The beautiful bay of La Herradura is the envy of Almuñécar and one of the prettiest bays along the south coast of Spain. Two huge natural promontories, the Punta de la Mona and Cerro Gordo, protect a 2 km long sand beach that's one of the principal attractions to the area. Unlike almost anywhere along the coast, development has been restricted in height and you can still enjoy the contours of the natural setting.
The village of La Herradura lies to the eastern end of the bay where the main N340 road comes closest to the sea. At this point, by the gasoline station, there's the principal turning off the main road into the pueblo and down onto the beachfront.
To the west of town, heading towards the mouth of the Rio Jate, development is not so built up and there are fewer services. A narrow road off the paseo leads 100 m to the Castillo de la Herradura (see Watchtowers & Coastal Defences). At the end of the beach, in the shadow of Cerro Gordo, there's a camping, dive centre, hostal and a few restaurants. Continuing up the hill is a series of urbanisations, of which the oldest is in fact a collection of more than 10 different developments and phases, collectively known as Las Palomas. Beside this, creeping still higher up the flanks of Cerro Gordo, a big development is under way which will eventually be the largest in the immediate area, containing hotel, sports facilities, shopping and luxury residences.
North of the main road, the Rio Jate winds quickly into the hills past occasional clusters of farmhouses and a few holiday properties. There are few residential developments inland of the road, but they include two of the oldest and best known urbanisations - San Antonio and San Nicolás, both built in traditional pueblo style. Small orchards pocket the narrow valley floor as it twists and rises off the coast towards the beautiful inland area of El Rescate and Peña Escrita.
Throughout the length of the bay you'll find a large selection of chiringuitos, or beach bars, and there are a number of watersports clubs. The eastern half of the beachfront paseo, bordering the town, has been recently modified with a wooden walkway for pedestrians which is met half way along by another, higher paseo which starts 100 m up the Rambla de Espinar, crosses the Paseo de Andrés Segovia and heads out to sea, ending in a large mirador, or viewpoint.
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