Paraje Natural de los Acantilados de Maro & Cerro Gordo - La Herradura
Located on the opposite side of La Herradura from the Punta de la Mona and bordering the La Herradura bay to the west is the Paraje Natural de los Acantilados de Maro – Cerro Gordo (Nature Reserve along the Cliffs). The reserve stretches from the Cerro Gordo point all the way to the small town of Maro to the west.
The park 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 coast that has not been commercialized and developed.
The 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.
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 Palm trees.
The marine life in the area is very special too and very popular among marine scientist. There is a great diversity of Algae formations and the variety of fish here is expansive and very interesting. You will find Starfish and sea-horses, baby squid and jibia (similar to octopus).
Wild mountain goats, originally from the surrounding mountain ranges of Almijara and Tejada, can be seen springing from rock to rock and leaping from the cliffs. You have to be careful of them while driving through.
Although the area is very quiet and undeveloped there is a great restaurant that rests on top of Cerro Gordo called El Mirador (the lookout). It has an outdoor patio with gorgeous views of the La Herradura bay. There is a path that winds behind the restaurant up towards the Cerro Gordo tower that also continues along the cliffs and is great for walking. Beautiful homes can be found slightly more inland from the point, which all have amazing views up and down the coast. Playa Cantarriján is nestled between the Cerro Gordo point and Maro.
Another interesting facet of the 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. The torre de Cerro Gordo still stands proudly at the parks 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 at all times any boats sailing into local waters.
The panoramic views along the coast from Cerro Gordo 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 cliffs that dive into the sea, and you have a view that can’t be beat. The sunsets from this area are to die for and are the most stunning you will find along the coast.
Running for about 15 - 20 minutes along the old N-340 between La Herradura and Maro. This is also one of the prettiest drives in the area with amazing views around every curve.