Treasures from Southern Spain: Cabo de Gata
You know when you love a place so much that you don’t want to share it with others because you’re afraid popularity might ruin it?
I’ve been torn for days (weeks, to be more accurate) whether to write anything about this treasure I discovered back in September or just keep it to myself. I would flip through the hundreds of images for hours on end, the thought of just leaving it all imprinted solely in my memory almost winning.
Because in the end I decided I really want to share with you guys this stunning place that is Cabo de Gata-Nijar Geopark. You have to see this beauty! Nature is truly a wonder and never, ever disappoints!
Plus, I had already been sharing my stay there on my instagram and also took over their instagram account for a few days posting about my daily discoveries, so the deal was already done – why was I still hovering over the decision?!
Back when I was living in Sevilla I vaguely heard about this beautiful natural park called Cabo de Gata but never really got the opportunity to visit it while there. But some time ago Gloria, a good friend of mine I met in Sevilla back in 2014, started working in the area and invited me to visit her… I said yes and the rest is history!
After ending our stay in Lisbon we took a bus to Sevilla and spent a couple of nights in the city of my heart. From there, we rented a car to easily be able to get to the park and freely move around to explore whatever and whenever we felt like it. Andalucia is absolutely a jewel all over and if you ever visit Southern Spain, do reserve enough days to discover as much of it as you can! Therefore, our trip was a pleasure itself: great sceneries and lovely pit stops in cute white towns so often that we didn’t know whether we’ll get to our destination after all.
But we did.
We arrived in a tiny white village called La Isleta del Moro, during an air-dilating kind of hot day, not even a fly moving, no trace of any breeze, red sand everywhere even covering some of the houses, window shutters closed, everything seeming completely deserted. Our first thought was “how are we going to survive the next 2 weeks?!”.
With a lot of fun, that’s how!
It was my first time ever to spend so many days in a village by the sea and it was such a relief from the hustle and bustle of the past weeks and months. At first I really thought I would get easily bored – I mean, what can you do for so many days in a place where nothing ever happens?-, but I ended up not wanting to leave!
Our days started slow with coffee and breakfast at La Ola, one of the few restaurants around but definitely my favourite, soaking up the morning sun and the gorgeous views from the terrace. Then we’d hide inside in the coolness of the house to get some work done because summer and Southern Spain don’t go well with spending time on the streets during midday. Afternoons and evenings were all for swimming, snorkeling (OMG I saw an octopus!!!!!) and exploring the area accompanied by my dear friend Gloria who also acted as the best guide one could ask for!
Now it’s a whirlwind of gorgeous views in my memory! We ventured along the whole coast of Cabo de Gata Park and also headed inland by roads cutting into wonderful scenery. It would be exaggerating to see that we saw it all, but man, we covered so, so much of it! Couldn’t have done it without Gloria’s extensive knowledge, though!
I’m actually writing and rewriting this paragraph for the umth time because I don’t know what to recommend you in particular! Everything looks beautiful here, you just have to turn your head around and then move a bit more further only to discover something new: a new beach with darker sand, a differently shaped rock biting into the sea, a solitary palm tree here and there, a harsh landscape and then clear waters where you can spot colorful fish, spiky sea urchins and cute octopus doing their daily grind. An incredible diversity of nature at its best!
The beaches are for every taste and most of them offer great opportunities for snorkeling and diving! Some are uber-popular, while others are less known and in between all of them there are plenty of little ones hidden between rocks, with more difficult but worthwile access. Make sure you arrive at Mirador de la Amatista in time for sunset or, for another spectacular evening, after taking a look at Arrecife de las Sirenas from up, descend to the nearby beach (Playa de Cabo de Gata) to watch the sun hide behind the sea.
IMPORTANT! Do not touch the marine animals and especially do NOT take them out of the water for entertainment’s sake! Yes, that’s right, NO selfies while holding a starfish, NO playing around with an octopus for your kids enjoyment. Starfish can be particularly sensitive if taken out of the water various times or for a longer period so you might actually kill them. Don’t risk it!
Where to stay at? Well, I absolutely fell in love with lazy Isleta del Moro – a tiny silent village where time seems to stay still. However, there are enough locations you can pick from depending on what you’re into! San Jose and Aguamarga are larger villages and they seemed very lively with more offers for things to do and generally had more of a typical holiday vibe when we visited them. If you have a car, it’s very easy to move between the villages, the beaches or other points that might be of interest to you.
Another option that I’m actually curious to try next time I’m visiting the area is to stay at a local cortijo which is basically a typical farm in Andalucia. They’re usually larger houses with land surrounding them, often further away from the main roads/ towns, more or less isolated. I spotted quite a few of this while discovering the park area, some of them transformed into beautiful hotels – I can only imagine how wonderful the sky looks like at night from one of these and the chills down your spine when all that surrounds you seems to be nothingness! As far as I learnt, there are plenty of similar properties currently in ruins because the local administration has very strict rules on preserving the architecture (and generally everything that is inside the limits of Cabo de Gata-Nijar Geopark) and the owners are not allowed to make dramatical changes to them – which can be very limiting sometimes. Which makes me curious to see how those that managed to bring them back to life got creative about it!
But for now, I’m left with the memories of one of the most beautiful places I got the chance to witness in life. Looking forward to the next occasion to go back because Cabo de Gata definitely deserves more of my time! ❤️
Have you ever heard of this place or been to it? Comment below!