I'd been to Almería before, back in 2005 when I came to Spain for my first European vacation. I stayed at an eco-village and had one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. The Spanish bug bit me and lo and behold, I returned eight years later.
For this past May long weekend, I switched to a beachy vacation with good friends from Madrid. We met in our hotel in the city center, located in a cute barrio full of shops and fantastic restaurants. Every day, we got up early and caught a bus to the coast. San José was our first stop. The beach in the village was small, but a co-worker was kind enough to give us a lift in the afternoon to Genovese and Monsul, where a famous scene from Indiana Jones, featuring Sean Connery, was shot. It's said that Spielberg actually stayed at one of the hotels in San José. The village was very cute and had lovely restaurants. If you want a tranquil vacation, this is a good place to stay.
The next day, we got up again bright and early to go to Cabo de Gata. We arrived to find miles of beach, and insane wind. Within an hour though, it died down and we were free to enjoy scorching sun and cooling water, in what felt like a very private setting. There's so much space that people go off into their own corners and it feels like there's no one around. We "kept busy" by collecting shells, swimming, and sleeping.
At night, we hit nearby restaurants and tapas-hopped. Sorry Jaén, but Almería's got you beat. Drinks cost slightly more, but the quality of the seafood-rich tapas were amazing. Muy buenas pintas.
Our vacation was so relaxing and fantastic, that already we have started talking about coming back to do it all over again.