Rio Chillar

Rio Chillar

The Chillar River is a natural spot of extraordinary beauty, and, furthermore, very accessible to be visited. Its characteristics make it a unique place both in the province of Malaga and throughout Andalusia.

If you have the Chillar River on your list of must-visit places, which we insist is a great idea, don’t forget to dress comfortably and bring all the necessary equipment for your adventure. For this, we recommend space, and nothing better than renting a 7-seater car at Malaga Airport.

In the heart of the Natural Park of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara, and Alhama, at more than 1200 meters above sea level, lies the Chillar River, in a 17-kilometer journey that we will summarize for you below.

Guide to visiting the Chillar River

To enjoy the Chillar River, you must follow its route, known as the Cahorros Route by locals. Here, you will witness unparalleled biodiversity, a true oasis of water and life.

Hikers passing through the rocks that form part of the Rio Chillar trail
Hikers passing through the rocks that form part of the Rio Chillar trail |

Of the 17 kilometers that make up the Chillar River, approximately eight are accessible on foot for anyone who wants to enjoy a day in nature. We must remember that, during hotter and drier seasons, the route may be closed due to the high risk of fire.

Equipment for the Chillar River

To enjoy the Cahorros Route without any problem, it is essential to have the best equipment, with suitable footwear being particularly important.

The route itself is not complicated, but it is mostly done through water. Don’t imagine a deep river that won’t let you advance. Nothing could be further from the truth. For much of the trail, the water will reach your ankles, until you reach the pools, natural swimming holes, where you can rest.

For this reason, leave your flip-flops in the car and wear comfortable and preferably old boots, or sneakers that you’re willing to use for activities like this.

One of the spectacular waterfalls of the Rio Chillar
One of the spectacular waterfalls of the Rio Chillar |

Although you will walk mostly in the shade, we recommend that while following the trail in search of spectacular waterfalls, you wear a cap. And don’t forget to bring food in your backpack, preferably some fruit and water.

But remember that whatever you carry in your backpack will be extra weight that you’ll have to carry on the way there and back, so don’t go overboard filling it, just take the essentials.

What to see at the Chillar River

Flora and Fauna at the Chillar River

It is a route full of natural beauty and easy to undertake. You don’t need to be in great physical shape, and the reward of seeing everything around you deserves every step you take.

The first stretch might not be what you expect, but gradually you will see water springing and your surroundings will increasingly resemble a river, along a trail where green multiplies, and vegetation flourishes.

Passing along the Rio Chillar surrounded by vegetation, with hikers making the journey
Passing along the Rio Chillar surrounded by vegetation, with hikers making the journey |

Where there is water, life begins, and if you pay attention, you’ll see toads, spiders, dragonflies, and lizards. Carob trees, willows, and pines guard your path, providing shade and coolness to your route. Some will escort you along the riverbank, while others have fallen with the passage of time, and you’ll have to pass over or under them.

If you are a lover of vegetation, the Cahorros route has several surprises for you that you may recognize. Thyme and rosemary mix with fig trees and reeds. Get a little closer; every shade of green is a different plant.

Hiking Route

Los Cahorros Route – Vado de los Patos

Following the course of the Chillar River is the route itself. In fact, it is one of the most well-known in the entire municipality of Nerja and the province of Malaga. We are talking about the Los Cahorros Route.

This aquatic hiking route does not require a great physical effort, and it presents us with one beautiful landscape after another; pools of crystal-clear water and shallow areas to rest and enjoy nature, streams, waterfalls, groves, and native vegetation, along with fantastic temperatures.

About five kilometers from the start of your route, you will find the natural pool of the Duck Pond, also known as Vado de los Patos. This natural spot is a must-stop, both to recharge your batteries and to enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes of Andalusian nature.

The famous Poza de los Patos, a place to relax in nature
The famous Poza de los Patos, a place to relax in nature |

Arriving at the waterfall is another highlight of your route. It’s time to decide whether to relax there and gather strength for the return, or continue. Here the path becomes somewhat tougher, and remember that you still have a trail of a couple of hours ahead, depending on your return pace.

Enjoying the return journey, which by the way is downhill, we recommend you stop to eat at one of the fantastic restaurants in Nerja or, at the very least, make a quick stop at one of its bars to try Nerja’s tapas. You can’t leave Nerja without visiting it.

Points of Interest

  • Estimated Time: 4h
  • Kilometers: 8km
  • Elevation Gain: 118m

How to Get to the Chillar River

Getting to the Chillar River by Public Transport

If you opt for public transport, the bus is the choice. From the Port of Malaga, an Alsa bus departs quite regularly, almost every hour, heading to Nerja. The ticket price is around €5, and the duration of the journey is about an hour and twenty minutes.

Once there, you can take another bus or taxi to get to the starting point of your route along the Chillar River.

Getting to the Chillar River by Car

As mentioned earlier, the journey is comfortable, peaceful, and straightforward. Leaving from Malaga Airport, take the A-7 towards Frigiliana. Once in this charming town, known also for the magnificent beaches of Frigiliana, you should take exit 933.

Then, take the MA-5150 until you reach your destination, where you should park in one of the two designated parking areas.

Where to Park at the Chillar River

Once there, it is important to know where to leave the car. The area has two municipally designated parking lots for visiting the Chillar River. The first is known as “Almijara-Mercadillo,” where there is ample space but you cannot park on Tuesdays.

The second option is the municipal parking lot on Calle Mirto. This one is closer and you can park any day of the week, even on market days, Tuesdays.

Chillar River Map

If you ultimately decide to do the Los Cahorros Route, a great choice, and spend a fantastic day in Nerja, here is a map with the most important locations and must-see stops. Enjoy your day in this unique and magical town.

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