Los Cahorros (Monachil), Spain – Cooling off in the desert

Near the town of Monachil runs a river called Río Monachil. It has cut a gorge and V-shaped valley over millennia.  Erosion has left a wonderful area for hiking, climbing, and getting away from Granada’s summer heat (over 40°C, 100°F). The temperature in the valley is often 10°C lower than most of the surrounding areas. It also offers a wonderful place to paddle.

If you go to Los Cahorros (highly recommend!), you have two choices. The first is descending trails and crossing rope bridges to the level of the river to see the Lower Cahorros. The second is going upwards to see the Upper Cahorros, which is the first picture. The route is circular, so you will see everything if you complete it. If you are feeling hot, choose the lower route; wait for the temperature to start falling before doing the upper portion of the route. This also has the plus of a paddle at the end of the hike in the slow-flowing river. If you are not hiking and instead are in search of climbing spots, the lower route inside the valley offers more routes. It also has the advantage of being shadier than the upper route. The upper route is much higher and is in almost constant sunlight.

This valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains has an abundance of plant- and animal life near the river; a rarity in the desert-like province. Many birds and small animal call the lower valley vegetation their home and can be seen while hiking or climbing.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing (22 July 2018), public transport does not reach Monachil, let alone Los Cahorros. This is a trip that has to be done with a car, which takes about half an hour from the centre of Granada.

Los Cahorros can be a great place to spend the day with friends or family. Be sure to take a picnic to enjoy next to the river under the shady canopy. Depending on the time of day, you may even need something to cover your arms.

If you don’t take a picnic, there are a few more traditional restaurants near the parking lot (such as Merendero San Garrito and Restaurante El Puntarron). Remember, every drink you order (alcoholic or not) comes with a free tapas, so you can even eat on a budget. Just ‘tapear/salir de tapas’ (go out for tapas, meaning you just order drinks). This is true for the entire province of Granada as well as some of the other Andalucian Provinces, such as Jaén. This is also possible due to the larger size of the tapas. If you need a drink recommendation to combat the heat, go for Tinto de Verano (a mix of red wine and Sprite which is very refreshing). Sangria is for tourists.

Here are some more photos from the area:

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