In Pictures: Review of Camping Los Batanes in a Chain of Lagoons, Days 12-14

On day 12 of our family camping road trip from Spain to Poland this year, we finally leave Andalucia and with it, a piece of our hearts, for the our kids grew up in it, even blossomed in it, and our family gained a little bit more peaceful perspective by appreciating the small things in life that carries more positive consequences. Okay, okay!! Enough of that Kumbaya moment. . .

Here’s a review in pictures of Campingred Los Batanes, some 275 kilometers to our cool cave living in the dry hinterlands of Guadix, and another 100 kilometers to the highest campground we’ve pitched a tent on–Camping Trevelez; some 1,560 meters above sea level in the high Alpujarras of Andalucia . . . Big Smile!

Descriptions follow the end of the pictures, for those of you who want to know more. Enjoy!

Campingred Los Batanes sits almost right in the middle of a chain of 15 lakes (lagos) of Ruidera with emerald green waters, spectacular scenery and geological features, natural dams and ecological environment; all in the heartland of Castilla La Manch. You know, Don Quixote? So, lots of quiet places here for hiking, trekking, sweet-water swimming (maybe a little cold) and other water-loving activities.
Slow and happy cooking of omelette, lentil and rice on gravel ground of our camping plot, while sipping on truly Andalusian summer libations of tinto de verano and clarita de limon.

It gets quite quiet here, almost just crickets by 11 o’clock at night. That’s strange considering we are in Spain where people tend to come alive beginning at 10 pm, and considering the density of the camping site–there are a lot of people here at this time. Makes me reconsider. . . maybe that was just in the south, in Andalucia?

On leg 6 of our fourth family camping, road trip with kids, we moved from Camping Trevelez in the Sierra Nevada, some 1,560 meters above sea level, to the emerald lakes in the land of Don Quixote.
For the boys, no matter where we camp in Europe, it’s all about playgrounds and swimming pools. This bigger-than-average swimming pool (with a smaller one for, well, smaller kids) was quite tempting in the simmering Andalusian summer heat. We were wondering why no one was in the pool. And then the boys jumped right in. Watch out! Highland COLD water, especially when shaded by the trees.
Playgrounds are always a nice family friendly addition that our children appreciate . . . what child wouldn’t anyway?!? Here, there was a big area next to the people for rock-climbing, zip line and kid-friendly activities (as shown) with “animators”–basically younger adult-organizers hired by the campsite. There’s also a separate area for ping-pong and petanque (what the heck is a pletanque?!?!).
Compared to the size and capacity of the campground, this is small playground but sufficient to meet the needs of kids to play with other kids.
The more rustic but clean and larger bathroom/WC #2. Nice to see solar panels on th eroof. No problem with hot water. The bathroom is abit tight with one entry/exit point each. But there was no problem with social distancing during Covid years when we visited –as campers were pretty much self-regulating.
Camping Los Batanes bar/restaurant (one of two; the other at the swimming pool area) with outdoor seating andsufficiently basic grocery store. This beer is across from the palyground for when dads decide to have a bit of beer and tapas.

After a family GAP YEAR. . . that turned into over four years, living in Jerez de la Frontera, it’s finally time for our semi-nomadic family to move again, this time to Poland, from one camping site to the next.

Slow down as you approach Camping Los Batanes. You cannot tell from this picture but it could get busy here with cars, caravans and campervans going in/out of the gated entry. Then, there are bends on the narrow two-way road with parked cars on both sides and pedestrians going to/from souvenir shops and restaurants.
Clean, spacious and modernized WC/bathroom with such poor ventilation that you may wanna hold your breathe a while those who enter after somebody’s morning coffee kicked in. Campers are for the most part respectful of social distancing measures during this Covid-19 pandemic.

REVIEW of Camping Los Batanes in a Chain of Lakes in the South of Spain

Here’s something that can help plan your camping in this part of the Sierra Nevada of Andalucia.

We did not even know it until we arrived that Camping Los Batanes is in the middle of a chain of 15 lakes that make up the Lagunas de Ruidera (Lakes of Ruidera). That would be a great place to spend a week camping and exploring the many different outdoorsy things you can do here. I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

This place is huge with about 280 plots/parcels of varying sizes and uses, in addition to few bungalows, with 10 parallel streets in the camping site. (picture of camp map/plan is available at the bottom of this page).

Huge place with lots of family-friendly, kid-aaproved amenities come at a higher-than average camping price.

What we like about this camping Site? 

Paradise!–that’s Camping Los Batanes in a word. Children’s paradise that is, well almost. That means, good for parents and the entire family too.

It’s a great place for kids to meet new friends. Three days is not enough for this stay. For our future camping, it would be nice to stay in places like this for a week per camping site. . . boys find new friends at the small playground. they have been in there for almost an hour and during the many activities, including “MOVIE NIGHTS!”

What we don’t like about this camping?

What not to like about Camping Los Batanes?

Every time it was time to cook or eat, it reminds me of a Depeche Mode song “There are flies on the windscreen” here. Yup, there are lots of flies here. These flies (moscas in Spanish) are a real pain-in-the-you-know-what. We can’t even do the most basic things without these little pesky fuckers getting in the way. For next roadtrip, make sure we have a sticky fly catcher thing for insects and mosquitoes.

Lessons learned through lesters earned: Bring fox spray for anti-cats and mosquito repellebnts while we’re at it.

NOTE: In case you’re wondering. . . NO, we have not received (nor expect to receive) any form of compensation or freebies or anything at all for reviewing or mentioning this or any others on our blog.  We do because it may be helpful to you and others. And it’s fun too!

On our 4th family camping road trip in Europe, we spend a week camping in the mountains of Las Alpujarras–both in the sunnysouthside of the Sierra Nevada and on the otherside in the desertlands and caves of Granada. We begin our trip in Orgiva, near Pampaneira, visiting the white villages of Capileira, Bubion, Pampaneira, Yegen and Trevelez before heading to the caves of Guadix.

PRICE

Higher than average price at €46.50 euros (tax included) for a family of four (two kids–one under six years old) in a 4-person tent with electricity at the beginning of the summer season (mid July). It was €32.80 at the last camping in Trevelez–the highest white village in Spain.

Price Breakdown per night: NOT AVAILABLE.

€x.xx for a 4-person tent, €x.xx car, €x for electricity, €x.xx per adult, €x for children under 12 years old.

PITCH

How’s the pitch/plot? Big square area on gravely ground–two times the size of a normal pitch-plot that we’ve been camped at so far. This gives our boys more area for private play. Our camping area had about five meters length each side.

Plenty of room for our (now-bigger) 4-person Amayama tent, dining area with two tables and 4 chairs. We were on B11 (see picture of campinground map at the bottom)

The car was in front of the plot, between the tent and the road, adding a bit of protection and privacy.

Pitch groundcover

Nice to have small white gravel/stones because they minimize dust and dirt when kids would run around or when cars would pass by. This kind of stony ground plot is, I think, mainly for camping caravans and not necessarily real tent-campers.

The gravel stones are not deep. After about 2 to 3 centimeters of gravel, our aluminum pegs hit dirt. Only one of four pegs won’t sink. And we broke another one.

Privacy

There’s some well-maintained privacy hedges of about 1.5 to 2 meters high on three sides. Not much in another camping section closer to bathroom/WC 3 or swimming pool area.

Shade

Likely the best we’ve pitched our tent under during this road trip so far.

All four corners of each pitch/plot have fullgrown shadeful trees with branches that come together towards the center of the pitch form some kind of canopy that helps cool your tent area.

I know there are some people who like the heat and the sun. But here in Spain, particularly in Andalusia, we’d rather be in the shade, especially in the summer.

Spacing? There’s about 5 meters inbetween trees on one side.

Electricity

There are both dogbone and standard connection right at the pitch.

Water

There’s faucet for potable water right at the pitch. Some pitches/plots had two water sources at the front and back. The boys were happy because they don’t need to fill that jug of water and carried it up the hill to the tent like in the last Camping Trevelez.

WI-FI

Bummer there was no FREE WIFI here, even at a higher-than avaerage nightly price of €46.50.

PLAY areas

“Is camping all about playgrounds and swimming pools,” I wondered? For our boys, it certainly looks like it!

SWIMMING POOL

In the simmering Andalusian summer heat where it can get already quite hot at 10 o’clock in the morning even in the shade, even small cold-water pools are FUNtastic!

Surrounded by a panoramic mountain hill and luscious greenery, here was the biggest swimming pool that we have been in, apart for the one in Bern–the city of bears. This swimming area, including the huge and well-maintained grass lawns, the restaurant and other play spaces, is about a third of the huge camping site and can hold 1,147 people. The swimming pool itself can have up to 255 people.

There’s a separate pool for younger kids with maximum depth of 0.5 meters. The main one, from 1.2 t o 2.1 meters deep.

Not many swimmers; more sunbathers and sun worshippers here. The water was a bit cold. Our boys got cold quickly with the slight wind. A lifeguard was on duty.

PLAYGOUNDS

Playgrounds are always a nice family-friendly addition that our children appreciate . . . what child wouldn’t anyway?!?

Here, the main playspace is the swimming pool area with a big open space. As if that’s not enough! At the far end of the pool is another big area dedicated for nature outdoor play. It has a rockclimbing section and a tirolina or ZIP line. There’s also a separate ping-pong and petanque area.

The actual single playpark area was quite small compared to the hugeness and capacity of the campground. This playground has a climb-and-slide structure, a pair of swing for older kids and another pair for infants, and a couple of other play things for smaller children.

It’s located, I guess, in the section where they put families with kids, near WC1, which is quite thoughtful because you never know when the kids need to “GO!”

It is also located right across from the bar/restaurant and supermarket, so parents can practically have some relatively peaceful dinner or drinks while the kids play.

It is enclosed by a tall wooden fence on the street side and privacy bushes on another with plenty of shade from the trees.

Kids Activities?

Apart from the various play spaces, Campingred Los Batanes offers lots of activities for children at the hours 12 (noon), 13, 17, 19 and 22kl… everyday in the summer.

It’s a great way for kids to meet and be with other children and experience different activities… for no additional costs, even if they do not speak Spanish.

Unfortunately, there were some instances of activities being cancelled because the earlier ones did not finish on time. Bummer.

A little story of the kids. Movie night: “el chico” with Bruce Willis. At least 12 kids all lined up in front, watching attentively. Thalia asks her brother to make room for Karol. She calls Karol, Carlo… Kaj followed and managed to squeeze in between the older kids. The boys other newfriend, Alvaro was not there. Thalia was a funny, active girl. She was loud and not shy about asking Ania, my wife, for Coke, as suggestes by our boys likely. An hour into the movie, she’d lost interest, along with her crew and some others who decided to have their own fun at the stage close to the restaurant area. Kaj got recruited by the girls but Karol stayed put til the end along with 2 others, one the 13 year old brother of Thalia.

SANITARY FACILITIES

WC/restrooms/bathrooms?

There were 3 in this campground, in addition to the one next to the reception. WC1, nearest our tent, is the smaller one with 6 toilets, 6 urinals, 7 showers…. not much for ventilation here! That is, there are vents. But if you take a nasty dump it might linger for much longer. So, hold your breathe as long as you can. . . those who enter.

Bathrooms are nice, clean and modernized. One of them (WC2) had a bit more quaint rustic look with solar panels on the roof. There’s plenty of FREE hot water. I know, I know, right? Where else do they chrage for water?!?!? In some campsite in Belgium, they do!

There’s FREE toilet paper. Believe you me, there are plenty of camping sites out there that do NOT provide this most essential product of modern civilized society! It also has soap and sanitizing gel.

NO PROBLEM with water drainage.

NO separate FAMILY or KIDS’ WC/bathroom that we observed which, admittedly, is a novelty for camping sites, but NOT unusual for family-friendly camping sites in Spain.

Washing Areas?

Dishwashing and clothes-washing areas are sufficiently clean, just outside the bathroom areas.

DINE or DRINKS

There are two places where you can buy food and drinks at this camp. One is a proper bar/restaurant near the playground and the other is more of a bar by the swimming pool where you can get the standard Spanish food. Paella is about €10, other meals about €10 on average), bocadillos €4, hamburgers €5.50. . . you get the idea!

This is best for drinks, although you can order food and help with local economic development, especially if you don’t wanna drive or walk to the restaurants near the camp. This is a big shaded area

The other bar/restaurant is where you can get grilled meats and more proper food at a price of course. It also has small shaded outdoor seating area. You might NOT like shade, but it could be a life-saver in the summer. YOU’RE in SPAIN after all!

ACCESSibility

Slow down as you get near Camping Los Batanes because it can get busy here.

This is a narrow busy two-way road with bends and cars parked on the side road with restaurants and shops. The camp only has a sign upfront, making the entrance easy to spot, but only after you’re in front of it.

There are no flag poles, like in other camping sites, that can give you a heads-up as you get near. There’s a gated entrance that restricts access to the camp overnight.

It’s a little tight getting in/out, especially for campervans and caravans, but manageable.

others

We did not see the following additional amenities: laundry room, washer/dryer machines, refrigerator, freezer or microwave. It’s likely there. We probably just missed them.

First half of free electrons family camping road trip number 4, from Jerez de la Frontera to Andorra la Vella.

TIPS for Camping Los Batanes

GIVE IT TIME: Plan to spend more time here (more than a couple of nights like we did) because there’s plenty to do and a great way for your kids to mingle with other kids and form some kind of connection, even for just a week or so. There’s also the many lakes and associated activities to explore that can put a mark on a summer well-spent. Unfortuntely, we hd to get to Poland at a certain time so we hd to save the lakes for the next time around.

FLIES: Gotta have insect repellent or catchers, particularly flies. . . you know, get those sticky ones to manage your sanity while cooking/eating. While you’re at it, make sure you also have ammunition against mosquitoes and cats. . . yes, CATS! SOme of them like to mark their terrirtories and piss at or near your tent. . . and it’s a bitch to sleep and smell that cat piss. . . “Yeah, who yo dady now!?!?,” that cat was likely singing.

SWIM CAPS: To be able to use the swimming pools, make sure to bring swimming caps/headgear (you know, those little things you put over your head to make sure your hair does NOT get into the pool, and if you have it on too tight, your eyes start to squint like you’re a drunken runaway monkey. . .) Yup, that one!

Although it was not really needed (or enforced) here, it would do you good to bring them with you when camping in Spain (maybe even France) to save you money, just in case the camping site that you ended up in has a pool and are strict about enforcing the so-called regulations, if there are in fact any such thing. I think it’s an additional way to milk you with your hardearned cash for some of these camping sites.

With 15 emerald-water lakes, 7 designated swimming areas, little castles (castillos), an hermitage, lots of hiking/trekking trails and a couple of charming small towns nearby. . . you can easily spend a wonderful week here in the chain lakes of Lagos de Ruidera in the heart of Castilla La Mancha.

what to do near CAMPING Los Batanes

So, what to see or do nearby? Since we have to haul our asses off towrads Poland and only had a couple of nights here, we had to save some of these activities for later.

Campingred Los Batanes sits almost right in the middle of these chain of 15 Lagos (lakes) de Ruidera in this province of Albacete with emerald green waters, beautiful scenery and interestingly colorful geological features, natural dam formations and ecological environment. The viewpoints Mirador Laguna Lengua and Mirador Laguna del Rey are easily accessible with parking lots.

So, lots of hiking (like Quebrada del Toro), trekking (senderismo, like Natural Park of Lagunas de Ruidera of Chorro de las Minas), sweet-water swimming (maybe a little cold) and other water-loving activities. There’s 7 designated safe areas for swimming or beach play (2 near the camping site).

You can also check out these local places of interest: Cueva (cave) de Montesionos that was somehow associated with Cervantes and Don Quixote. You can pay €10 for a guided tour of the cave that lasts for 45 minutes and learn a bit of history of Don Quixote. €5 for children; those under 3 are FREE of charge. Entrance comes with a flashlight and helmet.

Castillo de Rochafrida is an unassuming hidden gem of a poorman’s castle in ruins that marks the beginning of a trail. Supposedly at the part of the highest wall lies an entrance to a cave that diasappears into the castle. Worth visiting for the beautiful surrounding views from the top.

Ermita de San Pedro de Verona: A beautiful hermitage in the name of Saint Peter, supposedly rebuilt on top of another Visigothic hermitage. An epigraph in the vicinity of the hermitage explains: “In the 40s of the last century, the building, which threatened to fall, was demolished to build a new one without any resemblance to the previous one. Only a few ashlar stones were used as foundations. It has a nave and inside it keeps the figure of Saint Peter the Martyr of Verona “. Unfortunately, it seems to be closed whenever it was supposed to be open, according to visitors.

On part 4 of our family camping road trip in Europe, we spend a week camping in the mountains of Las Alpujarras in the sunnysouthside of the Sierra Nevada. We begin our trip in Orgiva, near Pampaneira, visiting the white villages of Capileira, Bubion, Pampaneira, Yegen and Trevelez before heading to the caves of Guadix.

What else to do near Camping Los Batanes?

Further up the road, is Cascada del Hundimiento–a small and tall waterfall. The only one in this area. There is a hiking path very close that’s good for kids. There’s a parking lot next to the cemetery. Park past the bridge to see the lake from the bridge.

Castillo de Peñarroya–A well-preserved, 900+-year old castle in the heart of Castill La Mancha, that is connected to a beautiful reservoir/dam of the same name and a forest behind the dam. Worth a visit for its spectacular scenery especially towards the dam, particularly during the cooler months. It has a church inside. FREE access with a refreshment shop inside and a small bar outside.

Any others?

The towns of Ruidera and Ossa de Montiel, with combined population of about 3,000.

184-something miles (or 296 kilometers) to the southwest are the most well-preserved Renaissance towns in the whole of Spain–Ubeda and Baeza–definitely one of those beautiful places and UNESCO world-heritage sites in the whole of Spain, that you would need days to visit and really appreciate all that it has to offer, not a couple of hours like we did. Oh, well! When you’re on the road, you just gotta leave some for later.

That’s it!

Check out this video of FREE things you can do with kids in the Sierra Nevada. . . in the snow!

Next Stop: The Hanging Houses of Cuenca

Onwards, upwards. . . . towards Andorra! Here’s the first half of our family camping road trip. . . number FOUR! 1,617-something kilometers from Jerez de la Frontera (with a small detour to Bolonia), then to Setenil de las Bodegas, the white villages of the Alpujarras, the caves of Guadix, Baeza, Ubeda, the chain lakes of Lagos de Ruidera, the hanging houses of Cuenca, Lake Caspe and finally the little country of Andorra. . . at least for the first half of this trip!

Thanks for checking us out!

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BIG SMILE!

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