Karen & Casas Karen

Karen Abrahams

I was born in Kortrijk, Belgium in 1963 to English Dad and an American – Austrian Mum. Having been a student from 16 to 18 at Brockwood Park, Krishnamurti School, supported my passion for travel, language and inquiry.
In my early twenties I finally got the opportunity and took off on a six-month long adventure that would take me to Israel, Palestine, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic and eventually Spain where I ended up in Los Caños de Meca. It was the second time I’d been here, and this time it completely bewitched me.

I bought 2000 m2 and set about building a traditional Andalucian house set around a courtyard, with the idea that I would live in one half and rent out the other half to pay for the loan. Casas Karen took off from here. I gradually bought more land around the house, which included an old farmhouse and two original thatched chozas, and with the help of friends I started renovating.

The property has grown over the years to make room for the new Choza Grande (big choza) and to extend the Choza Pequeña (small choza) and chozita (studio choza). In 2004 I bought another 2000 m2 of the surrounding land – Casas Karen is now nearly 8000 m2 – because I wanted to protect the land and live in the natural environment that I have come to know and love.

Houses and Chozas

Chozas are among Andalucia’s oldest traditional dwellings. Local wood provides the basic framework of the house, then cane branches are tied on to provide a lattice-work for the straw thatch, which provides sturdy, water-tight walls. The entire structure is held together with flexible wooden straps that are tied around the entire house to keep it in place. A big part of our philosophy in creating Casas Karen, was to preserve this ancient art of house-building.

Inside things have moved on a bit from the eighteenth century. Each of our houses and chozas are individually designed and decorated with comfortable living areas, well-equipped kitchens and independent terraces with dining and barbecue areas. All of the houses, except for the chozas and seafront apartment, have either wood burning stoves or open fireplaces making them ideal for cosying up after long walks on the beach in the winter.

We try to do everything as environmentally consciously as possible, including all the cleaning products we use, and encourage our guests to do the same. You can buy organic produce locally and we ask that you put organic waste in the composter during your stay to help keep our gardens happy and healthy.

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Los Caños de Meca

Caños has it all: golden beaches, cliff-top walks and the famed ‘Playa de las Cortinas’, where freshwater springs fall from the cliffs above. Although a relatively undiscovered stretch of the Atlantic coast in low season, Caños’ sleepy bars and cafés spring into life in the high season and it becomes quite the party town.

The lighthouse on Cape Trafalgar divides the bay of Caños from the open water of the Atlantic and marks the spot of the famous Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It was here that Admiral Nelson finally met his end, though he rallied for just long enough to know the battle had been won. Today, it is a popular place to watch the sun go down.

The beautiful Parque Natural de la Breña y Marismas de Barbate extends from the coast all the way up to Barbate, and up to the old town of Vejer, and is pleasantly shady for walking. The umbrella pines (Pinus pinea) here are considered to produce the finest pinenuts in the world.

Waterfalls and springs: To find the Las Cortinas falls, continue east along the coast from the beach at Caños. After clambering over the rocks and passing some beautiful secluded coves you will see the falls on your left above the cave (about 30 minutes to one hour´s walk). Warning: only attempt this walk when the tide is going out, otherwise you may get stuck.

Cape Trafalgar Lighthouse: This lighthouse is a must-do for spectacular surrounding beaches but beware the strong undercurrents on the Cape. At low tide there’s plenty of fun to be had exploring the rock pools.

Surfing: The area is renowned for good surfing, kite and windsurfing. The best spot for launching is at the western end of the ‘Urbanización Playas del Estrecho’ apartments on the sea front. Snorkelling is also popular here. The reef just off the Los Caños beach has plenty of fish.

Warning: Do not swim too far out to sea or too close to the lighthouse. There can be strong undercurrents even when the water appears to be calm.

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¡Hola! / Hello!

Soy Juani, ¿tienes alguna duda o quieres hacer una reserva en Casas Karen? Estoy aquí para ayudarte.

I'm Juani, do you have any questions or want to make a reservation at Casas Karen? I am here to help you.

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