How to cool down in an Alpujarran summer ~ Junta de los Ríos, Pórtugos
By the time that we finally reached the end of August here in La Alpujarra it felt like we had had heat upon heat, heaped upon yet more heat. We needed to find somewhere to cool off where nobody else would think of going. Following the advice of local friends we headed up into the pine forrest above the Alpujarran village of Pórtugos in search of the waterfall at Junta de los Ríos, where two rivers meet.
These days when we take ourselves off for an adventure, which involves driving through a little village and off up a dirt track, we have the consummate 4 year old back seat driver to accompany us and punctuate the journey with such excellent questions as “Are we lost?” or “Why does day turn into night?” and again “Are we lost?”. This trip was no exception, and we could hardly blame her because the track up to the waterfall from Pórtugos is dusty and long and there aren’t many signs offering encouragement.
The key to finding the waterfall is obviously to make all the correct turns, but more importantly to keep going even when you think that the track will go on forever and that this can’t possibly be right. Carry on. Here are directions and a location map is at the bottom of the page.
Turn off the A-4132 for Pórtugos where you see the sign for Centro Cuidad. The road bends up to the left and on your right you will see a large white building with the sign Jamones Diego Martín. Keep going until you get to a right turn (a route map of the Barranco Pórtugos is on the pavement to your left) that is actually signposted Area Recreativa Junta de los Ríos. Take this turn and almost immediately you will see the Farmacia where you need to turn right again. Stick to the right as you follow this narrow road out of the village.
After a few hundred meters you will come to a fork where the concreted road switches back or you can go straight onto a dust track. Go straight on. From here it will take about half an hour on the windy, dusty track high up into the pine and oak wood until you see the next sign for the Area Recreativa 2.6km. Keep going for that final bit until you see a 200m sign for a turn-off to the left. Up ahead is a shady area with picnic tables. You will also know that you have arrived because of the sound of the waterfall.
Under the waterfall
I’m a sucker for a waterfall. I can’t resist them, so I was straight in under the water in my polka dot bikini. It might be a little strong for little ones but the paddling in the pool below is good and the temperature of the water was deliciously chilly after the hot and dusty ride up from Pórtugos. You can also scramble down a short way below the waterfall if you are just a little bit intrepid, in sensible shoes and do not have a four year old in tow.
We had the waterfall to ourselves the whole time and the only people that we saw were a family arriving at the picnic area just as we were leaving and a couple of local lads on tractors on our way back down the track. The views from the road and when you arrive, which look out at Sierra Lújar and down on the villages of Pitres and Pórtugos, are fantastic so don’t forget your camera. Here’s some video.