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"El Coto" hike in Istán with 19-month-old Oliver

Oct 18, 2016

Last Sunday Alex had a brilliant idea: take Oliver hiking for the first time. Before Oliver came, hiking was one of the weekend activities we loved the most, and it surely was the most appropriate to involve our dog Colbie. We were reminded of a very short hike in Istán, about 500m one direction and back, that would have been perfect for Oliver, so we decided to give it a try… and we all loved it!

If you live around Marbella or come visit with young toddlers, and want to do something different, get yourself in the nature and breathe fresh mountain air, Sierra de las Nieves is the place to go, and this particular short hike is just perfect for a morning outing and pic-nic! As the pictures speak for themselves, here’s a photo reportage of it, hope you’ll like it.

When you arrive to Istán (about 20 minutes from Marbella), an uphill on the right will take you to a little plaza where you can easily park. You’ll see a street like this on your right: it’ll take you straight to the beginning of the path (this is the only bit on actual concrete).

A couple hundred metres later, you’ll find the entrance to the “El Coto” path.

As you’ll read in the signs (I love signs and there are many along the path, with the names of different plants and animals!), EL Coto is an ancient network of Moorish irrigation channels that were used to transport the waters both for irrigation and domestic use, and is now a beautiful recreational area with bird cages and forest trails.

As today we wanted to take it as easy as possible, we decided to follow the main path ignoring the many different trails and natural stairs you can take (well, we did take a little detour ;-) But first, a little bit of sunscreen as the sun up here is quite strong!

As you can see, the irrigation channel extends throughout the whole trail (that’s where Colbie walked the whole time, in the water) and Oliver was so fascinated by it that he tried several times (like a million times) to climb down. On this trail you can also a big cage with many different small birds and one with two beautiful white ducks.

You’ll also see lots of different plants and trees, including fruit trees (we spotted lemons, chestnuts, avocados and figs) and almost at the end of the off-road path, before getting on the concrete street, you’ll pass a little house with hens and roosters. And there are also fountains with running mountain water where you can drink from.

When you get to the concrete street, you’re at the end of the path, where we turned back and traced our steps back to the main entrance, making it a bit more fun as Oliver was getting tired of walking…

Detour to the Nacimiento del Nogal

Before getting to the end of the path, on the left, you’ll see a sign that says, “Nacimiento del Nogal”. I know we had decided not to take detours, but this looked like a short one (as we could hear the water very close) that Oliver could definitely take, so we decided to give it a try. It was so worth it and full of adventures!

We passed a cute little bridge and continued on the path on our right (maybe next time we’ll take the left one).

We arrived to a little “plaza” and crossed one of the irrigation channels.

And we finally arrived to our goal, the Nacimiento del Nogal (the source of the Nogal).

Of course, we wanted to know where that little path you see on the left of the irrigation channel leads to, so we climbed down the (very slippery) stone steps on the left and followed it to a gorgeous spot immersed in the forest, surrounded by trees, with the sun light shining through the branches and giving the effect of million shades of green all around us. Beautiful! Unfortunately, the pictures really don’t capture it.

Or our way to the Istán village, Colbie got so, so dirty by walking in the water and rolling on the dirt…

But we couldn’t be happier :-)

When we got the parking plaza, we decided to still walk into the village and sit down for a coffee in the only cafe we found (crossing the plaza and straight straight straight) to give Colbie a chance to dry up before getting in the car. Oh, of course Oliver fell asleep at once as soon as the engine started!

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I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.