Sagres-Natura Surf Camp | What You Can Expect On Your Trip
I’ve done a day of surfing here and there. It was fun but my skills were steadily depleting. I knew if I wanted to really improve them I needed to get my act together. A Surf camp in Portugal felt like the perfect way to do this.
I ended up in Sagres-Natura Surf camp in the small town of Sagres in Southern Portugal. It was simply divine. The sun shines, the food is good, the locals are friendly and the surf is sweet. What more could you want?
Here’s everything you need to know about the week long surfing trip.
What To Expect At The Surf Camp
Accommodation At The Surf Camp
The hostel has double, twin or shared accommodation so you can choose whichever suits your needs. If you don’t fancy sharing accommodation but fear you’ll miss out on the social life don’t panic, the majority of people will be coming with you every day for surf class so there’s every opportunity to meet and mingle.
What I liked most about the hostel were the small details like our beds being made every day and fresh towels every other day. Not deal breakers but certainly making things sweeter.
Food & Drink At Surf Camp
Breakfast is included in the price and has everything you need to start your day: pancakes, cereal, yoghurts, eggs, fruit, toast, cake! You also have the opportunity to make sandwiches for lunch. I topped mine up with a bag of crisps from the shop in town as I’m highly addicted to savoury snacks but you wouldn’t need to purchase anything extra unless you suffer from similar cravings.
For dinner, you have to fend for yourself but the camp has a kitchen onsite as well as a BBQ so pretty simple to sort yourself out. You’re also within walking distance, 5 minutes, from the town centre where there’s a SPAR and a few restaurants. About 15-minutes in the other direction is a large Intermarche with washing machines if needed.
There is also a huge BBQ party on Friday night where, for €15, there is an all you can eat spread plus plenty of booze not to mention the cheeky shot of local Medronho, BEWARE, to be drunk before you head out into town.
The Surf In Sagres
Surfing is no doubt what you came for if you booked into Sagres-Natura Surf Camp. As part of a weeks stay, you are given 5 days surfing of 3 hours per day. It might not sound like much but honestly, it’s plenty.
Now, on every surf camp website, there is the inevitable line: ‘we’ll take you to the best beaches in town for surf‘. I obviously can’t speak for other surf camps but where Sagres-Natura is concerned you best believe they’ll find the best surf spots for the day and your ability.
Listen out for the instructor’s advice on how the day will pan out as they’ll want you to surf at the best time. I noticed other surf camps were struggling with less than ideal conditions and wasting teaching time by heading straight out after jumping off the bus simply because their instructors hadn’t clocked onto the beautiful afternoon headed our way. I certainly felt like I was in good hands. We went to three different beaches, Amaros was my favourite, each had a little cafe and toilet facilities available for everyone to use. Bring cash because chances are you’ll be taken to the local ice cream parlour after lessons. It’s worth the detour, trust me.
What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?
The team will sort you out with a wetsuit, rash vest and board and drive you to the best location, dependant upon winds, tides and the instructor’s knowledge of the beach riffs.
Amateur Tip: Sagres-Natura has its own surf shop right near the ice cream parlour. You get 10% discount on products if you stay at the camp. Happy shopping.
Other Activities In Sagres
If you’re staying for 7 days you’ll get one-day off classes during your week. By Tuesday evening I was exhausted so took Wednesday off for some R&R.
I cannot recommend enough going down to the Marina and heading out on a dolphin tour. There are a couple of small businesses running tours but Mar Ilimatdo, who are all qualified marine biologists, definitely stood out. Their approach minimizes the impact the tours have on the dolphins by using small boats of up to 10 people and only staying with dolphin swarms for no more than 30 mins.
For someone who’s never seen dolphins before this was a truly magnificent experience. If you can, book the day before as spaces are limited. Yoga classes are also available through the surf-camp as well as bike hire for 10€ a day.
Amateur Tip: Grab a friend with a car and head to the Cabo de St Vicente for sunset. The view is sensational.
Pubs & Restaurants
Start your night at the Three Little Birds, just off the beaten track and only a 5-minute walk from the camp. This place has all the surf charm. I didn’t eat here but the food looked great, burgers and the like, and had a great selection of craft beer. There is also a pool table, winning!
For food, I recommend Armazen in the centre of town which had a great selection of seafood and meats all locally caught no less. Not too expensive and friendly waiters, you definitely need to make sure you try the chorizo for a starter. For late night drinks, there are plenty of choices. To be honest, all the bars in town are so close to each other that you can easily hop from one to the next. My favourite bar was Pau de Pita which stood out for music and delicious cocktails. Caipirinhas all round.
Undeniably, there is no better way to improve on your surfing skills than by signing yourself up for a day of classes. I quickly realised how little my previous experience had actually taught me. I also became acutely aware of how great teachers make all the difference.
The Sagres-Natura surf camp team were friendly and encouraging. We would often get a standing ovation when we finally managed to stand up on our boards. It made the whole experience thoroughly enjoyable. Whatsmore, they made sure to give everyone individual tips and tricks depending on their ability.
Their expertise also meant we weren’t wasting class time and energy battling against an unwilling ocean when we could be tanning and saving ourselves for the afternoon. The camp itself? I couldn’t fault it. Clean, friendly and all the facilities you might need.
Finally, Sagres itself was undeniably beautiful and had the perfect blend of history and nightlife. I will certainly be returning, that’s for sure.
Where is your favourite surf spot in Portugal?