Birdwatching in Motril

Motril on the Costa Tropical is a busy town, a working port, has a sweet history, good beaches and coves, and proves worthy for birdwatching too. Arriving at Motril on the Costa Tropical, probably means a bit of shopping, a trip to the Sugar Museum, or perhaps even a ferry to catch across the twinkling Mediterranean sea.

Costa Tropical

A lasting summer

That sea is still glass-flat, and here and there dotted on the sands late holiday-makers are still unrolling their beach towels and making the most of the sun-filled days. Almost November, the clocks have changed, and we appear to be hanging on to some late summer weather here in Andalucia. A recent sharp burst of autumn chill made no lasting impression, and we find happily ourselves unpacking the stored summer clothes and putting away the sweaters. Long may it last.

Costa Tropical

Port Side Out

A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves exploring a place to stay in Motril - a green fingered stay with a botanical garden to lose ourselves in - but we did manage to tear ourselves away from the flowers and shrubs to spend a little time down at the sea too. We weren't planning on actually going to the beach itself, or even visiting one of the many bars, bistros or restaurants there, but had another, feathered trip in mind.

Perhaps the next time we go we'll spend a little more time doing just that, the area looked interesting and quite different from the town itself. There's something about the busy working port area too, with freshly landed catch daily - it almost begs you to stay for a plate of good fish!

Birdwatching Motril


Birdwatching in Spain is a satisfactory hobby - there are many places to spot the best of the migratory birds in Andalucia alone - but designated reserves such as the one at Motril have their own rewards, and that's where we were headed, binoculars in hand and camera packed. We weren't sure how long it would take us to explore the whole area, so I think next time we'll probably pack a sandwich too and spend a little longer if the weather holds out. 


Where is it?

It's called La Charca de Suárez, and you'll see the signs to it all along the port/beach road, it's pretty easy to find. Covering 13.78 hectares, it's a wetland reserve, and is home to 160+ species of birds, making La Charca de Suárez one of the most important birdwatching sites along this coastline. It runs alongside the long beach Playa Poniente.

You can park up on the road quite easily just outside the reserve and it's free entry. There are morning and evening opening times, which are subject to change with the breeding seasons.

birdwatching motril

What's it like?

There'a a very pleasant and leafy circular walk around the reserve, with half a dozen or so hides here and here along the way, where you can sit (quietly!) and observe or take pictures. There were just a few other people there when we visited, amongst them a couple of Spanish birders, a lone jogger enjoying the peace, an employee checking the hides. It's a very peaceful spot despite the fact it's built bordering some noisy apartments, I guess the many well planted trees block out any noise. There's also a good amount of information boards around the walkway, pointing out the flora and fauna of the reserve and the immediate area. 

birdwatching motril

What can you see?

There will be more to see right now at La Charca de Suárez than when we went, so what you do manage to spot will depend on what time of year, when the breeding season/migration is. It should be good on passage periods, so we'll be returning soon.

Here's a list of what we spotted:

  • Lots of Turtles in the water!
  • Purple Swamp Hen (bit of a highlight for us!)
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Little Grebe
  • Red Knobbed Coot
  • Night Heron
  • Pochard Duck
  • Mallard Duck

Purple swamphen


So, a visit to La Charca de Suárez. Is it for you? Well, when you're next holidaying on the Costa Tropical give it a go and see what you make of it. Take a sandwich and some drinks, enjoy a couple of hours immersed in nature and the peace of the place - it's a nice visit for the whole family  - they'll love the turtles - as long as the kids are quiet and respect the other birders there, and makes a change of scene from the town or the beach. Plus you never know what you might see!

For more information and a video in Spanish on the La Charca de Suárez, containing an example of a guided visit, please click here.

Birdwatching Motril

Opening hours and information

November to February: 09:00 - 13:00 & 16:00 - 18:00

Between March and May, visits are restricted, and only guided tours are available, these last for an hour and a half. You'll need to ring up in advance and book one of these tours, 618217508 or 682345666.

June to September: 09:00 - 13:00 & 18:00 - 20:00

October: 09:00 - 13:00 & 17:00 - 19:00