We were born and raised at Melides village and Carvalhal village. We always loved living here and, although we left to study, our goal was to live here. Surf brought us together, and it was at sea that we fell in love with one another and combined our paths.
Our passion for the ocean and the place where we were born was determinant and the reason why we dared to start a family and build a house and a surf school in the area.
We opened Surf in Comporta at Praia do Carvalhal ten years ago, where we teach surf all year long. Later, our daughter Maria Mar was born and, with her, the project for a dream house that would be named after her. Maria Mar Surf & Guesthouse is the place where we welcome people from all over the world and where we, the hosts, share a lot of experiences with our guests. Recently, closer to the house, we began teaching stand up paddle at the Melides lagoon, an exceptional place.
Over the years, our family has grown with the number of people we’ve welcomed in our house and our school. We’ve made new friends, and we believe we play an essential role in bringing these people to the region. We enjoy being part of the experience and feeling we’re doing a good job valuing and preserving the place where we live.
If you’re visiting the Alentejo coast and are looking for an authentic experience in the region, be it at the ocean or just relaxing, our family will be happy to welcome and help you to turn your trip into a beautiful memory.
In addition to Maria Mar Guesthouse and Surf in Comporta, we own a shop 300 metres from Praia do Carvalhal. There you can buy souvenirs, surf and bodyboard supplies, active wear and beachwear, and décor pieces. Visit us.
Our story and mission
I always wanted to surf, but my dream only came true later in life. After I finished University in Beja, I returned home and decided it was time to give it a try. I never stopped since. Daniel was more advanced than I was, in his practice and dedication to surfing, but we met at the right time.
I had my steady job, and Daniel was a corrections officer, and we wanted to start a surf business. We grew our expertise in that field and opened Surf in Comporta as a side hustle to our jobs. It went so well that I started to work at the school full time.
We need more Guardians of Alentejo, to protect and invest in the region like we try to.
Maria Mar Guesthouse comes along a few years later, precisely five years ago when our daughter was born. My father, after retiring, wanted to buy a house like this one with a lot of outdoor space to explore and decided it was the right time to do it if we accepted his offer to manage the place. The deal went something like this: we keep the house, and he keeps the garden and the outdoors to pass the time. And we said yes. At the time, Melides didn’t have this style of accommodation, less formal and more laidback. We saw this as an opportunity, and we can say we set the trend.
We feel responsible for this region because we’re locals and we always fought to keep our lives here. We keep the essence of this place and our roots in everything we do, and we like to share it with our clients. An experience is as authentic as telling and living the same stories we were told growing up. People visit us, and we show them the reality. Our reality, the day-to-day of who knows the region well. Without it, we’d be just another touristic place, without emotional value or identity.
A family house
Although our house is in Melides, we spent most of our day in Carvalhal, at Praia do Carvalhal to be precise. We can say our hearts belong to both places, because of what they represent to our past and our present.
Melides is a welcoming, historic village. We all know each other since we were little and we support each other, a trait you could only find in a village like this one. Furthermore, we are fortunate to be in such a beautiful coastal area. We’re surrounded by the beach, the lagoon, and the mountains, and it’s beautiful. The village centre is quite interesting and worth a visit too.
I’m proud this is my homeland. In fact, like all locals, I’m quite territorial. I was born in Beja, but my father made sure my birthplace was registered as Melides. That means a lot.
We’re from Melides and Carvalhal villages. They have different backgrounds and are both extraordinary places, with a lot to explore.
Part of Herdade da Comporta, Carvalhal is a newer village where, in the old days, people lived off farming and growing rice. It had been neglected until ten years ago when people started to rediscover it, and it’s now one of the places in the country with the most potential for growth.
The landscape and the beaches are some of the most beautiful in the country. It’s not cluttered by big buildings and Nature is pretty much untouched. The village has grown, and the beaches have been reorganised. Praia do Carvalhal is very special. And one of our favourite things about it is the light. It’s irresistible.
Daniel was born here, so we might be biased when describing this place. We’re in harmony with Nature on a daily basis, and there is no closer contact than being in the sea. It’s that proximity to the ocean that makes all the difference.
The Melides lagoon, where we teach Stand Up Paddle, is a unique location. At sunset, the lagoon turns pink, and if it’s windy, it turns into a mirror. It’s a bird sanctuary where different species go to sleep and where you can see lots of storks.