The Unspoiled Secluded Beaches of Cabo de Gata - Monsul, Media Luna, Genoveses and Agua Amarga

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Thursday 15 January 2015

The Unspoiled Secluded Beaches of Cabo de Gata - Monsul, Media Luna, Genoveses and Agua Amarga

So, for the past 2 days we've been out and about in the Cabo de Gata natural park with Esther's parents making use of our temporary access to a hire car to cover a little more ground and see some more of the incredible beauty of this unspoiled corner of Spain. Wednesday saw us heading north east to the whitewashed fishing village of Aqua Amarga to stroll along the golden sand, whilst today we headed to visit the quiet sheltered bays and beaches of Monsul, Media Luna and Genoveses to the west of San Jose (plus a little hiking thrown in as well). After 8 months on the road, having visitors to share our joy and wonder at the desert landscape that surrounds us here has been a wonderful experience, highlighting new and surprising aspects of the places we visit.

Aqua Amarga has been described as one of the last hidden paradises of the Mediterannean and it wasn't hard to see why as we arrived in this quiet fishing village on the north-east fringe of the Cabo de Gata natural park. Driving along the winding roads from Los Escullos, stopping briefly at the Mirador de la Amatista, past the mining village of Rodalquilar and stretches along the sparkling coast in addition to passing through the arid, cactus strewn landscape had already given us great pleasure and we arrived feeling excited to be venturing slightly further away from our camping base. Parking right on the beach front and stepping on to the 800m stretch of golden sand, with the turquoise sea beyond beneath a cloudless sky was incredible.

With a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere to this small village, we settled in for a quiet cup of tea on the one open beachfront cafe, before strolling barefoot on the shore watching the translucent jelly fish bobbing freely in the transparent water. With low cliffs bookending the beach, we could make out the beginnings of several trails up on the top and wondered if we might return in future to venture that way ourselves. For today, however, we were satisfied to gently amble in the sunshine and enjoy the tranquility and calm before enjoying a spectacular sunset drive back through the desertscape to end a satisfying day out.

This morning we planned another excursion with Esther's parents, visiting some of the most iconic beaches of the area at Playa de Monsul, Cala Media Luna and Playa de los Genoveses. We had already visited Playa de Monsul and Playa de los Genoveses earlier in our stay (plus the Playa de la Barronal which sit between the two), but were eager to share their stunning setting with our guests and appreciate them once more ourselves.

Driving along the bumpy track from San Jose, our first visit was to Playa de Monsul, which I have found described in some places as "the best beach in Spain", famous for being used as a film set in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. With 400m of golden sand split in two parts by a curious rock formation resting on the shoreline and surrounding low cliffs of fossilised sand dunes peppered with volcanic debris, we were inclined to agree that it is certainly one of the most idyllic settings we have visited yet on our adventure. Sitting in the midday sun, listening to the waves lapping on the shore and feeling the breeze on our faces was blissful and made even better by being able to share the moment with Esther's mum and dad. Sitting upon a handy length of driftwood we all sat together in silent contemplation, watching the sun sparkling on the sea and listening to the waves on the sand.

Tearing ourselves away from this beach we meandered slowly the few hundred metres around the fossilised sand dune that seperates Monsul from Cala Media Luna. With black lava sand, this beach takes it's name (half moon) from the crescent shape of the shoreline, and with the views extending along the coast to the west it was another incredibly beautiful setting. Just perfect for sitting once more in the sun and soaking up the panorama of sea, sand and mountains.

In mid-afternoon we said a brief farewell to Esther's parents and took a few hours hiking in the hills behind this incredible coastline, making our way steadily back eastwards through the Sierra del Cabo Gata towards San Jose through cliffs and cactus dotted tundra before reuniting for an evening visit to Playa de los Genoveses. During the afternoon clouds had formed on the western horizon and changed the mood of the area from one of carefree sunshine to the brooding power of the weather, which was a thrilling change to see the area in this new light and revealing the power of nature that shaped this landscape.

We had been here before, but this was our first visit late in the day and with the sun setting behind the western hills casting an orange light across the almost empty beach that stretched out before us, it was a magical place to be and the perfect end to a wonderful 2 days touring the hidden and unspoiled sandy gems of this marvelous natural park. We had barely seen a handful of other visitors to the beaches all day. It is hard to believe that such natural beauty could be so quiet and empty of visitors, allowing us to spend so much time in unbroken contemplation and companionable silence, sharing the pristine beaches with just each other and our thoughts.

Related Posts:
10 Reasons to Visit the Cabo de Gata -Nijar Natural Park - Andalucia, Spain
12 Places to Visit and Things To Do in Cabo de Gata Natural Park
10 Hiking and Walking Routes in the Cabo de Gata - Nijar Natural Park

Playa del Monsul

Sun setting over the Sierra del Cabo Gata
Cala Media Luna
Playa del Monsul

View from Cala Media Luna
Los Genovese beach in the evening light

View towards El Frailes from Mirador de la Amatista

En route through the natural park to Aqua Amarge

Peaceful fishing village of Aqua Amarga

Enjoying Aqua Amarga's village square

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