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LIVE from the Camino Ruta del Argar

islandwalker

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés and routes in Andalucia
We are currently walking the newly signposted Camino del Argar (named for the Bronze Age Argar civilization) from Almería to Lorca. While its nine stages are generally 20 to 30 km long, most of the stages can be broken into shorter lengths that are around 12-16 kilometers long. A link to the Wikiloc tracks is here:

Ruta del Argar desde Almería : Etapa 1 de Almería a Cabo de Gata 25.52km o.w. wikiloc.59928106
We had gorgeous sunshine all along this stage which we broke in half. Like most of the stages, there are no albergues, so it is a matter of finding casas rurales or hostales. Because this is a popular seaside destination for Spaniards in the summer, there are plenty of choices.
Where the stage can be broken: Retamar, km 16.4. rooms from 35 euros on AirBnb
It is also possible to start walking directly from the Almería airport because the trail runs directly south of the airport runways. Walk out the door, head toward the beach, and you are on the track!
End of stage accommodation: San Miguel de Cabo de Gata, km 25. Hostal Be Free, 45 euros double. Note that Hostal Las Dunas is not open in the off-season.
Food: grocery stores, restaurants, and bars in Retamar and San Miguel. Supermarket Marquez in San Miguel is open 7 days a week. 9-12 and 2-4 on weekdays; 9-2 on Sunday.
Trail conditions: Paseo Marítimo, paved, from Almería, and then sand and gravel. Flat, along the Mediterranean, in the Cabo de Gata Parque Natural.
Number of people met on the track: 20 on a weekday, hundreds on a weekend. No pilgrims, but lots of cyclists, dog-walkers, and families
OK for bikes? Yes, we were passed by more than a hundred mountain- bikers. There are a few areas of deep sand near San Miguel where everyone had to walk their bikes, but the rest of the track is easily cyclable. It’s part of eurovelo 8.
Signage: We didn’t spot any markers until we got to San Miguel, but you can’t go wrong because the track is either the paved Paseo Marítimo or is bounded by a wooden fence.
Shade: none
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The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Ruta del Argar desde Almería : Etapa 2 desde (San Miguel) Cabo de Gata a San José 20.32 km o.w. wikiloc.59929092
The wording in the title of this stage is a little confusing because the actual geographical feature of Cabo de Gata begins six kilometers after the village of San Miguel - which is also called Cabo de Gata!

The sunshine and good weather continued all along this stage which we again broke in half. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and a good sun hat!

Of special interest: the bird blinds and salt flats shortly after San Miguel; the volcanic geology of the cape.
Where the stage can be broken: La Almadraba or La Fabriquilla, km 6. Many casas rurales on booking and Airbnb. We went a few km further and stayed in Casa de la Media Luna right by the lighthouse. It has a two night minimum, but we were glad to take a rest day in such perfect spot for contemplation and reflection.
End of stage accommodation: San José has an albergue with dorm beds. It’s on booking.com. We stayed at Casa Hans which turned out to be a really good find- quiet, central, and they let us check in early. 50 euros on Airbnb.
Food: small tienda in La Almadraba; nothing open in La Fabriquilla; grocery stores, restaurants, and bars in San José.
Trail conditions: Easy, flat walking on dirt trails beside the paved road to La Fabriquilla; paved road to the top of Cabo de Gata (closed to traffic after the lighthouse); wide dirt track to San Jose.
Number of people met on the track: No pilgrims, but 6 cyclists and 2 day-walkers going the other way.
OK for bikes? Yes. It’s part of eurovelo 8.
Signage: One at the top of Cabo de Gata and several in San José.
Shade: one tiny group of trees about 2 km before San José.

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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Ruta del Argar desde Almería : Etapa 3 desde San José a las Negras 21.91km
wikiloc.59928311
This stage offers the ultimate in coastal views, but those stunning cliffs also require some scrambling. The sure-footed will find this easy, but if you are like me and have balance issues, you will want poles for this stage.
Of special interest: the great explanatory signs between San Jose and Los Escullos that help you understand the volcanic geology.
Where the stage can be broken: Can stop in Los Escullos (9.2 km, hotel, campground, no store, restaurants closed in off-season), La Isleta (13km, many apartments, all with 2 night minimum or more), and Rodalquilar (16.5 km, mining center, casas rurales and restaurants)
End of stage accommodation: Las Negras has a hotel, a campground, and apartments, mostly with a 2 night minimum. Restaurants and bars.
Food: nothing open in Los Escullos - the kind people at Hotel Los Escullos shared the staff meal with us; grocery stores, restaurants, and bars in Las Negras.
Trail conditions: A short scramble at the top of the cliff out of San José, not hard or dangerous. Easy walking high above the water to Los Escullos on what would have been a road had the Parque Natural not come into being; 5 km on a busy paved road to the outskirts of Rodalquilar; wide concrete track to the Mediterranean; narrow rocky path up and down a cliff that will challenge the less-than-sure-footed for the last 2.5 km into Las Negras. No one else of the many day walkers we met had any problems, though, nor did Ned.
Number of people met on the track: No pilgrims, but 2 cyclists and many day-walkers near the beaches.
OK for bikes? Everything except the final 2.5 km into Las Negras is okay for mountain bikes. You’d have to carry the bike and gear on the last 2.5 km, though. We did not see any cyclists on it.
Signage: yellow arrows at most critical junctions, but the off-track signals from Wikiloc were essential for us
Shade: several groups of eucalyptus trees between Los Escullos and Rodalquilar. Otherwise none.
Photo note - none of the steepest parts - too busy trying to find a place to put my feet between the rocks to get the camera out.

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Ruta del Argar desde Almería : Etapa 4 desde Las Negras a Carboneras 20.8 km wikiloc.59928348
More beautiful cliff walking above the sea. Las Negras to Agua Amarga requires some scrambling. Agua Amarga to Carboneras is mostly road walking. If you want to get off the road, here are some other choices:
3 ways to go from Agua Amarga to Carboneras:
  1. Official route via the road the entire way: 8.1km wikiloc.59928348
  2. West of the road via Canada de Marcos/Barranco del Hondo 8.5 km (adds 0.4km) wikiloc.8605250
  3. East of the road via Mesa Roldan tower and lighthouse 11.2 km (adds 3.1 km) wikiloc.8389139, wikiloc.90122604, and wikiloc.8605250.
Of special interest: the ruins of the Antiguo Cargadero de Mineral just after Agua Amarga. Turn right at the top of the climb out of Agua Amarga and take a short detour off the route to see these very interesting remains of the mining railroad that ran from the interior of Armeria to the Mediterranean in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Iron ore was shipped out and supplies destined for the mine were shipped in from here. Mine supplies were landed by ship and lifted up to the railway on the headland using a static engine that pulled small wagons up a very steep ramp using cables. You walk up the remains of this ramp as you leave Agua Amarga
Where the stage can be broken: Agua Amarga, km 12.1 has hotels, store (open on Sunday), restaurants, apartments. We stayed at Hotel Family, and the hearty included breakfast sets you up for a full day of walking!
End of stage accommodation: Carboneras has no albergue although one is planned. There are rooms as low as 26 euros on Airbnb. Also hotels, pensiones, and apartments, several with a one night minimum. We liked Apartamentos Playa Lancon, €60 on Airbnb.
Food and supplies: grocery stores, restaurants, and bars in Agua Amarga and Carboneras. Carboneras has a big Mercadona, a smaller Spar, a Chinese Bazaar, and well-stocked pharmacies.
Trail conditions: A 200 meter scramble (at a 25% grade, compared to the 11% downhill slope of Alto Perdón) out of Cala de San Pedro was too eroded and steep for me to handle, although most people will find it okay. We very reluctantly resorted to a taxi around this, although Ned could have walked it fine were he not walking with me. In contrast, the climb from Agua Amarga up to Mesa Roldán is a short, steep (21%) scramble on loose rocks that hold their position surprisingly well. The rest of the way to Carboneras is on a busy paved road unless you use one of the alternatives listed above.
Number of people met on the track: No pilgrims, many day-walkers near the beaches.
OK for bikes? No. Too steep and rocky as far as Agua Amarga. We did not see any cyclists on it. Possible if using the road.
Signage: none that we saw.
Shade: none.
Photo notes: the topo map shows the climb and profile out of Las Negras: 200 meters in 0.8 km/656 feet in 0.4 miles. Judging by the number of tracks on Wikiloc, many people do this section quite successfully. Second photo: the cableway out of Agua Amarga. Third photo: terminus remains.

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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
@islandwalker, I'm just catching up with you now, so pleased to find this thread. Better late than never!
Thank you for sharing, and in such a clear and informative way. Lots of scrambling, frim the sound of it.
the bird blinds and salt flats shortly after San Miguel; the volcanic geology of the cape.
Yes, please! 😊
 
Stage 5: Carboneras a Garrucha 26.29 km
wikiloc.62236443
This stage brings you to the northern border of the area protected by the Parque Natural Cabo de Gata. It is a pure joy to walk! Undeveloped beaches, birds, ibex, flowers, shade… It is the last stage along the Mediterranean. From Garrucha, the camino turns inland toward Lorca.
Of special interest:
Just after leaving Carboneras, you will see the famous beach where the Jordanian village of Aqaba was reconstructed for the film Lawrence of Arabia, a beach now made infamous by the Algorrobico Hotel, standing in its unfinished state for 20 years after being condemned by the courts for building within the Parque Natural Cabo de Gata boundaries.
Look up when you enter the delightful watercourse leading to Sopalmo, and you may see wild ibex leaping gracefully from crag to crag, silhouetted against the varied hues of the volcanic rocks.
Where the stage can be broken:
Km 8.4 Sopalmo - if you are waking short stages, turn off at km 8.4, follow the A-5107 for 0.5 km NE, and you will come to the delightful family-run Venta El Molino.€50 dbl; Delicious menú del día €15; fantastic experience. Highly recommended.!
Km 16.5 Puerto Marina/H. Best Indalo Bus runs from here to Mojacar Pueblo - once an hour, 15 minute ride, 1.20 euros, need correct change unique-almeria.com
Km 18. Mojacar Playa and Mojacar pueblo in the hills above the beach strip. Even if you are not walking short stages, we found Mojácar pueblo to be a very interesting place, much nicer than Mojácar Playa, and well-worth staying in. We stayed in a peaceful Airbnb, Casa Grande, close to everything on a quiet street with no traffic.
wikiloc.56208069 will lead you back to the camino.
End of stage accommodation: Hotels, rooms, and apartments in all price ranges in Garrucha. We stayed in Apartamento Andalucía which had a great view of the Friday market from its balcony. It’s on booking.com.
Food: grocery stores, restaurants, and bars in Mojacar and Garrucha. Venta El Molino, 0.5 km off the track after Sopalmo serves a huge menú del día lunch for €15.
Trail conditions: This is an easier stage than the previous ones. The hillside tracks are gentler, following watercourses. Anyone with claustrophobia needs to plan ahead for the 0.4 km tunnel between Carboneras and Sopalmo. With my mild claustrophobia, I found it easier than expected. It’s about ten feet wide and ten feet high, with a generally smooth walking surface - just one pile of rocks shortly after entering. Although you can see light from the other end when you enter, you will need a flashlight! See photos: wikiloc.103005283 wikiloc.42029295
Number of people met on the track: No pilgrims, many day-walkers near the beaches, no one on the dirt trails.
OK for bikes? Okay on the dirt road parts, but the climb to and descent from Sopalmo is too steep and rocky for bikes. Around Garrucha, there are hundreds of club cyclists.
Signage: yellow arrows on rocks at some critical junctions, but the off-track signals from Wikiloc were essential for us
Shade: in the tunnel (!!!) and from bushes on the hillside to and from Sopalmo. Otherwise none.

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...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
Stage 6: Garrucha to Cuevas del Almanzora 20.58 km wikiloc.62236493
Stage 6 marks a complete change in the geography of the Camino. Now the track turns away from the coast and heads inland through orchards and fields to two small cities of great historical interest.
Of special interest:
Vera has numerous historical sights worth seeing. The information center in the ayuntamiento has a free map showing such places as the fortress church and the restored lavadero.
In Cuevas del Almanzora, you can see sites related to the Argar civilization that gave this camino its name: the Calguerin Caves, more than 300 cave dwellings, some prehistoric, located at km 1.5 of the next stage, but worth a visit of their own if you have a special interest. turismo.cuevasdelalmanzora
and Yacimiento Fuente Alamo archaeological site 14.48km loop wikiloc.86435357
Where this stage can be broken:
Vera, km 9.1 Hotels and apartments. We stayed at Hotel Terraza Carmona, close to the main square, €68 dbl.
End of stage accommodation: Hotels, rooms, and apartments in all price ranges in Cuevas del Almanzora. Albergue Argárico municipal albergue 950548700 Calle Argárica del Camino de Santiago Plaza Constitution, 15 according to street view Pabellón Open as of 01/ 2023 See diariodealmeria.es caminosantiago.org
We stayed at Hotel El Palacete and got much help from Ellie, the fellow Camino walker who manages the hotel. All guests have access to a kitchen area with a microwave and fridge - very handy.
Food: many supermarkets, restaurants, and bars in Vera and Cuevas del Almanzora .
Trail conditions: Easy walking. Garrucha to Vera is a small paved road the entire way. There was not much traffic on a Sunday when we walked it - about 10 cars per hour. We ignored the desvío sign and had no trouble following the original route. They are building what looks like a motorway interchange here, so as construction progresses, things may change. Vera to Cuevas is along another small paved road with a bit more traffic, and then on a dirt track along the dry Río Almanzora.
Number of people met on the track: No pilgrims, no day-walkers, 15 cyclists.
OK for bikes? Easy. Quiet paved roads and dirt tracks.
Signage: We saw only one, near the church in Vera.
Shade: none unless you duck off into an unfenced orchard or huddle under the motorway overpass.
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Stage 7: Cuevas del Almanzora a Huercal Overa 20.51km
Wikiloc map of stage: wikiloc.62328668
This is a particularly beautiful stage, almost like walking through a painting. Because of Easter week logistics, we ended up walking the first half out and back, so our notes do not apply to the second half. Note that currently there does not appear to be anyplace to stay in Huercal-Overa other than possibly the sports pavilion. We owe a big thanks to the forum members who helped us find a hotel out of town that is reachable by bus.
Of special interest:
Km 1.5 Calguerin Caves
- more than 300 cave dwellings, some prehistoric, some modern
turismo.cuevasdelalmanzora
Km 5 Embalse de Cuevas del Almanzora Beautiful views
Where the stage can be broken:
No intermediate stops
End of stage accommodation: Municipal albergue/sports pavilion Av. Felipe V near the bus station. see pdf map of town: turismo.huercal-overa.es Supposedly open as of 01/ 2023. diariodealmeria.es deportes.huercal-overa.es also see article by Jose: “We have four hostels in San José and before reaching Mojácar, in Cabo de Gata and Antas we are in negotiations, and in Cuevas and Huércal Overa we offer the sleeping pavilion.”
There don’t appear to be any other hotels, rooms, or apartments directly in Huercal-Overa. All the hotels shown on Google Maps are currently closed. We stayed at Hotel Overa, 950 134 702, 7 km SW of town, reachable by Baraza autobus, route 11, from either Cuevas del Almanzora or Huercal-Overa, and about halfway between the two.
Food: supermarkets, restaurants, and bars in Huercal-Overa.
Trail Conditions: We walked only the first part of this. The dirt road is wide and in good condition.
Number of people met on the track: No pilgrims, 2 day-walkers, 1 cyclist.
OK for bikes? Easy. Quiet paved roads and dirt tracks.
Signage: none that we saw
Shade: a few trees
Photo note: the last photo shows the sports pavilion in Huercal-Overa. It is listed as a place where pilgrims can stay.
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Stage 8: Huercal Overa a Almendricos 20.25 km
Wikiloc map of stage: wikiloc.62328544
This stage runs along the line of the abandoned Guadix-Almendricos railroad, now reopened as a via verde. We had really been looking forward to this stage - easy walking with much of interest to see in the surrounding agricultural land including the water museum at El Saltador, but we were stymied yet again by the absence of any place to stay at the end of the stage in Almendricos. At first we thought we could use the local train line from Lorca as a shuttle, but it is also out of service at the moment. Many thanks to the forum member who sent us this info: “It appears that the whole C2 line from Murcia to Aguilas is down while they are building a high speed rail line from Almeria to Madrid.”
Of special interest:
Map: La Vía Verde de Huércal-Overa
Including variants turismo.huercal-overa.es
Water museum “You can visit every day of the week, making a prior reservation by calling 950 13 47 47. In addition, admission is free.” Located close to the via verde near San Francisco. Comunidad de Regantes El Saltado ALP-9014
Where the stage can be broken:
No intermediate stops
End of stage accommodation: At the moment, there is no place to stay in Almendricos. The owner of Travellers Rest, on Airbnb, told me they are currently closed for construction. They plan to reopen in May 2023 and will offer two rooms.
Food: supermarkets, restaurants, and bars in Almendricos.
Trail conditions: We walked only the first part of this. It is a well-conditioned via verde - a wide, level dirt track along the line of the former railway.
Number of people met on the track: No pilgrims, 20 day-walkers, 5 cyclists.
OK for bikes? Easy for bikes with wide tires.
Signage: numerous yellow arrows in Huercal-Overa, and the first Camino signs we have seen that include the words “Ruta del Argar.”
Shade: a few trees

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Stage 9: Almendricos a Lorca 26.98 km
Wikiloc map of stage: wikiloc.62328389
Stage 9 to Lorca marks the end of the newly signposted “Ruta del Argar desde Almería” and also the end of our camino for this year. (We are now headed to the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas in the province of Jaén, the largest protected area in Spain, with hundreds of trails.) For pilgrims continuing on from Lorca, there are 13 stages in the “Ruta del Argar desde Lorca”, with the numbering of the stages beginning again at 1, and ending at 13 in Mora. See the very helpful information on these stages by forum member Bachibouzouk who walked in 2019: caminodesantiago.me
Of special interest:
Arriving in Lorca on Easter Sunday is an inspirational end to a camino if you can time it that way.
Where the stage can be broken:
Km 11.6 Las Norias
Casa Rural La Noria (on Escapada Rural) The house is just a few meters from the camino in a rural farming area.
Km 15.3 La Colonia/Estacion de Puerto Lumbreras
B&B Casa Lumbreras In Esparragalico - 3.4km w of the camino at Estacion
End of stage accommodation: Countless options in Lorca. albergue: Acogida municipal (968.479.700)
We stayed at the flat “Atico con Vistas” on booking and did indeed have beautiful views of the old town and the castle to celebrate our Easter arrival.
Food: supermarkets, restaurants, and bars in Lorca.
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Hello all, I walked the Ruta del Argar from Almeria to Lorca in January this year (2024). The notes in this thread were so helpful, thanks @islandwalker ! For the final stages into Lorca, I had trouble finding accommodation in the following places: Huercal Overa + Almendricos so I ended up staying in Puerto Lumbreras for three nights. It's an interesting town off the camino but easy to travel to and from the start/end stages by Alsa bus, then taxi, then on foot.

The hostal in Puerto Lumbreras is called 'Hostal del Sol', on the main street of the town (good-sized town, all amenities). I booked on booking.com but they seem to have their own website. Remote check-in with codes but also a very helpful person on site in the evenings if you have any questions (Spanish-only, I think). https://hostaldelsolpuertolumbreras.es/

After walking from stage: Cuevas de Almanzora to Huercal-Olvera, I got the 15:30 ALSA bus (booked on the ALSA app) from the Huercal Overa bus station to Puerto Lumbreras (30 minutes trip and the ALSA bus stop on the main road of PL). There was also a later bus at 19:30.

The next morning I bused back to Huercal Overa on the 6:30 bus (a bit early but the next one isn't until 11:25). Then after arriving in Almendricos at the end of the day's walk, I went to the Bar/Restaurante 'Tahiti' on Calle de la Paz (it shows up on google as 'Mi Suri') for lunch and asked them to call the taximan Jose Juan Garcia Gazquez (tel: +34 610 20 62 06). I got a couple of taxi numbers from the hotel and just went with this one. It was €20 one-way back to Puerto Lumbreras.

The next day, the same taxi driver picked me up at the hotel (€30 this time!) in the morning and dropped me back to Almendricos. From Almendricos you can walk all the way to Lorca but I decided to break it up so I left the camino where it intersected with the RM-D26 at a roundabout and walked back to Puerto Lumbreras via the small village of La Estacion/Esparragal. This little place has cafe/bars, restaurants and a Spar supermarket open even on a Sunday morning. From the point where I left the camino to La Estacion/Esparragal was 2km along the RM-D26 and then another 6km back to Puerto Lumbreras along a quiet country road called 'Camino de los Valencianos'.

Then on the last day, I retraced my steps from the previous day to rejoin the Camino and continue on to Lorca.

This worked out well for me and it was nice to have 3 nights in the same place so I could walk a while with only a daypack.

 
For the final stages into Lorca, I had trouble finding accommodation in the following places: Huercal Overa + Almendricos so I ended up staying in Puerto Lumbreras for three nights. It's an interesting town off the camino but easy to travel to and from the start/end stages by Alsa bus, then taxi, then on foot.
Wow, @p_mci, that is such helpful information! Thank you for taking the time to include all the details. I can just picture what a help that would have been to us.
 
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