Guide to: Glamorous glamping @Bukubaki eco surf resort

During the time we were living in Portugal last fall, we planned for a little weekend get-a-way. We were looking for a place that would leave us feeling refreshed, inspired and most importantly, a place that had a low carbon footprint. So we packed our bags, surfboards, and bamboo toothbrushes and headed to Bukubaki in Peniche for a weekend of Glamping!We tried glamping for the first time, a glamorous form of camping (amazing beds inside a tent), together with enjoying surfing, good food, spa and sauna facilities, and exploring what Peniche had to offer. Bukubaki arranged a skate jam Saturday night, which attracted loads of local skaters to come and hang out (not too bad;)). We were amazed by the facilities and the closeness to nature, while at the same time being able to cozy up in a tent filled with lights.

WHAT'S GLAMPING? A concept where nature meets modern luxury, and it's a way to live as close as possible to nature without having to sacrifice comforts. A glamorous camping!

WHAT'S ECO-FRIENDLY TOURISM? Enhances the positive economic and social aspects of tourism, while at the same time reducing the negative effects on nature or cultural and social heritage.

The story

Bukubaki came to life already six years ago, when Marco wanted to create a space that respected nature. Living in Italy at the time with his wife, two children and one on the way they decided to follow their dream of buying a piece of land in Peniche, a small town in Portugal famous for surfing. Marco with his skate background fell in love with the surf lifestyle and friendliness of the Portuguese people. Long story short, together with another Italian couple they founded Bukubaki and created Peniche's first eco surf resort.

What is an eco-resort?

What makes Bukubaki special is that is it planned to exist around nature, and not to replace it. Bukubaki was built using natural materials and renewable energy sources, resulting in a wonderful combination of comfort offered by tree houses and Canadian tents and a cool, earthy vibe.As we are all time eco-nerds we wanted to dig even deeper and find out exactly how an eco-resort works and what all the different systems mean and how many details they have thought about.

Eco-Q&A with Marco from Bukubaki

Who are the founders?

The idea started almost 12 years ago in the mind of Marco Muraro and Eva Gramola, visionaries, dreamers, travelers, father and mother, surfers and skaters…after years of working on our dream, we had the opportunity to meet Monica Gasparotto and her husband Danilo Costa that believe in our idea and decided to jump on board for this new and exciting project. By joining our forces we were able to bring to life this amazing project named Bukubaki!Marco, the founder & surf instructor

Can you tell us a bit about your organic garden?

We are setting up an organic garden all over the Bukubaki area. We choose to plant aromatic herbs and some fruit trees that we and the hosts use in the kitchen. Our plan is to set up a bigger garden and grow our own vegetables and be able to share them with our guests, but at this stage, we were only able to set a little personal garden for our own use. We strongly believe that it would be a great experience for our guests who live in the city to see how an organic garden works!

Can you tell us about the separate waste collection system?

Like all over the area of Peniche the waste is separated between glass and metal, paper, and “normal waste” but here in Bukubaki we are separating (as much as we can) also the organic waste that we put in a compost which we then use to fertilize the garden.

In what ways are the eco principles incorporated into the food?

We are trying to use just local products and we are giving particular attention to how those products are made. Our little organic garden serves the kitchen with some fruits, herbs and a few vegetables, the rest is bought at the local market. We use only eggs from the chicken that live outside and we don’t want to use any product made by industrial methods. Also, the meat we buy is from animals that we know lived in good conditions (our butcher has his own animal farm nearby). The fish? Here in Peniche fishing is the most popular activity and we are so lucky to receive fresh fish every day directly from the fishermen! Ah, also the coffee is bio!

Approximately how much of the electricity is created through the solar (photovoltaic) system?

Our photovoltaic system is producing 15kwa of electric energy if the weather conditions are good. The photovoltaic system works properly if the sun is shining and there is no shadow on the panels, there are moments during the day that our panels are in shadow so the production is reduced in those moments. Anyway, it’s a big help for us because it produces almost 1/3 of our needs!

You have stated that "poo is black gold". Can you explain?

Sometimes we like to say strong things! Hehehe… The reason for this affirmation is because our septic tank is collecting all the human waste produced in the resort and, after a natural treatment of fermentation and filtration, it is drained to the terrain giving nutrition to the soil.

In what ways are the eco principles incorporated into the choices of furniture, decoration etc?

The production of our furniture was handmade by me (Marco) and a team of carpenters using just “solid wood” treated with natural oils. We gave our best to produce less waste and, tried to reuse as much as we were able to, the material that was supposed to be waste.

What do you expect from your guests? Do you expect something different from other resorts?

From the beginning, our mission in building Bukubaki was to give our guests the opportunity to learn and see with their eyes that it’s possible to do something to make this world a better place for us and our children, by raising awareness and promoting respect for mother earth and nature. We expect that our guests understand this message and be conscious of the responsibility that each one of us has in protecting this beautiful planet we all live on.

"From the beginning, our mission in building Bukubaki was to give our guests the opportunity to learn and see with their eyes that it’s possible to do something to make this world a better place for us and our children, by raising awareness and promoting respect for mother earth and nature."

Super environmentalist Gina shares her top 5 tips for getting involved

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We had decided that we wanted to do a beach cleanup during our "glamping" weekend at Bukubaki in Peniche to see if we had a different experience in another part of the country. We had already seen the amount of trash in the beaches close to Lisbon, and the contrasting amazingly clean beaches in downtown Cascais. Via Instagram we found "The Peniche Beach Conservation", and that they had posted photos from cleanups. We took contact and were met by the most welcoming, engaging and warm spirit of Gina, the German girl who moved to Portugal to live a life in stronger contact with nature.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

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As a child, I was already deeply in love with the ocean, this feeling of being ONE! Whenever we were on family holidays at the coast I spent hours in the water and I have always been a collector. Back then I collected rocks, fossils, and shells.I have always been in awe and love with nature, animals, being outside and caring for things and people.I spent some years traveling the world and working in many different jobs, among others on the vineyards in Australia, as a farm helper, in restaurants and cafés, in a kid's toy store, learning to grow edible mushrooms in Peru, at the radio as a reporter in Germany.Then I started studying Biology in Berlin. I came to Peniche because I needed to get away from the city - to the ocean, which I usually did during short travels. Peniche appealed to me because of the description "sleepy old fishing village with world class surf" and because of its funny shape on the map in the travel guide. At the end of my studies, I contacted the local university and asked if I could write my final thesis about "Microplastics on sandy beaches in and around Peniche, Portugal". Sad but true, all the samples I collected (five samples at each of the five tested beaches) contained microplastics and nano plastics on a very small scale. The majority of microplastics were microfibers, which could derive from fishing-related tools like nets but also synthetic fibers from our laundry. The synthetic fibers end up in the ocean because filtering systems in wastewater plants are not sufficient enough to filtrate these tiny pieces of plastics out of the water...I realized the danger of the plastic in the ocean, but also saw the potential "beauty". Some of the pieces of plastic seem to be a message from the ocean, and I would like to translate that message to other humans, simply by documenting and sharing things that I find on the beach or by creating artwork.

The ocean is our "Life-Support-System": The ocean does not need us but we need the ocean. I think it's my mission to spread this message and to invite people to be good and to be the change now.

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After my studies, I stayed in Peniche and started a non-profit organization called Marmeu. Our first project is the "Peniche Beach Conservation Program". On the Facebook and Instagram page, we share some scientific facts and information on how to be good to the ocean, together with things I find on the beach. We organize monthly beach cleanups, recycle the plastic, and keep the "treasures" - pieces of beach plastic that we later transform into artwork. We (try to) sell the things to raise funds for our work.

When and why/how did you become an environmentalist?

Travelling the world, I discovered great injustice related to unsustainable consumption and mass production, monoculture, and drought. In Australia, we went to a lake which was on the map, but when we arrived we were wondering where the water had gone. In the middle of a little village, there was a hole in the ground with remains of boats and piers. It turned out that because of climate change it had not rained for ten years, the lake had dried out, its inhabitants had died, and the village's inhabitants had to leave their home because of the drought.I also saw people living in paradises, surrounded by jungle with sweet tropical fruits, sun, and nature. But on the streets, there was no-one to be seen. It turned out they were sitting indoors, watching TV, abusing drugs and alcohol, dreaming of living an "American/western way of life" including buying all products that one "needs" in this world: Smartphones, Coca-Cola, brand clothing...I saw giant landfills with fumes that went up in the air and drove through palm tree fields - for hours - which were sprayed, and the orang-utans and other animals shot, and I saw beaches full of plastic garbage.I realized that I didn't want to do any harm through buying the products that I buy or the way that I live. For a while, it was really stressful because I couldn't really manage to change my life in order to have less impact on climate change and injustice and environmental destruction. But in the past two years, I have changed many things. I moved to Portugal, where I live outside, I started a garden, I make things myself, I repair and build things, and in general, I try to be as sustainable and as self-sufficient and independent of brands and big industries as possible.

In 2050 there will be more people picking up trash than there will be producing trash ♥

What is your favorite meal?

From the taste, I must confess it's fries! But I really really love "fresh" stuff that you could say is still ALIVE - coming straight from a tree or picked up in the garden.... Mmmmh!!!!

Why should people join beach cleanups?

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To see the SOS that the ocean is sending us. What it sends us in the tides, being disposed on the beach is a mirror. Our garbage, the things we use in our everyday lives, is in the ocean and on our beaches. 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year. We need to be aware that plastic is a serious harm to the environment and to the ocean because it does not go away. Animals get tangled up and die, others eat the plastic and also ingest a toxic mix of chemicals.  These mess with the hormone system, because they have the same structure as estrogen, leading to irreversible effects in not only fish but also its end consumer (us).It's also really fun to get together in community and to do something good for nature.And, if you like the ocean and it's obviously calling for help when you take a closer look, it simply feels good to give something back. It gives us so much, but we cannot take it for granted.

What are your top 5 tips for a more environmentally friendly life?

  1. Start a garden - grow your own food (and make compost)

  2. Buy local - support local farmers & refuse supermarkets

  3. Slow down - be happy with less and see beauty in the little things (nature)

  4. Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! and RETHINK to find ways to live without

  5. Be motivated to #bethechange and to be part of the people who change the world! It's tough at first finding out about all that bad stuff in the world, but actually, it's a really creative mission to be good to the planet in these times. Don't be upset and don't give up! Find like-minded, they are everywhere around you.