Sierra de las Nieves in Spain

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Sierra de las Nieves is a natural park and biosphere reserve in the Málaga region of Spain. On my first visit to Spain in september 2015 I came across this tourism company offering eco-tours of the natural surroundings in the Andalusian mountains. I am not a big fan of sitting still and doing nothing on a holiday, so I felt like I hit the jackpot with this experience and I will remember it for a long time. So scroll with me on my journey.

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Monte Aventura sends a tour guide that picks you up at the hotel and take you into a day-long journey in a safari jeep with other customers. We were only five people including our awesome friendly, cool guy Hugo the eco-tour guide, so we got extra question- and story time! We headed off into the hills through what seemed like a desert landscape, with our backs to the barely visible Gibraltar rock in the horizon behind us. At the foot of the mountains it got greener, as the water supplies life to the dry soil. We got to pick, smell and taste some incredible wild herbs like rosemary and thyme. Delicious! We also got to walk into town and taste some beautiful fruits like figs and pomegranate.

Then this eagle shoots out of the blue sky.

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It is a Short-toed snake eagle. I did not have a tele-lens, but I managed to zoom in on my very average kit-lens and get a cropped image of the majestic bird. What a great day!

Then we visited Istàn village and got to know some of the locals. It is easy to spot the village in the hills by the white concrete buildings. The narrow streets gives a feeling of purity and the villagers are friendly to outsiders like us.

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Juan, a legend in the village. Respect to him for welcoming tourists like us to take part of his life in his village. His story will be told by many, I am sure, and my way of telling it is simply by a portrait.

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This is only a fraction of what we went through on this trip. We got a full three-course meal at a restaurant, tried the amazing local produce, swimmed in the lake and much more. I don’t want to go into detail and spoil it all, but I want to paint a picture of the amazing natural surroundings that can be found so close to the cities. Like always my opinion is that we can find wonderful nature almost anywhere, we just have to look for it and open our minds a little bit.

The eagle over Istàn.

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This is the place to check out next time you end up at the southern tip of Spain. Use the tour guides. They have knowledge and respect for the people and nature. Make sure you are supporting an ethical tourism industry in which the companies treat their staff, locals, animals and nature correctly. Sustainable tourism is the way forward.

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Next time I go on a proper holiday like this I will look into sustainable tourism experiences like this. Sitting around doing nothing is something we can do at home, while experiencing other peoples cultures and natural surroundings is a chance to learn something new.

I will come back to Spain, that’s for sure.
– Sunni

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