Self catering cottage in Alpujarras, Spain

Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Self catering cottage in Alpujarras, Spain

Environment

When we first saw this house and fell in love with it, Antonio the shepherd was living in it. He lived in a very simple way, without running water, a cooker or a toilet, no kitchen or bathroom as we would recognise it. We have tried to keep the cottage exactly as it was, but you can now enjoy both its simple rustic charm and some creature comforts! Some of the floors are still lime plaster, one of the ceilings is painted with ochre coloured earth, the open fire where Antonio cooked has been preserved.

It is basically as it was a hundred years ago. We have done the least possible to our ancient houses which have stood the test of time being made of stones and earth or lime cement, with roofs of clay and bamboo.

Solar powered lighting is the biggest boon! There is no street lighting (no streets!) so please bring a torch. There is no mains electricity or water, drainage or rubbish collection.
We separate and recycle everything possible and are very conscious of waste products in general. We also maintain the spring fed water supply ourselves and make sure that waste water is put to good use. If in winter we need to use a petrol generator to top up the power, we wash clothes, charge laptops and watch a video and play the electric guitar and use machinery all at the same time so as not to waste energy.

We have facilities locally for recycling bottles, plastic, tetrabriks and we burn all paper and cardboard that has no other uses. Our neighbour Expira has even taught us how to reuse a burst balloon and a holed bucket!

We limit the number of adult guests to diminish the impact on the life of the village and on the facilities. We welcome children and find that they (and most of our adult guests) respect and are interested in the local way of life. Speaking Spanish helps, but smiles and friendly gestures go a long way! If you choose to experience a simple traditional way of life you can do so here, in relative comfort.

Community

There are no shops or bars here (nearest 10mins by car) and our neighbours have been mostly self sufficient for years, but we have to buy a lot more, as do our guests. Living here makes you more aware and you can’t just pop out to the shops, but need to fit shopping into other trips.We use local shops and businesses as much as possible and encourage our guests to do likewise. We buy local fresh produce daily, especially vegetables and fruit.

We try to be good neighbours and fulfil our social obligations, taking an active part in organising fiestas and maintaining communal facilities such as the track and irrigation channels. I work as a volunteer at a charity shop run by the local women’s association, to which we donate all surplus toys books and clothes, and which is a centre for recycling everything from batteries and cooking oil, to old X-rays and mobile phones.

Reviews of Self catering cottage in Alpujarras, 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 31 May 2014 by

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


Relaxing on the amazing patio of the property in the evening sun, listening to incredible bird song and enjoying the beautiful valley.
Very helpful owners and well equipped house.

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


Great area to explore. Very unspoilt and great walking.

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


The local economy benefits from tourism - some of the villages are quite poor.

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


Excellent

Reviewed on 04 Oct 2013 by

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


Sitting out on the terrace, looking out over the mountains, surrounded by complete silence. I couldn't imagine anything more relaxing!

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


The cottages are very isolated which is great if you want total relaxation, but you'll probably need a bike or car if you plan to get away from the cottages during your stay. It's a great area for walking though so the cottages make a good base if you're looking to spend some time hiking.

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


We were encouraged to recycle and there is a compost heap for food waste. Guests are also encouraged to make use of the free shopping service where the hosts buy local produce, instead of bringing your own groceries. We were kindly given lots of free fruit by the neighbours that had been picked from the local area.

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


Wonderful. We had a lovely time and came away feeling relaxed and stress-free. It was also nice to meet the hosts and their family, who live nearby, and chat to them about their way of life.

Reviewed on 05 Sep 2013 by

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


Swimming in the river pools, visiting the Alhambra, picking figs and almonds straight from the tree, watching the sunset on the terrace, keeping track of the geckos, getting our water from the spring: many wonderful memories.

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


We took our two children, 5 and 8 in August and despite the heat we had a great time. The cottage was lovely and well resourced with games and things to do, and the children fished and played in the river and outside in the village. We used the cottage as a base and made some day and two-day trips, for example to Granada and to Trevelez. We thought the cottage was very good value, beautifully cool and the people in the village were very friendly and helpful. The only down side for us was that sometimes the dogs got together and barked at night.
The road down is a bit precarious when you first see it and it's good to go down during the day first time. But actually it's perfectly passable once you get used to it.

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


We recycled and composted and took away our rubbish. We ate and bought things locally. Some of the houses in the village are vacation houses, for both Spanish people and others.

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


We had a great time and would recommend it to families.

Reviewed on 31 Aug 2013 by

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


The peace, the views, the cottage and the fact that time didn't really matter in this sleepy valley

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


You need a car, absolutely. Bring a book some music to listen to and expect to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity.
The walks up and down the river are lovely so bring shoes that can get wet are light and are comfortable to walk in.

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


In as much as we spent money in the local community. We didn't use the car much once we arrived, the cottage had its own solar electricity supply and we recycled most of our waste

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


It was great, very different from our usual vacation and all the better for it. Would thoroughly recommend it. We didn't have children with us but if you want a safe place for young children to enjoy, play and spend time with you then you
can't go far wrong.

Reviewed on 17 May 2013 by

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


The steep narrow lane leading to this beautiful tranquil place - better than any fairgroud ride!
The snow tipped mountains despite 25 deg temperature.
The locals were so welcoming and friendly - the owners so accommodating.
Idyllic :)

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


Just enjoy the unique beauty of the area.

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


Yes the locals are very keen to recycle almost everything and they strive to keep the area as unique as possible.

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


11 / 10 !!

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2012 by

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


Breakfast on the terrace blending almost to dinner by the time we finished playing dominoes overlooking the lovely river valley.

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


If you want a no frills, easy going vacation where you can escape totally the humdrum of everyday life you should go. No internet, no TV, no hassle!

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


Staying in an authentic old cottage definitely reduces the environmental impact of tourism, whilst benefiting the locals by bringing the business to the cafes and bars in the larger towns. All of the electricity was solar powered, we collected drinking water from the nearby spring and composted our food waste what little there was. Bottles, plastic etc was taken to recycling bins in Orgiva and Torviczon - so no 'rubbish' was left behind.

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


We had a fine time! Cathy and John are wonderful hosts. The cottage is fully equipped for an easy self catering vacation.

Reviewed on 01 Aug 2012 by

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


This is a traditional Andalusian village cottage, lightly adapted. It has genuine sense of age, and of being part of a village community. The bathing pool in the river (fed by springs so still full of water in the summer) is delightful.

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


Remember that this is a traditional house - the stairs are steep and there is only solar electricity, and the village is reached by a steep unmade road.

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


Yes. The village is struggling to maintain any population, and tourists are welcome as part of the solution.

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


Very good.

Reviewed on 01 Apr 2012 by

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


Breakfast or lunch on one of the terraces in the sun... listening to the water below.

Wonderful walks (hikes) in the mountains... From Haza del Lino through the cork oaks to the top of Cerra Salchicha... up the river from Trevelez... locally from Puerta de Jubiley up the river in both directions... walk from Bubion to Capileira and back... Circular from Mecina Fondales... miners walk from just outside Orgiva (but make sure you go up the right way according to the route advised which we did not but even so it is a hard slog) and many more.

Also a trip to Granada is a must. The Alhambra was impressive but very very busy. The best trip was up to Sacromento past the Albaicin and the Cave Museum in Sacromento was very good.

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


When walking have a GPS and the best map possible. Some of the paths are quite overgrown and difficult to follow. We had Jeremy Rabjohn's book "Vacation Walks in the Alpujarras" but did not look at the website updates before we went. That might have helped us on one or two occasions as we did get a bit lost. There was also a copy of this book at the house and John and Cathy provided us with local maps, however, they are not as easy to follow as our Ordnance Survey maps but better than nothing. You can get more information from the tourist centre in Pampaneira but we did not get there early enough to be of help.

The drive down to Puerto Jubiley is a bit hair-raising but after a few up and downs is bearable, and it is also worth walking down to get the views. I am not a super confident driver but got the hand of the Z-bends. We do not really know what bends are in the UK!!! The drive in the dark put us off eating out at night but the cooking facilities were fine. Also the prices in the shops seemed to us to be very cheap compared to the UK - two coffees to be had for 2 Euros in the bars, a sack of oranges for 1 Euro. Lots of useful shops in Orgiva (and no tourist type shops).

It would be a good place for children from about 7 upwards but I think it would be quite difficult with very young or younger children. If you are thinking of walking up the river from Puerto Juviley one or two sticks would be essential. And even at the end of March the water was not too cold. We bought proper walking sticks from Bubion at much cheaper prices than in the UK.

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


I guess all of these. Most of the houses in the little village only seem to be occupied at the weekends or in the summer but even so there is still a lot of growing going on there and quite a bit of a community.

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


A paradise of a place and we had a wonderful time and some real adventures.

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2009 by

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


We drove across Spain and visited many beautiful areas. However, we parked in Seville and went across the road to get a drink. When we returned after half an hour our car had disappeared. All the other cars parked alongside it were still; there. We finally discovered that it had been removed because it was "illegally parked"; we were able to locate the compound several miles away and had to pay 140 euros to get out car back. On the return journey we were stopped for speeding despite being in a flow of traffic all traveling at the same speed. That cost 50 euros.

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


The apartment was absolutely beautiful. However travelers should be aware that it is at the bottom of a very steep hill, access by unlit unmade road. We arrived mid-afternoon when all shops are closed, so we drove back into, Orgiva, the nearest town - about 10k - to buy food etc. We also stopped for supper and drove back about 9pm. However when we got to the top of the hill to our house it was pitch dark and the prospect of driving down the side of a hill with a precipitous drop in the dark was too much. We ended up driving back to Orgiva and booking into a hotel room. An expensive first night!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, the drinking water was provided from a local source and everything about the housing blended in with the environment. All waste is recycled and the landlord and landlady and neighbours are all very welcoming. We were invited into homes and given a tour of the local farm. However visitors should be aware that access to the flat from the car park is very steep. Not an easy place if like me you are disabled.

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


It was very restful. Nothing much to do except sleep and eat and lie in the sun naked! Perfect if like us you have just been very active and need to relax and recover. But don't go if you are looking for a rave! It's a long drive to the nearest towns, though there are many beautiful villages to visit. Also a long drive. Nothing within walking distance.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your extremely informative and positive review. We enjoyed meeting you and the feedback re accessibility has been extremely helpful to us in developing our new apartment, which we hope will be available to a wider range of guests. We are glad that you had a relaxing vacation and look forward to welcoming you and your friends back in the future, when we hopefully will have got the permission and built the easy access route I told you about, which will access the apartment from above by a ramp. The isolation of the village and lack of shops, bars and other tourist facilities is something that we see as a positive aspect of vacations here, and we promote that cottage in that way. Your review will help others decide if that experience is what they want! I am sorry that your experience of the Spanish Police force has been less than positive - they do have a very fierce reputation and I don't think the police are popular in many countries, when they are issuing parking or speeding fines! The recognition of the international disability permit is something which I know that many organisations are campaigning for. I shall warn others in advance that their disability permit may not be recognised, and won’t give them special treatment.

Reviewed on 23 Apr 2009 by

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


The location and the world class view from the upstairs balcony. Also the authentic feel to the cottage. My daughter-in-law who has lived in Spain for the past two years said she felt as though she had at last seen Spain. The proximity to the Ski resort was also a bonus.

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


Bring plenty of supplies with you and good walking shoes.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. An escape from the 21st century.

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


4 star rating. Wonderful three nights. Lovely log fire.

Reviewed on 11 Jan 2009 by

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


A drive up into the high Sierra Nevada to the ski station and above- deep snow but main roads had been cleared almost to the Veleta. The same day we spent the late afternoon in warm sunshine on the coast at Salobrena.

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


The accommodation is comfortable and quite easy to keep warm for a winter vacation. The kitchen is well equipped so you can self cater easily but the local hotel just a few minutes away will provide hot food cheaply almost any time of day. You do need a car in order to be completely independent but there are regular bus services from Torviscon. The views and surrounding countryside are wonderful and some great walks are possible both on the higher footpaths and in the river valleys. All the local people we met were very friendly and welcoming. Try to speak at least a few words of Spanish - they'll appreciate that you are making the effort.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The house we rented in Torviscon is a restored village house close to the Spar supermarket. We shopped locally in the village and went to the weekly market in nearby Orgiva. As it gets cold (particularly after dark) in January we were glad of the woodburner. When my son was ill the local pharmacist rang the health centre in Orgiva and arranged for him to be seen and treated immediately even though it was late evening on the eve of a bank vacation. So most of the money we spent stayed in the local area and we behaved very much like the local villagers (at least locals who were on vacation and not having to leave each morning for work).

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


We had a wonderful week- we were only sorry that we had to return home before the village fiesta which takes place next week end and for which we would love to have stayed. Maybe next year?

Reviewed on 08 Sep 2008 by

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


Great walk in La Taha area.

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


Really still too hot for lengthier walks at beginning of Sept.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Definitely benefited local people.

Popular similar vacations

Andalucian self catering apartment, sleeps 6, Spain

Andalucian self catering apartment, sleeps 6, Spain

Spacious apartment with breathtaking views over Lake Vinuela

From €140 - €180 per apartment per night

Andalucia villa near Malaga, Spain

Andalucia villa near Malaga, Spain

Idyllic Andalucian farmhouse with stunning private pool

From €999 - €1575 per accommodation per week

Lanzarote north coast villa holiday, Canary Islands

Lanzarote north coast villa vacation, Canary Islands

2 bed villa in Punta Mujeres fishing village, shared pool

From €665 - €910 per accommodation per week (sleeps 4)

Lanzarote luxury accommodation, Canary Islands

Lanzarote luxury accommodation, Canary Islands

Luxury family home, private pool, inc Hybric Car

From €2250 - €3115 per accommodation per week

Convert currencies