Almeria Province - Los Escullos

Los Escullos © Michelle Chaplow
The Fossil Dunes of Los Escullos, a famous natural monument - fossilized sand dunes which have turned to soft stone with a strange, arm-like section jutting out. (Click to enlarge images)
Los Escullos  © Michelle Chaplow
Details of the Natural monument of Los Escullos and the view to Isleta del Moro © Michelle Chaplow

Los Escullos

If Bond movies, quirky bars, fossils and remote Mediterranean beaches appeal to you, take a trip to Los Escullos.

Los Escullos is a small cluster of houses overlooking the jagged Almeria coastline, a few km north of San Jose. Sitting under the extinct volcano Cerro del Fraile (at 493m, El Fraile peak is the highest of the Sierra del Cabo de Gata), it has a certain charm.

The dwellings of Los Escullos are located around an old fort, Castillo de Don Felipe, located right on the beach. The fort was built in 1764 on the orders of Carlos III to defend the coast from the Barbary (North African) Pirates. Nine forts were constructed along the 390km stretch of coast between Garrucha (Almeria) and Manilva (Málaga). Occupied by French troops during the War of Independence, in the 20th century the fort became a Guardia Civil barracks. Although restored in 1991 and in excellent condition, sadly the fort is not open to the public. You can see into the courtyard through the iron railings at the entrance.

famous natural monument - the Fossil Dunes of Los Escullos

Just to the north of the hamlet is the famous natural monument, the Fossil Dunes of Los Escullos, where the sand dunes have become fossilised and turned to soft stone with a strange-looking narrow section which juts out like an arm. 

Just to the south where the tarmac road runs out, signs warn than only non-motorised vehicles can continue to San Jose. The coastal track offers spectacular views for walkers and cyclists. 

Offshore there is great scuba diving in Fondeado de los Escullosprotected zone.

Los Escullos is located just off the San Jose to Rodalquilar AL-4200 coast road at km 5.

Bus service from Los Escullos to Almeria with Autocares Bernardo

Bus to Almeria


Restaurants and hotels

In the village, Shaman Beach Club has a restaurant and bar, swimming pool and live entertainment - music and DJs, as well as all-night raves on Saturday nights. An alternative is to rave in the attended car park for 10 euro. In summer, Haima Escullos club offers music and drinks.

Hostal Casa Emilio has nine rooms and a perfectly acceptable restaurant and terrace with thick vegetation that acts as a wind break.

The dunes are overlooked by the more upmarket Hotel Los Escullos, open in the summer only, with chill-out lounge, pool and restaurant: it is a popular venue for weddings. Auto-caravans can camp overnight in the car park for a small fee.

Further inland towards San José you can find Camping Los Escullos and its restaurant El Oasis. 

BAR DE JO

Rated by many as one of the best barsin Andalucia - and certainly one of the most unusual - Bar de Jo was set up by a Harley Davidson-riding Frenchman in the early 1990s.

This is a true desert bar and beer garden with live music, in the middle of nowhere, offering an atmosphere which is a world away from the Andalucian coast. El Toxico is the possibly rum-based (ingredients are a closely-guarded secret) house shot. You can see live bands here many nights in summer.

Joe Strummer of the Clash called the bar his 'favourite place in the world' - he celebrated most of his last ten birthdays here, up to his sudden death in 2002. The bar always holds a tribute night to Joe Strummer on 21 August, his birthday.

The bar is a mecca for bikers, and Jo runs a small motorbike workshop, although the crowd is a mix of all types. Dogs are welcome too.

To get to the bar, head towards Camping Los Escullos and keep going to the end of the tarmac road. Continue 50m further and immediately after crossing a small stream, turn left turn down a smaller track - the bar is about 200m further along on the right-hand side. This track continues to Los Escullos village so you could also access from there. If so, take the track opposite Hostal Casa Emilio and keep right at the fork, with the fence always on your right-hand side, and you will reach the bar on your left after about one km. Open summer Mon to Fri 19.00 to 02.00, often later. Sundays 11.00 to 23.00.

FILMS

Sean Connery at Los Escullos in James Bond
Sean Connery at Los Escullos in James Bond 'Never Say Never Again

Los Escullos was the location for several scenes in the 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again. Stuntman Vic Armstrong doubled for Sean Connery and jumped with Kim Basinger on a horse from the battlements of Alcazaba de Almeria, landing in the sea off Los Escullos. The horse scene is only shown on the American DVD (Region 1) version, never on TV or on UK DVD (Region 2), due to concerns about treatment of the animal. View here

Underwater diving scenes from this classic Bond movie, were also shot here.

Les Dalton, a 2004 French comedy Western based on the Lucky Luke cartoon characters, was also filmed here.

NEAREST PLACES

The next villages are San José, Isleta del Moro, Rodalquilar