SAN JOSE

Cabo de Gata
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Welcome to San Jose

San Jose is a small coastal town set among a series of narrow beaches and rocky bluffs. The town functions as the main hub in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park and has a variety of restaurants/tapas bars, nightlife and a marina. In addition, San Jose is very close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the park, such as the Playa de los Genoveses & Playa de Monsul.

Port in San Jose – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Port

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

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.

Beaches in San Jose

PLAYA DE SAN JOSE

Playa de San Jose – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Main beach in San Jose
  • 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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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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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

PLAYA DE LOS GENOVESES

Playa de los Genoveses – Cabo de Gata, Almería
Playa de los Genoveses
  • 1.2km long | dark golden sand
  • Very popular but 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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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

PLAYA DEL BARRONAL

Playa del Barronal – Cabo de Gata
Playa del Barronal
  • 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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PLAYA DE MONSUL

Playa de Monsul – Cabo de Gata
Playa de Monsul
  • 300m long | dark sand
  • Features an impressive sand dune at one end which is one of the most characteristic images of 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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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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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

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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PLAYA DEL EMBARCADERO

Playa del Embarcadero – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Playa del Embarcadero
  • 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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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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PLAYA DEL PEÑON BLANCO

Playa del Peñón Blanco in Isleta del Moro – Cabo de Gata, Almeria
Playa del Peñón Blanco
  • 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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