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Cabo de Gata a Marine Natural Park - East of Almeria
Friday, July 1, 2022 @ 8:42 PM

This was our first walking holiday here so the group we picked up from Almeria airport were guinea pigs! The group were all friends who had walked with Ibex before so that made it easier.

We started the walking holiday in Agua Amarga (bitter waters) a small whitewashed seaside village - quiet but with enough bars to keep you happy. We stayed at the homely Hotel Family. The rooms here are large and comfortable with a lovely swimming pool. The food is excellent, some of the best I have had in 10 years in Andalucia. Marcs(the owner) wife is Moroccan and the tajines of lamb and chicken that were on offer were fantastic large tasty portions. The breakfast was even larger with a whole host of foods on offer from pancakes to eggs anyway you liked, all freshly cooked and with an array of homemade pickles and jams.

The first day's walk was a 11km circular trip. We walked away from the coast and inland into the desert like landscape. The whole area is an ancient volcanic landscape with valleys eroded over millennia forming parts of it. The walk took us through a large peach orchard and onto the old mineral train track, which we followed on a very level path back into Agua Amarga. The bitter water name comes from the mineral mining that was processed just outside Agua amarga. We walked to the old processing plant high above the beach before our final descent to the village. We were finished for 2.30 so plenty of time to explore the village more, swim and have a few drinks!

After another excellent evening meal and huge breakfast it was time to move hotels. Our luggage is moved by a local taxi driver to the next hotel and we walk to the next hotel along the coast. The walk today is 16 km and with more ascent and descent, it will take a very steady 8 hrs to get to Las Negras. Setting off at 10am we walk South-West following the coast. Walking pass small coves and beaches, we stop at Cala Del Plomo for a paddle, drink and snack before we climb up to the cliffs that bring us along, with some great views, to the bohemian beach of San Pedro. There is a fair descent down to Cala San Pedro(Cala meaning Cove) using an eroded path. After a bit of scrambling we make it to the beach were we find some shelter from the sun and have a picnic lunch. San Pedro is overlooked by an impressive old moorish watchtower which makes it a beautiful beach. It is inhabited by an alternative population that seem to scratch an existence out of the few tourists that make it too the beach along the 3km cliff top path. Trying not to be put off my lunch by male tackle swinging down the beach we make our way to one of the small bars on the beach for a cold drink. We are met by a motley crew of Pirates of The Caribbean extras who serve us a few cans of fanta limon before we are away on our walk again.

Walking along the cliff top we finally make it onto the vehicle track that takes us down to Las Negras and to the Cala Grande hotel - an out of place Ibizan esk hotel in what is a small fishing port. Lovely hotel  though and lives up to the 4* rating. Good food and a very spacious room with a trendy pool and bar to sit at.

Only one night here before again our luggage is taken on to the next hotel in Rodalquilar - the 4* Hotel Naturaleza. The walk today is around 12km with a detour up to the lighthouse that is one of the highest points in the park for some great views. We walk again along some beautiful deserted beaches where we stop at least once a day for a swim. climbing up from the Playazo Cala Castillo we then take a path that leads us up to the lighthouse for lunch before the final descent along the service road to the hotel. An easier day than the day before but still with some rewarding views.

The hotel Naturaleza is set around a courtyard and a swimming pool. A good meal in the hotel.

We spend 2 nights in Rodalquilar and we use the van to get us to the gold mines that are to the North of the town. We then take a 12km circular path pass the Cortijo De los Frailes, the setting of the Blood Wedding by Garcia Lorca. A great view over the Peninsula of the Cabo de Gato, we then descend through the gold mines. You can see why Steven Spielburg used this landscape for the Temple Of doom. An interesting walk full of history and information about the recent gold mining her. After 4-5 hours of walking we make it back to the van and decide to go to Isleta de Moro for lunch. We have a lunch of freshly cooked seafood platters before going to the beach for an hour of swimming and relaxing. Another nice meal in the hotel.

After breakfast it was time to walk to San Jose the most popular town in the area. The walk was supposed to be a 16km walk from the hotel but after talking to the receptionist the walk now goes along the main road for 4km to Isleta de Moro, where before it went through the countryside . I gave the group the choice of walking along the road or we could drive to Isleta de Moro and start the walk there. The latter was chosen. We walked from Isleta and continued South West along the coast to Los Escullos, where we stopped for a coffee. We then took the vehicle track from here up and pass the highest peak in the Cabo De Gata - Los Frailes, the Friar. Descending to San Jose and to the hotel La Posada De Paco. Nice modern hotel with a good sized swimming pool on the main street in San Jose. The hotel here only has a breakfast room so we were eating out. We had a great meal in the El Faro restaurant, a few of us had Parrillada De Pescado a selection of fish on a platter. It was excellent and the fish could not have been fresher.

The final days walk was an easy 8km walk to the beaches of Monsul and Genovesses. These are more popular beaches but still very beautiful with crystal waters and soft golden sand. It was a perfect walk for the last day, a bit of a rest and a swim. We ate out that night at the 4 Nudos restaurant at the port in San Jose. Speciality is rice dishes which are extremely well prepared.

After a few late drinks it was a late check out on the Saturday so dropped back to Almeria Airport and me back to the Sierra Nevada. A brilliant week and a complete contrast to everywhere else we walk. The accommodation and food were excellent. The weather was 20ºC to 30ºC depending on cloud cover. Overall really enjoyed it and we will be running this week again in the near future.

We run walking holidays throughout Spain - in the Sierra Nevada, Grazalema and Picos De Europa


Author : Dan Shaffrey - Mountain guide and walking holiday company owner in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada -

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