The tranquil town (pueblo) of Rodalquilar sits peacefully in the middle of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata and is a haven for the local artistic community. There are a number of unique independent galleries dedicated to showing off painting, photography, pottery and ceramics. Rodalaquilar is a sleepy town with some very nice places to eat and stunning beaches and couldn’t be more different from its past for it is known in the province of Almería for ancient mines of gold!
In the 1880s, Rodalquilar experienced a gold rush that ended in 1990 involving several different companies and individuals from all over the world. A number of small villages were established close to the main pueblo of Rodalaquilar to house the mining communities, the biggest being just before you arrive at Rodalaquilar coming from San José & Los Escullos. All of these communities were abandoned en mass once the mining activities ceased and have now become known as the Rodalquilar “ghost towns”. These ghost towns are now a haven for a different type of artist, namely graffiti artists. All manner of “tags” and bright colours adorn what is left of the former dwellings; some good, some not-so-good. Interesting that clients I have taken there have mixed feelings about it, some marvel over the graffiti and others tell me it has no place here – all a matter of taste I guess.
Behind the deserted goldmine there is a road (dirt-track) that leads to the infamous Cortijo del Frailes and along this road is a slightly smaller abandoned mining community but unlike the larger one at the entrance of Rodalquilar, this one isn’t fenced off. I wouldn’t recommend entering the buildings though as the are clearly in a state of disrepair and it would not be safe, but certainly take a peak at what is inside.
Near the town of Rodalquilar is the most beautiful beach of Playa el Playazo. The craggy out-crops and fossilised sand-dunes to the right are perfect for snorkelling around and house a rich variety of marine life. With many of the beaches in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata, nudity is tolerated and the unwritten rule seems to be that if this IS your bag or you don’t mind this, go to the right.