La Sauceda is an abandoned village that dates back to Moorish times, located approximately 45 minutes’ drive north from Jimena de la Frontera on the C-3321 country road, 4km from the top of the Puerto de Galiz pass. Its isolated location deep in the Alcornocales Natural Park is actually within the municipal district of Cortes de la Frontera in Malaga province.
Due to its remoteness, La Sauceda was used as a refuge following the morisco rebellion in 1570, and again in the 19th century by smugglers and bandits. It is also known for being the last place of Republican resistance in the Sierras de Cadiz during the Spanish Civil War.
Many Republicans fleeing from Jerez area towards Malaga took refuge here, doubling the population at the time to about 1,000. At the beginning of November 1936, five months into the Civil War, the Nationalists bombed La Sauceda and followed through with a ground assault. The residents were taken to a camp at the nearby Cortijo de El Marrufo (4km from Puerto Galiz on the A-375), where many were summarily executed. About 30 bodies exhumed at Marrufo in 2011 have been laid to rest in the little cemetery opposite the village entrance. The Casa Memoria de la Sauceda is a museum with more information on these events located at Calle Sevilla 52, Jimena de la Frontera.
About 20 of the old stone cottages at the site have now been restored and can be rented. Alternatively, you can simply visit the village and see the ruined chapel, restored bread oven and mill. As you would expect from a place surrounded by such natural beauty, you can take part in many outdoor activities in and around the site, for example hiking and mountain biking on various trails; bird watching and nature photography.
The accommodation provided at La Sauceda is very basic, and is recognized as a refuge in beautiful natural unspoiled surroundings. It is very popular with large families and groups of friends. Each stone lodge has a fireplace and tables and chairs; beds and mats are provided to sleep on, but not bedding, so campers need to bring a sleeping bag.
Firewood and charcoal are available to buy on site, as well as ice storage. The huts do not have electricity, nor is there mobile phone coverage. Barbeques, toilet and shower blocks are located nearby. In total there are 17 huts for rent located in five clearings in the forest, located a few km along the path that leads to top of Mount Aljibe.
The reception building is located near the C-3311, where cars must be parked. All overnight baggage and food must be carried up the path; however there is a luggage transport service available for a small fee. A small shop is available at reception. La Sauceda is an interesting place, and provides an opportunity to live in the forest and experience life without modern-day cars, electricity or telephones.