Cabo de Gata lighthouse and some flamingos

This morning, breakfast resembled a group of poor students needing to save money. A taxi was booked for 08:30 to drop us at Cala Cabon for a 10 km walk back to San Jose. We’d decided that Inntravel’s options were too far and identified something shorter. Unfortunately we’d forgotten to arrange a packed lunch so our objective was to create lunch from breakfast items instead. Jacky won the award with a very dainty cheese and ham sandwich.

Rising so early meant we saw the sunrise.

Ricardo our taxi driver explained he couldn’t drop us at Cala Cabon because vehicles are forbidden in the Park and he showed us the route he needed to drive. It had always been our intention to see the nature reserve at Las Salinas but now we had to walk the extra 5km Inntravel recommended. Heroes that we are we decided to give it a go.

Kim had been keen to see the Flamingos that migrate to the salt marshes and was expecting huge flocks of brightly coloured birds. This is the best photo we managed…. how many Flamingo can you see?

Inntravel suggest that you add 4km to the 15km route by walking from the salt marshes to the lighthouse. We were having none of that and were dropped off right outside the lighthouse. 4km doesn’t sound much but the route was winding and surprisingly hilly. We whizzed, rather than limped, past the salt mines.

This protected area produces ‘Flower Salt’ relying on temperature fluctuations in salt pans which create floating crystals of salt flowers, these are collected manually using large shovels. The salt contains a micro algae called ‘Dunaliella Salina’ and is responsible for the pinkish colour of the salt flower. This is where pink flamingos in this area get their colour as the micro algae dyes the flamingos legs and feathers while they stand in the water. Obviously these particular flamingos hadn’t been standing around long enough.

The route elevation showed the toughest walking would be the first 5km with an elevation of about 300m. We delayed the start with photo opportunities of the lighthouse but Ricardo had gone, we were off the public road and had no choice but to walk.

The first hour was indeed tough with 500m of scrabbling up and down gullies before reaching the closed road and steep climb. The sun was shining and the views were fantastic. Each time we turned a corner, it was a relief to be briefly out of the sun and it was only 9:30

The highest point was the at La Vela Blanca. Helpfully, our notes told us we’d walked 4km and were within the estimated time. We might still have over 10km to go but we’d conquered the ‘mountain’. It wasn’t long before we rounded a bend and could see much of our route stretching ahead of us.

John made us stop for a photo opportunity. We’re not quite sure why he kept telling us to step back just a little further.

As the route flattened out we had views across a plain, dotted with Agaves and the odd European Fan Palm. Despite the green, the plants tell a story of an incredibly hostile environment with stunted growth. There are, however some pretty flowers doing their best to survive.

Our lunch break was taken at Monsul Beach which, like Los Genoveses in the next bay, has been used as the set location in numerous films. Now, we can be quite critical of beaches. Nothing ever meets the standard that Porthcothan set for us years ago. Monsul was a little bit special. Cliffs created from molten lava lead down to the sea and give a very special feel. It’s also one of the few beaches that has sand dunes.

Our greatest achievement of the holiday was working out how to use the timer to take a group photo. You’ll notice Ann and Dave are missing, yet again they found something interesting and cultural to do that doesn’t involve blisters and aching joints!

The next stop was Los Genoveses and it felt like we were almost back. We’d walked from here yesterday, knew the route and estimated it was only another 30 mins to the hotel. Time for a paddle! Ken and John are in this photo somewhere, you can’t see them because they’re snorkelling (not sitting on the beach, snacking, under eucalyptus trees)

5 hours and 12 km later we were back at the hotel! We’d cheated a little and chosen to stay on a more direct route than the official one. Unexpectedly it had saved us 3km and we were grateful it had. We may have missed a couple of bays out on the way but we’d probably seen the best.

3 thoughts on “Cabo de Gata lighthouse and some flamingos”

  1. What beautiful places you have been to today and such lovely weather and blue sea. You all look very fit and sun tanned. You will soon be back to reality and you will need the great blogs to keep you warm when you get home.


  2. You’re spoiling us….2 updates within a few hours!!! Seriously, the photos are superb. What is it with European flamingo? They are never deep pink. Ha, they mustn’t be eligible for a grant.


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