The Maro Cerro Gordo Cliffs
Maro Cerro Gordo - Everything You Need to Know!
Contents on This Page
- Where are the Maro Cerro Gordo Cliffs?
- A Spectacular Nature Reserve
- The Flora - Maro Cerro Gordo
- The Fauna - Maro Cerro Gordo
- The Ancient Towers
- The Maro - Cerro Gordo Hiking Trails
- The Cerro Gordo Point
- The Maro - Cerro Gordo Beaches
- Kayaking or Diving Near the Maro Waterfall
- Maro - Cerro Gordo - Guided Tours
- Where to Stay Near the Nature Reserve
- Maro Cerro Gordo Map - Getting There
Where are the Maro Cerro Gordo Cliffs?The Maro Cerro Gordo Nature Reserve is located between the small villages of Maro and La Herradura in Andalucia. If you're not familiar with this area, Maro is a municipality of the larger and more well-known village of Nerja.
These villages sit along the Andalucian coastline just 45-minutes east of Malaga, and 45-minutes south of Granada... two VERY famous Spanish cities.
The actual name of the reserve is the "Paraje Natural de los Acantilados de Maro Cerro Gordo", which basically translates to, the Nature Reserve along the cliffs of Maro and Cerro Gordo.
This stunning nature reserve stretches from the small village of Maro to the west to the Cerro Gordo point to the east. The Cerro Gordo point is the protective western-end of La Herradura's horseshoe-shaped bay... the next village down the coast.
To drive from one end of the reserve to the other will only take about 15-minutes.
A Spectacular Nature ReserveThe Maro Cerro Gordo Reserve runs along breathtakingly beautiful cliffs that run down to meet secluded inlets and coves at the sea. It is a natural habitat that is mostly untouched and stands proudly as one of the only strips of land along the Andalucian coast that has not been commercialized or developed.
The Flora of Maro Cerro Gordo
The area has been designated as a Nature Reserve for good reason, the plant and animal life found here is not only very rare but in some cases, almost extinct.
The vegetation in the park is quite rich and lush and typical of thermo Mediterranean zones. There are unusual types of flowers and other species such as the Mediterranean Pines, Carob Trees, and Juniper.
In the more forested areas, you will find Boxwoods, Olive trees, and Palms.
The Fauna of Maro Cerro GordoLarge groups of wild mountain goats (Iberian Ibex), originally from the surrounding mountain ranges of Almijara and Tejada, have found their home here in the reserve. They can often be seen springing from rock to rock and leaping from the cliffs.
The Ibex are beautiful creatures and quite shy, so they are of no danger to visitors, but you need to be careful driving through, so as not to hit one.
The marine life in the area is special too and very popular among marine scientists. There is a great diversity of Algae formations and the variety of fish here is expansive and very interesting. You will find Starfish, Seahorses, baby squid, and jibia (which are similar to octopus).
The Ancient Towers
** Views from the Maro Tower
Another interesting facet of the Maro Cerro Gordo Park is the number of ancient towers that dot the coastline. These towers would have played a very important role in times past when the coast was constantly under attack from pirates.
There are FIVE old Roman towers to hike out to:
- Torre Cerro Gordo
- Torre Maro
- Torre de Caleta
- Torre del Pino
- Torre de la Miel
The Torre de Cerro Gordo still stands proudly at the park's highest point, where it once did its job alerting troops to assemble and others to run and hide. The towers were part of an intricate communication system that controlled all boats sailing in or out of local waters.
The Maro Cerro Gordo Hiking TrailsThe Maro Cerro Gordo Reserve is also popular for its hiking trails. There are numerous hikes along the coast that are well-marked and offer breathtaking views along the way.
The Playa Cantarriján Walk
One of these walks is the Playa Cantarriján to Playa Cañuelo trail. It's a fairly easy walk and takes only about 45-minutes from start to finish (one-way).
This trail is designated as medium difficulty, it's mostly flat but you do have steeper climbs on either end, going up or down to reach the beaches from the cliffs.
You will also pass one of the old Roman towers (Torre de Caleta) about half-way through the walk... which is a great place to stop off for a snack and enjoy the views.
➜ The trail takes about 1 hour 20 min, round trip.
The Maro Tower WalkThe Maro Tower is yet another Roman tower that is found along the Maro Cerro Gordo Cliffs, and it too has an interesting and very scenic walk.
Driving towards Maro there is a small turn-off on the left-hand side of the road, it's easily missed so drive slowly and keep an eye out. You will find a dirt parking area at the bottom.
From there, start walking up and keep to your left. There is a dirt road that goes to the right, but the Maro tower trail goes steeply up to the left of the road.
** Path down to La Caleta beach from the Maro Tower
Follow the trail out to the Maro Tower where you will be rewarded with fantastic views of the villages of Maro and Nerja in the distance.
If you look carefully you will also see the Maro Waterfall along the cliffs to the west.
➜ Trail takes only about 15-minutes.
If you are up for more of an adventure, you can continue this walk for another hour or so down to a small beach and cove, hidden between the cliffs...
On the western side of the Maro Tower, you will see a trail going down into the Pine forest. Follow this trail until you reach the road. From there, go to the left until you get to the end of the road and the sea is in front of you. On the left-hand side of the road look for a small path cutting through the trees.
From there the path is pretty well-marked with blue dots to help you find your way. The trail will take you all the way across and down the cliffs until you reach a beautiful private beach (La Caleta).
➜ Trail takes about 1 hour 30 minutes.
The Cerro Gordo Point
On the western side of La Herradura and located directly across the bay from Punta de la Mona is the area called Cerro Gordo. It consists of the entire point on both sides and going inland. The La Herradura bay lies to its east and Playa Cantarriján (a very well-known nudist beach) is nestled to the west between Cerro Gordo and Maro.
Although the area is quiet and undeveloped there is a great restaurant that sits right on top of the Cerro Gordo point, called El Mirador (the Lookout). It has an outdoor patio with gorgeous views of the La Herradura Bay to the east and the Maro Cerro Gordo Cliffs to the west.
The Cerro Gordo point is crowned with another ancient tower by the same name, Torre de Cerro Gordo. A walk to the tower is recommended and it’s easily accessible via the path behind the restaurant, it winds up towards the top of the cliffs with even better views of the coastline.
From the restaurant you can keep walking down the main Cerro Gordo road for about another 2 kilometers, the views are amazing but be careful not to spook the wild mountain goats! They can usually be seen here fearlessly bounding across the rocks and cliffs.
The panoramic views along this part of the coast from the Cerro Gordo point are the best in the area. This is an amazing place to take photos. The rich green of the vegetation in contrast with the deep blues of the sea and sky are breathtaking.
Add to that... vibrant oleander and bougainvillea bursting with color, ancient watchtowers that adorn the cliffs... that dive into the sea, and you have a view that can’t be beat. The sunsets from this area are also to die for and are the most stunning you will find along the coast.
Beautiful homes can be found slightly more inland from the point, which all have amazing views up and down the coast.
The Maro Cerro Gordo BeachesThe Maro Cerro Gordo Reserve is home to some of the most stunning beaches in all of Spain. People come from far and wide every summer just to take a peek at these gorgeous cliffs and beaches.
Because the area is so undeveloped, accessing the beaches can be a bit of a challenge. Some now have shuttle buses that run up and down hourly to keep tourists from driving down on their own.
Other beaches have paths that take you down, but they can be a bit steep. If you are up for an adventure this is the place to come!
There are EIGHT gorgeous beaches to explore in the Maro Cerro Gordo Reserve:
- Playa Cantarriján
- Playa Cañuelo
- Playa del Pino
- Playa de Las Alberquillas
- Playa del Molino de Papel
- Playa de Maro
- Playa la Caleta de Maro
- Cala Barranco de Maro
Kayaking or Diving Near the Maro WaterfallTwo of the most popular activities around the reserve are Kayaking and Scuba Diving.
Kayaking in Maro Cerro Gordo Park
On any given day you will see throngs of colorful kayaks paddling up and down the Maro Cerro Gordo coastline. From the sea, this reserve is even more spectacular...
There are hidden caves, private secluded beaches and even a waterfall surrounded by massive craggy rocks.
Kayaks can be rented from many of the beaches in the area. The most popular spots are:
- Playa La Herradura - closest to the caves
- Playa Cantarriján - closest to other private secluded beaches only accessed by boat
- Playa Maro - closest to the waterfall
A lot of people book online. We recommend booking ahead if you can because kayaks are limited.
Diving in Maro Cerro Gordo ParkThe park consists of 1.127 Hectares, 419.27 of which are above sea level. This means that a large portion of the reserve lies beneath the sea. This is another reason why scuba diving is such a desired sport in the area.
To access this area, you will need to contact a diving center in La Herradura. They make daily trips out to the cliffs and around the caves.
Maro Cerro Gordo - Guided ToursAnother great way to see the park is by boat. You can either rent a motorboat, or sailboat from the Marina del Este or sign up for one of the guided tours that take you into the Maro Cerro Gordo Park.
Rent a motorboat in the Marina del Este and take the kids to explore the coast on your own.
Where to Stay Near the Maro - Cerro Gordo Nature ReserveThe Maro Cerro Gordo cliffs are just between the villages of La Herradura and Nerja, both have numerous hotels, villas and other fabulous accommodations.
If you are thinking of staying nearby, read our guides on the best hotels in the area.
- The Best Hotels in La Herradura
- The Best Hotels in Almuñécar
- The Best Hotels in the Costa Tropical & Nerja
Getting ThereThe park runs for about 15 - 20 minutes along the old N-340 coastal road between La Herradura and Maro. Drive east from Malaga on the A-7 and turn off at the second Nerja exit, from there find the old N-340 highway and follow it along the coast. This is one of the prettiest drives in the area with amazing views around every curve.
You can also come from Granada. Drive south from Granada towards Motril, continue along the A-7 going west until you reach the town of La Herradura. Exit and drive down to the first large round-about where you will go to the left. Follow the old N-340 highway through the tunnel and along the cliffs until you reach the town of Maro.