East of Malaga deep in the mountains the Parque Natural Sierra Tejeda, Almijara Y Alhama Competa is the peaceful setting for a wonderful retreat.
With 16 beautiful, well schooled and immaculately cared for Andalusians, this traditional finca has been lovingly restored to create a stunning mountain retreat sure to charm riders or non riders. Extensive gardens with shady orange & lemon trees, indigenous plants and hammocks with views across the swimming pool all the way to the coast are perfect for lazy afternoons.
This very traditional part of Spain is best explored on horseback in comfortable local saddles (or English if you prefer) with stops at terraces and in white washed villages. The warm welcome extended by Donna, Jeff and Ricky ensures that everyone returns for another visit. If you are particularly taken with the culture and traditions of Spain you may like to join one of their Fiesta weeks - and for the adventurous rider their Ride to Jatar is a fabulous option.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from KR of London on 03/08/2017
A single supplement is not compulsory at the Finca if you are willing to share.
The beautiful Finca is set deep in the National Park and surrounded by nature. The original farm house is 500 years old and has been lovingly restored and consists of 2 double bedrooms and one small (child) single. This is suitable for 2 singles sharing the bathroom or a group of friends. There is also a one bedroom restored apartment containing a double and a single bed with bathroom. The views from the terrace to the ocean, peaceful terraced gardens and swimming pool make this a delightful retreat with horses on your doorstep. The Finca can be reached on a dirt road of 4 miles. Ricky, Donna or Jeff are happy to drop guests off at the beach, nearby villages or other activites and attractions when not riding and pick them up by arrangement.
Horses and Riding
The 16 Andalusian horses give a choice of mount for all levels of rider. Beginners can have some tuition in a school area before heading into the mountains. The traditional saddles are easy to ride in and the horses respond easily to light directions, making this an ideal place to learn/try riding. It is not uncommon to meet locals on their horses in this very traditional part of Spain. Horses are welcome in all the villages and most tavernas have a place to tie your horse. For more experienced riders there are good tracks for some faster riding and more challenging lively Andalusians. English saddles are available if wanted. Some routes are also steeper and technically challenging.
The finca has a lovely pool. The beach, although only 4 miles as the crow flies and clearly visible from the finca terrace, is about 35min drive (Donna, Ricky or Jeff would be happy to drop you there). Other non rider options nearby:
Pilates, Salsa or Flamenco lessons; guided walks; guided cycling tours; off road motorbiking; golf, scuba diving; wine tasting and tour of the loca Bodega; tour of Malaga (Picaso Museum, CAC Malaga, Cathedral and Malaga Gardens or shopping!); tour of Nerja caves and town; Competa and Canillas tour including tapas and Competa wine.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
There are 16 beautiful Andalusians from 14.3hh to 16.3hh. Many are bigger and stronger than average and this ride can comfortably cater for heavier riders. The horses are all lovingly looked after to the best English standards. They are fit and well fed, clipped and rugged in the winter, fed and inspected twice daily. They are all well schooled with no vices and ridden in curb bits with traditional saddles for comfort. English saddles are also available for those who prefer. Some of the horses are more lively and forward going, others are schoolmasters. All are very responsive making this an easy place to learn to ride. The horses all wear halters under the bridles and are used to standing tied at tavernas. A range of riding helmets is available on site and riders are encouraged to wear one although this is not compulsory. Saddles are equipped with small saddle bags to carry en route essentials such as sunscreen and water bottles. 2-3 hrs riding a day is included in the package. This can be taken as half days or added together for full day rides. More riding can be arranged on site by arrangement for €25 per hour in 2016.
This ride is suitable for riders of all abilities, from complete beginner to advanced. Some of the mountain paths, while wide enough, do have steep drops alongside and are not suitable for those with an extreme fear of heights.
The weight limit for this ride is 16st /224 lb/102 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The accomodation is on-site in the Finca or the apartment set deep in the National Park and surrounded by nature. The original 500 year old farm house has been lovingly restored with traditional furniture and consists of 2 double bedrooms and one small (child) single. Suitable for 2 singles sharing the bathroom or a group of friends. The views from the terrace to the ocean, peaceful gardens and swimming pool make this a delightful retreat with horses on your doorstep. The first floor apartment is just a few steps away from the Finca and consists of 3 separate beds with en-suite bathroom. There is no TV at the Finca, and phone reception is unreliable. The Finca can be reached on a dirt road of 4 miles. Ricky, Donna or Jeff are happy to drop guests off at the beach, nearby villages or other activites and attractions when not riding and pick them up by arrangement. Most of the food at the Finca is home grown organic with fresh eggs and vegetables daily. Donna was a chef at the Grovesnor Hotel in a previous life, so the food is outstanding.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Spring and autumn is generally a good time to visit and the days are sunny and warm (25 Celsius). In the summer it can be very hot with temperatures exceeding 30 Celsius on a regular basis. Overnight thunderstorms are common in the mountain regions but are generally gone by morning.
There is electricity available at the Finca and hotel. Telephone reception is poor in the mountains although on the terrace at the Finca 2 bars of reception can be received. The hotel has good mobile reception. There is almost no internet reception although on special request wifi is available at a nearby cafe while enjoying a drink/coffee/meal.
Light summer clothing is needed on most departure dates. You need a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. Riding trousers (these can also be jeans or chinos as the local saddles are similar to Western saddles) half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey, warm jacket (Winter, Spring and Autumn), shorts, long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, sarong or wrap, swimsuit, socks, raincoat (seasonal), sun block, camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt, binoculars, lightweight riding boots (can be sturdy shoes with tread and a heel) and a change of footwear - trainers or sandals.
A range of riding helmets are available on site.
From May to October a minimum of 3 nights applies. Short breaks of 2 nights are possible for the rest of the year. Groups larger than 6 can be accommodated by special arrangement, please enquire.
All year round on request.
Closed September and 23rd-29th December.
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||double pp||155|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||non rider per night||115|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||single supplement||21|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||Feria supplement||125|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||double pp||179|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||non rider per night||135|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||single supplement||24|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||Feria supplement||145|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||double pp||219|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||non rider per night||159|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||single supplement||29|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||Feria supplement||179|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||double pp||1,729|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||non rider per night||1,279|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||single supplement||229|
|2017 Finca per night||per night||1||Feria supplement||1,409|
Eagles can often be seen soaring using the thermals from the mountains. There are wild boar in the area and may be seen in the evenings from the terrace at the Finca. Dedicated wildlife spotters may be lucky enough to see an ibex.
The finca has a lovely pool and the beaches, although only 4 miles as the crow flies and clearly visible from the finca terrace, is about 35min drive (Donna, Ricky or Jeff would be happy to drop you there). Other non rider options nearby:
Pilates, Salsa or Flamenca lessons; guided walks; guided cycling tours; off road motorbiking; golf, scuba diving; wine tasting and tour of the loca Bodega; tour of Malaga (Picasso Museum, CAC Malaga, Cathedral and Malaga Gardens or shopping!); tour of Nerja caves and town; Competa and Canillas tour including tapas and Competa wine; or relax with massage and reflexology options.
This particular part of Spain is very traditional and the present younger generation is far wealthier than their parents who can still tell vivid stories of Franco's time and their jobs as muleteers and fishermen. The mountain is criss-crossed with traditional mule routes which were in regular use until 25 years ago. Fresh produce such as fish, oranges and lemons were taken from coastal towns such as Torremolinos across the mountain range to inland cities such as Granda with corn and grain being returned. Mules are still used in the national park today as the best way to access the steep and rough back country.
Spain is a beautiful and diverse country, the second largest in Europe. The official language is Castilian Spanish but Catalan, Galician and Basque are also spoken. Territory includes two island archipelagos – the Balearics and the Canaries – and two enclaves on the North African coast, bordering Morocco – Ceuta and Melilla. The African influence can be found throughout Spain but especially in the south, for example the guitar was invented by the Spanish when they added a sixth string to the Arab lute. Music and art permeates Spanish culture, most obviously displayed in the fire and passion of the Flamenco and the stunning modern architecture found in the cities.
The famous siesta is still enjoyed by the majority of Spaniards, most shops close at lunchtime for two or three hours so everyone can escape the often scorching afternoon sun. Evening meals are served late into the evening with plenty of wine or sangria. Often meals can last two or three hours, especially if your host is serving Tapas, small and varied dishes of meats, bread, vegetables. Paella is also a delight and very popular across the country.
Spain is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for Spain is +34.