Discovering Mojacar: Land of Enchantment

I’m from South America, I speak English and Spanish, I lived a while in Tampa (USA), and came to Mojacar 17 years ago to never leave.

As a citizen of Mojacar, I see people arriving each year from many countries with the intention to retire here or start a new life either alone or with their families, working for others or opening their own businesses. Many do very well, others have problems or adjustment difficulties due to the lack of information they had about Mojacar before coming.

Keep in mind that Spain has a unique, singular and own culture, and should never be compared with the country of origin, because all you get is to see everything black. You have to go to Spain with an open mind and a readiness to integrate into a lively and rich culture in all aspects.

From my point of view, the crisis has affected the standard of living in Spain, especially in big cities, however, in terms of quality of life, I do not know any better country than Spain to live in, and I’ve traveled a lot. Mojacar is safe, as almost every small town in Spain.

- Mojacar is easy to live at,

- Mojacar has a healthy weather, Mojacar is very affordable,

- Mojacar has a good transportation system and offers a 70% discount for elderly people over 65 years old,

and

- Mojacar, as the rest of Spain offers free health attention and treatments for citizens and residents.

What is it that makes Mojacar so special?

To answer this question, I must expose some facts:

- Mojacar Is located at the east of the province of Almeria. Bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, its waters are calm and warm and plenty of sandy beaches. Mojacar has two urban centers: the beach, with 17 km long, and the village at 1.8 km from the beach towards the mountain. You can choose to live in either of those.

With a population of 7,000 inhabitants Mojacar is located at 37 ° 08 ‘north latitude and 1º 51′ west longitude. The houses are facing south-east, cardinal points that offer the most favorable conditions due to the greater permanence of the sun, providing more light and better temperatures. In Mojacar there are 3,600 hours of sunlight per year.

- The average winter temperature is 18 degrees Celsius.

- Mojacar Is multicultural: around 30 nationalities are registered in the municipal census. Almost 40% of people living in Mojacar are from the UK.

- Its landscape consists of rugged and eroded peaks of Sierra Cabrera, where springs abound; its hillsides, with terracing and arable land; and the coast, with its beaches and coves. I must say that Mojacar is in a semi-desert area near the largest desert in Europe (Taverns), so the vegetation is low, there are not enormous trees or forests. This is something that many people love, but others, accustomed to other climates, do not support. I love it!

- Mojacar Is a typical mediterranean “white village”, where the construction of buildings over 3 levels are not allowed, and since January 2013, Mojacar is part of the network’s most beautiful villages in Spain.

- Mojacar Is 90 km from the capital of the province (Almeria) and 150 km from the capital of neighboring province (Murcia). This keeps it in a rural setting with basic services and away from the bustle of cities. The closest airport is located at 70 km from Mojacar. The Health Center offers primary care and there is a Regional Hospital 25 km in the neighboring town of Huercal-Overa. If you are registered as a formal resident or citizen, then health attention and treatments are totally free, and medicines are set at a ridiculous cheap price. Mojacar has no superstores or fast food franchises or branded clothing big shops. The shops are small but very nice.

- The main source of income is summer tourism, the winter months are quiet and sedate. In fact, many businesses closed during the winter months to reopen when the tourist season starts again, which runs from April to September.

And here we stop with the “data”, now let’s talk about how people live in Mojacar.

Mojacar jobs are scarce during the winter and that makes many young people have to leave during the winter months to seek work in other provinces. This also happens because the shops are small and do not need employees during the winter. The average wage in the service sector is 1,200 euros per month during the high season, and 900 euros in the winter months. Although there are many 4 star hotels, some close in winter due to lack of tourism.

The best businesses to run in Mojacar are B&B’s that are easily managed online and restaurants of “tapas” (we’ll talk about the “tapas” below). Also small shops like “gourmet” stores are very successful. Restaurants, services related to food suppliers, cheap bazaars, hardware stores and anything related to agriculture and livestock work basically in winter. Organic products are highly demanded.

For people who seek to live in a rural setting, Mojacar is ideal. The business of snail farms is also booming due to low costs and high profits. In Spain thousands of kilos of snails per year are consumed, and domestic production is low, so it is a perfect business for a place like Mojacar.

Because of its climate, Mojacar crops from almost anything are successful, the most profitable are vegetables, aloe vera, stevia, moringa and vetiver.

Livestock is based on raising goats and sheep, rabbits, pigs and chickens. The goatherd job still exists and goats and sheep graze freely on the fields guided by the goatherd and his dogs and then return to the pens at nightfall. This makes it very common to see hundreds of animals crossing the road, and sometimes we have to wait…

Professional and official translators, mainly English, German, Chinese, Romanian, French, Italian and Russian are highly requested. Also dentists, physiotherapists, decorators, bricklayers, plumbers, gardeners and especially electricians are needed. Electricity power runs at 220V.

ADSL Internet is about 8 Mb (yes, 8 MB!) but can perfectly maintain a business online at that speed. For example, I live in the mountains, navigate at 2.5 Mb and I do good…

As for housing, renting a duplex with two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the beach is around 400-500 euros per month. Sometimes it is difficult to find a rental, because people prefer to rent homes only in the summer to double or triple the price and enjoy them on the winter months, but you can always find something. The best thing is word of mouth, because the realtors charge a lot of money in commissions, so it’s better to ask for housing at the bazaar, the bar, the supermarket or at the cigarettes store.

If you want to buy a property, get good advice, as there are many “illegal” homes. Mojacar protects its territory by coastal laws, and not every piece of land is developable. The problem of buying an illegal house built on undeveloped land, is that the city can give a demolition order and you can lose everything. Be very careful with unscrupulous real estate agents. It is best to go to the Land Registry and check that the house we want to buy is in order. It is a simple procedure, but many foreigners do not know it and fall into the trap. The price of a duplex with two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the beach is around 150,000-200,000 euros depending on the area.

Social life in Mojacar is easy if you like going out. There are various leisure activities for all ages: adventure, quads, cycling and motorcycling clubs, archery, fishing, bocce club, bowling, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, sailing, kayaking, diving… and of course, “tapas” bars!

The “tapa” is a small portion of food that is given away every time you order a drink. There is a culture around tapas and a real competition to see which bar makes the best tapas. We go to a tapas bar usually for an aperitif before lunch or dinner. It is also a social act. When a group of friends get together, they usually go for tapas and a pleasant chat.

The schedules are different in Spain… and very different!

In Spain, shops open at 10:00 and close at 14:00. Between 14:30 and 16:30 people eat and sleep the famous “siesta”. Shops reopen again at 17:00 and close at 21:00. We work eight hours like everyone else, but we don´t wake up early and we sleep for a while after eating. This schedule is often difficult for foreigners, they do not understand the importance of rest in Spain. With this type of schedule, you have plenty of time to go to the bank in the morning or if you want to go a “churros” breakfast before working. The churros are delicious dipped in chocolate or coffee. They are fried dough sticks with sugar and are the National Breakfast! Then when we finish work at 14:00, we have time for tapas, eat, sleep or even go to the beach for a flash swim. And at night, we can have a few beers after work with friends or dine quietly at home. That’s what I call Quality of Life.

Mojacar: sun and light, sea and beaches, mountains, clean air, quiet, rural life, fine dining, great weather, leisure, culture and fun. What more could you ask for?

Greetings to all from the Land of Enchantment!