The Almeria region is widely recognised as one of the most fascinating and diverse landscapes in Spain. On one hand there's the small villages and romantic bays of the "Levante" coast, who's crystal clear waters are perfect for diving, and are for the most part, completely isolated. Then there's the booming tourist coast between Aguadulce, Roquetas and Adra called "Poniente".
Cabo the Gata has numerous distinct and unique landscapes. On the coast, you'll find some of the most tranquil and pristine waters in Spain, set against a backdrop of dramatic rock cliff faces, and beneath them, beaches strewn with pebbles and coarse sand. This area is often reffered to as "Pirates Coast"; where the Barbary Pirates used to shelter amongst the protective coves.
The coastline of Almeria?s natural park stretches for over 30kms and includes the seas immediately off the coast, which means commercial fishing is not allowed here.
There?s a fantasic variety of natural habitats in this area; coastal dunes, beaches, steep cliffs, saltpans, a marine zone of 12,200 hectares, salt marshes and dry river beds. Cabo de Gata park was designated a Unesco Biosphere reserve in 1997. It's home to an extraordinary range of wildlife, including many rare and endemic plants and endangered fauna.
The Salinas de Cabo de Gata is one of the most important wetland areas in Spain. It?s of outstanding ecological interest, particularly for birdlife. It's a saltwater lagoon that runs parralel to the coastline and is seperated by a huge 400 metre wide sand bar. You?ll find it between San Miguel and the Cabo de Gata headland.
The waters off the peninsula are crystal clear, with excellent visibility. They're teeming with aquatic life; ideal for underwater photography and diving. In the sea you can go sailing, sea-kayaking, windsurfing and try all types of fishing. In the mountains, biking and 4X4 excursions are very popular.
Most of this coasline is only accessible on foot. Between Cabo de Gata headland and San Jose there are some spectacular walks that you can try and all of them are very well signposted. Other good walking loactions include Las Negras and Agua Amarga.
You can reach the park from the west via the village of San Miguel de Cabo de Gata. Starting off from here, if you follow the coast road, you'll eventually come to the salt pans Salinas de Acosta. This is a fascinating and seemingly endless 4km-long wetland created by a lagoon. You'll see blindingly white mounds of salt. They've been extracting salt from here for centuries; since Phoenician times in fact.
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