Through Portugal on four wheels with Jose Almeida

To celebrate the launch of our new 4x4 adventure through the green heart of Portugal we interview Jose Almeida, owner of Dream Overland, who will be your guide through this exciting area that is flourishing again thanks to the efforts of Rewilding Portugal.

Jose Almeida is the newest addition to our partner list. We pride ourselves in finding and working with the best local partners and guides to deliver unique, authentic experiences to you!

Ultimately, our partners become yours, as they host you and care for you through your adventures! We offer our partners training through the Rewilding Training Tourism programme.

Jose Almeida is 50 years old and was born in Guarda, Portugal's highest town, very close to where the Rewilding Portugal team is now based. He grew up in a village just a few kilometers away from Guarda, surrounded by nature.

“I've always loved cars and machines since I was a little boy, so I went to Lisbon and took a college degree in mechanical engineering. After that I worked in the Oil and Gas industry for nearly 22 years in various projects around the world."

So how did he jump to a nature-oriented profession? “Growing in a small village surrounded by nature, I’ve always kept the countryside genes inside of me."

Having had the opportunity to travel to many remote parts of the world and being a photography enthusiast, I further developed my love and admiration for the natural richness and diversity of the world and felt that this had to be preserved. 

As an enthusiast of 4x4 vehicles I learned how to use them for the benefit of the communities, as these were the only way to get to those places and supply the local people with the goods and services they needed to survive.

This, together with my passion for my home country led to the creation of my adventure and nature trips business back in 2014.

"The aim was to discover, promote and preserve the vast natural heritage and biodiversity Portugal still has. It also made sense to share it with people who share the same values of nature protection and conservation.”

The thing he likes the most about his occupation is the unique opportunity to be at one with nature. “Being out in the field, away from the crowds and polluted cities, and enjoy the simplest things in life.”

“What I enjoy the most about nature around me is the peace of mind, the calm and the healing power nature gives me, not to mention the wonderful opportunities nature gives me to take some great pictures.” 

If after reading this, you want to pack you bags and venture into Portugal Coa Valley’s nature we don’t blame you! We are also truly inspired by Jose’s words.

Jose wants his guest to discover the rich natural heritage and biodiversity of Portugal both in terms of fauna and flora. He also wants to teach people the relationship and fine balance between local communities and nature, and how they co-exist in perfect harmony if they respect nature. He also promotes the contribution to local communities by appreciating the local products and services. 

At Dream Overland they think choosing eco-friendly holidays is important “We're facing dramatic climate changes with devastating impacts on habitats and people around the world. Eco-friendly holidays can contribute to minimizing these impacts and help local people preserve their sustainable ways of life, as opposed to mass tourism.”

He agrees that tourism, when done right it can benefit communities and the environment.

"I think the biggest positive aspect of eco-tourism, is the personal enrichment and what comes with it. It is the knowledge and understanding of local habitats and ecosystems.

The more educated people are about them, the more they will respect nature and follow an appropriate conduct while on holidays.

Tourism, (when rightly balanced) can help people living in natural areas or from nature-based businesses to strive and maintain a sustainable way of life, preventing them from leaving the countryside in favor of the big cities and contributing to the social cohesion of regions and ultimately countries.”

Jose is very much looking forward to showing you the beauty of the Portuguese Coa Valley on his Great 4x4 Coa Valley Expedition. You can book this 7-day adventure with The European Safari Company and contribute to the local communities and to the rewilding mission of Rewilding Portugal.