DOÑANA, BIKES, TREKKING, KAYAK + ONE WEEK SAILING IN PORTUGAL

  Isla Cristina (Huelva) – The Algarve (Portugal) 13 days

This is a trip for those who enjoy the nature, walking, sailing, watching the wildlife of our peninsula. The province of Huelva and the South of Portugal are privileged places to make this kind of activities. As we paddle slowly, in a silent journey by kayak with the rhythm of the tides. We will use bicycles in a greenway to Portugal. We’ll trek in the Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche forests, valleys and white villages. Also we will visit extensive wetlands, dunes and pine forests in Doñana, a bird paradise and one of the most important natural areas in Europe.

Come aboard after a week of activities in our sailing yacht and explore with us one of the most spectacular yet least known landscapes in southern Portugal. Wind your way up the River Guadiana between mountains and ancient fortifications as far Alcoutim. Set full sail for Tavira and the Ría Formosa Natural Park with its islets and small fishing villages set amongst wetlands and windswept beaches. Look out for dolphins and other cetaceans along the Algarve coast, and in the evenings relax beneath the brilliant hues of another glorious sunset. Set your course towards the horizon and drop anchor under the stars. Discover a world of sky and sea, wind and tides. This is Faro del Sur.

DEPARTURES 2020

27th June

4th, 11th, 18th, 25th July

1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th August

5th September

INCLUDED

TRansfer Seville – Isla Cristina – Seville

Faro del Sur qualified guides and skipper

Accommodation in double or individual rooms in our apartments located coast line and in front of a natural reserve. Shared facilities and activities with other clients

Accommodation in double cabin 7days/6 nights at our sail boat

Sheets

Port fees, anchorage in natural reserves and fuel, Short trips in motorised lifeboat

All activities included in the program (bicycles, kayaking, Doñana Natural Park, Aracena Natural Park hiking, sail boat and skipper, routes and activities)

Itinerary of sailing yacht as programmed

Insurance

NOT INCLUDED

Travel to Seville

Meals (During the sailing week a common pool of approx 30€ per person for meals will be done).

PRICE

1.000€ (21% VAT incl.)

Supplement: 300€: 11th, 18th, 25th July; 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd August.

Supplement individual room (optional): 50€. (150€: 11th, 18th, 25th jul; 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd August)

THE TRIP

This is a trip divided in two; the first part of it is for those who enjoy nature, walking, sailing, watching our country fauna. It is a very complete route that includes several activities all developed in an exceptional location: the South West of Andalusia.

Great beaches, enormous dunes and coastline pine forests, chestnut forest at the mountains or white villages with Arabian heritage. Pure Andalusia with an active style and far from crowded areas as classic tourism.

It is perfect for resting after a stressed week at the home town. Everything developed by us, with own guides, carefully designed routes. All the material is coming as well from Faro del Sur: bicycles, kayaks, sailing boat and van, in that way we achieve our goal of a perfect relation quality/price.

Accommodation is in our apartments, in front of marshes, they are new and fully equipped. We also have the help of Faro del Sur’s offices located in Isla Cristina. We are convinced that this is a perfect option for adventure travelling in Spain.

The second part of the trip is a tour for all those who enjoy the sea and the natural environment, who like nothing better than being under sail, observing at close quarters the fauna indigenous to the peninsula, and sharing the experience with their fellow voyagers.

It takes a varied route along a privileged coastline, which introduces all aboard to the other, unspoilt Algarve, untrodden by the package tour crowds. There is a wealth of natural features to explore, from the long beaches of fine white sand, the dunes, wetlands and pine groves of the leeward coast to the small bays and cliffs of the central coast. There is, too, the chance to spot cetaceans and a wide variety of marine birds on the islands of Tavira and Culatra. Awaiting the traveler inland are the towns of Sanlúcar and Alcoutim, located on the banks of the River Guadiana, and on the Atlantic coast, Olhao and Tavira with centuries of maritime history in their streets.

The pace is unhurried, covering a total of 100 nautical miles, but plenty of opportunities for activity are on offer at each port of call, whether exploring on foot, snorkeling, fishing, or simply taking in the atmosphere. Sleeping is aboard the yacht surrounded by nature, the ideal point from which to watch the unbelievable sunsets for which this part of the world is justly renowned. Our cruises are all carefully designed with the client’s needs always uppermost, so as to give the best value for money.

In addition, the Faro del Sur offices in Isla Cristina provide constant back-up.

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Day 1

 Transfer from Sevilla to Isla Cristina. (NB. Pick-ups can also be made in Seville train station) at 5pm upon arrival at the offices of Faro del Sur we are briefed about the week’s activities. Accommodation in our apartments located in front of a natural reserve.
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Day 2

Kayak Excursion. After a short safety/training talk, we take advantage of high tide to immerse ourselves in the tranquillity of this coastal wetland and learn about its unique ecosystem. Slowly traversing areas of salt pans, marshes and navigation channels we’ll enjoy a rich diversity of flora and fauna. There are ancient mills, shore carpenters, fishing ports and fish markets offering tastes and smells it seems we’d almost forgotten. No previous experience is necessary for the kayaking – the only requirement is that you are able to swim. The excursion takes 4 to 5 hours and the remainder of the day is free to visit the old town with its port, fish market and daily fish auction – a fascinating opportunity to savour the sights and smells of this lovely town.
Kayaking time: Four-five hours.
Overnight in Faro del Sur’s Apartments.
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Day 3

Doñana Natural Park (World Heritage). This is doubtlessly the most eagerly anticipated excursion for bird lovers. With our naturalist guide we’ll leave early in the morning to enjoy a full day in this, one of Europe’s most famous stopover points for migratory birds. Doñana’s entire ecosystem is a vital haven and wintering ground for a multitude of birds that come there to feed and breed. Over 360 different species are seen at various times of year. We’ll begin in the well-known village of El Rocío, where the marshes become waterlogged with the first autumn rains, flooding the clay soil and creating a fantastic place for spotting waders such as flamingos and other animal species such as wild horses and organically reared livestock. We can also see a huge variety of birds of prey on the wing, such as kites, western marsh harriers and if we are lucky, the spectacular western imperial eagle. Springtime sees the arrival birds from Africa which come to breed – plenty of colour and activity. We’ll then visit the Mediterranean forest which is home to deer, wild boar, rabbit and the elusive Iberian lynx. In the afternoon we’ll approach the Dunas del Asperillo Natural Park by a path that ends at a deserted beach. For those interested it’s possible to enjoy a horse-ride across the dunes of the park (optional). Later we return by road to Isla Cristina.
Bird Watching time: Whole day.
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Day 4

 Portugal by Bicycle. Today we take our bicycles and cross the Guadiana estuary by ferry to Portugal. Following a “Via Verde” or ‘green way’ (a specially conditioned cycle track reclaimed from an old railway line) we pass salt pans, marshes and tidal mills. We’ll stop to visit a traditional salt plant, one of the last in Spain, nowadays engaged in supplying the modern demand for artisan salt. Finally our “Via Verde” brings us to the town of Ayamonte where from the quayside we’ll take the regular ferry to the Portuguese town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio. Like many towns along the Algarve, Vila real was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755 and was subsequently laid out and rebuilt in the enlightenment style.  We’ll have time to stroll the pleasant town with its marina, stylish 18th century architecture and highly celebrated town plan. We can extend our cycle ride following the banks of the Guadiana to the wide open beach where the river opens to the Atlantic Ocean. There should be time to swim before returning to Isla Cristina in the afternoon. If you don’t want to ride a bike, don’t worry, we will offer you an alternative plan.
Cycling: Distance 30 kilometres approx. Whole day.
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Day 5

 FREE DAY.  Today you can visit by yourself our beaches, dunes and pine forests where you can find some chamaeleons on the Retama bushes.
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Day 6

 Hiking in Sierra de Aracena Natural Park. Very early in the morning the van picks us up and we go to the north to Castaño del Robledo, a mountain village.

From this point we make a gentle walk through paths and tracks that, even today, comunícate small white villages. This route crosses mountains, chesnut forests and also pastures of cork oaks and olm oaks where the Iberian porks run freely. In the afternoon, after enjoying the gastronomy, we will have a glimpse to the Rio Tinto mines. Then we go back to Isla Cristina.

Walking time: 4-5 hours. Distance 11 kilometres. Whole day.

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Day 7

Embark on our sailboat. Today we embark on our sailboat where we will spend the next 7 days. We will make the distribution of passengers in cabins and purchase some food for the week. Night on board in port
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Day 8

 Navigation up the River Guadiana. Time to weigh anchor and set sail!. Departing from the Isla Cristina wetlands we follow the coast to the mouth of the Guadiana. We follow the river north, taking in the historical Castro Marim fortress and winding our way past the whitewashed villages which lie scattered among the rolling sierra until we reach the picturesque town of Alcoutim.

After an opportunity to explore its cobbled streets, we take the lifeboat across the river to its Spanish counterpart, Sanlúcar de Guadiana. For the more adventurous possibly crossing by zip line from Spain to Portugal. We spend the night anchored beneath the walls of the fortifications which dominate the two towns.

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Day 9

Alcoutim to Isla de Tavira.. With the prevailing northerly winds in our sails we head downriver to rejoin the Atlantic. This is a full day’s sailing with opportunities for trying ocean swimming, doing some fishing, or developing your sailing skills under the tutelage of our experienced skipper. In the afternoon we reach the island of Tavira where we dock with other yachts in the marina. There is time to explore its deserted beaches, visit the historical town of Tavira, or simply relax with a drink on board. We spend the night anchored in the riverhead.
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Day 10

 Tavira – Ría Formosa Natural Reserve.  After breakfast, we proceed westwards under full sail to the group of uninhabited islands and wetlands making up the Ría Formosa Natural Reserve, one of Portugal’s foremost protected areas. The reserve extends for 60kms along the coast, and features salt flats, streams, dunes and freshwater lakes which are home to a wide variety of aquatic and sea-faring birds. We anchor off Culatra Island, and use the more navigable lifeboat to explore the wetland landscape of windswept beaches and traditional fishing villages. We spend the night anchored between the Islands of Armona and Culatra.
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Day 11

Ilha de Culatra – Faro. Today we will spend the day enjoying this unique natural paradise. First of all we will approach with the dinghy to the Culatra Island where we will walk all over a pristine white sand beach with dunes and small fishing settlements with colourful boats balanced by the waves and wide marshes. There will be options also to see birds as herons or pink flamingos.

The afternoon sees us head back again to the Ría Formosa and Olhao, a picturesque town of narrow bustling streets with a distinct North African air. We spend the night off the nearby Farol beach.

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Day 12

Ilha de Culatra – Spain. Today we will set sail early in the morning to head back to Spain. A day of sailing under full sail before favourable winds, full of unforgettable feelings and experiences. We arrive at Guadiana Estuary at sunset with its intense reds, violets and blues to delight the senses. We spend the night between the population of Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Ayamonte.
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Day 13

 Guadiana Estuary – Isla Cristina. Today we will make a short navigation to Isla Cristina to enjoy the last swim in the open ocean. Meet at the boat for the return trip to Seville. Estimated arrival time is 5pm. End program.

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