Cortijada Los Gázquez is in the heart of the 22,562 hectare (56,000 acre) 'Parque Natural Sierra María-Los Vélez', in the north of the province of Almería, in Andalucía, Spain.
Altitudes cover a range from 700 meters (2297 feet) to it's peak, the Sierra María, at 2045 meters (6709 feet).
The natural park is straddled by the four towns and villages which make up the 'Comarca de Los Vélez'. María, Chirivel, Vélez Rubio and the beautiful Vélez Blanco, crowned with the 16th Century 'Castillo de Los Fajardo'.
Rainfall is an annual average of 400mm, and receiving over 3100 hours of sunshine a year it is Andalucia's sunniest province. As a consequence it is a landscape of extreme contrasts. The arid plains of the ‘alto plano’ give way to snow capped and heavily forested northerly slopes of pine, whilst the southerly slopes are dry rocky outcrops of limestone.
There are approximately one hundred species of bird here including seventeen species of bird of prey, and you have the opportunity to see a plethora of other flora and fauna.
The natural park is also home to two UNESCO world heritage sites. ‘La Cueva de los Letreros’ is a cave of prehistoric drawings dating back to 4000 BC, including Almeria’s Neolithic provincial symbol, ‘Indalo Man’.‘La Cueva del Gabar’ also contains prehistoric paintings and can be visited with the aid of a guide.
Cortijada Los Gázquez represents twenty hectares of the natural park and resides in a place called ‘La Hoya de Carrascal’. Hoya being bowl or basin and Carrascal is a plural of Carrasca, the Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera). It is more of a shrub than a tree and it’s leaves are small, shaped like a holly, and the cups for it’s acorns bristle with spines.
This is a beautiful place, a primal place, somewhere worthwhile spending time.