As it turns out, it’s a really interesting, hidden treasure that is beautifully laid out on several levels, much bigger than I imagined and more importantly, an absolute bargain at just €2 entrance fee.
As I went there with my 3-year-old son Jack, it was pleasing to find that it wasn’t just tiny trees, there are a couple of large, and at times noisy, Macaws, and a pond full of large colorful fish, including Koi Carp. Jack really enjoyed watching the fish swimming around, just a couple of feet away, as he peered through the railings of the bridge that spans the water.
I’m not saying that the place rivals Kew Gardens, but it should be remembered that this little corner of Almuñécar holds the largest display of bonsai trees in the whole of Spain, all of them pampered and pruned in their miniature glory. And despite being hidden away in a quiet corner of the town, they are getting around 10,000 visitors a year to look at some 300 trees, when it first opened in 2008 the garden boasted just 120 trees.
A lot of the success must be put at the feet (or better said ‘green fingers’) of the guy that runs the place, José Antonio Joya Martín, who can only be described as a leader in the field of bonsai history and growing. He regularly gives lectures in the garden after closing time, to groups of people interested in taking up the art of growing and maintaining bonsai trees. He, along with his wife, run, maintain and care for this little Almuñécar gem.
If you are expecting towering oaks, swinging monkeys, sharks or heart stopping rides… think again. But, if you have an hour or two to kill, and maybe a little bit of interest in these tiny trees, some of which are hundreds of years old, then go and have a wander around Almuñécar’s Bonsai Garden Museum… a bargain by any standards.
All the exhibits have placards in both Spanish and English and despite the layout being on several levels, the entire park is accessible to everyone, regardless of their mobility.
Location: Avd. de Andalucía – Plaza Marruecos, Almuñécar. Tel. 698 286 385.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10.30h – 14.00h and 17.00h – 19.30h and Sundays: 10.30h – 14.00h
Entrance: Adults €2, Children and Pensioners €1