Oasys Mini Hollywood

oasys-generic

Oasys Mini Hollywood is a Wild West town theme park, one of the three Western desert parks located near Almeria. The entry price is 22 Euros for an adult and in our opinion it represent best value for money. What makes a difference between Oasys and the other two nearby studios, Fort Bravo and Western Leone, is that the visit to the large zoo which is also included in the price of the Wild West ticket!

Wicky Wild Wild West

As you start exploring the authentic looking western town with a stunning mountain backdrop, you can have a closer look at the 18th century houses or pop into the local bank, church, various shops or even local cemetery at the town’s outskirts. It’s all very atmospheric and instantly takes you back in time whether you want it or not! You can also buy one of the many souvenirs or head to the town square to take a photo on the horse next to a friendly cowboy. There is plenty of attractions and fun all around the place!

oasys_main_2

The main attractions, which always draw crowds, are live shows, both played twice a day: a pleasant to the eye can-can show staged in the Western-style saloon and a bank robbery show featuring gunfights and some chilling cowboy-style fist fights.

oasys_main-1

Lights, camera, action!

The famous Tabernas desert, in the middle of which the Oasis Mini-Hollywood is located, was once a favourite location for many film makers. In 1960s and 1970s, in the golden era of the European Westerns, many film producers preferred to shoot their films in the Spanish desert instead of going to the distant America or Africa. That’s because Almeria’s desert bears lots of resemblance to the stereotypical image of the Wild West. Three studios were created at that time: Texas Hollywood, Mini Hollywood, and Western Leone. The Italian film producer, Sergio Leone, shot “A Fistful of Dollars” as well as “The Good, or the Bad and the Ugly”, both starring Clint Eastwood, on the Tabernas desert. The Tabernas desert is occasionally used today for some smaller productions.

oasys_movie-1

More than ordinary zoo

If seeing all the attractions in the western villages took you more than half a day, the rest of the day needs to be reserved for the unique zoo which is also part of the Oasys Park. You will find there lots of species which you won’t find in many zoos. There is a white tiger, lions, Iberian bear and many more. The enclosures for animals are very spacious and ingeniously made. Also, in the summer season the swimming pool complex is opened allowing you take off the heat quickly.

oasys_zoo_1

oasys_zoo_2

Best beaches in Cabo de Gata

DSCF3785_630x400

Natural Park Cabo de Gata boasts several marvellous beaches.  Devoid of the massive tourist development, the spectacular Cabo de Gata park has managed to preserve it’s natural beauty and it’s virgin beaches are real pearls.

Amazing mountain views, colourful cliffs, volcanic rock formations, sub-desert lunar landscape, both pebbled and sandy beaches and crystal clear water. All this you will find on the Cabo de Gata coastline.

Most popular beaches in Cabo de Gata

1. Los Muertos beach – northernmost of the beaches in Cabo de Gata. The access to the beach is very difficult, definitely not suitable for elderly people. You need to park your car on the top of a hill (the fee in summer season is 4 Euros) and from the parking place there is a 1 kilometre long trail down the rocky slope which leads straight to the beach. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the beach.

The northern side of the beach is dominated by nudists, the southern part is for other beach goers. The water is crystal-clear, but the waves can be big sometimes. Because the beach is located in a very remote place it’s never overcrowded. In fact, off-season it is mostly empty.

There are no beach bars or any other facilities at the beach, so don’t forget to bring plenty of water as well some sun protection. There is no sand, only pebbles everywhere, which makes the water crystal-clear and very enjoyable.

Tip for photographers: the best view of the Los Muertos beach is available from the balcony viewpoint towering over the beach. There is a very steep path connecting the balcony with the beach, so if you are a fit, you can try reaching the beach this way.

DSCF3859_630x400

2. El Playazo beach – is located near the village of Rodalquilar. Unlike many beaches in Cabo de Gata, this beach can be accessed very easily by car which makes it a great family beach. The narrow half paved half dirt road (no stones) leads straight to the small parking place at the beach. In high season most people park their cars along the road. The beach features ruins of the eighteenth century San Ramon’s Castle.

The small northern part of the beach, divided from the main beach by big rocks, is popular among the nudists. The main beach is or the regular beach goers. The water is very peaceful and shallow everywhere, so the beach can be recommended to the families with kids. It’s a sandy beach, another argument to bring your kids here!

DSCF3829_630x400

3. Monsul beach – is located in the southern part of Cabo de Gata, past the village of San Jose. This sandy beach with nice shallow water has no beach facilities as it is located in the nature park.

Playa de Monsul is a volcanic beach boasting some amazing rock formations. On sunny days the oddly shaped rocks give plenty of shade to the beach goers. The unique beauty of the beach made it popular among film directors and producers of commercials. For example, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade by Steven Spielberg were filmed here.

To access Monsul beach you will have to drive a couple of kilometres on an uneven dirt road punctuated with small rocks. Drive very slowly, or else it will be a nightmare for you cars’ suspension, unless you are driving an SUV.

DSCF3787_630x400_2

4. Los Genoveses beach – the access road is the same as to the Monsul beach, luckily, however, much shorter. Turn left at the first fork in the dirt road to get to the Los Genoveses beach, the path on the right leads further to the Monsul.

Los Genoveses is a very long sandy beach, great for families with kids as the water is shallow and warm. No beach facilities are available. It’s often frequented by nudists. Playa Los Genoveses is located about 2 kilometres from the village of San Jose, so you can also get there by local bus (2 Euros), but you will still have to walk some distance from the bus stop.

DSCF3804_630x400

5. Cabo de Gata beach – nice beach located south of the small town Cabo de Gata, only 20 kilometres from Almeria. The beach is easily recognizable by a big fenced lighthouse, and it’s very easily accessible as there are no hills around. The parking is located almost on the beach itself. The town’s paseo maritimo with two or three restaurants is located some 200 metres form the beach. It’s a calm pleasant beach with very few people coming here even in high season.

DSCF3749_630x400

6. Las Salinas wetlands – it’s not exactly a beach, but the place deserves a closer look if you are nearby on the beach. If you are a birdwatcher this is a must stop. It’s located just next to Cabo de Gata local beach.

The place is a resting place for all kinds of birds, both migrating and resident, nearly 100 species. In summer, the lagoon swarms with migrating Greater Flamingos which can be quite a sight. There are a couple of observing points located around the reservoir and the whole place is fenced to make sure you do not disturb the birds.

DSCF3777_630x400_2

Best kayaking & canoeing

Top kayaking & canoeing places in Andalucia

1. Tarifa kayaking – Playa Chica (the Mediterranean part of Tarifa) as well as Valdevaqueros-Punta Paloma route are the top two places for kayaking on Costa de la Luz region. There is a surf ski company operating in Tarifa (sit on top type of kayak), Epic Surfski Centre.

2. Algeciras kayaking – starting point Getares beach in Algeciras and the finishing point Punta Carnero, very popular route, great for beginners. Punta Carnero offers unforgettable views of the Gibraltar Strait and Morocco.

3. Cabo de Gata-Níjar near Almeria – amazing route on the beautiful sea. Great views of the rocky coastline, magical cave tunnels on the way. Depending on how much you want to see, the trip can last anytime from a few hours to full day. There are companies organizing kayak tours there. Much recommended.

4. Nerja-Maro kayaking – stunningly beautiful route along the Maro beach, crystal-clear water, beautiful rock formations, small waterfalls  – all this make you feel as if you were in a paradise. The water is very shallow in most places, so it’s safe as well. There are companies organizing kayak tours there. Much recommended.

5. Fuengirola kayak rental – if you spend your holidays on Costa del Sol and have little resources to organize a kayaking trip, head off to Fuengirola. There is a water sports centre where you can rent  a single boat (25 Euros for half day)/double boat 935 Euros for half day) and much more – Cristopher’s Kayak Rental.

6. Vinuela lake near Malaga canoeing – perfect for beginners as the lake is much calmer than sea, beautiful turquoise lake, only 50 kms inland from Malaga. It’s possible o rent a canoe at the local sailing club.

7. Zahara de la Sierra reservoir kayaking – the picturesque lake, surrounded by mountains and guarded by the beautiful white village, is a perfect venue for kayaking in summer. The western side of the lake, to the right of the A-2300 road, has three good starting points where you can easily park your car. Much recommended.