Practice yoga on black sand beaches, verdant hillsides or enchanted valleys. Follow your yoga practice with a soak in geothermal water pools and natural outdoor jacuzzis. Take a stroll after lunch in luxuriant gardens and absorb the energy of the islands through your practice and meditation.
quinta minuvida orchard lodge provides the perfect setting for small retreats up to 15 students, featuring several outdoor terraces and a fully equipped indoor studio. Below, find all the information you need pertaining to the Azores, our facilities and our experiences.
QUINTA MINUVIDA FAQs
where are you located?
We are located on São Miguel island, one of the nine islands that make up the Azores. The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal and part of the European Union. The Azores are in the Azores Standard Time Zone, GMT-1, four hours ahead of Boston. Our quinta is in Rabo de Peixe, Ribeira Grande, on the north side of the island. We are 10 minutes by car to the capital city of Ponta Delgada and 15 minutes to the airport. Our location is a great central spot to see all that the island has to offer.
what is an orchard lodge?
quinta minuvida orchard lodge invites you to stay in a working, traditional Azorean orchard. Tall hedges shelter the many varieties of fruits we grow, including bananas, oranges, guavas, loquats and feijoas. As our guest, you are free to pick and enjoy the fruits from our trees and participate in our orchard-focused experiences. We also have several outdoor pets on the property, including Moo, a small dog.
what are accommodations like?
We provide thoughtful accommodations in a traditional Azorean villaAll rooms and suites include vintage or custom furniture, in-room bathrooms, wireless Internet and other amenities. Outdoor spaces include many recreational areas, a Mediterranean pool and grills. We have a capacity of 11-15 people depending on how many students are in a double vs. single beds. More on suite configurations and capacity here
Is the villa climate-controlled?
We do not have air conditioning as summers are generally not stifling. Central heat is not available, but we provide in-room ceramic heating panels. You can also cozy up by the fireplace in the living room. The pool house is also equipped with a fireplace. We also use dehumidifiers during especially humid spells.
It may however not be what you're used to and we strongly recommend indoor layers and slippers.
how do i get there from the airport?
Are you an ecolodge?
The Azores are one of the most sustainable travel destinations and we work to nurture and protect this special place. We compost, eliminate paper where possible and serve many local products for breakfast and during our meals. We encourage guests to be conscious about electricity and water usage for heating and cooling and to reuse towels when possible.
is the water safe to drink?
Yes, we use tap water every day. It comes from mountain springs and is some of the best water in the world. We strongly discourage purchasing bottled water and can lend you a reusable water bottle if you like.
what meals are available?
A meal program can be specifically developed for your retreat that may include meals at the retreat center and meals outdoors or at local establishments. Breakfast is included daily.
what is the neighborhood like?
quinta minuvida orchard lodge is set in a manicured residential area amidst rural pastures and fruit orchards. You can walk the narrow lanes in the neighborhood and travel back to orange cycle era of orchards and country villas. Nearby beaches are short drive or bike ride away. Several restaurants and a local Azorean Chocolate café are also within 1-2km away. Rabo de Peixe is famous for it’s fishing economy and the area is mainly rural.
what can i do at the quinta?
quinta minuvida orchard lodge is the perfect setting for a relaxing retreat. The grounds offer fruit orchards with special nooks suitable for mediation and relaxation, or just stargazing. Our observation tower offers excellent sunset views along the north side of the island. Our Mediterranean pool is the perfect spot of a dip during the warmer months and to read a book by during cooler weather. You can also use our outdoor grills, pick fruit from the trees or just play with our feline and canine friends.
does the yoga studio have all props?
We have mats, blankets, blocks, belts, some bolsters and cushions. The yoga studio is also audio and wifi equipped.
how's the weather?
Everyone's #1 question. Hard to define. It's spring-like most of the time; Capricious. Can be very changeable during cooler months. BUT... never too cold (seldom drops below 10C (50F) during the coldest winter nights) or too hot (rarely rises above 28C (83F) during the warmest summer days). Humid and often cloudy. Seasons run the same as everywhere else in the northern hemisphere. See how the Azores climate compares to Boston and Bermuda here Indoors Generally pleasant during the months of May through October and seldom too uncomfortably hot, but it can get chilly in unheated homes (which is the norm) during the cooler months. With indoor temps sometimes hovering around 15C (59F) during the coolest periods, layers are strongly advised.
When are retreats offered?
how much do things cost?
We offer exclusive use of our orchard lodge, grounds and yoga studio during retreats. Our base rate includes accommodation and daily breakfast. We can also offer additional meals, airport transfers, and experiences for guests to see this amazing island. Please contact us to get a copy of our retreat package.
How about food?
Azorean cuisine is simple and tasty, taking the best from the land and the sea. Very fresh. Grilled whole fish is a must; yes it has bones. No GMOs. Cows are pasture-raised happy, and you can taste it! Dairy is awesome! Don't miss the local cheeses and butter. Try the volcano cooked cozido. Did we say not to miss the unique seafood (limpets or barnacles anyone?). Seasoning can be heavy handed. Desserts are to die for... and don't skip espresso and the local liqueurs. Note that vegan and vegetarian options are tougher to find but we can accommodate with our meals package.
how about getting around?
You can only experience the island fully with a snappy ride;-) Many attractions are within a 10- to 15-minute drive from our central location; more “remote” attractions can be up to 30 or 45 minutes. Although buses are available they depart from the city and stop everywhere. Unless you are in for a long ride, we don’t recommend public transport. Also, schedules are very confusing.
For retreats we recommend pre-planning at least two group excursions. For other days we can provide taxi contacts, recommendations and car rental agencies. There are also a few nice walks and beaches from our quinta for a more relaxing day.
will my phone work?
Most smartphones will work here but check with your provider about costs and roaming fees. If you have an unlocked phone it will work with a local phone card/number you can buy in the town.
We have European outlets and are on 220 volts. Check your appliance. Phones and computers come with transformers, so no need to worry. You only need an outlet adapter. We carry some U.S. adapters and there are plenty readily available for purchase on the island.
how safe is it?
São Miguel is one of the safest places in the world and crime is often limited to misdemeanors. It’s a great place for families and children. One should, however, always use common sense and precaution in traveling abroad. So, lock your car and leave valuables out of view, etc.
how do i get there?
what do I wear
In a word – layers. Bring a light sweater for cooler summer evenings and a good fleece if coming during the cool season. A raincoat is a must and so are comfortable walking shoes. During the summer, with temps generally in the 20s C range (70s F), shorts and T-shirts, plus a raincoat, are enough. During the cool season add sweaters, pants and a mid-weight jacket to the mix. Gloves and hats are recommended only for mountain hikes. Bathing gear (swimsuit, towel, water shoes): There are countless natural swimming holes. Whether you crave warm geothermal waters in the cooler season or beaches during the summer months, you should always be prepared for a swim. Dark-colored bathing suits are recommended for hot springs. Sun protection (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen): The sun is much stronger here in the middle of the Atlantic, even in winter.
what experiences do you offer?
quinta minuvida orchard lodge has developed a host of experiences around the amazing Azorean outdoors and food that enable you to truly Feel the Azores. We take you on hikes and prepare a volcano-cooked meal just for you. We take you through a vent field in silent meditation.
For retreats we typically lead one experience with the group including a short (5-7km) hike. We can arrange other experiences with our partners.
what other activities are available?
The sky is the limit here! Whale watching, hot springs soaks, swimming with dolphins (in the ocean!), canyoning, surfing, paragliding, mountain biking, cycling, wine tasting, liqueur tasting, farm visits... you get the idea. We have vetted partners with whom we can coordinate to plan the perfect retreat.
WHAT IS A MINUVIDA DINNER?
Four-course creative Azorean meal paired with local and regional wines and liqueurs. Dishes are carefully crafted and prepared by João based on Azorean traditional recipes but with his creative interpretation. You won’t find these dishes in a restaurant! Ingredients are always local and often from our quinta, following our sustainability principles here at minuvida.
what about dietary restrictions?
We try our best to accommodate dietary restrictions, but keep in mind that some ingredients may not be readily available on the island. Dairy, bread, meat and fish are staples in Azorean cuisine. Dairy is the main economic engine of the island and the cheese and butter here are amazing. Eggs taste like real eggs and have a bright orange yolk of a chicken raised on a farm. Cows roam the pastures. Vegetarian dishes are few and far between outside of meals prepared by us at minuvida.
IS SPECIAL EQUIPMENT/CLOTHES NECESSARY?
Hiking clothes, hiking shoes and raingear are recommended for all our outdoor experiences, plus a small backpack. Bring your own yoga exercise clothes.
is transportation provided?
Airport pick-up and drop-off can be arranged for your group. We provide transportation for our experiences. We can arrange additional transportation for your retreat based on your needs.
WHAT IS YOUR EMERGENCY PLAN?
Accommodation and experiences with quinta minuvida orchard lodge + experiences are insured under our licenses. Should a medical emergency arise, medical emergency treatment or our on-call doctor will be available. During hiking experiences, authorities are notified of our activity before departure when required. We also have first aid training. A medical response plan is detailed under our hiking guide