July 14th, 2010
The ‘Junta de los Rios,’ as it is known locally, is an area of steep ravines, rock pools and waterfalls. A place of outstanding natural beauty with wonderful river pools and spectacular views. For the more adventurous, there is no better way to spend a day out.
Junta de los Rios translates as ‘the joining of the rivers.’ The rivers Rio Verde and Rio Negro meet to form waterfalls and crystal, blue pools in which to bathe. Until recently, the river was relatively unexplored and was used only for people practising ‘adrenaline’ sports, mainly climbing and barranquismo (canyoning)– with specialist groups taking people on guided tours. Over the last few years the area has opened up somewhat, although it is still not on the regular tourist route.
From Almunecar, take the A-4050 Northwards, the Carretera Suspiro del Moro (or La Cabra, as it is known locally) towards Granada city. The route passes through some beautiful countryside and is at the heart of the ‘tropical valley.’ Passing through kilometres of subtropical fruits and vegetation. The villages are renowned for the exportation of mangoes, avocados, pears and the distinctive pink fruit of the nispola, an Andalcian delicacy.
Passing through the villages of Jete and then Otivar, the entrance gate to the river is on the left hand side, just beyond the turning for the Palacete de Cazulas (approximately 2kms from Otivar). Keep your eyes open as it is very easy to miss, there is a small gateway with a hut behind. There is a person who registers all cars/people and you pay an entrance fee. The access road is private and the fee helps to keep it ‘maintained.’
The road leading to the ‘Junta’ is approximately 6kms and track. It can be pretty rough in places, particularly with a heavily loaded car. Follow the road down until reaching the mouth of the gorge. Depending on the type of vehicle (and your nerves) you can park here or carry on. Although it is advisable that if not in a 4X4 to park at the entrance and walk.
Following the river on your right, you keep walking and almost immediately the river opens up with plenty of pools for bathing and small waterfalls. It takes approximately one hour to get to an old disused dam/farm, from here you need to bear right and start crossing the rivers several times and eventually make your way up to the higher/deeper pools.
Please note, a responsible level of fitness is required. The ground is not level, there are several bridges to cross and the path is very steep in places. Due to the flash floods we had over the winter, the valley has been severely eroded (particularly around the dam area), adding to the difficultly. To keep going further up the river you would need specialist equipment and a guide.
The office/cabin is manned from 10.00 to 19.00 on Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays. The key can be obtained from the El Capricchio Bar in Otivar in winter. During the summer months, June onwards there is someone on the gate to let you in. At the time of writing, the entrance fee was 5€ per person and a further 5€ for the car. Children went for free. Phone 680493629 or 680493907 for further information (and to check on conditions)
A fantastic day out
A day out in the Junta de los Rios is an experience not to be missed. If feeling unsure or uneasy about making the journey, there are numerous companies offering guided tours and if feeling more adventurous you can come down the river (Rio Verde) from the top to the bottom, using ropes, swimming through caves and jumping off waterfalls. A unforgettable experience, with some of the best canyoning in Europe.