Help us build our dream eco off-grid escape in the Serra de Monchique area, Portugal




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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Hi there!

    See bottom for Latest news.
    Continue house build, clearing land, planting.

    We (Ellis and Camilla) are building an eco off grid experiential retreat in Foz do Farelo, 20 mins north of Monchique in the mountains of the Algarve and we'd love for people to come and help us, we currently need help with landscaping, starting permaculture, building and creativity.

    Our aim is to create an inclusive rather than exclusive holiday retreat where people from all walks of life can relax in nature, try out some yoga, arts & crafts and learn a new skill.

    We have a plot of land 60000 sqmt (10 international football pitches for a size idea) it is a valley with a south and north facing hill. 90m height difference form top to bottom. We have rebuilt a small ruin and are ready to start to rebuild a larger house on the site of an existing ruin. We have temporary structures for glamping (pods/cabins etc) as well as flat areas for camping or a camper van.

    For 25 hours per week of your time we will provide accommodation, food and drink (not alcohol), yoga most days comfortable beds, warm bedding and towels (You'll need to supply your own beach towels). Most work days we eat breakfast and dinner together, and lunches you make yourselves. On days off you make your own food when onsite (we will supply basic food) and if you go out you need to purchase your own food. We have a meeting on Mondays to discuss the week, this is in the form of a sharing circle, which we hope our volunteers contribute to

    Our current accommodation on site includes a truck - which has been converted into a 2 bedded studio and a camper van for 1 person, Sunrise Lodge is where we live. Sunrise Lodge has the main kitchen/diner for breakfast and dinner, we have an outdoor kitchen for your lunches and to cook food on days off. We also have a washing machine that can be used at certain times only. We have work clothes you can borrow.

    No skills are nessasary just a willingness​ to help and have a positive attitude. Ellis is a skilled builder and can do pretty much everything. He will share his knowledge with you and give you tasks to do, sometimes projects are big like building and sometimes smaller like land clearing, the jobs really depend on the season. For anyone coming between January and March be prepared for lots of land clearing (clearing land to prevent fires), this is done in all weather conditions.

    We have a bio-gas plant fully working, solar panels 6kw, energy storage water tanks high on the hill, one 18000lt complete. We're starting to build a natural pool, we plan to build an outside clay oven(pizza/bread plus many other things. We have 2 bicycles for use, if no one has damaged them by the time you get here!

    Camilla teaches yoga (hatha, vinyasa and kundalini) most days and is an excellent cook (vegetarian), she is 19 years in a 12 step program - so is alcohol and drug free! Ellis is a builder and paraglider and interested in Permaculture. Camilla cooks most evening meals, but be prepared to help. We mostly all eat together and everyone is expected to wash up and clear up the common shared spaces and their accommodation, including bedding.

    Warning: Our internet data is VERY limited. we have a satellite dish and a small amount of reception for some mobile networks. We therefore cannot accommodate people who need internet for work, study downloading/uploading etc, however we do have a laptop for volunteers use to access the internet for emails, WhatsApp, workaway etc be prepared to live with limited online access!

    There is a free bus that you can take to Monchique on days off. It runs 4 days a week, 3 times a day. From Monchique it's possible to get buses to Portimao.

    When we run retreats we sometimes need vegetarian cooks for which we will pay in addition to board and lodgings. Please ask us if you are interested in this?

    This workaway opportunity is perfect for people who are serious about off-grid community living, permaculture, creative building and learning new skills. It is also a great place for those who prefer a drug free environment.

    We have 2 dogs and a cat.
    Space for 2 from March 16 to April 3
    We are looking for a couple or 2 friends to help continue building the new house.
    Lots of other jobs to do, repairing, planting, clearing, we have to build a new toilet and make some retaining walls, there will be some painting to do and landscaping. Looking forward to hearing from you. 😀
    Workaway jobs will be fun and rewarding as you will be seeing instant results which previous helpers have said is very satisfying.

    We looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks Ellis and Camilla

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Animal care
    Art project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You will learn building skills, how to make foundation, build temporary structures cabins, plumbing, sanitation, solar system, landscaping, digger driving, electrical systems. Composting toilets. Bushcraft, welding, biogas production, path and road construction, living pools. Cooking? 😀

  • Host offers a wage in line with the minimum wage

    Host offers a wage in line with the minimum wage

    This host offers accommodation and payment.

  • Help


    Willing help of any sort. Gardening, landscaping, building, cooking, a can do attitude. 😀

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, learning Portuguese! Camilla speaks some Swedish and some Spanish

  • Accommodation


    Comfortable beds in a house and bell tent. You can also bring your campervan. We mostly have hot showers unless we've had a lot of grey days, then we boil up water and use a jug 😉

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The nearest main town of Monchique 15 mins by car. South coast beaches Algarve 45mins (20k as the crow flies), West coast 30 mins (15k as the crow flies) surfing. Mountain bike rides( good ride to west coast), walking, hiking, astronomy, surfing, yoga, paragliding (we need to find a take off)... we don't take drugs or smoke, my wife doesn't drink alcohol but I will have a few glasses but not to excess. This doesn't mean that you can't drink or smoke (because of fire risk smoking can only be done in the designated area) but no drugs please. There is lots of nature to explore and a free bus to Monchique 4 days per week for days out and sometimes we take people to the coast or to the matket. Faro airport is 1hr 20 min away by car. We are happy to answer any questions. Thanks Ellis and Camilla

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

  • ...

    This host has been visited by a member of the Workaway team

    "Although these hosts are new to workaway, after one month volunteering with Camilla and Ellis we feel confident in giving them our stamp of approval. What we found particularly rewarding here was the physical transformation we witnessed in the project. It’s still in the early stages which means that, as a volunteer, you are literally able to see your hard work change the space around you. We had very little building experience prior to this placement but this was never seen as an issue, our hosts were happy to teach us and even gave us the freedom to create and explore our own ideas (helping us when we needed). In exchange for our efforts we were well rewarded with fantastic company, delicious meals, yoga lessons, life lessons, beautiful accommodation and outings to see the nicest beaches in Portugal! We highly recommend a stay at here!"

    Charlotte and Danilo (Workaway Ambassadors)

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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 885246413692