PerNatur – Nature Trails is a company of Nature Tourism based in Olhão that organises outdoor activities, specifically walking routes in natural areas of Algarve region with a strong component of natural and cultural assets interpretation.

RNT-logo PerNatur – Nature Trails is registered, according to the law, as a touristic animation company, RNAAT nº 655 / 2015, in the ITP (Institute of Tourism of Portugal).
ICNB tourism image PerNatur – Nature Trails has been acknowledged to possess the competencies required to develop touristic activities, in protected areas, or in other with natural values, recognized by ICNF (National Institute of Nature and Forest Conservation).

Photo credit: guymoll / VisualHunt / CC BY
Photo credit: Pato Novoa via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

Luís Gonçalves – the nature guide

Luis Gonçalves – the nature guide

I am a confessed nature and sustainability enthusiast. From an early age I started to explore and discover the secrets of the natural heritage of the Algarve region. I have always been very committed and very passionate about researching the secrets kept in each landscape, in each ecosystem and in each and every rock, plant or animal that be form part of it.
Because I was born and raised in the Algarve, being the son and grandson of Algarve people, I have an emotional navel connection to this territory, its people, its Culture, its History, its landscapes and any form of life existing here.
Spending much time walking, hiking, camping, scuba diving and birdwatching in this territory has been solidifying and intensifying my knowledge of the different ecosystems and habitats existing in this region and its respective rich fauna and flora. Always with a keen focus on the Historical affairs related to this region and on the sustainability challenges in the present and future of this territory.
I have a degree in Food Engineering and worked for several years in the specific areas of Food Safety, Quality and Production Management in the Food Industry and in the Cork Stoppers Industry. Always keeping continuous research on the natural heritage of this region, as a hobby.
I have been a member of the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) since last century. SPEA is the Portuguese partner of the BirdLife international.
At same point, I realized that the extraordinary and outstanding natural wealth and biodiversity of this part of the world should be shared with others. So I founded PerNatur in 2015 and since then I have had the honour and pleasure to share it with people from all over the world.


Our mission is to provide Nature Tourism services based on walking trails that offer visitors unique and genuine experiences through contact with the natural, and cultural heritage of the Algarve region and with that raise interest in its conservation.


The touristic activity projects have been conceived with a sustainable development perspective assuring that the use of the resources doesn’t compromise the enjoyment for future generations. The location of the activities complies with planning criteria that avoid pressure on sensitive areas, with respect to the carrying capacity of the natural and social assets.

Integration in the local community in the natural areas where the activities take place and developing with it close relations contributing to sustainable development.

The area where the walks take place is still preserved and remains genuine with its own identity.

To provide touristic services based in outstanding natural areas with linked services rooted in a quality management that is guided by continuous improvement that fosters the visitors’ total satisfaction.


“Sustainable development means improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems” WWF

Organisations of all kinds are increasingly concerned with achieving and demonstrating sound environmental performance by controlling the impacts of their activities, products and services on the environment, consistent with their environmental policy and objectives. They do so in the context of increasingly stringent legislation, the development of economic policies and other measures that foster environmental protection, and increased concern expressed by interested parties about environmental matters and sustainable development.

PerNatur is also involved in this tendency and because of that established Mission and Values that reflects the importance that environment has on the spirit of the organisation.

The Environment represent together with the Quality and Safety the bedrock of the organisation.

The content of Mission and Values was initiated with the implementation of the ISO 14001, with the aim in the creation of an Environmental Management System that presupposes the commitment of all levels and functions in PerNatur, mainly the top management. With the intent of develop an environmental policy, establishing objectives and processes to reach the policies and act as necessary to improve the performance and demonstrate the conformity of the system to the several contemporaneous requirements in environment matters. The final goal is the support of environment protection and pollution prevention, in balance with the socioeconomics needs.

PerNatur has adopted as paradigm of action the CONDUCT CODE OF NATURE TOURISM COMPANIES defined by the Portuguese Law (Portaria n.º 651/2009 de 12 de Junho) which was established for nature tourism activities that takes place in classified areas or others with natural values that are recognized by the INCF (National Institute of Nature and Forests Conservation).


“Quality is not an act, it is a habit” – Aristotle

At PerNatur we seek quality, but we don’t see it as a finish line, more as a topic that has to be pursued insistently and permanently to achieve and exceed the client’s expectations.

The achievement of quality is a long process but the ambition of PerNatur is to continue down that path.

PerNatur is currently in the final stages of the implementation of NP 4520 – Nature Tourism Activities, the reference standard in Portugal that has established the framework for the organisations responsible for outdoor activities with the purpose of promotion of the adoption of good practices regarding environmental sustainability, sociocultural and economics, risk management and safety, and services quality that targets the promotion of sustainable tourism.

This standard requires also that  outdoor tourism organisations have available a set of requisites that aim to raise the quality offered in a view of sustainable development that benefits the organisations, as well as their clients, the natural and cultural heritage, the suppliers, and society in general.

The implementation of ISO 9001 started in the last quarter of 2015, with the necessary adaptations to the context of the reduced size of the company, but assuring harmony with continuous improvement process as the way to reach excellence.


“As for the sense of security by men, power and domain are assets provided by nature, from which we can provide security for ourselves” – Epicurus

With the objective of providing safe activities to clients/participants and for the space involved in the activities, PerNatur has put safety as a fundamental element.

The walk itineraries and all questions related to walking were conceived according to the good practices defined by French Federation of Trekking (Fédération Française de Randonnée Pédestre) especially relating to questions of safety and risk, technical norms, specific recommendations and general framing.

PerNatur uses standards OHSAS 18001 / NP 4397 as a management tool, because they establish the essential requisites to the safety management successfully within organisations, transforming the associated costs in to investments. NP ISO 31000 is also used as a tool of risk management to improve the capacity of opportunities and identification of threats in safety matters that exist in the scope of company activities.

Based on this methodology the following principles have been established:

PerNatur structures its activities taking into account the risks inherent in the organisation’s activities.

PerNatur identifies the dangers and controls the risk by providing the facilities and the areas involved in the operation with the necessary resources to prevent accidents and enable staff to promote the adoption of safe behaviour by the clients.

PerNatur monitors and acts to continuously improve performance regarding accidents and emergency situations.

Estes princípios são concretizados através da implementação da Norma Portuguesa 4397 que resulta na operacionalização do Programa de Gestão da Segurança, monitorizado por objetivos e indicadores de sinistralidade suportados por procedimentos e instruções de atuação.


PerNatur creates periodically the possibility of participation in the activities to groups of children that are under the charitable institutions of the municipality, in a complete free way.

This enables children to enjoy activity and intense contact with nature within an environment of tranquillity and harmony.

It also contributes to educational development by helping them to broaden their horizons and gain an environmental sensibility that will help to define their character and personality.