El Geco Verde is situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada on the edge of the National Park. A few tarmac roads bend through the trees and countryside linking up small towns but the main access to the farms and isolated hamlets is on a wool-tangled ball of dusty, gravel tracks. These pitted ruts dissect the landscape of olive and almond trees, providing access for a variety of tractor-pulled technology, ancient and modern, that weed, rake, cut and clear around the darkened, twisting trunks.
Olives and almond production dominate the local economy. Several river valleys have been commandeered to aid the local farms in the endless search for moisture. Dams have been constructed to hold back large bodies of water that, when the time is right, is released into an intricate irrigation system that flows throughout the fields.
These also double up as recreational opportunities. Companies now offer to visitors and locals an extensive menu of activities including paddle boarding & kayaking. Off-road Segway is an exciting way to explore the trails and the canyons of the national park.
Hiking the trails of the national park can be challenging but it’s rewarded with the senses zinging.
The Banos de Zujar, at the mouth of the almost-dried up river where it meanders into the lake, is a crack in the earth’s crust, allowing a thermal pool to emerge. This has a constant temperature of 38°, lovely and warm compared to the snow-resourced waters of all the other streams and lakes and reservoirs, and is bottomed with deliciously gooey, and supposedly skin-healthy, mud.