Cave house in Granada, Spain
Description of Cave house in Granada, Spain
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PlanetCave houses are the traditional form of architecture in our region and offer a multitude of benefits, both for inhabitants and the environmnent. Firstly, being dug into the earth itself, they benefit from natural geothermal warming and cooling, maintaining a constant year-round temperatura of 18-20 degrees C. This obviates the need for, high-consumption heating and cooling systems such as radiators and air conditioning units. Instead our caves utilise low-impact technologies such as underfloor heating or renewable wood-burning fires when desired. Cave houses also bring benefits in terms of acoustic insulation, ensuring a great night´s sleep.
Hot water for the cave complex is generated via solar panels. We use only energy-efficient light bulbs and every bathroom has shower facilities rather than bathtubs. To encourage sensible use of water, all toilets have dual flush.
To save on detergents and water, instead of swapping out bedding and towels everyday as some hotels do, we change bed sheets and towels every four nights, unless otherwise requested.
Community taxis are availabe to hire for airport collection and drop-off and daily transport, though it has to be said that this is only really cost-effective for groups of six to eleven people. Public transport is very thin on the ground in rural Andalucia so it is not really practical to access the full range of activity sites and sightseeing locations without a private vehicle. However, we plan our itineraries to favour walking, conventional and electric bikes, segways etc. wherever possible.
PeopleIn terms of supporting our community, first and foremost we are promoting this fantastic region, the Geopark of Granada, which is new to international tourism. A strong focus of our guided routes is on environmental appreciation and protection. The diverse landscapes of the Geopark provide habitats for a wide range of flaura and fauna, and our guides respect and understand this.
We know the economic benefits sustainable tourism can bring to rural communities which have become over-dependent on agriculture and EU grant aid. The school population in our rural area has reduced alarmingly in the last 10 years as Spain suffers from the phenomenon they call the "empty Spain" where inland villages become depopulated and shrink, with no younger generation to replace the older ones as they die off. With agriculture in a state of semi-permanent crisis as the price of olives steadily declines, eco-tourism offers a beacon of hope for the future of rural communities, like ours, which have a stong touristic appeal and benefit from a wonderful unpoilt natural environment. Far from seeing competitors as a threat, we put our experience at the service of local people who seek to establish touristic enterprises in our village.
All our specialist activities are delivered by Spanish-run outdoor pursuits companies with young, qualified guides who care about the environment as much as we do. Our customers provide them with much-needed work. Our accommodation also generates work for two part-time cleaners and the local laundrette.
Secondly we champion the gastronomy, culture and tradition of the region. We support the local markets which move from town to town each day of the week and encourage our guests visit them whenever they can. We organise wine tastings and samplling sessions to promote local (especially organic) products such as olive oil, honey, cheeses and locally-reared meats.
We encourage all our guests to make use of local restaurants and shops wherever their itineraries may take them. We use our language skills and contacts to book and organise things on their behalf. This helps customers find the right providers (for example, places which offer vegeterian options) and vice verca. This also has the benefit of adding to the tailor-made experience for clients.
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