Me/us and the project
I am a Dutch guy from Amsterdam, who recently acquired a plot of land (3,250 m2) with a little cottage in the mountains on the Costa Tropical. The land is currently mostly covered with an active vineyard. A local takes care of the vines, to sell the actual grapes and to make wine (Moscatel) from it. The cottage is quite small (about 45 m2) and very basic and as the other cortijo's in the mountains nearby, is not connected to the municipality's services. My boyfriend and I have an apartment in busy Amsterdam, but we've been travelling here many times, eventually buying our camper van and these plots of land with this small cortijo/cottage. My boyfriend is finishing his studies in Amsterdam, but I am generally very flexible to choose to stay for a week or two in Spain and work on the project. Sometimes he'll be joining as well, but since his time is limited, we'll probably spend it together without having a volunteer during that time. I bought it with a long-term vision and I have various future use in mind, involving many projects.
There is no normal bathroom and toilet (yet). We will be using a camping shower for now and a compost toilet (always) without the usage of water or sewer system, but just create an eco-friendly composting system on the plot of land. There is limited power from the solar panels and no WiFi. But if your phone provider has internet in the EU then you'll probably find a good 3G connection.
Outside of the project work, we'll just run a living together, which includes buying and preparing food - very important at least three times each day that would be nice to share with volunteer(s). Of course normal cleaning and keeping the place tidy is also needed and shared.
Personally we're eating almost always vegetarian, we're young, easy going and open-minded, non-smokers, but we're open to any volunteer who is enthusiastic about the project and respectful to other people and nature. With all contacts in life we care about those values and we have built many great long-lasting friendships. Perhaps also with some volunteers who can then see how the project evolves over time that they've helped building in the initial phase!
Best climate for humans and fruits :D
The Costa Tropical (or Costa de Granada) has a micro-climate. Nearby Andalusian cities such as Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada are rather extreme with summer days often hit 40° C and can be cold in winter. The nearby provincial capital of Granada can hit 0° C during the night, as it lies in the Sierra Nevada. From the generally sunny Costa Tropical in a pleasant temperature you can see its snow tops while driving up the mountain! The Costa Tropical is called after the tropical fruits that grow here due to it's year long nice climate, one of the nicest in Europe: in winter the day temperature is usually 17-18° C. In summer it's usually 22-26° C. Nearby Málaga is generally more subject to weather change and rain. Since the cortijo is at 1000 m altitude, it's generally pleasantly cool outside. Inside it heats and cools very slowly, so it's warm on winter nights and cool on warmer summer days and nights.
The views are 360° (not Celsius) and stunning as the South side is looking down the mountain (including a white village, beautifully lit overnight) towards the coastline, where you see Salobreña Alto (old mountainous town with castle and Bajo (with a huge beach) and further away La Herradura (other fun nearby coastal towns behind the mountain are Almuñecar and Nerja). On a bright day you can see the coast of Africa.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Travellers can enjoy the off-grid life in the mountains and that way learning how you can have an amazing time:
-engage in many important projects that will be in use right after
-enjoy the outside life in a very pleasant climate
-get to know the off-grid life (use of alternative energy and water resources, drainage, etc. compared to normal houses)
-see how we can do without certain luxury from modern life
-what life is like and how to feel good with no bars and shops within 30 mins travel time
being outside between the grapes, in nature around
-you can get to know Andalusian culture, that influenced much of Spain. In your free time you can include that in your food, drinks at home or at bars and restaurants in the mountain/coastal villages nearby and historic Moorish cities such as Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, Seville and further west Cadiz, Ronda, Jerez de la Frontera. The whole Costa Tropical region has an amazing cuisine, and most bars offer tapas alongside the drink you order. You can imagine why we love it and bought this place! You can also enjoy flamenco music and dance, beautiful architecture from several kingdoms,
-enjoy the nature around you: sleep outside while watching a sky full of stars
-sports: apart from exercises in and around the house, go and hike, run, mountainbike, swim in the sea, parapent, kitesurf, dive, ski (and go to the beach on the same day!)
-exchange skills with me/us. I am an entrepreneur, teacher and I can help you learn and practice languages (perhaps in your own as I've learned more than 10), share travel and life experience and world views, love to cook, have a broad interest and I'm eager to learn from others as well and very open-minded and respectful to other people.
Project work (5 hrs/day, 5 days per wk)
Depending on the needs during the period and a volunteer's skills and preferences, activities may include:
-renovation/small construction: paint walls in/outside, roof, fix holes in the wall, fit the solar panels, help build a terrace, porch, sitting area, improve the driveway, walkway stairs, bathroom, create/improve irrigation system, water tank (saving for plant irritation, which we might construct so it can be used as a pool/tub! ;
-farming and gardening: maintain the vines (the baby grapes are visible since March and fully grown in September) plant and maintain tropical fruit trees, herb garden, compost system, irrigation system ;
-refurbishment: putting simple furniture together or for those creative/handy ones feel free to write me if you want to make something of your own! ;
Chinese (Mandarin): Beginner
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
Please contact them directly for more information.
Although the cortijo/cottage is basic as described, you will be able to sleep in one of the two rooms, which will have two one person beds with new clean pillows and linen provided, so you don't have to bring any (although you're welcome to of course). Depending on the period, this room is for your private use or shared, which I can let you know when you contact me.
We're happy to provide you with food throughout your stay and share breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks with you.
Larger Andalusian cities nearby are Málaga at 1 hour drive west from our highway exit, Granada (1 hour North from our highway exit), Córdoba (2,5), Sevilla (3h) or further away Valencia (5h) or Madrid (5h) -or even Barcelona (9h) or Africa 20 min ride + 7h boat ;) Please note that from the highway exit, it's still another 25 minutes up the mountain to the cortijo, but I could pick you up from your bus stop or if you like airport (Malaga/Granada). You might enjoy combining your time at the cortijo with visits to some of these great cities at the beginning and/or end of your stay or with other locations in national parks nearby, such as Cabo de Gata or in Sierra Nevada.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Your campervan would need to be high and ideally 4x4 in case the rain created holes in the mountainous dirt track!
It depends on the size of pet;)
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week