Andalucia villa near Malaga, Spain

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Responsible tourism: Andalucia villa near Malaga, Spain

Environment

We have a farm of almost 3 acres, mainly olive and almond groves but also eleven beautiful old Spanish Holm oak trees, the acorns from which we give to our neighbour to feed his pigs! Another neighbour brings his herd of goats to graze in spring and summer, cutting down on strimming and keeping the grasses and wildfowers under control.

We look after the land ourselves, harvesting our own olives and almonds, and are members of the local village Olive Oil Cooperative. We grow our own fruit trees and grow berries, herbs and vegetables using the eco-friendly “square foot gardening” method, and all of our produce is organically grown using natural fertilisers and treatments.

We have 5 solar panels which produce all of the hot water for all of our guests.

We make our own compost and recycle our “grey” water (the water from sinks, baths and showers), and all of our rubbish is recycled at local recycle points. Our land is a haven for wildlife, we have 2 swallows’ nests on the property and throngs of other birds, bees and butterflies, attracted by our fields of wildflowers in spring and by our gardens and herb beds throughout the year.

Community

We bought our Spanish country house in the Andalucian hills in 2001 and spent a year renovating it and updating it. All of our work has been done by local workers and artisans in keeping with local style and using locally sourced materials such as terracotta roof tiles and hand made Granadian ceramics and stained glass lighting.

We buy free range eggs and goats milk from our neighbours and operate a tool share agreement with a group of locals, allowing us to pool our resources for jobs like strimming and chain-sawing.

We take an active part and are involved in campaigning to look after our local environment - we successfully stopped an open pit quarry by lobbying the national ombudsman.

We provide a house book for our guests with local reference materials and recommendations for local businesses including shops, bars and restaurants. We have close links and good working relationships with our local tradespeople. We also provide Spanish grammar books and dictionairies to enable our guests to communicate in Spanish.

Reviews of Andalucia villa near Malaga, Spain

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The amazing view of the mountains and the different places to enjoy the sunshine depending on the time of day. We also loved the house and the amazing collection of books to flick through. Had an amazing time.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The amazing location is the best part of this vacation. Getting a higher category
of hire car to take on the road and hills is something I can recommend. It was
something we appreciated.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We really felt that we got to know this area of southern Spain thanks to our
hosts especially by buying local produce. The surrounding gardens encouraged
wildlife and water and energy was conserved.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Really great time. We'd love to go back.

Reviewed on 22 Jun 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Apart from the first time we set eyes on La Amapola, it has to be sitting
outside with a gin & tonic in the evening sun, as the silky voice of Chet Baker
poured out of the kitchen speakers. It just doesn't get much better than that!

We were also intrigued by the chain outside the kitchen door. A few of the
local bees seemed to love sleeping on it every evening. Nice to see that they
feel welcome somewhere!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you arrive with enough shopping for at least a few days. Shane & Bea
provide a nice welcome basket, but with such a lovely villa and surroundings,
it's good to be able to leave when you want to.

Also, you really don't need to bring any books. Shane & Bea have a fantastic
collection throughout the villa, and we could have easily taken a month off and
worked our way through it!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. The welcome basket had all sorts of local produce in it, and in addition,
Shane & Bea kept a compost barrel and encouraged visitors to conserve water as
much as possible.

The 'Activities' section of their website promotes the services of local people
too, and although we didn't get round to making use of them, it's nice to see
that they are helping to promote their local community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


You couldn't ask for a more idyllic location, or more welcoming hosts. Shane
met us at the villa when we arrived and gave us a quick run through the basics,
while Bea would always let us know when she was around to water the plants
(twice during the week), a much appreciated sign of the type of consideration
they show towards their guests. Other than that, you simply wouldn't know there
was anyone there but yourselves.

The villa itself felt really homely, which makes a big difference, and helps
you relax much quicker. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into what
people might find useful - DVDs, board games, books, music, utensils - it all
feels designed to welcome you in.

The only slightly negative thing we experienced was an annoying number of flies
up at the pool, which at certain times of the day made it difficult to be
there. It may have been due to the time of year, or to the nearby farm, but it
is certainly no reflection on the efforts made by Shane & Bea to make our stay
a lovely one. I would, however, recommend mosquito nets over the beds, as it
makes for a nice relaxing sleep, should any of those little pests find a way
in!

All in all, I have no hesitation in recommending La Amapola for anyone wanting
a breather, surrounded by beauty, in a real home away from home. With a
gorgeous private pool to boot!

Reviewed on 17 Jul 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The peaceful setting, serene surroundings and the warm and gracious hospitality of our hosts, Shane and Bea, are our fondest memories. From the moment we arrived until the minute we left, two weeks later, we rarely thought of our hectic, fast-paced life back home. The villa is a one-of-a-kind gem and we feel very fortunate to have been able to spend two weeks relaxing there and being wowed by the beautiful vistas and sunsets that greeted us every day and every evening.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We highly recommend a day trip to The Alhambra in Granada. It is essential to make your reservations on line beginning 90 days in advance. We also recommend a day trip to Ronda, the Malaga Market, Nerja, and Frigiliana. Shane and Bea were very helpful with suggestions for excursions, shopping, restaurants, and general information about the Andalusia region.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. We made use of the local recycle bins and we collected compost for Bea to use in her garden. We did our best to conserve water and to support local merchants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, we would rate the vacation as a very strong 10. We would highly recommend it to others. We hope to keep in touch with Shane and Bea. They are a lovely couple and we're so happy that our paths have crossed. The next time we are looking for a villa to rent, we will definitely check with responsiblevacation.com to see what they offer in the country where we are traveling.

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