Responsable Tourism: Travel to Porto and help Peneda-Gerês National Park become a better place

 
 GroupFoto
 

A good place to live is a good place to visit!

 
National Park Peneda - Gerês is full of toxic tourism. That is a historic problem in Gerês. Visitors arrive to Park and destroy the natural heritage with their lack of careful, leaving the garbage on the floor and ruining the fauna and flora by neglect. 
 
Image if you were a local, how would you feel if you saw this picture over and over again? 
You may think that this kind of tourism create jobs and increases the local economy but the reality is not so black and white as you imagine.  
The truth is that many tourists left  without experience and understand this incredible place. They don´t learn the old traditions, the history behind every magic corner and sometimes they don´t even taste the amazing local gastronomy. 
 
 lampadabgreen1
  In Nature nothing exists alone!            
When we began our Gerês Day Tour, in 2012, we didn´t know yet what we want to be, but we certainly knew what we didn´t want to be: More Toxic Tourism in Gerês! 
The challenge was, from the beginning, understand how we could be different. Rapidly we realize that only a true relation based in trust, respect and partnership, with the local population, make sustainable tourism possible. 
 
And What´s the Point?  
 
What´s the point to plant trees if there isn´t anyone to keep and make them grown? 
 
What´s the point to donate money to the local associations? What they really do with the money? Probable the real associations issues are not the capital but the capacity to create and develop effectivity actions that have a significant contribution for the conservation and preservation of the National Park Peneda-Gerês cultural and natural heritage.   
 
What´s the point to promote clean campaigns? The ideal is to prevent people pollution, alerting them to have manners and to be more  knowledgeable. 
 
What´s the point to bring new visitors to the park if the tour guide offers them a picnic lunch with products bought in a big commercial store? What kind of benefic this practices bring to the local community
 
Given the answers we had the mental clarity of the difficulties and challengs to deal ahead.But the love for the Gerês Park, the locals and the alternative tourism inspiration gave us the strength to apply and built our own ideas.
Have the best travelers of the world helped! Local habitants sooner began to notice that we were different, our tourist don´t pollute, don't ruin, instead they respect the environment and the local roots.Our guides support the local restaurants having their and the tourists meals in typical restaurants, showing the different history in each dish and telling stories behind the person who made it. 
 As a result the relationship between Oporto Adventure Tours and the locals increased and the trustfulness grew.  
 
old lady
Nowadays mutual support is a reality! 
 
- We collect tree seeds, they care and find the best spot to plant them. 
- We plant trees, they assure their survival.
-  The local associations need help to implant some new idea? They can count on us! 
 
We really believe that we are helping Gerês to become a better place, not just for the habitants but also for the future visitors. Provide the best experience is our main goal!
 
 protocolo
 
To keep in mind our goal, this year we signed a protocol with QUERCUS, a main environment organization which focus operate in natural resources conservation and environment defense
We have planned several activities and all our tour guides, residents and tourists will participate. 
 
- Native seed harvest in Gerês 
- Environment education actions 
- Plant several trees 
 
WE LOVE. WE CARE. WE DARE 
  
 
Written by Carla Couto e Sérgio Miranda

What you SHOULD know before organizing a Bachelor Party/Group Party in Porto!

 

 

23.11 NEW

What  you need to know before organizing a Barchelor Partys in Porto?

We never doubt that Porto is one of the best destinations in Europe for a bachelor party or group events.

Here is 5 reasons why:

1) Great price for the accomodation value (hostels/apartements/hoteis)

2) Surprising & Exciting nightlife.

3) Porto is one of the best cities for the food and drinks.

4 ) City is extremely easy to wander and explore.

5) Outdoor Acitivies are available and easy to find.

Ready yet? Here is how to start organizing your bachelor party:

First thing first, book a quick flight to Porto now. Best places to find from my opinion is momondo.com.

When you arrived at Porto Airport (Areporto Sa Carneiro) , you will have metro station sits nicely inside the airport which connects directly to city center  (it costs 1,5 euro for the ticket), super fast and convenient. Besides, you also take a shuttle bus for 6 euro/person.

The accomodation to find is depends on your group size  as well as how much you want to spend.  Porto has some of the best hostel in the world like Tattva, Rivoli hostel or spot hostel (15 euros/person). If you want more privacy, Airbnb apartments are always available. All of them are really easy to find in Porto.

Now you have settled, time for some fun!

I am quite certain that you will be surprised with our extraordinary cuisine. You can have a taste in any restaurants that you find around the city. Quality is ensured. And, please, don’t leave my city whithout trying our typical dishes  like francesinha or drink the famous national beer Super Bock.

Go on having fun and dancing in Galerias de Paris, one of the main streets in Porto where you can find lots of bars with great music, awesome atmosphere, with beautiful people. All of them are there to have great fun like you too!

However, don’t lose all your energy in a night life. Porto has so much more to offers. After a great night with the city and your wonderful friends. Now it is time for nature and some great outdoor activities.

Take a glance at this video, it will surprise you.

See the video:

 

Contac us by : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We professionally organizing your bachelor party as well as your group activity here in Porto!

-          We pick and drop your whole group at your hotel!

-          Various activities that you can do: Kayaking, Paddling, Hiking, Wild swimimg, Kitesurf, Canyonig , Rafting, 4x4.

-          Lunch with our typical food and drinks (Vinho Verde, Super Bock)

-          SUPER GREAT FUN!

-          Wonderful photos and videos taken by our team.

-          We have the coolest and friendliest guide, with amazing local hosts.

 

Choose Porto

Choose Adventure

Choose Oporto Adventure Tours.

A heart-moving story from 200 year-old village Fafião in Gerês National Park

 18.10 Flower

To my fellow travellers,

 I am a guide, as people called me by the title of Jedi. I bring people to our National Park to show them nature and tradition. But it's so much more than that! I bring them to what has become my world, a deep experience that I am privileged to have whenever I work. This world is old, fading out in loneliness and memories, replaced by modern ambitions or downright abandoned.

 

This story plays out in the village of Fafião, formerly a self-sustainable community village, in the Mountains of Gerês. The people there have been hardened by centuries of isolation, amongst trees, rocks and wolves. Work was hard, food was scarce and childhood brief, as in any other village in the interior of Portugal. Misery and hunger is what any old person will tell you if you ask. Call me a hippie or a romantic, but I can’t help thinking that this was a sustainable way of life, and that something should have been done to preserve it and make people have better conditions at the same time.

 

Development was in production, in bridges and highways and university diplomas. Villages were obsolete. The first waves of emigration departed in the sixties and seventies, to the cities, to Spain or to France. The young didn't want to stay. They left to get jobs outside, earning money and better life quality.

 

Now, we have an aged population. We have bridges and highways, but the villages feel somehow less connected. While my generation has university diplomas and is unemployed in a saturated market. I can’t help thinking that something failed...

 18.10 Mid

"The people there have been hardened by centuries of isolation, amongst trees, rocks and wolves"

 

But let’s go back to Fafião, where I always bring travellers on my tours. There’s a primordial feeling of wellness, of peace and simplicity. A different lifestyle, where you learn from the earth and live at a slower pace. There are still some locals. Like granite, they resist the erosion of time. When I come, I try to take a place in the community, always talking with them. Funny situations occur when I try connecting people from arround the globe with them. Once, an old lady exclamed, when she didn’t understand what a dutch couple was saying: 

"In different villages we speak in different ways, so sometimes we don’t even understand each other!"

   The day finally came when I met the oldest lady of the village, Dona Maria Benta, 94 years old. What she told me touched my soul:

 - I am very old, I have suffered hunger for a long time.. I had 10 children and raised them in the mountains. Now only four are left.. They all live in Lisbon..

 She sat humble, her aged eyes wet with tears. This tiny woman, dressed in black, embodied Portugal. She moved me. I told her I could be her new grandson, and that I would bring her a flower the next time I came. She laughed sadly, saying she was too old for flowers. 

 "You are never too old for flowers!"

 At so it was that 3 days after I came with a flower. I found her outside, sitting with her cousin, and offered the gift. Dona Maria Benta, who everyone says is harsh for having had a harsh life, was emotional, and said that boys nowadays are very sweet. She blessed me to “go with God” when I left.

I feel like we are making a difference to this community, making them both benefit and connected by tourism. I like to think that we’re not only passing by, that we became part of them as much as they have become part of us!

 

 

Written by Ricardo "Jedi" Guerreiro.

What is possibly stronger than a Land Rover engine?

 

A human heart full of passion!

Something extraordinary blooms in my heart whenever our travellers returned to Porto and say they have the time of their life!

Something that I just cannot explain, measure, or control.

Something that keep myself burning, and I can do nothing but to fall deeply in love with it.

Yes, it is passion. Thankfully, It fueled me with a strong heart to make Oporto Adventure Tours work.

 

To me, success requires hard work and its quality is the outcome of a large set of details! Thus, I constantly feel the pressure for excellence and it is definitely not enough to hear from visitors that they liked it or the tour was good.

Often, I put myself in their shoes: "what if I was a single traveler, a wife, a mother or even a school's or company's member doing teambuilding who have had a good day?"

 

For us, good is not enough, it has to be excellent!

 

It might be tough as the work wears you out daily. Nonetheless, the joy of overcoming is as hydrating as the spring waters of #GeresNationalPark .

That why with Oporto Adventure Tours, I constantly feed the passion with innovation.

In fact, 2016 was our Paddle year, in Gerês National Park, we have been finding incredible paddle spots that nowhere else has and it happens that we ourselves never able to leave the house without a paddle board! That is the reason why we want to share those precious moments with our travellers!

 

 Passions are stronger when shared, and inside our Land Rovers you hear our heart voices louder than its engine. 

 

Carla Couto (Owner of Oporto Adventure Tours)

 

 

Freedom is as important as the air I breed!

 Maybe that’s why I love riding my motor bike, paddling, and driving Land Rovers. I feel the freedom and I breathe better.

I am not as dedicated to details as Carla but I am as much or more demanding as her.

I am free to look at this company not only as who looks at his business.

Carla says a humans’ heart is more powerful than a Land Rover engine as she may not understand everything about cars. The Land Rover in the photo was born in 1981, it still has its' original engine, driving it is amazing.

Land Rover itself quotes: "others can drive faster, I can drive anywhere" which is perfect for me.

And as I am roaming around on this masterpiece,

I call this Freedom.

And Passion.

 

Sergio Miranda (Co-owner of Oporto Adventure Tours)

Peneda-Gerês National Park - a remarkable highlight for trip to Porto

 

 

Lovely, isn't it?!

This is the authentic footages sent by Kairi Killin during her trip with Oporto Adventure Tours to Porto and northern part of Portugal. Certainly, our travellers just never cease to amaze us!

 

Atlas & Rita, our magical wheels.

 Our 4x4 also have magical powers, seriously. Each morning, when I take them to work, they seem like any other machine. Atlas (Land Rover Defender) the white giant, roaring and rumbling through the streets of Porto; or the sweet Rita (Land Rover Discovery) smooth and stiff, with a posture of a true lady! (Yes, it’s true, you’re reading it right. We love our 4x4 so much we gave them names and personalities.) For a few minutes it’s just me and them, nothing special, everything normal... But just the moment the seatbelts are tighten up and the wheels start rollin' ... something happens.

 

"Just the moment the seatbelts are tighten up and the wheels start rollin"

 

It’s common to have persons from all around the world during our tours , different ages, different cultures and countries. So suddenly I look in the mirror of the 4x4 and I see and listen people completely strangers to each other, sharing a squeezed seat in the back of our jeep, heading to Gerês.


Would you believe me if I told you that, by the end of the day, they are all laughing and hugging like if they were family? I wouldn’t too, but it’s true...


"And I blame our 4x4 and the magic it casts on our beloved travellers."

 

  The conversation starts flowing with the wheels turning, the bounces on the road become smiles and soon, the first shy hello turns into an amazing story, or experience, or even a joke! Suddenly everyone is talking and sharing and happy. And why wouldn’t they be? We’re all doing something that we love: a walk on the wild side.


But the funny thing is that nature involves silence; so every time the moment demands for a bit of quietness, we can see everyone respecting it, staying calm and taking a deep breath without another sound than the one made by the water falling from the waterfalls.


 "The sweet Rita on the left, and the masculine Atlas 4x4 on the right"


It’s amazing to see how travelers respect each other and how deep is their mutual understanding. Can you imagine how rewarding it is for me to meet people like that?

Come to visit Porto, Douro and Gerês too! Because it’s the people we meet at our destinations that make the difference. Trust us, besides our guides and the local population of the park, the travelers you’ll meet in one of our tours will make your journey richer, unforgettable.

 

As a traveller you have the power to plan your own trip, so make every second and cent spent on it count. Make it worth it!

 

Author: Rui Coelho
(Oporto Adventure Tours guide)