Vacationing in COVID Times: my Glamping Experience in Reserva Alecrim

Back in September, when it was still warm and before COVID numbers in Portugal started to go up again, we went Glamping. Travelling abroad wasn’t really a choice in 2020, so we stayed in – in an isolated artificial igloo in the middle of a natural reserve, that is.

The world is starting to open up again, but caution is still advisable. If you want to venture out, but still be somewhat isolated, glamping is a great choice.

We stayed for 5 days in Reserva Alecrim. It’s located in the Alentejo region, in south Portugal. A little bit in the middle of nowhere, any activity outside the resort implies at least a 15 min drive. The closest beaches are a half an hour drive. But honestly, I could care less, all I wanted to do was stay in the resort. I wanted to eat, drink, bathe, repeat. Just me and my then husband to be.

We stayed at a dome, like they call it, or an igloo, like I called them. I’m not a camping girl. I don’t like spiders, dirt, bugs, cold showers, bugs, going to the bathroom behind a bush, bugs that could bite me while I go to the bathroom behind a bush. Heating up canned beans in a makeshift fireplace that takes two hours to light up is not my idea of fun. If I’m packing heavy it better be shoes and makeup – not pots and pans. Basically, I don’t like to be bothered. Bring me a margarita while I’m at the poolside.

So as you can see, a tent is not my idea of a good time. A mini apartment on top of a deck with a great view however…

Is there a better place to just do nothing?

This dome is the ONLY way you could get me to go camping. You know, with a private bathroom, kitchen and no spiders. It’s complete with air conditioning, TV and a fireplace.

This would be what camping was if I had invented it.

The place was clean, comfortable, and breakfast was served at our door every morning. We moved the breakfast table next to the window so we could have our meal looking at the reserve’s landscape. Our days were very lazy: we woke up, had breakfast, went to the pool (the bio-pool, not the infinity one – I’ll explain ahead), had mojitos and margaritas because happy hour had no limit apparently, ate cheese pizza, and went back to our room. And it was glorious.

The deck outside our little igloo. As you can see we put the breakfast table near the window.

So, the pools. Our main activity during our stay there. On higher ground in the reserve there was what they called the Sunset Lounge, where they had the two pools and the pizza bar. The first thing we saw when getting to the Sunset Lounge was an infinity pool that honestly was a bit small and always crowded. It also had a tree near it that provided some shade but prevented the water from getting warm during the day.

Right next to it though there was what they called the “bio pool”. One of the first of its kind in Portugal, it’s basically an artificially created lake, with plants and animals living in a perfectly balanced ecosystem. It had algae, water lilies, fish and tiny frogs. Adorable little tiny frogs, chillin’ in the water lillies.

A lot of frogs, tanning in the water lilies. Our poolside companions. Can you see them?

The bio pool and basically always empty. I don’t know why. It was larger, it was pretty, it was free of chemicals and it was right by the pizza bar. All positives. Maybe it was the snakes.

Yep, the pool had two or three water snakes. Every once in a while they made a run for the water lilies and all of the frogs jumped off in order to escape. Actually, most of the time we only realised a snake was passing through when we saw all the little frogs making a run for it (have you ever seen a frog swim? So darn cute!). I can see why some people were weirded out, but the snakes won’t attack you. They’re small and mainly, they don’t care about you. They’re there for the frogs.

This bio pool was made for people to be able to swim in them. Every species in it is there to balance the ecosystem that was artificially created, and doesn’t pose a risk to the swimmers. And we swam in it every single day.

I’m the girl in the black bikini, laying on the daybed right by the pool stairs.

We stationed ourselves at what I think was the best spot by the pool. We had a daybed and basically private poll stairs right next to us. The above picture of our prime spot was taken at the pizza bar. As you can see, it was pretty close to where we were staying. For every 2 cocktails, the third was free. And the pizzas were great. Really, for a reserve in the middle of nowhere, they were surprisingly good.

There was yet another pool, right by the reserve’s entry, that was covered and therefore, a bit warmer. It was ok if you want to go for a night swim, because the Sunset Lounge closed at 10 p.m., and the covered pool had the lights on all night, but there’s not that much to it. It’s not heated so it does get cold, and the place was very echo-y.

Nothing beat the bio pool.

How bout now? Do you see the little frogs now?

I’m someone who can not stay still for long. I get bored if I’m just laying out in the sun, tanning. I did not get bored once during our trip. I read a lot. I had all the mojitos and caipirinhas I planned having on my then postponed honeymoon. I ate a lot of cheese pizza. The only downside was that even in glamping, we had ants. We had some extra cookies we were saving for the following breakfast in our kitchen, and the next day, when we woke up, the ants had gotten to them. Nature is cruel.

Honestly, it was one of the best vacations we ever had.

We thought about going out, but what for? I had everything here. The view, the cheese, the frogs, the drinks. I want to go back.

2 thoughts on “Vacationing in COVID Times: my Glamping Experience in Reserva Alecrim

  1. This glamping experience looks like the perfect holiday during pandemic times. Not exactly a hotel, nor a camping but the best of both worlds. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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