The accommodation in Aguamarga is luxurious. The accommodation in Pulpi is "funky" but very comfortable: wooden chalets with en-suite facilities within the grounds of the equestrian site, so you can step out of your door and commune with your horse in his stables or in the paddock by the light of the moon. On site is a lovely restuarant, open all day, all year round and the writing takes place there, in a separate room.
The Writing Course:
The next course is from 27 Aug-4 Sep. The mornings are spent out and about riding, with the writing workshops in the afternoons. One day in the week, we will take a break and have a sightseeing outing. This year we focus on Fiction Writing. Our courses are 9 days long, of which the first day is "Arrival Day", no riding and writing, but getting settled in and meeting the tutors and horses. The last day is "Departure Day" without writing and riding.
We accept just six people for the writing course but can accommodate any friends or family who just want to ride and experience the area. Sightseeing tours to Granada, Almeria or Cuevas del Almanzora are available on Day 7.
Head Tutor is Dr John Ballam, Head of Undergraduate Creative Writing Programme, Oxford University.
Day 1: AM - Arrivals PM - Arrivals Evening - Welcome Event
Day 2: AM - Riding PM - Fiction Workshop 1: Microfiction Evening - Freedom to write
Day 3: AM - Riding PM - Fiction Workshop 2: Viewpoint, planning and structure Evening - Freedom to write/Meet tutor for 1-to-1
Day 4: AM - Riding PM - Fiction Workshop 3: Traditional form, and editing Evening - Freedom to write/Meet with tutor
Day 5: AM - Riding PM - Fiction Workshop 4: Character and writing from life Evening - Freedom to write/Meet with tutor
Day 6: AM - Riding PM - Creative Non-Fiction: Biographies and book proposals Evening - Freedom to write/Meet with tutor
Day 7: AM - Sightseeing tour PM - Sightseeing tour Evening - Sightseeing tour
Day 8: AM - Riding PM - Freedom to write/Meet with tutor Evening - Group seminar and Reading party
Day 9: AM - Departures
Your accommodation during your riding adventure is in a brand new but traditional Andalucian cortijo (farm house) named EL CAZADOR (The Hunter), set high upon a promontory within the eleven acres of Finca Los Tigres, a stone’s throw away from Hípica Aguamarga’s stables. It is a stunning, spacious and luxurious villa, with an enticing mix of the modern and the traditional. It has an infinity pool and terraces all around.
El Cazador (The Hunter), a 4-bedroom, 2- bathroom whitewashed eco-conditioned cortijo, can comfortably accommodate 6 people in its 144m2 . It is an enticing mix of the traditional and the modern, with terra cotta tiles on the floors, slate terraces all around and underfloor solar/gas heating. Every effort has been made to render the house ecologically friendly, using double glazing and double walls with insulation to keep out the heat in summer and lock it in during the winter. We even placed the windows in accordance with the angle of the sun rays to allow more light in winter and less in summer.
El Cazador is not overlooked by any other property and, in fact, the view from the kitchen and main living area (at the front of the building) is a completely uninterrupted desert landscape with stunning hills all around and a glimpse of the sea to the left.
Surrounding the farmhouse are terraces made of traditional natural stone, leading at the front down to a large, solar heated, swimming pool measuring 12.75m x 3.5m (approximately 42 x 11.5 feet). The pool itself is located on an ancient Moorish terrace created hundreds of years ago for viticulture, and is made of honey-coloured stone, in keeping with the ecological requirements of the Nature Reserve, and invisible from the countryside surrounding it. There are terraced areas made of wood and stone all around the pool. The view from the pool is an unobstructed 240-degree landscape for all to enjoy.
At the rear of the property is a gravel driveway leading up to a large space behind the farmhouse. There are no fences surrounding El Cazador, allowing uninterrupted views all around the property. The stables are only a stones’ throw from the front door, with an immense fenced area for riders to enjoy, a short way down the hill directly in front of the accommodation.
Meet the horses:
We have a variety of horses, donkeys and ponies but they are all calm, friendly, sturdy and sure-footed, perfect for trekking and riding on the beaches: they love to swim, too! You are welcome to help groom them and make friends with them. When they are not working they will be out grazing right underneath the terraces of Finca Los Tigres and you can follow your horse as he or she plays with the others.
Emily, Linda, Blume and Lady are all sweeties, patient and calm. You can ride them as a beginner but they are very willing to go forward and oblige a more experienced rider. Pitimini, Mia, Mississippi and Rubia are good all-rounders, calm and sure-footed on the treks through the Natural Park’s hills and canyons.
YOUNG HORSES: The Hípica has a group of foals and young horses who are being trained. They are always in for a carrot or an apple and love to cuddle! Tennessee is a teenager and full of mischief. Max and Peregrine are contemporaries and now we have Mesengera, a lovely foal. The latest addition is Cyclone, a real character
PONIES: Paula and Mari-Luz are a mother-daughter team of cuddly tiny ponies. Tomatito, also small with a reddish coat and mane, is the favourite of the owners’ small relatives.
Meet the team:
Aguamarga Riding Adventures is run by a small but dedicated team of people. Martha, who previously ran a highly regarded riding school in Madrid, heads up Hípica Aguamarga. Marcos helps out when several groups of riders at the same time like to go on tours. Antonia, an author amongst many other things, is in charge of the Finca accommodation, with her husband Henry. Together, they aim to make your holiday experience safe, comfortable and unforgettable.
The local area:
Agua Amarga is a small, unspoilt, fishing village of just 200 permanent inhabitants, located in the province of Almería in Andalucia, in the south eastern corner of Spain.
With its traditional white buildings and 800 metres of white sandy beach, the village is to be found between two cliffs that hide it from view from all but the most determined or fortunate visitor. Overlooked on one side by the Faro (lighthouse) de la Mesa de Roldán, Agua Amarga is as picturesque a setting as you can find in Spain.
The 38,000 hectare Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve is unique within Andalucia and even within Europe. The landscape is more closely reminiscent of Arizona than of any other part of the continent. Such is its dry, desert-like landscape that numerous westerns have been filmed in the area, as well as parts of Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago and, more recently, the British film Sexy Beast, with Ben Kingsley.
What else is there to do here?
There are four fantastic beaches within easy reach of Finca Los Tigres: Agua Amarga, Cala Enmedio, Cala de Plomo and Los Meurtos, each with their own individual characteristics.
The Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve extends some 3km (1.9 miles) out into the Mediterranean Sea and diving, both for fun and for scientific research, is a major pursuit along this stretch of coastline. There is a diving school in Agua Amarga itself, El Centro de Buceo, that caters for individuals of all abilities, from novices to expert divers. A few minutes north in Carboneras is another diving school, El Club de Buceo Carboneras.
Sailing opportunities abound for visitors of all experience, whether just for fun or if you are looking for something more ‘intense’. It is possible to hire out motor boats, catamarans and small pedal boats in Agua Amarga. Yacht Club San Andres is under construction at Carboneras and the Club de Mar Almería yacht club is extremely welcoming to experts and novices alike, with excellent facilities for visiting yachts. The club offers superb dining facilities with views of the harbour and the comings and goings of the ferries linking the city with Morocco. Further afield to the west of Almería lies the Almerimar Yacht Club, a vast complex ready to receive, service and repair any size of visiting vessel.
Walking and Hiking
The area surrounding Finca Los Tigres and the stables is perfect walking terrain, offering unique (in Europe, anyway) rugged, desert landscapes as well as mile upon mile of beautiful coastline. Sturdy boots, binoculars and an ample supply of water are all highly recommended.
Agua Amarga is popular with walkers, painters, botanists and paleontologists alike, all of whom can be found trekking around the area studying the beautiful landscapes, looking for fossilized traces of ancient life, collecting the many kinds of unique plant life that only exist in the desert, or just taking in the clean, fresh air of the great outdoors. The countryside really is like nothing you’ve seen in Europe before, and the possibilities for a day’s hiking are endless.
Also available (ask us for further details): fishing, golf, private flying club with lessons for beginners.
Getting there: To get to Finca los Tigres, you fly directly into Almeria Airport (LEI) The nearest alternatives are Murcia Airport, 2 hrs, or Granada, 2.5 hrs. Malaga is 4 hrs away and Alicante about the same. Easyjet and
Ryanair both operate routes into Almeria as do Monarch, Air Berlin and various charter airlines.
Transfers: We can pick you up from Almeria Airport and Murcia airport, all included in the price. Almeria is 1.5 hrs and Murcia less than an hour away.
Riding amenities: The rides are suitable for all ages, levels and weights. There are some seriously hefty horses!
Non-riders are very welcome - they just pay less.Open year round due to the wonderful climate is Southern Spain
Hípica Aguamarga comprises three stable blocks, a Picadero (riding ring) and large fenced in fields for controlled riding. The buildings are brand new and of the highest quality. They are always exemplary in appearance and cleanliness, as are the horses. For non-riders there is a pleasant bar area to wait for the riders, have some refreshments or get out of the sun.