Frequently Asked Questions
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Surf Therapy Travel wants to create a world where being in and around the ocean is the source of connecting people who want to work on their personal development or personal growth.
How do I confirm and complete my reservation?
As soon as you've sent us an email with a reservation request from our website’s contact form or via firstname.lastname@example.org, your place is reserved. Payment arrangements are made through the confirmation email of your booking. More information will be sent to you prior to the retreat to prepare you for this life changing surf therapy adventure. The reservation is binding. Cancelling will result in a cancellation fee (see General Terms & Conditions).
For who is this retreat?
A Surf Therapy Retreat is for anyone over 18 years of age who wants to work on his or her personal development in a nature-, beach environment. Whether you would like to (learn to) surf or not you can become part of the surf tribe we create during our weeklong retreat.
Invitations go out to people as well who are in, or facing a burn-out (if you can feel it coming!) and people who are trying to deal with ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, loneliness, grieve and addiction (whether that is drugs, alcohol, sex, sports, food etc.).
Surf Therapy Retreat
How far is our accommodation from the beach?
A Good Place in Vale de Telha in The Algarves is situated 5 kilometres from famous Arrifana Beach.
Shark's Lodge is situated in the middle of the Baleal Bay. A 7-minute walk through the neighbourhood and dunes will take you to this amazing beach.
Will I need a plug adaptor?
All sockets are European standard with 220V output. You may bring your adapter if your devices have other plugs. Every kind of adapter can also be bought in Portugal, but you may need to search a bit in the Peniche area.
Are there towels at the retreat?
Our accommodations provide towels. Note that these towels should not be taken to the beach, so please pack your favourite beach towel.
Is there bed linen at the retreat?
Bed linen and blankets are provided. Even though Portugal is a county in the south of Europe it still has a sea climate. This means, sun and rain throughout the year. It can get cold at nights!
Can I drink the water in our accommodation?
You can drink water from the tap, however the taste is not so good. A lot of chemicals are added to purify it. We recommend you buy 5 litre water tanks for maximum supply. Because of the therapeutic interventions we do we will ask you to drink lots!
Are the facilitators of the retreat trained therapist and coaches?
Yes, our facilitators are trained in the field of mental and physical health and surf coaching. Surf to our team page to learn more about their background, education, training and motivation to facilitate the retreat.
What kind of food do we get at the retreat?
Most meals are included at the retreat. You will be served 4 times diner, 5 times lunch and 6 times breakfast. Breakfast is a standard European breakfast with bread, spreads, eggs, meat, yoghurt, muesli, fruit, coffee, tea and juice. For lunch and dinner the chefs will make fusion cooked meals and sandwiches. If you have allergies or a special diet please inform us. We will try our best to meet your needs!
When does the surf therapy programme start and end?
The programme starts either on the day you checked in or the day after. You will be notified prior to the retreat by one of our crew members.
What does an average day look like at the retreat?
7.00 - 8.00 hrs Morning exercise (e.g. psoas tension release - max 3 times during the retreat)
8.15 - 9.30 hrs Breakfast
9.30 - 13.00 hrs Surfing and sharing or therapeutic intervention
13.00 - 15.00 hrs Lunch and free time
15.00 - 18.30 hrs Therapeutic intervention or surfing and sharing
19.30 - 21.00 hrs Dinner
Am I obliged to attend all the different activities in the programme?
Our programme is designed to get the maximum out of your week long retreat on a level of personal development. However if you need time for yourself because your physicality doesn't allow participation or you are deeply touched and you need time to reflect by yourself than you can notify us. We believe in self-care and we aim for a programme that suits the needs of the group. So we will do our best to constantly align. If this means that participants need free time this, of corse, will be discussed and listened to.
Is there a day of rest?
In every retreat we organise at least one afternoon and evening (on the same day) free time. If there is an extra moment of rest needed by the group we will discuss this. Remember that this week will be as much a group process as an individual process. Your needs can be brought into contact and together we can adjust the programma to everyone's liking! We do however provide enough time within the schedule to rest.
Are all meals included?
Many meals are included (6 times breakfast, 5 times lunch and 4 times diner). On your free afternoon and the last evening you get to take care of your own food. However we do plan to have a final meal together (at your own cost) in a nice local restaurant or at the villa (BBQ) the last evening. Most meals are included because this gives us the most flexibility to design the programme according to state the individual members of the group are in. The programme also depends on the tides, wind etc. (to plan surfing time) Having all dinners together also allows to take keep the focus on what's happening within yourself during your process. It provides you with more time to reflect.
Why do I need to sign an Informed Consent?
An informed consent is a legal document stating that the participant takes responsibility for his or her health when joining interventions, treatments and sessions. It is important that the facilitators know what kind of challenges they may face when working with participants at a therapeutic level. Whether that is mental or physical. The document is also there to notify participants that the facilitators will try their best to support participants as much as they can in their process of self-development.
Why do I need to leave a phone number of a relative or good friend in case of an emergency?
In case of an emergency Surf Therapy Travel wants to be able to provide your loved ones with information that supports you in the situation you may find yourself in.
Do I get a wetsuit for my surfing lessons?
Yes! We won’t let you get out there without a wetsuit. Due to the cold Gulf Stream, water temperatures vary from 12°C in winter to max 20°C in summer. This is too cold to stay out there for two hours without protection. A benefit when the sun is blasting. It definitely protects you skin!
Surfing & weather
What is the weather like in the area?
The west Algarves has a Mediterranean climate. This means that summers are warm and winters are mild. The average maximum temperature is 16 degrees Celsius (61°F) in January/February and 26°C (84°F ) in July/August.
In Baleal, the summers are comfortable, dry, and mostly clear and the winters are cold, wet, windy, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 9°C to 24°C (49°F to 75°F) and is rarely below 5,5 ° or above 29°C (42°F to 84°F).
When is the best time to visit Portugal?
Depending on your level of surfing you may find the best waves between April and November (beginners). As an intermediate surfer, spring, autumn and winter are great moments to visit Portugal (April – mid June and September – March). As an advanced surfer you probably like the big winter swells best. However during autumn you are also likely to get a killer swell when the hurricanes blow above the other side of the Atlantic. But as we do not only focus on the surfing, October / November (a month in which a retreat is held) is a great time to visit Portugal to enjoy the sun and surf till your skin has this golden shine and your arms feel like noodles! ;-)
Do I need a wetsuit in Portugal?
Yes, you do need a wetsuit in Portugal! The gulfstream is a cold current, which hits the coast of Portugal. With water temperatures varying from 12°C in winter to max 19°C in summer you should bring your wetsuit.
What kind of clothes should I take?
As Portugal has a sea climate, temperatures can change strongly between day and evening. Bring anything from bikini to fully covered (best in layers) clothes. And a raincoat! Check the weather forecast before you come over and take into consideration that it can change any flip second! Happy sunny and rainy days with lots of waves!
How can I get a cheap flight to Portugal?
Cheap flights to Portugal from most of Europe’s countries can be found through Ryanair and Easyjet. A lot of countries also have their own low cost airline companies such as The Netherlands – Transavia, Germany – Eurowings, France – Transavia / Air France / Vueling, UK – Wizzair / Easyjet / Ryanair. Cheap flights can be found through the following Internet portals: Skyscanner, Traveloka, Checkfelix or Opodo.
What airport do I fly into?
The airport closest to Vale da Telha (Algarves) is Faro. Also known as Algarve Airport ((IATA: FAO, ICAO: LPFR) the airport is situated 4 kilometre to the west of Faro.
The airport closest to Peniche is Lisbon’s international airport, also called Humberto Delgado Airport (IATA: LIS, ICAO: LPPT), also known simply as Lisbon Airport or Portela Airport.
Can I bring my own surfboard?
Some airlines transport surfboards free of charge, provided your total checked baggage weight is under the usual allowance (20 to 23 kg). But please check with your airline beforehand as it seems to be handled quite arbitrarily (make sure they know it is a 'real' surfboard to avoid mix-ups with wind surfboards).
Will I be met at the airport?
No, you won’t be picked up unless you contact us to arrange a pick up for you. This will cost around 100 euros (one way). However it is easy to book a rental car in Faro or Lisbon (fairly cheap). Platforms such as Easyterra and CarJet are a good one to consult. Choose the worry-free option. Easiest is to find a car rental that has its cars parked at the airport. Outside car hire services tend to take a much longer time getting to and getting your car. However they are often cheaper.
How do I get to the retreat?
The closest airport to the retreat at A Good Place is Faro, about 114 km. It is possible to travel by car or bus to Aljezur.
The closest airport to Peniche is in Lisbon Airport, about 90Km from our location. From Lisbon it’s possible to travel to Peniche by car (about 1h00) or by bus (about 1h30).
From Lisbon to Shark’s Lodge in Peniche:
By car – Take the A8 Highway direction to Leiria. You will drive on a toll highway. This part is not automated yet so you don’t need to hire the Via Verata device to get through the gates. You can simply stop at the toll to collect a ticket and pay on the next toll (approximately 5 euro, make sure you have it in cash as not all credit cards tend to work). Drive towards Peniche exiting via the IP6 off-ramp. At the third roundabout (Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem), take the first exit, towards Baleal. After 1km you will find the urbanization Sol Village II, turn right, at the roundabout take the third exit and you will arrive.
By bus – Take the Express Bus (Rede Expressos) at Praça Marechal Humberto Delgado. Address – Rua das Laranjeiras 1500-543 Lisbon. Usually, there are departures to Peniche every 2 hours. If you are somewhere in Lisbon or coming from the airport you can catch the Subway to the bus terminal, the station is Jardim Zoológico on the blue line. Arriving at the bus terminal of Peniche is 25 min walk to Shark’s Lodge or you can catch a taxi or have the lodge call you one.
Do I need a visa?
Residents from the European Union can enter Portugal without a visa. Portugal is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that for example U.S. citizens may enter Portugal for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least six months. You need sufficient funds to support you during your stay and a return airline ticket.
Do I need transportation during the retreat?
This depends on your surfing level and needs! As a beginning surfer we will take you to the breaks with a van. If you don’t book surfing lessons you will need to make sure you get to the beach yourself. There is a surf break a walking distance from Shark’s Lodge but this break is not always good. It is advisable to have your own transportation in this case. Other activities than surfing take place in and around the lodge, so no need to have transportation. The last night we go out for a final dinner (at your own costs) and this we will arrange as much as possible with the transportation available by facilitators and participants of the retreat. We can hire taxi’s when necessary as well, this won’t be expensive!
What’s the currency in Portugal?
Portugal’s currency is the euro. The fluctuating exchange rate is approximately $1 for € 0,90
Where can I change money?
You can best change money directly at the airport or at a bank. For more information on changing money visit this website.
Can I get money from the ATM?
There are enough ATMs in Portugal; where you can withdraw euros with your credit card or bank card (international creditor, e.g. Maestro, Cirrus). Make sure you know the pin number of your card(s). Several transactions can be done one after another. Some ATM’s charge you a fee on top of your exchange rate. It is best to look for another ATM then!
How much money should I bring?
Portugal is still fairly cheap (except for the bigger cities such as Lisbon and Porto). As you book quite a full package in which your accommodation, food and activities are included you should only bring some pocket money for transportation (from and to the airport), coffee’s, drinks, snacks, the odd souvenir, your food on the day of arrival an check-out and last night’s dinner. We estimate that with around 250 euros you will be fine for the week (unless you love buying surf-style clothes and surf gear or having lots of drinks).
What kind of insurance should I take out?
Even though, Surf Therapy Travel as the provider of the retreat has insurance for its participants we strongly recommend that everyone coming to Surf Therapy Travels’ Surf Therapy Retreat take a travel health insurance. Apart from medical care in case something happens on site, this also covers return transport by an emergency service. You can also take out a casualty insurance (hospital daily benefits or even a pension in a worst-case scenario) and travel and baggage insurance.
Surf Therapy Participant
“I never thought the sea would give me so much peace and joy. Even at times when I really did not know how to proceed in life. With Sabine from Surf Therapy Travel I could completely be myself. The different experiments near and in the ocean and the bodywork techniques next to a Gestalt basis helped me raise my awareness. I now feel more at ease and in peace with myself. I am more self compassionate and I no longer experience anxiety. I highly recommend surf therapy! “