Cara Creek Eco Lodge is a project that has been built by combining individual passions - natural building and wellness.
Rory has been interested in sustainability and natural building since his first career as a civil engineer. He has worked as an engineer and project manager all over the world, from New York to Australia. When Rory returned to his home country of Ireland, he pursued a Master's Degree in Sustainable Architecture. It was then that his interest became a passion, and he began to dream of building a large scale natural building project.
In 2012 Rory took sabbatical leave to volunteer in Guatemala, where he built two houses using only natural building materials. After his time volunteering, he built and opened an Irish Bar and later a backpackers hostel in the Unesco Heritage Site of Antigua, Guatemala. Meanwhile his ideas, daydreams and sketches of a large-scale natural building project continued and expanded.
Ashley has had a passion for wellness and caring for others for as long as she can remember. She has always sought peace and healing for those around her, so nursing was a well-suited first career. She spent her nursing career taking care of critically ill children at some of the top Children's Hospitals in her home city of Boston, MA and San Francisco.
In 2015 Ashley took some time off to travel Central and South America. During these travels she realized that she wanted to shift her career to helping people foster their own self-care, intuition, physical and mental well-being through yoga and other holistic approaches. Since she had been practicing yoga for over 10 years, she took the leap to delve deeper into her practice and obtained her yoga teacher training certificate.
Soon after, Ashley began teaching yoga and founded Off Grid Yoga School which now offers yoga retreats, 200 hour yoga teacher trainings, and group and private yoga at the beautiful Cara Creek Eco Lodge.
When Ashley and Rory got together in Guatemala, they were individually facing a transition in their lives. The timing seemed serendipitous. They fell in love deeply, and soon began sharing their visions and building a dream together.
Their visions were of a place immersed in nature with sustainable facilities and built with only natural building materials. The end product they imagined was one that uses the beauty of nature to nourish their guests, and incorporates wellness practices to foster their growth and development.
After a research and a visit to Portugal, they took the leap and moved there in January 2017. Four short weeks later, they found the property that is now Cara Creek Eco Lodge and were in complete awe of its beauty. They were drawn in by the River Seia rushing which runs along the bottom of the meticulously stone-terraced slope. Although overrun with the non-native invasive species of mimosa trees, they could not help but see past the work and envision their future there.
Since 2017 -- when they first arrived to Portugal -- there has been endless amounts of work done. They have cleared the non-native mimosa trees and planted native trees, and fruit and nut trees. They've started a small food garden as well as keep chickens, pigs and goats using permaculture principles.
They've renovated and built common spaces and accommodations, a natural swimming pool, wood fired hot tub, out door gym, yoga deck and more using only natural building materials. All of the designs have been inspired by living on the site immersed in the cycles and patterns of nature.
At last they are thrilled to share their dream which has become their reality with the guests of Cara Creek Eco Lodge.
They welcome you from the bottom of their hearts, and hope you enjoy their little piece of paradise.
Meet Lily and Lola, our dwarf goats! Maintaining our permaculture principles, they eat the weeds and provide us with milk to make fresh cheese. We have pigs that enjoy roaming freely down by the river, and chickens for fresh eggs, too. We also have loveable pets, 4 dogs and 2 cats.SEE MORE
Sip a coffee as the river flows past your private deck of one of our 5 Penta-Pods. Star Gaze from bed in one of our 4 Tetra-Pods. Pitch your own tent in our camping area. Or from Spring 2020, stay in one of our renovated traditional Portuguese stone houses.SEE MORE
We have built some eco-friendly facilities that blend in well to those that are naturally provided. Paddle in the natural swimming pool, relax in the wood-fired hot tub, rock jump into the creek for a wild swim, or stand up paddle board along the River Mondego....SEE MORE