Self catering cottage in Alpujarras, Spain

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Responsible tourism

Self catering cottage in Alpujarras, Spain

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

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.

9 Reviews of Self catering cottage in Alpujarras, Spain

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 22 Apr 2019 by

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


The amazing diversity of flowers, their vibrant colours and their scents. The smell of organce blossom in the village and rosemary and thyme on walks in the hills. The sounds of the birds in the trees and of the river. The peace and quite. Taking a dip in the river. It was very cold since we were there in April but the sun was warm so we warmed up again quite quickly. There isn't enough water in the river to actually swim (although Cathy said that they dam the river in summer) but you can submerge most of your body if you are brave enough /want to. Seeing a praying mantis and an orchid spider that was the same colour and pattern as the orchid flower. It had caught an unwary bee! Eating breakfast and lunch at the outside table which gets the morning sun and is also sheltered from the wind. Visiting the lovely town of Orgiva and the pretty village of Torvizcon. Filling up our water bottles at the spring 15 minutes away by car where there are, unexpectedly, gold fish in the pond as well as frogs. Buying organic produce at the EcoTienda in Orgiva and at the farmers' co-operative. Eating fresh oranges. Walks on 'paths' around the village that no longer exist! Walks through wonderful scenery and pretty villages on the well-marked national trails. The 'hoot' of the Scaup's owl every evening.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Since the village is largely deserted now (though people come at weekends and holidays and the fields and almond and olive groves are tended by people who live elsewhere) and there are no domestic stock any more, the paths around the village don't really exist even though they are still marked on the map. You really need a GPS and because the 'paths' are overgrown there are lots of plants trying to prick you so don't wear shorts. The 'paths' are quite steep in places too. There is one on the far side of the river that is meant to come down to the river but there has been a land slip so it has disappeared and there is a cliff instead! We finally found a way down through brambles then had to fight our way through thick cane to get back to the river. There are some beautiful, marked national trails about half an hour's drive away that are less stressful! The 'path' going down the river doesn't exit any more (it's been over-grown by cane) but there is a good vehicle track going up river. It crosses the river at regular intervals so, if you want to walk up it, bring waterproof sandals or old trainers so you can wade across the river as necessary. If you are staying in La Posada and are a light sleeper it might be an idea to bring ear plugs. The neighbour's dogs often bark /howl in the middle of the night, presumably at passing wild boar or other wildlife. If you are in Casa Pepe you won't hear them as much, if at all. La Posada has very low doorways so beware if you are tall, or even not so tall. We all bumped our heads at one point or another and I'm not that tall! The house has everything you need but is quite basic with sloping, uneven floors in places and some very big steps to negotiate to go upstairs to the bedrooms so probably not the best for anyone with dodgy knees. . The accommodation has a certain charm, however, and has a very peaceful balcony upstairs that looks out over the trees and the river. The kitchen has everything you need but is quite small. Casa Pepe is much more spacious and modern and has a wood-buring stove (a wheelbarrow full of wood is 10 Euros). Neither house has a shower as such but there is a shower attachment that is useful for hair washing. The water is heated by gas so there is as much hot water in the kitchens and bathrooms as you need. Both houses have a good 3G phone signal and there is no problem charging phones and laptops as long as there is some sun. Three of us read 'Driving over lemons' by Chris Stewart while we were there (there is a copy in each house). It is about an English couple buying, and running, a nearby farm so, if you want to know about the area's customs, natural history and people, take a look at it.

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


The houses use solar power for lighting and for charging equipment. We were able to add our vegetable waste to Cathy's compost heap and we could fill up 2 large plastic water bottles with drinking water from a spring 15 minutes drive away so the environmental footprint of our stay was lower then it might have been. However we had to drive to Orgiva to shop and the hot water and heating are provided by gas so our environmental impact certainly wasn't zero. I guess we supported the local shops in Orgiva and Torvizcon.

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


Wonderful. Puerto de Jubiley is a very beautiful and peaceful place and the Alpujarras in general is a wonderful area with lots of beautiful places to go walking. Cathy is a lovely host and we really enjoyed getting to know her. She was always ready to help or to pass on information but was never intrusive. We were a group of three adults, a 12-year-old, a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old and we all had a great time.

Reviewed on 31 May 2014 by

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


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 travellers booking this holiday?


Great area to explore. Very unspoilt and great walking.

3. Did you feel that your holiday 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 holiday overall?


Excellent

Reviewed on 04 Oct 2013 by

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


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 travellers booking this holiday?


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 holiday 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 holiday 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 holiday?


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 travellers booking this holiday?


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 holiday 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 holiday houses, for both Spanish people and others.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday 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 holiday?


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 travellers booking this holiday?


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 holiday 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 holiday overall?


It was great, very different from our usual holiday 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 holiday?


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 travellers booking this holiday?


Just enjoy the unique beauty of the area.

3. Did you feel that your holiday 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 holiday overall?


11 / 10 !!

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2012 by

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


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 travellers booking this holiday?


If you want a no frills, easy going holiday 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 holiday 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 holiday overall?


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

Reviewed on 01 Aug 2012 by

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


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 travellers booking this holiday?


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 holiday 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 holiday overall?


Very good.

Reviewed on 01 Apr 2012 by

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


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 travellers booking this holiday?


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 "Holiday 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 holiday 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 holiday overall?


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

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