Excursion to the archipelago of Cabrera (National Park) from Majorca

   The Mediterranean waters are characterized by their clarity and by their transparency which give rise to a well-conserved sea-bed. In the Balearic Islands the waters are outstandingly beautiful due to the fact that the clean seas allow the sunlight to penetrate until it reaches down to the Posidonia meadows.

   Despite its small size, Cabrera taken in an infinite number of travelers since remote times, many different peoples and civilizations have beached on these coasts: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Byzantines have all looked for refuge, food and water here.

   In the XIV century a castle was built to protect the islands from the attacks by Berber pirates, which was maintained over the following centuries, having a large effect on the Balearic island history. The castle, during its long history, has been destroyed and rebuilt on numerous occasions and is still visitable even today.

   To be able to enjoy a high quality sea bed in the Balearic Islands, the visitor has the possibility of visiting the “Archipiélago Marítimo Terrestre de Cabrera” (Cabrera Terrestrial and Marine Archipelago) situated to the south of the island of Majorca. It has an extension of 1,570 Ha and is 172m at its highest point where pine and garrigue are the main stars of the terrain.

   A little over an hour’s sailing from Ses Salinas, the Cabrera archipelago is today one of the greatest exponents of the Spanish ecosystem, the highest quality when it comes to conservation. The physical medium of Cabrera can be found 10km to the south of the Ses Salinas Cape, at the southern most tip of Majorca.

   Within the archipelago, the island of Cabrera stands out as the main island, alongside it stand a dozen other calcareous islands such as Ses Rates, Els Estells, L’Imperial, Les Bledes and El Fonoll; to the north it is complemented with other small islets, Na Rodona, L’illa dels conills, L’esponja, Na Plana, Na pobra, S’illot pla, S’illot and Na foradada. They all make up the modern day respected Maritime Terrestrial Archipelago declared a National Park in 1991, and an area of special interest in 1991 as well as being declared a special protection area for birds.

   On Cabrera, the coriacea leaf bushes predominate, many endemic species exist like Balearic Milk-vetch (Astragalus balearicus), Rubia angustifolia ssp cespitosa, Dracunculus muscivorum, Balearic St John's-wort (Hypericum balearicum,) etc which are garrigue formers, adapted to the rigors of the Mediterranean climate. This archipelago is also an important stopover point in the migratory route for more than 150 birds, in spring as well as in summer. Among the animal fauna, noteworthy are the large colonies of marine birds that live there from Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea), British Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus), Audouin's gull (Larus audouinii), etc

   If the terrestrial beauty of this spot is important, the marine beauty and the beauty of its waters is astounding, the marine surroundings are diverse and productive. The water currents, the variety of terrain and the type of seabed produce conditions for a large variety of biotopes from the oceanic Posidonia meadows to the coral communities which dress this maritime spot producing a sensation of perfect harmony for nature lovers.

   The absence of earthy deposits makes these waters enormously clean. More than half of the varieties of the fish found in the Balearic Islands can be found in the park’s waters, the waters also favor the presence of cetaceans and turtles. Even the only seal to be found in the Mediterranean, the Monk seal (Vell Marí) bred in the Cabrera caves up to the middle of last century, nowadays they are only to be found in small areas on the north coast of Africa.

   The sea bed is rich in vertebrates and invertebrates like the striking nudibranchs. The grouper fish, octopuses, moray eels (Muraena Helena), etc are all characteristic. These waters also provide shelter for larger animals like the bottle nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus),striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleo-alba), the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), the pilot whale (Globicephala melaena), the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).

   Without doubt one of the most attractive things about the island is Cova Blava, on the way out of Cabrera port we find Cala Castell (Castle cove). From here the coast goes on towards Cap Xorigué. Where the coast goes inland towards Santa Maria Cove, where sailing is currently restricted. On the other side of the bay we can find Cova Blava. It is a cave that has been hewn out of a block of calcareous material by the sea. The height above sea level goes from 6m at the entrance up to as much as 20m in the interior. It has a rounded shape. The sea bed which is 20m deep is made of rock and a little sand. At mid afternoon, the sun’s rays light up the cave producing spectacular effects of both light and colour. It is advisable to swim or to row into the cave to be able to enjoy the effect that the light has and which gives us the name Cova Blava (Blue Cave).

   Natural values: Sea beds, rocky islets, Mediterranean maquias, endemic plants, animals and sea birds....    Cultural values: XIV century castle, declared historic-artistic monument. A group of land and sea archeological sites.

   Sailing: A permit is needed to be able to sail within the limits of the National Park; certain restricted areas are excluded. Up to 50 boats a day are allowed to anchor in Cabrera Port. The anchorage permits are valid for one night. Daylight anchorage is permitted in certain areas, marked on the map, from 10am till 7pm.

   Scuba diving: A special permit can be obtained to scuba dive with compressed air bottles in certain areas in the park. The permit must be shown in the Park Information Office in Cabrera Port before diving. Fishing is strictly forbidden.

   More information about this Natural Park:
   Spain's Government Web about Natural Parks:

   How you can arrive at Cabrera?:
   With own boat: It is necessary to request permission in the office of the National Park (Tel: 971 72 50 10). If you want you can rent a boat in our Nautical Guide.
   Organized excursions: Every day a boat leaves the Colònia de Sant Jordi (Excursions a Cabrera: Tel: 971 64 90 34)

Related Articles:
Balearic Islands - Sailing around the Balearic Islands
Balearic Islands - Boat trip to Cabrera
Majorca / Andraitx- Sa Dragonera Nature Reserve (Mallorca)

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