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Cabo De Gata Natural Park



The beautiful Cabo de Gata Natural Park is only about an hours drive from Vera Playa and it has two sides to it; the eastern side which includes the villages of Las Negras, Rodalquilar and San Jose and the western side which is around Cabo de Gata village.

Each side is quite different as the east has the mountains and beaches with the fantastic volcanic rocks and outcrops and the western side is flatter with the long straight beaches each side of Cabo de Gata village with the salinas or lagoons behind.These salinas are home to many bird species including Pink Flamingos.

Starting in the east at Las Negras, which is a small village with apartments and rooms to rent. The traditional windmill at the entrance has now been fully restored to its original condition. There are walks to the east towards the "hippy" commune at Cala San Pedro. There is a coastal path west from Las Negras camp site leading to Playazo Beach. This path starts with quite a steep uphill section and in places is narrow with steep drops.

Driving west there is a concrete road leading to Playazo Beach just before Rodalquilar village. Playazo is a lovely beach at the end of a valley which has Castillo de Rodalquilar part way down and a Castillo de San Ramón actually on the eastern edge of the beach. The valley has easy level walks through palm groves. In summer up to 90% of people, Spanish and tourists can be using the beach naturist.More adventurous walkers can start from here to walk up to the communications installation and tower at Faro de Los Lobos by going over the "saddle" at the western side of the beach. This track is narrow and rough until it joins a tarmac road leading to the top. Vehicles are not permitted to drive to the tower. The road is gated about half way up.

Rodalquilar village has a new centre to it and is the headquarters of the Park. It has offices and an information centre that explains the volcanic history of the area and has a very detailed model of the mineral mining, including gold mining, which is the reason for the existence of the village. The old miners' village is in ruins by the side of the modern houses. Behind the village is the remains of the mine workings; huge buildings with large concrete settlement tanks below.The mountain behind Rodalquilar is honeycombed with tunnels and workings which closed in the 1960's.

Isleta del Moro is a small pretty white fishing village with a large headland. There is a small supermarket here and restaurants. Scuba Diving is available from here as well as from San José just along the coast.

San José is the largest town in this area and has quite a large harbour with many restaurants and bars.Several supermarkets are on the main street. There is an information centre here with maps of the area and articles from the local area for sale.

From San José there is a track (normally in good condition) leading westwards along the coast towards Cabo de Gata village. In the height of summer vehicles are not allowed down the track and a bus service is put in place.This track leads to Genoveses, Barronal, Monsul and Media Luna beaches. Genoveses is the first beach you come to, there is a large car park with a walk to the beach through a habitat with many birds.The beach is divided into two by a natural outcrop of rock about 4 metres high, it is easily walked over. Naturists tend to use the beach west of this outcrop. Behind the beach are easy walks through the unspoilt countryside. For the more adventurous walkers there are paths to small coves over the coastal hills. Walking boots are advisable as the paths can be rough and rocky. If planning a longer walk, don?t forget to carry water with you.

Continuing west along the track the next beach is Barronal. There is no parking on the actual track but when you find it widens and permits parking, there is a path through the dunes leading to the beach. It's a lovely beach and is normally 100% naturist.

Just over the huge sand dune is the car park for Monsul Beach. This is a very large picturesque beach with its fantastic rock shapes formed by its volcanic history. It is another beach that has two parts, during the summer season naturists use the whole beach but away from the main season if you go round to the right hand side of the beach, that's where you'll find other naturists.

Only 500 metres further on is another car park with Media Luna Beach. This is a smaller and quieter beach.

Just after Media Luna the track starts to go uphill and has some gates which mark the end of the drivable section. Through the gate it is a good walk with views along the coast to the tower and communications masts at Vela Blanca before it goes downhill to the Cabo de Gata Lighthouse (faro).

The vehicle access to the lighthouse is via Cabo de Gata village, so from San José you take the road out towards the motorway and then at a large roundabout with boat sculptures on it, turn left to go past the Centro Michelin Experimental test tracks to Ruescas and turn left again, signposted Cabo de Gata.

Just before the village there is a car park with a bird hide looking out over the salinas (lagoon).This is the first chance to look for the flamingos. Cabo village has several supermarkets, although not as well stocked as San Jose's.There is also a pharmacy and butchers. Saturday is market day in the morning with clothing, shoes and very good fruit and vegetables. If you walk onto the seafront and turn right the Bar Mediterraneo serves huge tapas with each round of drinks.

From Cabo follow the coast road past the abandoned church to Almadraba de Montelva Village. The salinas are still being worked and you can see the mounds of salt on the left hand side. Just a little further on at Fabriquilla the road leaves the beach to go up and round to the Cabo de Gata Lighthouse. There is an excellent beach all the way from Cabo village; it's long and straight, very different to the beaches reached from San José

Our personal view is that the beaches of Genoveses, Monsul and Barronal are some of the best we've found in ten years of travelling round Europe.

Graham and Lesley

Wintering in Vera Playa

 

In late September, when the heat of July and August has subsided a little, the character of Vera Playa changes and quietens down from the summer buzz of holidaymakers, the traffic and the full restaurants. This is when the snowbirds, the grey rinse brigade, the "semigrants", call them what you will, arrive to escape the winter in northern Europe.

Daytime temperatures in the low 20s throughout the winter months attract naturists from the UK, Holland, Germany, France and even the Scandinavian countries to travel thousands of miles for the warmth and the beautiful light that we experience here in Southern Spain. It is possible to sunbathe from about 11am until 5pm on most days and it doesn?t get dark until 6pm at the winter solstice, which is a great improvement on the UK.

So what would you do here all winter apart from sunbathe?

Well, you can learn Spanish for a start. Vera council runs free Spanish classes for immigrants. You attend twice a week for approximately 2 hours a lesson. It is no problem if you have to return to your homeland for a few days or weeks, you just go and then slot back into the class when you return. The brief of the teachers is to integrate you into the community, so, not only do you get language tuition, they also take you out to visit places of local interest and bring you up to speed on all the local fiestas and cultural events. With them we have visited Belens (local model nativity scenes that are part and parcel of the Spanish Christmas), local peace rallies, been to vineyards in the Alpujarras and a fiesta in the hills with a giant paella and dancing for everyone, to name but a few events. Through them we have got to know about and have been to see cultural events in Vera such as the Bolshoi Ballet, the Chinese State Circus, musical concerts and Book Fairs.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants open all winter in the naturist zone and in the surrounding area, although two of the most popular, Tigger's (noe Ina's) and Benito's both close in the winter. Tigger's, from October until Easter, and Benitos from about November until February. Well, I suppose they are entitled to their holidays as well!
The popularity of different bars varies from year to year but you can normally find a crowd out for sundowners and tapas if you want company. Newcomers are always made welcome, as in any naturist community.

If you like sport, there are several good golf courses in the surrounding area. There are indoor heated swimming pools on three of the naturist urbanisations, Vera Natura, Bahia de Vera and Torremar Natura and, on La Menara, they do heat their pool in the winter, although it is outside. There are tennis courts with professional coaches to teach you tennis nearby and a sports complex at Puerto Rey a couple of kilometres away.

There are several groups that go out walking regularly in the surrounding area so there is always one that is the right length for you and it is an ideal way to meet people.
Many of the men enjoy fishing in the sea (you need a license from the council) and even occasionally catch something!
The Sierra Nevadas are Spain's top skiing resort. They are only just over two hours away by car near Granada. While you are in the area you can visit the Alhambra Palace, go Christmas shopping in Granada and see the fabulous Christmas lights. (Oxford Street and Blackpool eat you heart out!)

Weekly events nearer to home in the Naturist "village" include Sunday boules competitions, "stitch and bitch" (a group that gets together to do handicrafts) and quiz nights. There is a lace-making group in Turre that many ladies attend on Wednesdays and there are several art and card making classes in the local textile area if you like to be creative.
 
Just after Christmas the local naturist community organises a concert in aid of Asprodalba, a local Home for disabled people. This is normally a themed revue of local talent singing, dancing and performing sketches and afterwards everyone gets up to dance to one of the local bands. It is amazing how many people have hidden talents and enjoy performing. Rehearsals become more frequent as the day draws near as everyone perfects their act. Other events, like bar-b-cues, throughout the year, also raise money for the same charity.

If you like exploring the local countryside there are plenty of places to visit where you get more of the Spanish atmosphere than you may get on the coast.

The scenery can be spectacular in the mountains and there are lots of the little villages are worth a look. Many of these villages, like Lubrin where we now live, have local fiestas in the winter months.

Lubrin holds its first fiesta of the winter in October with a food competition. It starts on the Friday and Saturday nights with bands performing in the local square. The groups don't usually start until about 11pm and go on until about 6 in the morning! Local woman cook regional dishes on the Sunday morning and, after the judging, this food is then served to the locals as tapas. It certainly helps if you know the locals as the Spanish really don't know how to queue!

On New Year's Eve the local Mayor provides free Cava and grapes to welcome in the New Year. It is traditional to eat 12 grapes as the clock is chiming at midnight, one for each chime. If you manage to do it (I have given up trying!) it is said to bring you good luck throughout the New Year. Then the dancing begins!!

The third fiesta in Lubrin, is a nationally recognise three day event which attracts people from all over Spain. It is held on the 18-21st of January and is the Fiesta of San Sebastian or Bread Festival.  The main event of this fiesta is when locals carry an effigy of San Sebastian adorned with bread rings through the narrow streets of the town. While it is passing the crowds throng around and locals throw bread rings to them from balconies, windows and roofs. You can imagine the mayhem! Afterwards, when it has all calmed down the locals set up tables in the square and have a meal together. And then we are back to dancing again!!

So you can see that if you want to be involved you can be. In fact sometimes it is hard to find the time to sunbathe!

This article is reproduced here by kind permission of Sallie and Stuart at www.sallieandstuarts.com

 
Local Bus Timetables

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS to VERA PLAYA from ALICANTE AIRPORT

NB All information is correct at the time of writing, no liability can be accepted for Inaccuracies as bus companies change schedules without notice. Web site details are given below.

Come out of the new arrivals hall, turn right. In front of the two storey car park by the ramp up from the pick up area in front of the old arrivals is a bus stop for ALSA buses to Benidorm and Murcia. The Benidorm bus goes a few minutes before the Murcia bus.

Take the Murcia bus (you can pay on boarding) direct to Murcia Bus Station.

Go to the ALSA ticket office (behind the information kiosk at the bottom of the ?u? shaped bus station and buy a ticket for VERA (pronounced BEARER) (single is ?Ida Solo?, return is ?Ida y vuelta?).The bus leaves from the same area as the arrivals from Alicante. NB Your ticket will have allocated you to a particular seat (asiento).

At Vera Bus Station get off and wait for a Baraza bus, route 2. (or if you prefer, there are normally taxis waiting ? Vera Playa is about 12 euros). If you take the bus, you wish to alight at Roundabout for Vera Natura (Redonda De Vera Natura).

Having got off the bus, follow separate instructions to your specific urbanisation.

By bus the current costs (Autumn 2009) are:

Alicante to Murcia EU 4.53
Murcia to Vera EU 9.57
Vera to Vera Playa EU 1.00
TOTAL EU 15.10

BUS TIMES (correct at Autumn 2009):

AIRPORT to MURCIA

Alsa Bus

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.alsa.es)

07:15

08:10

Weekdays

09:15

10:10

Daily

11:15

12:10

Daily

13:15

14:10

Daily

15:15

16:10

Daily

17:15

18:10

Daily

19:15

20:10

Daily

20:15

21:10

Daily

21:15

22:10

Daily

MURCIA to VERA

Alsa Bus

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.alsa.es)

05:00

08:05

Daily

05:45

07:45

Daily

10:45

12:55

Not Sunday

11:30

13:40

Daily

14:15

16:20

Daily

15:00

18:05

Daily

15:30

17:05

Daily Eurobus

18:30

20:45

Daily

20:00

22:00

Daily No Val-Bar Dto

20:30

22:25

Daily

22:00

23:40

Summer Fri Sun

VERA to VERA PLAYA

Baraza Bus - Route 2

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.autocaresbaraza.com)

07:00

07:16

Not Sunday

08:00

08:16

Daily

Then every

hour until

14:00

14:16

Not Sunday

15:00

15:16

Daily

Then every

hour until

22:00

22:16

Daily


These instructions are reproduced by kind permission of Tony & Marilyn at www.veraparadise.com

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS from VERA PLAYA to ALICANTE AIRPORT

Go to the roundabout at the top of the main street in the naturist area, (remember the bus stops on the right side of the road opposite the bus shelter). Take Baraza Bus Route 2 to Vera Bus Station.

Go to the ?ALSA? ticket office at the end of the ?platform? and buy tickets to MURCIA and from MURCIA to ALICANTE AIRPORT (single is ?Ida Solo?, return is ?Ida y vuelta?). NB Your tickets will allocate you to a particular seat (asiento) on each bus.

Take the bus to Murcia.

Go to platforms 31-33.

Take Alicante Airport bus to the airport. NB The destination board does not always mention Alicante Airport. If not, check with driver ? ?Aeropuerto?

BUS TIMES (correct at Autumn 2009):

VERA PLAYA to VERA

Baraza Bus - Route 2

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.autocaresbaraza.com)

08:40

09:00

Not Sundays

09:45

10:00

Daily

10:40

11:00

Daily

Then every

hour until

13:40

14:00

Daily

14:30

13:50

Daily

15:40

16:00

Daily

Then every

hour until

23:40

00:00

Daily

VERA to MURCIA

Alsa Bus

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.alsa.es)

07:10

09:30

Daily

07:30

09:45

Not Sunday

09:45

11:45

Daily No Val-Bar Dto

10:00

11:45

Daily

13:30

15:30

Daily

15:30

17:30

Daily

16:35

19:00

Daily

19:30

21:15

Summer Fri Sun

20:00

22:30

Daily

22:30

00:30

Daily

MURCIA TO ALICANTE

AIRPORT

Dep

Arr

Remarks

Alsa Bus

07:00

07:55

Weekdays

(www.alsa.es)

07:00

08:10

Sats, Suns

09:00

09:55

Daily

11:00

11:55

Daily

13:00

13:55

Daily

15:00

15:55

Daily

17:00

17:55

Daily

18:00

18:55

Sundays

19:00

19:55

Daily

21:00

21:55

Daily


These instructions are reproduced by kind permission of Tony & Marilyn at www.veraparadise.com

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS to VERA PLAYA from MURCIA AIRPORT


NB All information is correct at the time of writing, no liability can be accepted for Inaccuracies as bus companies change schedules without notice. Web site details are given below.

On leaving Airport take one of the following to Santiago de la Ribera:
either
1.A taxi to Hotel Mar Menor, Santiago de la Ribera,(2.9km ? about 6 euros)
or
2. A bus
Latbus - Times are
Airport to Santiago de Ribera
13.25 connects to 13.35 to Murcia. Sat 14.25. Sun 14.10
16.30 connects to 17.35 to Murcia. Sat 17.25. Sun 17.10
19.00 connects to 19.35 to Murcia. Sat 19.55. Sun 19.10

Thanks to Pam (pamnbru) for the bus times
Please note the Latbus website is not showing this timetable yet

The bus stop for LATBUS route 70 (ignore letters A,B C etc) is outside Bar La Parrillada (about 50 metres further on from Hotel Menor). Take bus to Murcia Bus Station.

Go to the ALSA ticket office (behind the information kiosk at the bottom of the ?u? shaped bus station and buy a ticket for VERA (pronounced BEARER) (single is ?Ida Solo?, return is ?Ida y vuelta?).The bus leaves from the same area as the arrivals from Alicante. NB Your ticket will have allocated you to a particular seat (asiento).

At Vera Bus Station get off and wait for a Baraza bus, route 2. (or if you prefer, there are normally taxis waiting ? Vera Playa is about 12 euros). If you take the bus, you wish to alight at Roundabout for Vera Natura (Redonda De Vera Natura).

Having got off the bus, follow separate instructions to get to your specific urbanisation.

By bus the current costs (Autumn 2009) are:

Airport to Santiago EU 6.00 (less if sharing taxi)
Santiago to Murcia EU 3.50
Murcia to Vera EU 9.57
Vera to Vera Playa EU 1.00
TOTAL EU 20.07

BUS TIMES (correct at Autumn 2009):

SANTIAGO DE LA

RIBERA to MURCIA

Dep

Arr

Remarks

LATBUS route 70

06:50

07:50

Weekdays

(www.latbus.es)

07:10

08:10

Sats,Suns

07:35

08:35

Weekdays

08:10

09:05

Sunday

08:35

09:35

Weekdays

08:55

09:50

Saturday

09:35

10:35

Weekdays

10:25

11:20

Sats, Suns

10:35

11:35

Weekdays

11:25

12:20

Saturday

11:35

12:35

Weekdays

11:55

12:50

Sunday

12:35

13:35

Weekdays

13:25

14:20

Saturday

13:35

14:35

Weekdays

14:10

15:05

Sunday

14:25

15:20

Saturday

14:35

15:50

Weekdays

15:25

16:20

Saturday

15:35

16:35

Weekdays

16:35

17:35

Weekdays

17:10

18:05

Sunday

17:25

18:20

Saturday

17:35

18:35

Weekdays

18:35

19:35

Weekdays

19:10

20:05

Sunday

19:35

20:35

Weekdays

19:55

20:50

Saturday

20:35

21:35

Weekdays

20:50

21:45

Sunday

20:55

21:50

Saturday

21:35

22:35

Weekdays

MURCIA to VERA

Alsa Bus

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.alsa.es)

05:00

08:05

Daily

05:45

07:45

Daily

10:45

12:55

Not Sunday

11:30

13:40

Daily

14:15

16:20

Daily

15:00

18:05

Daily

15:30

17:05

Daily Eurobus

18:30

20:45

Daily

20:00

22:00

Daily No Val-Bar Dto

20:30

22:25

Daily

22:00

23:40

Summer Fri Sun

VERA to VERA PLAYA

Baraza Bus - Route 2

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.autocaresbaraza.com)

07:00

07:16

Not Sunday

08:00

08:16

Daily

Then every

hour until

14:00

14:16

Not Sunday

15:00

15:16

Daily

Then every

hour until

22:00

22:16

Daily


These instructions are reproduced by kind permission of Tony & Marilyn at www.veraparadise.com

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS from VERA PLAYA to MURCIA AIRPORT


Go to the roundabout at the top of the main street in the naturist area, (remember the bus stops on the right side of the road opposite the bus shelter). Take Baraza Bus Route 2 to Vera Bus Station.

At Vera bus station, go to the ?ALSA? ticket office at the end of the ?platform? and buy a ticket to MURCIA (single is ?Ida Solo?, return is ?Ida y vuelta?). NB Your ticket will allocate you to a particular seat (asiento).

Take the bus to Murcia.

Go to Platform 8 or 9.

Take a LATBUS Route 70 (ignore letters ABC etc ). Ask for a ticket to SANTIAGO DE LA RIBERA .

At SANTIAGO DE LA RIBERA (recognise Bar La Parrillada and vetenario on opposite side of road) get off.
For the final leg either:
1.To take a taxi, cross the road and carry on in direction of the bus. On right go into Hotel Trabuco. Ring for taxi (hotel staff will normally do this for you if you buy a beer or coffee) RADIO TAXI 968 57 33 00. Ask for taxi from Hotel Trabuco to San Javier Airport. (2.9km ? approx 6 euros)
or
2. Take the bus to the airport
From Santiago de Ribera to Airport
13.25
16.15
18.25

Thanks to Pam (pamnbru) for the bus times
Please note the Latbus website is not showing this timetable yet

BUS TIMES (correct at Autumn 2009):

VERA PLAYA to VERA

Baraza Bus - Route 2

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.autocaresbaraza.com)

08:40

09:00

Not Sundays

09:45

10:00

Daily

10:40

11:00

Daily

Then every

hour until

13:40

14:00

Daily

14:30

13:50

Daily

15:40

16:00

Daily

Then every

hour until

23:40

00:00

Daily

VERA to MURCIA

Alsa Bus

Dep

Arr

Remarks

(www.alsa.es)

07:10

09:30

Daily

07:30

09:45

Not Sunday

09:45

11:45

Daily No Val-Bar Dto

10:00

11:45

Daily

13:30

15:30

Daily

15:30

17:30

Daily

16:35

19:00

Daily

19:30

21:15

Summer Fri Sun

20:00

22:30

Daily

22:30

00:30

Daily

MURCIA to SANTIAGO

DE LA RIBERA

Dep

Arr

Remarks

Latbus Route 70

07:00

07:55

Daily

(www.latbus.es)

08:00

08:55

Weekdays

08:30

09:20

Sats, Suns

09:00

09:55

Weekdays

09:30

10:20

Saturday only

10:00

10:55

Not Saturday

11:00

11:55

Weekdays

11:30

12:20

Saturday only

12:00

12:55

Not Saturday

12:30

13:20

Saturday only

13:00

14:00

Weekdays

14:00

14:55

Not Saturday

14:30

15:20

Saturday only

15:15

16:10

Weekdays

15:30

16:20

Saturday only

16:00

16:55

Weekdays

17:00

18:00

Daily

18:00

18:55

Weekdays

19:00

19:55

Daily

20:00

20:55

Weekdays

21:00

21:55

Daily


These instructions are reproduced by kind permission of Tony & Marilyn at www.veraparadise.com

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