Costa Tropical, sometimes called the “Costa Granada”, is the Mediterranean coastline of the province of Granada, Spain, in the heart of historical Andalucia.
The backbone of the area is the N-340 coastal highway, extending southwest-northeast along the coast, to the border with France. Heading east from Málaga, the Costa Tropical begins after passing through the last towns in the Málaga province of Nerja and Maro. It begins at the fishing village of La Herradura on the Granada province border, and continues past the town of Castillo de Baños upon entering the Almería province.
Consisting of mainly agricultural areas and quaint resort towns and villages, Costa Tropical is set apart from the rest of the Spanish coast by its mountains, the Sierra Nevada range among them, that come to meet the Mediterranean Sea along a rugged coastline. The effect is stunning, resembling the Pacific Coast highway that runs through the southern coast of California, USA, a location frequently filmed in cinema for dramatic effect.
Costa Tropical has no flat areas for extensive urban sprawl, and the area is somewhat unpopulated in contrast to the rest of the Spanish coast. The region is less dry but more lush than the surrounding areas and the mountain range provides it with a pleasant “micro-climate” of mild winters and mild summers relative to the interior of Spain, with temperature differences of 10 degrees Celsius relative to the area on the other side of the mountains.
This micro-climate gave way to the birth of a local industry, that of growing avocados, which were imported from California in the sixties by a local American resident as an experiment to see if they would grow or not. Well they certainly did, and since then, the Costa Tropical has become one of the very few areas in the whole of Spain producing this tropical fruit, exporting to the rest of Spain and Europe.
The landmark towns of the Costa Tropical are Almuñécar, with a population of just over 23,000, and Motril, with a population of just over 56,000. Almuñécar is mainly a resort town and agricultural center. As with other towns on the Spanish coast, it recently saw an unprecedented housing and construction boom. Motril, however, is much less of a tourist destination, and is primarily an agricultural and manufacturing center with a small seaport. The less developed areas and small towns lend a characterization of the Costa Tropical as more traditional than the larger region to the west, the Costa del Sol. It is also more affordable.
Rich with historical treasures, the Costa Tropical features pre-historic cave paintings in nearby Nerja and several Roman ruins including buildings, fish salting factories, roads, bridges, and irrigation systems still in use; as well as abundant remains of the many-centuries domination by Arab conquerors.