SAN JOSE

Cabo de Gata
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Visit San Jose, Almeria

Port in San Jose – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Port of San Jose in Almeria
© ESPAÑA GUIDE

San Jose is home to 850 inhabitants from a diverse background (45% Spanish, 28% Italians, 14% British). Traditionally it was a fishing village but today tourism is the main economic activity. While there are some foreigners, it’s mainly a popular destination for Spanish holiday makers and still mostly unknown outside of the country.

The paved road ends in San Jose. From there on, it is just dirt and dust! To the south of the town is an access road that takes you to some of the most famous beaches such as Genoveses and Monsul. That dirt road is closed just past the parking for Monsul Beach. From there on, it is only accessible on foot or bike. To the north of San Jose there is another dirt road that goes to Cala Higuera and a row of tiny coves.

San Jose’s largest festival is the Fiesta del Turista (Tourist Festival) which takes place on the 2nd weekend of August. There’s live music, entertainment & more.

San Jose is just a 35 min drive from Almeria’s airport.

Restaurants by the port in San Jose – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Restaurants by the port in San Jose
© ESPAÑA GUIDE

BUS FROM SAN JOSE TO THE BEACHES

During high season (mid June til mid September), there are buses running between San Jose and the main beaches to the south, that is: Playa de los Genoveses, Playa de Barronal, Playa de Monsul and Cala Carbon. There is one bus every 30 minutes from 9am til 9pm and one ticket costs around 1.5€. The bus makes 3 stops in San Jose: Calle Entrada (next to the parking), Calle de Correos (in front of the supermarket) and Calle Ronda (at the beginning of the dirt road to the beaches). It then stops at each of the four beaches mentioned above.

Things to Do in & Around San Jose

1

KAYAK IN SAN JOSE

Kayaking near San Jose in Cabo de Gata, Spain
Kayaking near San Jose
© MEDIALUNAVENTURA

Kayaking is without a doubt, one of the top things to do in Cabo de Gata. Some of the best views of the nature park are seen from the water and kayaking along the coast allows you to see areas that are totally inaccessible from the land – that includes some impressive rock formations and secret caves.

We suggest taking park in this kayaking tour of the Cabo de Gata coast. You will be accompanied by a professional and friendly instructor at all times, who above all, will have your safety in mind. Throughout the tour, there are several stops with geological explanations of the cape and other curiosities and mysteries.

In addition, this tour includes a stop in a calm area where you can anchor your kayak and do some snorkeling. Masks, snorkels and fins are all included in the price.

The route is easy, suitable for both adults and children. The starting point for this kayak excursion is the beach of San Jose.

2

BOAT TRIP FROM SAN JOSE

Fun boat trip in Cabo de Gata, Spain
Boat trip in Cabo de Gata
© ROLLING ALMERÍA

If you just want to relax on a boat and take in Cabo de Gata’s jaw dropping coastline, then a boat trip from San Jose is the perfection option. The tours depart from San Jose’s port and take you to discover virgin beaches and hard to reach spots along the shoreline. Below are two great options:

  • Boat tour with swimming: This trip takes place on a large 11 person zodiac boat with individual seating and an awning so you don’t get completely roasted in the strong sun. The trip lasts 1.5 hours and will stop for a swim in a special spot.
  • Boat tour with snorkeling: This is a very similar trip as the one mentioned above, however, the focus is on snorkeling. It takes place on a comfortable fiberglass boat that has an awning. This trip lasts approximately 2 hours.
3

SNORKEL IN SAN JOSE

Snorkeling near San Jose in Cabo de Gata - Almeria
Snorkeling near San Jose
© CABO DE GATA EXPERIENCE

Snorkeling in Cabo de Gata is a great way to see the world below the surface in the nature park. You will discover an abundance of life amongst the sea grass known as the Posidonia prairie. Fish around here get up close and personal since they aren’t afraid of humans as in other parts due to the parks prohibition on underwater fishing.

If you don’t care to combine a boat trip with snorkeling and just want to have an all out snorkeling experience, then we recommend to take part in this snorkeling tour. The starting point is at Cala Higuera which is situated right next to San Jose. From here you will be given equipment and swim out with a guide who will show you the best spots to see sea life as well as underwater rock formations and caves.

4

4x4 TOUR OF CABO DE GATA

4x4 excursion in Cabo de Gata - Almeria
4x4 excursion in Cabo de Gata
© ROLLING ALMERÍA

A different way to discover the natural park is participating in this 4x4 tour of Cabo de Gata. During the 2.5 hours of this activity, you will have the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful corners of the area, such as the iconic Reef of the Mermaids, saltwater lakes, hidden pristine beaches and much more – all accompanied by an expert guide and driver. In addition, during the summer, the tour makes a stop for a swim at one of the beaches.

The starting point of this tour is the town of San Miguel de Cabo de Gata.

Beaches in San Jose, Cabo de Gata

1

PLAYA DE SAN JOSE

Playa de San Jose – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Main beach in San Jose, Cabo de Gata
© ESPAÑA GUIDE
  • 250m long | fine sand
  • Family friendly, gets fairly crowded in high season
  • All basic facilities & amenities: lifeguard, showers, trash cans, lounge chairs & parasols for rent, kayak rent, children’s playground, etc.
  • Easy access (accessible for wheelchairs)
  • It’s next to the marina & surrounded by a promenade with a variety of bars/restaurants
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2

PLAYA DE LA PAVA, CALA DEL MAIMONO, CALA DE LA CRUZ

  • South of Playa de San Jose
  • 250 m narrow stretch of sandy beachfront with rocks in the water
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3

CALILLA DE SAN JOSE

  • 100m long | dark sand
  • Further south
  • Family friendly
  • Best snorkeling in town (enter the water and turn to the right)
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Beaches South of San Jose

1

PLAYA DE LOS GENOVESES

Playa de los Genoveses – Cabo de Gata, Almería
Playa de los Genoveses, Cabo de Gata
© ESPAÑA GUIDE
  • 1.2km long | dark golden sand
  • One of the most popular beaches in Almeria
  • However, it’s so long that it feels far from crowded
  • 3 km away from downtown San Jose following the dirt path (about 10 min drive or 40 min walk)
  • Calm shallow waters
  • Fossilized dunes
  • Virgin landscapes (no buildings, no facilities, etc.)
  • From the southern end of the bay it’s possible to hike to some small coves
Link to full guide about Playa de los Genoveses  FULL GUIDE TO PLAYA DE LOS GENOVESES

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2

SMALL UNDEVELOPED COVES SOUTH OF PLAYA DE LOS GENOVESES

  • Cala Príncipe, Cala Chica, Cala Grande
  • 100 to 200 m long coves | golden or dark sand
  • Tiny coves surrounded by volcanic walls
  • Nudism is common
3

PLAYA DEL BARRONAL

Playa del Barronal – Cabo de Gata
Playa del Barronal
© ESPAÑA GUIDE
  • 250m long | dark sand
  • 10 min walk to the beach from the parking
  • Calm waters
  • In our opinion, one of the most beautiful beaches in the park
  • Nudism is common
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4

PLAYA DE MONSUL

Playa de Monsul – Cabo de Gata
Playa de Monsul
© ESPAÑA GUIDE
  • 300m long | dark sand
  • Features an impressive sand dune at one end which is one of the most characteristic images of entire Nature Park. Without a doubt, it is one of the best things to see in Cabo de Gata
  • 5 km away from downtown San Jose following the dirt path (about 15 min drive or 1 h walk)
  • Undeveloped, no amenities
  • 5 min walk to the beach from the parking
  • Scene from Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade movie was shot here
Link to full guide about Playa de Monsul  FULL GUIDE TO PLAYA DE MONSUL

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5

CALA DE LA MEDIA LUNA

  • 150m long | dark sand
  • Totally undeveloped
  • Nudism is common
  • Crystal clear water, great for snorkeling
  • 5-10 min walk from the parking of Playa de Monsul
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6

CALA CARBON

  • 100m long | mostly stones, almost no sand
  • 5-10 min walk from the parking
  • Red stones, rock cliffs, some gold sand
  • Possible to hike from here into other little coves
  • Area around is popular for fishing
  • Dirt road closed from the parking of Cala Carbon onward
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Beaches North of San Jose

1

CALA HIGUERA

  • 220m long | stone beach
  • Located at the foot of the Cerro de la Higuera (Fig Tree Mountain)
  • Although next to the village of San Jose (5 min drive), it’s usually very tranquil
  • Not the most comfortable beach – lots of stones
  • Undeveloped, no amenities but just a cool chiringuito next to it
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2

PLAYA DEL EMBARCADERO

Playa del Embarcadero – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Playa del Embarcadero
© ESPAÑA GUIDE
  • 300m long | some golden sand, but mostly stones
  • Also known as Playa de Piedra Galera
  • Located past Playa del Arco and Punta del Esparto (Esparto Point), about 12-min drive from San Jose
  • “Embarcadero” means “wharf, pier.” Here ships were loaded with esparto grass and other goods in the past
  • Great diving
  • Not the most comfy beach because it’s mostly stones
  • Undeveloped, no amenities
  • Parking right next to the beach
  • Next to the highest point of the park (Cerro del Fraile, 500m high)
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3

PLAYA DEL ARCO

  • 350m long | mix of fine golden sand and stones (changes throughout the year)
  • Also called Playa de los Escullos
  • 10 min drive north from San Jose
  • At the south end of the beach is the largest fossilized dune in the natural park. Next to it is the neighborhood of Los Escullos including a restaurant, bar, campsite and even a nightclub
  • Castle of San Felipe is located pass the houses. Built by Carlos III in the 18th century as part of the defensive system of Almería’s coast. Offers great views of the park’s coastline
  • Pass the castle there are a couple of small undeveloped coves
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4

PLAYA DEL PEÑON BLANCO

Playa del Peñón Blanco in Isleta del Moro – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Playa de Isleta del Moro
© ESPAÑA GUIDE
  • 250m long | fine golden sand
  • Located in the village of Isleta del Moro (also called Playa de la Isleta)
  • Receives its name from the big white rock (peñón blanco) that divides the beach in two
  • Parking right next to the beach and it’s a short walk into the village
  • Often visited by people in camper vans
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