Las Negras takes its name from the mountain to the the left of the village, El Cerro Negro (“The Black Mountain”). This is a large mass of dark volcanic material, which has spread over the sea and beaches of the town as an effect of erosion, now filling the stony shoreline with its colour. The village has around 350 inhabitants.
Legend has it that Las Negras was founded in the wake of a tragedy; the men of the nearby town of San Pedro had endured a rough night at sea and never returned. The widowed women, accustomed to working in agriculture, felt the need to approach nearby villages in order to survive, and from these interactions, a new settlement developed. This history also provides two variations of the origin of the village’s name; one says that it was the founders’ black mourning wear which inspired ‘Las Negras’, whilst another much darker legend relates to the elders of the area presenting a group of sailors with two black slaves. Those who prefer a more objective explanation for the village’s name need only look toward the volcanic mound of El Cerro Negro nearby.
The primitive settlement of Las Negras was dominated by the watchtower, formerly the Civil Guard Headquarters. There are accounts of inhabitants venturing out by rowing boat or donkey every day, along the steep paths to the small towns in search of food or communication with the rest of the world.
THINGS TO SEE
Molino de Los Méndez
No maintenance had been undertaken to preserve this traditional mill until a torrential coastal downpour prompted a restoration plan, not only to preserve a piece of history, but also in order to save the original wooden machinery that can still be seen today. The site is located on Calle Batiscafo.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Castillo de San Pedro
This was once the site of a military construction during the Muslim Era, however, in the sixteenth century a defensive tower was built here. The successive earthquakes of the seventeenth century, particularly in 1614, 1658 and 1680, left it seriously damaged. Although it was rebuilt and equipped with weapons at the end of the seventeenth century, it was in the eighteenth century that, as a result of attacks by English and French ships, the fortress was fully rebuilt and expanded, resulting in its current structure. These works were executed between 1767 and 1772. In the nineteenth century, the fortress’s artillery was removed, before it was further restored. It can be found north of Las Negras, on the coast.
Cala de San Pedro
This cove has a spring that has made it an oasis amidst the arid lands of the park. Its subtropical flora, calm waters, lack of car access and designation as a nudist beach have all made it the congregational space for a small hippie community. In recent years, despite the efforts of the local population and the prohibition of camping in the Natural Park, the cove and its surroundings have deteriorated as a result of the overcrowding and poor living conditions of the hippie settlements. This is worsened by passing visitors not respecting the cove. The cove can be accessed either on foot (40-minute walk) or by boat (approx. €6) from Las Negras.
The settlement of Las Negras is framed between the coves known as “el Puntón” and the cliff called “Cerro Negro” . The two coves that make up the coastline of this town are protected by a natural rock barrier, called “Las Esperillas” , which is only discoverable at low tide. On the slopes of the Cerro Negro, there are other virgin coves and caves, where diving is highly recommended. Walking towards the southernmost limits, visitors discover the Peñon del Gitano and Caleta del Cuervo, which offer accommodation such as Camping La Caleta. There is a diving centre, Diving Las Negras, offering diving outings and boat trips.
Cabo de Gata Natural Park
Covering 45,663ha in the south-eastern corner of Spain, Cabo de Gata-Níjar is Andalucia’s largest coastal protected area, a wild and isolated landscape with some of Europe’s most unique geological features. The eponymous mountain range is Spain’s largest volcanic rock formation, with sharp peaks and crags in ochre hues. It falls steeply to the sea, creating jagged 100m high cliffs, which are riven by gullies leading to hidden coves with white sandy beaches, some of the most beautiful in Andalucia. Offshore are numerous tiny rocky islands and, underwater, extensive coral reefs teeming with marine life.
Visitors to Las Negras can enjoy dishes such as caldo colorao (red pepper soup), gurullos (pasta based stew), caracoles en salsa (snails), carne con tomate (stewed meat), cazuela de pescado (fish stew) and berza (pork and chickpea stew). Sweets include tortas de aceite (olive oil torts), roscos de anis (aniseed biscuits) and leche frita (fried custard).
Popular festivals in Las Negras are the Noche de San and the summer Fiestas Patronales. More>