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Yoga, Pilates & Wellness Retreat – Cara Creek, Portugal

Nourished by Nature in the Portugese Mountains

We invite you to escape with us, for a 5-night retreat, in early October, in a stunning natural riverside setting, in the foothills of the Serra da Estrela Mountains.

Cara Creek is a slice of paradise, and the perfect retreat for nature lovers. Swim in a magical swimming creek, read a book on the private river beach, lounge in the natural infinity pool, explore the river by stand up paddle board, star gaze from the wood-fired hot tub, relax in the hobbit sauna… rub on locally sourced clay to detoxify your skin and rinse in the river.

There is a cosy wooden Shala, and an outdoor Shala with panoramic views, for a wide variety of yoga and Pilates sessions.

The location’s beauty is complemented by buildings created from natural & local materials. The water supply is sourced from the mountain spring, and the electricity is powered by solar.


Check In time
After 3pm Thursday 3rd October

Check Out Time
Before 11am Tuesday 8th October

Any extension to check out time will be on a discretionary basis as other retreat groups may need to check in.

£895 per person shared 
£995 per person single

A non-refundable deposit of 50% reserves your place. The remaining 50% will be processed automatically on 30th April 2024. 

Book online or call 01908 566610. Spaces on this retreat are limited (and usually sells out quickly!) and so will need to be pre-booked and pre-paid. Bookings are all on a first come first served basis and confirmed on payment. Please make sure you have read and understood our Cancellation Policy before you book.

The owners, Rory and Ashley, moved to the site in 2017. They were totally drawn in by the River Seia rushing along the bottom of the meticulously stone-terraced slope and have embarked on years of clearing, reforesting, and building to create this wonderful retreat space. 

Cara Creek is off-grid. It has been built naturally and is run sustainably. Construction materials were up-cycled wherever possible, and traditional building methods were used. 

The unique eco-pods are created by Rory who took inspiration from nature and from sacred geometry. Sleep in close proximity with the natural surroundings from the comfort of a cosy bed. Some pods are right on the river, with private decks and some have star-gazing ceilings. 

Rory and Ashley are gradually planting a more native and diverse selection of trees and plants. They also grow food and keep chickens for eggs. Four dogs, two cats, and two goats, all with unique and lovely personalities, have joined the beautiful birds and wildlife of this valley.

This retreat is perfect for nature lovers and animal lovers alike! It suits anyone who is looking to get away from it all, to relax and unwind and enjoy beautiful natural surroundings in warm weather. All levels of practitioners are welcome and encouraged. We will offer a variety of yoga and Pilates classes ensuring there is something for everyone. You could be trying a style for the first time or taking it to the next level. Everyone is encouraged to work to their own ability and limits – just bring your heart and spirit!

A variety of daily yoga and Pilates classes will be offered during the retreat. Whether just beginning or an advanced practitioner you can practice one or the other or a mix of both. A combination of yoga and Pilates offers many health benefits and the core strength gained from Pilates can really benefit yoga practice.

There are two shalas at Cara Creek. The indoor shala has natural and calm vibes and has panoramic views over the valley. The covered outdoor shala has stunning views of the pool and soothing sounds of the river. Mats and props are provided.

Ailsa Petchey

Ailsa is a dedicated health and fitness instructor with over 30 years’ experience. Her expertise lies in the transformative practice of Pilates, a discipline she has passionately taught to students of all levels, from novices to advanced practitioners. She is committed to helping individuals feel better in both mind and body. She sees Pilates as a foundation for all movement, promoting strength, flexibility, balance, breath, core engagement and a perfect complement to yoga.

Ailsa’s wealth of experience and passion for holistic wellbeing will help to guide you towards a healthier, more balanced lifestyle; a consistent Pilates practice contributes to a lifetime of enhanced physical and mental wellness.

Susie White

Susie is a Bedfordshire-based yoga teacher with more than 9 years experience guiding the practices of yoga and meditation. She is known for her genuine nature and grounded approach, creating classes that are explorative, motivational and uplifting.

 She has a down-to-earth attitude and uses clear instruction and intelligent sequencing to help others unlock the power of the practice. Her mission is to make yoga and its ancient wisdom more accessible. Susie believes that every body is bursting with potential, and aims to create a supportive and nourishing environment that inspires growth and welcomes challenge. As well as being a dedicated yogi, Susie is a mother, nature lover, pianist, positive-thinker and overall life enthusiast.

A variety of other activities are included in the retreat price:-

  • excursion to local natural hot springs
  • outdoor cinema experience under the stars
  • swimming in a magical swimming creek with fresh deep water 
  • swimming & chilling in a natural swimming pool with an infinity edge overlooking the valley
  • Hobbit house wood-fired sauna
  • Clay mud bath on a private river beach
  • Stand up paddle boards to explore the calm Mondego River, with instruction as required
  • Fire-pit to gather around in the evenings (seasonal)
  • Hiking routes on the doorstep
  • Waterfall destination river walk from the creek
  • Plenty of spaces in nature to read, socialise, meditate or reflect
  • Hammocks along the river walk


The following treatments are available for an additional cost:-

  • Massage
  • Reiki 
  • Reflexology
  • Indian head massage 
  • Craniosacral Therapy
  • Sound Healing
  • Hypnotherapy with recording

The 18 unique private eco-pods and facilities are all inspired-by-nature designs. Retreat guests enjoy their own space blended with shared communal spaces. Sleep in close proximity with the natural surroundings from the comfort of a cosy bed.  Private accommodation is the standard, but when friends or couples are booking together, they can opt to share. 


Double bed. The design of this pod was inspired by the simplest 3D shape found in nature – the Tetrahedron. The walls reach 6 metres high to a clear top for star-gazing, and they have a large window with amazing views.


Four more uniquely shaped pods with stunning views over the valley will be ready for your retreat by Spring 2024! Double bed. 


Double bed or 2 single beds. Named for their triangular shape, each has a small deck out front to admire the views of the pool and sweeping tree tops.


Single bed. These pentagonal shaped structures are right on the river with private decks. They have a small window and a door that rolls up so you can admire the view from bed, or lounge on the large deck.

A note about sustainability & eco tourism: eco-pods do not have electricity, but do have a small solar lamp. There are 3 showers sustainably heated by solar power or a wood stove. In addition there are 2 cold water outdoor showers. There are both flushing toilets and dry compost toilets. Bathrooms are all shared.

All food is included in the price. Meals are vegetarian and prepared with home-grown, organic and seasonal ’garden to table’ ingredients by the intuitive retreat chef, Hannah. Vegan options available on request. On full retreat days brunch, an afternoon snack and dinner are served. An afternoon snack and dinner are provided on arrival day and brunch on departure day. Tea, coffee, fruit & nuts are always available. 

There will be some wine available for you to purchase at the retreat if desired, and you are welcome to walk to a local cafe for a beer. The retreat is cigarette free.

Cara Creek is easily accessible from Lisbon (2.5hrs) or Porto (2hrs) airports by public transport or shuttle service. There are many airline/flight options available. The retreat staff are happy to help us to organise private shuttles once everyone has booked their flights. These transfers will be at extra cost.

Cara Creek advise that flights should land in Portugal the morning of arrival day at the latest, and depart the evening of departure day at the earliest. 

What’s Included

  • Yoga and pilates sessions; 2 early morning and 2 early evening each day 
  • 5 nights accommodation in a private eco-pod
  • Delicious organic home-cooked brunch, afternoon snack and dinner
  • Tea and coffee, fruit and nuts
  • excursion to local natural hot springs
  • outdoor cinema experience under the stars

What’s Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Transfers to and from airport
  • Supplementary excursions or treatments 
  • Supplementary drinks and food

Can’t make this date? No problem, register your interest for future dates below

Frequently Asked Questions

Check In time
After 3pm Thursday 3rd October

Check Out Time
Before 11am Tuesday 8th October

Any extension to check out time will be on a discretionary basis as other retreat groups may need to check in.

All classes are mixed level, so beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. We will ensure you get the attention and support you need.

As a yogi you have the opportunity to try Pilates, and as a Pilates student you have the opportunity to try yoga. In any case there will be plenty of opportunity for you to really challenge yourself and explore new dimensions to your practice.

You are perfectly welcome to stay with your partner, family member or friend who is practising yoga or Pilates with us without joining the classes, or perhaps choosing just to do the relaxing ones.

Accommodation, three vegetarian (vegan options on request) meals a day (afternoon snack & dinner on day of arrival and brunch on day of departure), teas and coffees, fruit & nuts, daily yoga & Pilates practices, excursion to local natural hot springs, outdoor cinema experience under the stars and all other onsite activities are all included. Flights are not included. Additional excursions or activities are not included.

  • Reusable water bottle
  • Environmentally friendly sunscreen (also sold at Cara Creek)
  • Good walking shoes
  • Sun hat and flip flops
  • Swimsuit and fast drying towel for swimming
  • Layers for the elements eg cosy clothes for cooler nights by the fire pit
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, flip flops or sandals, pool gear; everything you normally like to take for a sunny holiday.
  • Waterproof jacket or umbrella (just in case!)
  • Head torch or flash light
  • Robe for pool and sauna (optional)

The weather will be sunny and warm. Daytime high temperatures should be around 23-24 C with cooler temperatures morning and evening. 

There is a mobile phone signal at the venue and there are plugs & USB ports for charging in the communal building or you to purchase at the retreat if desired, and you are welcome to walk to a local cafe for a beer.

Wi-Fi is available upstairs in the communal building and in the sitting room.

We know that everyone uses their retreat time a little differently – so to ensure everyone is able to have the experience they need from this time away, we aim to be upfront and clear about expectations around alcohol. You are welcome to have a drink but we ask that alcohol is consumed  responsibly.

There will be some wine available for you to purchase at the retreat if desired, and you are welcome to walk to a local cafe for a beer.

Each day will begin with a choice of dynamic yoga or Pilates practice, followed by brunch. There are so many ways to enjoy the rest of the day at Cara Creek and the time is yours to relax and recharge as you would like. Lounge by the natural infinity pool, star gaze from the hot tub, break a sweat in the sauna; rub on locally sourced clay to detoxify your skin before rinsing in the river; read a book on the private beach; explore the Mondego river by stand up paddle board, try the rock jump or a leisurely swim in the creek, hike to the nearby waterfall, visit the neolithic dolmen site, or treat yourself to a holistic therapy of your choice. An afternoon snack will be served and tea, coffee, fruit and nuts are always available. One afternoon we will visit local hot springs and you might also make the 10 minute walk to the quaint village of Ervedal da Beira to chat to the locals with a coffee. Pilates and yoga classes will be offered in the early evening followed by dinner. One evening we will host an outdoor cinema experience under the stars.