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11·SEP·2012

Lo Pagan on the Mar Menor

Lo Pagan sits on the northern end of the Mar Menor on Spain’s Costa Cálida within the municipality of San Pedro del Pinatar.
View Lo Pagán in a larger map
This coastal town is probably best known for the mud baths on the edge of the salt flats (Las Charcas de las Salinas) which in turn are adjacent to the Salinas y Arenales Regional Park. Salt has played a significant role here since the time of the Roman Empire and there are records of it being commercially harvested since the 14th Century and today part of the area is privately owned for that purpose. Apparently the high level of salt content combined with the long hours of sunlight here on the Mar Menor has created mud that has a therapeutic value for skin conditions such as sores, ulcers, acne and abscesses. It is also said to have anti-inflammatory properties and good for treating gout, rheumatism and arthritis.
Now personally, to date, I have not been tempted by the thought of smearing this black (sometimes smelly) potion all over myself but certainly I have seen plenty do so. If you have tried I would love to know if it helped you. I might be persuaded to give it a try. When we visit we usually go beyond the mud bathers and walk out along the path toward Ezequiela Windmill and La Manga. The path is straight and flat and it looks as though you could reach La Manga if you walked for long enough but in fact at the end of this spit of land is where the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor meet. It is much further to Ezequiela Mill than it looks and to date we have only done it once: as I recall it was almost an hour’s stroll from Quentin. Next time we are planning to hire some bikes and circumnavigate the park, a ride of some 12 kilometres. Let’s see if our resolve holds. When we are not feeling quite so energetic (i.e. most of the time) we will drive to the road (Calle Puerto) that runs through the Salinas y Arenales Regional Park toward the marina; and stop at the car park about half way (see map). From here we walk along the board walks to the beach. This park comprises marshes, sand dunes, reed-beds and salt lakes: it has been a protected habitat since 1985 and an EU Special Protection Area for bird life since 1998. Although we are not bird-watchers we enjoy nature and have definitely seen the last four of the bird species listed by those good people at Wikipedia: Avocet, Kentish Plover, Little Tern, Curlew, Grebes, Herons, Ducks, Gulls and Flamingos. Sometimes we will then drive on to the Marina for a walk around: there are shops and restaurants here open to the general public. At Lo Pogan on the Mar Menor there is then a lot to do from sun bathing on the beaches, to mud baths, to walking, cycling and bird-watching and it makes for a great day out. Lo Pagan can be easily reached by hire car along the N332 coast road signposted from San Pedro del Pinatar and also from the AP7 Alicante/Cartagena toll road (Junction 777). As a guide on driving times it takes around one hour from Alicante Airport to Lo Pagan.