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The swimming pool and glamping tents at the Don Cactus campsite in Carchuna. Ideal
These are the Granada campsites that are focusing on glamping and sustainability
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These are the Granada campsites that are focusing on glamping and sustainability

Two sites in the Andalusian province in the south of Spain have invested heavily and reinvented themselves to offer a more luxurious way for people to holiday

Andrea G. Parra

Granada

Monday, 17 June 2024, 16:16

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Glamping is catching on in Granada province with two campsites reinventing themselves to offer a more luxurious way to camp. At Don Cactus campsite eight 'glamping' bungalows were launched in 2022, while Playa del Poniente campsite in Motril has also recently upgraded its facilities.

Álvaro García is the current manager of Don Cactus, which his parents started back in 1973. He says that his glamping tents are fully equipped with kitchens including dishwasher, bathroom, terrace overlooking the new swimming pool (covered during the winter months) and a lot more besides, without losing sight of the idea that the guest is still camping. Don Cactus has come a long way since the 1970s when Álvaro's parents came to the Costa Tropical from the north of Spain.

Ideal

García says he has a "very good team" who have invested in the site with a view to attracting year-round guests rather than just attracting people in summer. It attracts campers from both Spain and the rest of the world. In winter the majority are Germans, Belgians, French and Italians. They have also received people from Australia and New Zealand.

In summer the campers tend to be mainly Spanish families who come to the Granada coast from all over Spain. They book in August for the following summer. García notes that there has been an upturn in the number of Spanish campers who, after the pandemic, rediscovered and in some cases discovered the world of camping.

located on Carchuna beach, Don Cactus has no shortage of clients. Bookings work "very well". Their strategy of cheaper prices for advance bookings as well as offering refunds means that people reserve, according to García. They have a capacity to accommodate around 1,100 people among the approximately 250 plots and thirty bungalows.

In 2023 campsites in Granada received a total of 147,107 travellers who registered 501,248 overnight stays with an average stay of 3.41 days according to data from the Andalusian Institute of Statistics and Cartography, using the INE's Campsite Occupancy Survey.

Since 1990

According to the same statistics, there were around twenty registered campsites of this type in Granada. On the coast, Playa de Poniente in Motril is another popular campsite. It has been open since 1990 and is run by siblings Francisco Jorge and María del Carmen López López.

The area where their grandparents' finca used to be was designated for camping use in Motril's general urban plan (PGOU). It was used for the cultivation of sugarcane, and "we usually came to spend the summer with the family", the siblings remember. "My brother Francisco had studied tourism, having worked in campsites, and we thought setting up the campsite was the right thing to do," says Carmen.

The site is about 28,000 square metres in size and is located next to the sea opposite the Rey Balduino promenade. It has 202 plots and 19 bungalows with a total capacity for 689 people. "We maintain good occupancy throughout the year, in winter, with foreigners coming mainly from Europe to spend the season, and a more varied clientele in summer, mainly Spanish families with shorter stays", they explain. The most popular nationalities are Germans, French, Dutch, British, Belgians, Swiss, some Italians, and of course Spaniards.

Ideal

The campsite offers a restaurant, supermarket, swimming pool, children's playground, paddle tennis court, tennis, table tennis, canoe and bicycle rental and a programme of entertainment depending on the season.

Last year 19,688 campers stayed at the site and in July and August, 10,982. Overnight stays were 78,048. Throughout the 34 years of the campsite's history, they have noticed an evolution in the type of client. "In the early years they were people who were fond of camping and nature, who came in tents or small caravans and campers. They paid more attention to the environment and natural conditions than to comfort. In fact, many of them didn't even need an electricity connection," they recall.

Now, however, clients are more demanding. "They are looking for more comfort and more entertainment, but they still value the open spaces and the quality of life in the area, together with the climate, which is so exceptional on the Costa Tropical. When in Germany or Switzerland they can hardly go outside, here they spend the whole winter in short sleeves, in the sun and cycling," the owners say, adding, "The sociability of life in the south is something that Nordic customers particularly value."

The good thing about the campsites, according to Carmen López, is the interrelationship between people of all ages, origins and social types. She says the people who come with tents "all live together and make friends" with the clients who stay in their 200,000-euro motorhomes.

Sustainable enterprises

Promoting sustainability is also in the campsites' DNA. They have always done so, but they want to go further according to Álvaro García from the Don Cactus campsite in Carchuna explains it. They try to ensure that the sustainability strategy is present in all their management.

"The Germans are the ones who recycle the most, they separate everything," he comments. Carmen López from Playa de Poniente campsite says: "The very nature of the business means that we try to maintain and transform the activity so that the environmental impact is kept to a minimum. Every year we plant countless trees, and the campsite area is a green lung and a refuge for a multitude of birds."

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