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La Garganta del Capitán: Best Kept Secret in Mountains of Algeciras

Rosario Pérez

EXPLORE: La Garganta del Capitán: Best Kept Secret in Mountains of Algeciras

A path of about 6 kilometres cuts through the subtropical forest of Los Alcornocales Natural Park, leading up to an idyllic waterfall that has its history steeped in myth and legend – ‘La Garganta del Capitán’ (‘The Captains Gorge’).

Legend has it, that within this unusual and long unknown natural landmark within the mountains of Algeciras, hides a mystery: a large rock with an engraving of a cross which the elders of the area claim marks the burial site of “El Capitán”. El Capitán was said to have been a bandit who was shot in the mountains near a waterfall – not far off from a tombstone of a miller who died of cholera.

La Garganta del Capitán

A few meters from this isolated area, where you will notice that there is no visible sign of human interference, you will discover anthropomorphic cavities carved into the sandstone rock; traditionally attributed to the Bronze Age. Were these really graves, or just ancient cavities for drying corpses in the sun for mummification? And if so… why were they brought so far into the mountains?

La Garganta del Capitán Algeciras
@Serafin Sanchez

These and other unanswered questions are asked within the “Secret Guide to Algeciras” which was recently published by the Algeciras City Council and presented at the latest edition of the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) in Madrid. The publication is a pocket-sized travel notebook, in the same style of those of the ancient explorers, and contains a special section dedicated to what was, at least until recently, one of the best-kept natural heritage secrets of this city that overlooks the Bay: ‘La Garganta del Capitán’.

Remains of old flour mills on the banks of a stream

Located within the boundaries of the Los Alcornocales Natural Park and the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean, in the municipality of Algeciras, La Garganta del Capitán was, until not too long ago, an obscure and unknown natural landmark; completely unfamiliar to those who did not live in Algeciras. Those from outside who did know about it had only found out from word of mouth and from others living in Algeciras.

Now, thanks to the internet and social media, this piece of paradise has been brought into the limelight, with hikers and nature-lovers travelling to the region to discover and explore the Garganta del Capitán.

At the end of this winding trail, which narrows in its final stretch, lie the remains of old flour mills sitting on the banks of the stream.

As the official guides provided by the Junta de Andalucía and the Provincial Council of Cádiz, among others tell us, along this route you will find forests of alder, ash, laurel, and gall oaks, which offer much welcomed shade.

Along the way, which rises to 140 meters, you can enjoy unique views of the Bay of Algeciras / Gibraltar, the cork oak forest and the public mountain of Hoyo de Don Pedro.

La Garganta del Capitán

The 5.9-kilometer trail begins at point 2.5 of the CA-P 231 highway, which connects the old Los Barrios road with the Algeciras suburb of El Cobre. It can be reached by driving along this road in a southerly direction, towards the Cortijo Real industrial estate, behind the Botafuegos prison, crossing a roundabout decorated with an old boat. A further 900 meters or so from the roundabout, the access lane to the beginning of the trail appears on the right and runs perpendicular to the road. This lane also serves as a place to park your car, and start the path on foot once you cross the gate.

Finally, once you reach the rural waterfall, which on its own justifies the entire excursion, the trek can take between an hour and a half and two hours, depending on how many stops you decide to make to take photographs, rest or, simply to enjoy the rich scenery.

A Breath-taking Backdrop

Anecdotally, the beauty of the place and waterfall is such that for some years it has been chosen by brides and grooms as a preferred setting to immortalize their love story, with the backdrop of greenery, light and water where some of the most romantic photos can be taken for a wedding album. Even established artists such as the Cordoba singer India Martínez chose the Garganta del Capitán to shoot part of her video clip for “Aguasanta”, one of the songs in her latest album.

EXPLORE: La Garganta del Capitán: Best Kept Secret in Mountains of Algeciras


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