along with a baked treat to compliment your lunch. Just be sure to let us know you’re coming and we’ll be here ready and waiting!
The Historic Trail goes directly through the middle of our land. When walking from the south to the north – which is the most popular direction – we are located about a 2.5 hour walk from Cercal. Much of this walk is downhill. Hikers often arrive here at lunch time. Feel free to make yourselves comfortable under the shady trees. If you want to end your day of hiking here, you are welcome to stay the night. Again, we need to make sure there’s space available. Simply send us an email with your request and we’ll make it so!
The Rota Vicentina is just a few kilometers away along the coastline. We can arrange a shuttle from Praia Pessegueiro to the Mermaid Retreat - or there are trails and backroads that come here as well. Just be sure to let us know you’re coming and we’ll be ready and waiting!
If you want to end your day of hiking here, you are welcome to stay the night. Again, we need to make sure there’s space available. Simply send us an email with your request and we’ll make it so!
Our email can be found in the Communicate tab of the website.

Can you accommodate special needs or health restrictions?

Yes, we can accommodate almost any special need. The only thing that doesn’t work is ambulatory issues. Why? Because our land is on a gently sloping hill that is not paved. It is dirt and wild grass with lots of really big trees. Steady feet and legs are needed to get around the Mermaid Retreat.
We can accommodate most everything from keeping medications cool and secure to preparing special meals or creating a level of calm and quiet.
Our facilities and accommodations are simple so there’s nothing that toddlers or children with special needs can break. Aside from sleeping and bathing, we live outside in nature so there’s lots of space to run off energy and very little that can harm beyond skinned knees.
We can create any food program your group requests – in advance. All of the alternative forms of flour and dairy are available here as well as a wide selection of fresh, garden raised fruits and vegetables.
Meat, chickens, eggs, and fish are locally and ethically raised/caught according to tradition. Animals graze freely here. You will see them in the fields as you travel around. Sometimes they’re on the roads so please keep an eye out!

Are there pets at your facility? Can we bring our pets with us?

There are three gentle, kind dogs that live at the Mermaid Retreat. They are Kayu, Ursula and Oliver and all are good with people of all ages and sizes. Please know that they are real, live animals and will run away to protect themselves. For those who do not wish to interact with our K-9 friends, we will keep them away from the guest area. Our dogs are usually in the securely fenced yard that surrounds our private residence.
We do not allow guests to bring pets of any kind to the Mermaid Retreat. There are several reasons for this. The most important is that we are in the wild and there is no place to secure your pets. We have Javali that roam our land at night. They are wild boars and will attack animals. There are also fox and birds of prey – specifically hawks and owls. We also have wild hares that, if your pet gets the scent, will be on a chase up into the hills.
Pets are not allowed on the beaches at any time nor are they allowed in shops or restaurants. In short, your pet would have a really lousy vacation so please, keep them home.
We can support you by recommending a local place to board your cat or dog in a neighboring town. We use this same facility when we vacation and bringing our furry friends is not possible.

Please ask us anything!​

Please ask us anything!​