Being in the unique position of lying between two continents, the flora and fauna of the Costa Tropical is extremely diverse and interesting. The area is less developed than the Costa el Sol so you will find large expanses of natural areas with a greater variety of wildlife. The beaches are covered with Palm trees and borganvilla and the mountains behind the towns are blanketed with olive and almond trees.
The area closest to the shoreline is more developed but you can still find a large array of birds and even mountain goats near the Cerro Gordo point. Behind Almunecar the area becomes very natural, there is even a state park, Parque de Pena Escrita, with a host of animals, local and exotic.
The weather in the Costa Tropical has been very beneficial to the local farmers over the years too. The area is well known for growing vast amounts of avocados, olives, grapes, lemons and other citrus fruits as well as walnuts. The Almunecar valley is literally overflowing with tropical fruits and veggies.
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Spain’s flora changes drastically from region to region. In some parts of the country the landscape is so lush and green that you might think you are in Ireland or some Scandinavian country. The same is not true for the Costa Tropical. This area of Spain has a very distinct landscape with a tropical but desert like feel at the same time. The plant life in the area is very hearty given the climate, lots of sun and little rain. You will find many species of cactus and succulents. The mountains behind Almunecar are blanketed with olive trees and walnut groves. There are many types of palms, cypress and fruit trees as well. Climbing vines like Bourganvilla do very well in the area as well as a multitude of wild herbs like Rosemary and Lavender.
The Costa Tropical is a birdwatcher's paradise and attracts ornithologists throughout the year. A favorite time to come is the start of spring when the wintering species are still here and the summer species are just arriving. Another beautiful species to watch are the mountain goats near Cerro Gordo. The point is still undeveloped and you can take a walk from the Cerro Gordo road out to the watch tower, keep an eye out for the goats because they are very shy. If they see you coming they will race off across the rocks and down the mountain side. It’s a glorious sight to see.
Being an aquatic environment, as well as birds and wild animals, the Costa Tropical is full of amazing fish species, whales, dolphins and mollusks. You can see these wild animals in their natural habitat by going on a guided scuba diving expedition. Or, visit the Almunecar Aquarium, a local kid favorite. It is host to lots of valuable and interesting information about our underwater surroundings.
Most people don’t realize but the Costa Almeria to our east is known as the “bread basket” of Europe. If you leave the Costa Tropical traveling east towards the city of Almeria you will notice the terrain becoming dryer and dryer. The Costa Almeria has a very dry, desert like landscape and the area only receives about 1-2 days of rain per year. These might not seem like the optimal growing conditions for most fruits and vegetables, but you’re wrong. Driving east you will start to see a number of plastic covered greenhouses, as you continue the number will grow and grow until the entire country side is literally covered with them. The sun and humidity produced by the plastic coverings create the perfect conditions for growing fruits and vegetables in a controlled environment. These greenhouses grow the produce that is shipped throughout the entire continent of Europe.