Born to be Wild

Ecotourism with Born to be Wild is a fun way for the family to explore the Andalusian country side off-roading in a jeep with competent guides. You were there? Please send us your review and grade. We would love to hear from your family!

Born to be Wild

With open roof jeeps, discover the marvels of Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park (Declared Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO), with 80% of the time spent off road. They also offer dolphin tours from Estepona and tours into Morocco. Dolphin tours start at the Blue Dolphin Beach Club in Estepona. This two-hour tour lets you drive your own speed boat (4 pax/boat), while a guide follows in another boat directing you to the dolphins that swim so close to the boat you can almost touch them.

Hours: Dolphin Safari everyday except Mondays, at 12:00pm or 16:00pm
Location: C/ Igualada, 3San Pedro de Alcántara
Price: Half-day and full-day tours available. Contact Born to be Wild for prices.
Tel: +34 952 781 006 or +34 606 454 431

MarbellaFamilyFun grade: 8.8

Son's evaluation: Overall the Born to Be Wild trip was fun. The guides were polite and nice, although, they usually speak French and Spanish but they also spoke English well. The jeeps were amusing because there was no roof so you could stick your head out when you were in the mountains.

Everybody that went with us was old so it's better to be in a jeep with just your family.

We went to Ojen and some parts were interesting like the plants and caves but there were some boring parts. After that we went to Monda for lunch and they served us salad, tortilla, paella and ice cream; the food was good.

When we finished eating, we went to the mountains and nature, this was my favourite part. We got to stand up on the chairs while the guide was driving and he would occasionally stop and pick up some herbs so that he could talk about them later.

And finally, we went to the lake and it was beautiful. It was huge and we had it all to ourselves. Plus, the water was warm. The only bad thing about the Born to Be Wild tour was that the roads on the mountains were bumpy. Grade: 9.0

Daughter's evaluation: Grade:

Mom's evaluation: Born to Be Wild is an interesting and alternative way to visit Marbella, which is more popular known for its beaches, nightlife, and coastal attractions. We finally decided to book this ecotour after observing the Born to Be Wild jeeps roaring up and down the roads and picking up tourists from the hotel next to our home. The tourists always look like they had a great time when they step off the off-road jeeps with their "Crocodile Dundee" looking guides. It always looked very tempting, so we finally decided to give it a go.

The jeeps usually pick up tourists from the local hotel nearby which caters to the French speaking community, so we joined a group of nine other jeeps that carried eight passengers each. As we requested an English speaking guide we were entitled to a bit of a VIP tour. Each time we made a stop we were given explanations by our own guide off to the side as opposed to joining the other people crammming to hear what the guide was saying. We also were fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) to have the jeep all to ourselves. We were originally supposed to go with another family, who weren´t able to make it. It would´ve still been great and the kids would´ve had an even better time sharing in the fun with their friends.

The Born to Be Wild tour lasts all day. We started at 10:00am and followed the rest of the jeeps up to the white village of Ojén, which is about a 20-25 minute drive from where we met. It is only about 5-10 minutes from the La Cañada shopping mall if you know where that is.

We spent an hour or so discovering this charming village which boasted caves, an olive oil museum, a wine museum (which we skipped) and charming little cobblestone streets filled with enchanting corners of geranium clad entrances and beautifullyl restored wood doors. Even though we have lived here for years, we were still taking tons of photos and acted like tourists. There were so many beautiful streets and interesting shots to take of the city´s elderly playing chess or children running through the street. We were lucky to hit the village on a market day where there was a small selection of fresh local fruit and vegetables. Figs are in season now and they were delicious.

After a tour of the village and a quick stop at the olive oil museum, we got back into our jeeps and headed out to the village of Monda, which is about another 10 minutes up the mountain. We didn´t have time to visit the village, which is a pity as it has a nice square and the restored castle-hotel Castillo de Monda is a beautiful place to have a coffee and get a glimpse of the view. Regardless, the lunch was simple, but tasty and gave tourists an idea of what a typical Andalusian lunch is like with tortilla (egg and potato omlette), Manchego goat cheese, olive oil, paella, and a fresh salad. Ice cream, coffee, wine, water and a Fanta type drink were also included. Although we are familiar with Marbella and Spanish cuisine, I am sure the guides, who sit at the table with us, are happy to explain the tradition of Spanish food.

After lunch, we got back in the jeeps and started off on the bumpy trails of the Sierra de las Nieves biopark national reserve. Our Born to Be Wild guide, Barney, is originally from Germany, but spoke English well and was very kind and funny. The kids were really entertained by him and his accent. He was very knowledgeable about the area and was chock full of information. He stopped the jeep to collect various local herbs so that he could explain to us what each one was and what kind of properties it had. It was a nice little educational moment for the children.

It was a little disappointing that we didn´t see many animals as we were expecting a lot more in this bioreserve, which is know for its mountain goats and birds. We only saw a jackrabbit when we entered and that was very exciting. One of the highlights of the trip for the kids (and for me too!) was when we entered the park we were able to unfasten our seatbelts, stand up and stick our heads out of the massive sunroof of the jeeps. The roads were bumpy and the drive was fun. Although we could do this tour on our own in our own car, there is something to be said about sticking your head out of the window and taking in the nature. We discovered new herbs, learned about cork trees (did you know that they can survive forest fires? It takes 3,000 degrees to start to burn!), and found out that marble is laying everywhere around us.

Another highlight of our Born to Be Wild tour was the opportunity to jump in the lake - well, technically, it isn´t a lake, but the local reservoire. It was huge and it seemed we could swim for miles. We wore our bathing suits under our clothes, so we peeled off the layers and jumped into the lake. The water was surprisingly warm and it was very refreshing after all the heat and dirt. Unfortunately, the road is seriously bumpy to get there, so I´m not sure I will go again on my own. We had to walk down about 20 meters down a dirt path which ended and we just sort of scrambled our way to the bottom. It was not a challenge for us, however, if you are elderly or have difficulty walking you would not enjoy this part of the tour. In fact, only our jeep and another with a younger crowd took part in the lake jump. The other 6 jeeps were full of senior citizens who skipped this part to learn more about cork trees.

Overall, the Born to Be Wild tour was great and the staff were very attentive to us. It is a nice change to the typical sights you would see while in Marbella. This is a tour for those who like to get close to nature and yet want to have a little bit of culture. I would recommend going on the Born to Be Wild tour with another couple so that you have the jeep all to yourselves. As mentioned before, there were a lot of senior citizens on this tour so you know that there is no major walking, hiking or challenging moments where you need to be fit. And if you happen to get stuck with the rest of the tourists, you need to be patient as you always move slower when you are in a big group.

I am not sure what you would do if you had a baby as there is no space for a stroller or car seats. Anyway, the roads are very bumpy, so I would not recommend this tour for babies and small children (younger than 5). I am sure the types of crowds you get depends on the season. As all the kids are back in school now we had an older crowd. In summer and holidays you probably see more children and younger families. There were moments that my kids were a bit bored, but I still think the Born to Be Wild tour had cultural value to them and they learned a lot. I would not take a fussy toddler on the Born to Be Wild tour as there is too much walking and not enough exciting moments to entertain a young child.

You do not need to wear any special hiking shoes, just something comfortable as walking through the village you will find some cobblestone roads, steep inclines and lots of stairs. If you are touring in the warmer months be sure to bring your bathing suit and a towel as there is nothing written on the Born to Be Wild website about this. The guides provide lots of water, so you don´t need to really bring your own. Wear sunscreen and bring glasses. In July and August it gets pretty hot here, so be sure to wear light comfortable clothing. In cooler months I imagine it can get cold as you go up in the mountain, so bring a sweater or jacket.

I found the price of the tour a bit pricey, however this is only because we live here and we are able to do the same thing for free. Otherwise, it is not bad considering you have a full day with a guide for 73 euros. The tour ends at about 6:00pm so that is 8 hours in total.

One thing that would be nice for Born to Be Wild to offer are more adventurous tours for younger and more fit tourists. Grade: 9.0

Dad's evaluation: Born to Be Wild is a good tour for tourists wanting to discover the nature around Marbella. The tour is well organized and led by experienced guides from the area. It takes you to a couple of villages, Ojen and Monda, and through a dirt track in the Sierra de las Nieves. Transportation takes place in jeeps accommodating eight people and a driver. Be ready to be squeezed if you have 8 adults in your car, or else rush for the best seat, the one next to the driver.

This is not a hiking tour, but it still felt you somehow spent a day in the nature. A stop is scheduled about every 20 minutes to see or talk about some point of interest. The stop in Ojen is longer so that you can discover the village and the olive oil museum.The stop in Monda coincides with lunch time, however you do not visit the castle. Then you drive towards Istan through the mountains and the guides tell you about the plants and nature on the way.

The Born to Be Wild tour lasts about 8 hours (from 10 to 6). Obviously, as an organized group tour, the day lacks spontaneity and you may travel with people of different interests. On the other hand, you will learn and see things you would not discover on your own, and you may meet some new friends for your stay in Marbella.

During our tour, we were lucky to only be four in the jeep. It was very comfortable, and almost felt like we were on a private tour as our driver was speaking English, while most other tourists (there were 10 jeeps on our tour) were spending their time with a French-speaking driver. We had a very friendly guide / driver intent on providing us with the best service. Although we already knew the area well, we learned a few things about the plants and nature in our own ´backyard´. We even went swimming in the Concepcion water reservoir, near Istan, something we had never done before. The price of the Born to Be Wild tour, including a typical Spanish lunch, was reasonable at 73 euros per adult (55 for kids). Naturally, as a resident of Marbella or if you have your own car, you could do the same tour a little cheaper, but you would not get all the information provided by the guides.

I am not a big fan of organized tours, and usually prefer to move around on my own with the family. However, I really had a good day and the kids seemed to enjoy it too. I am happy we tried this tour. I learned that the company also has a two-hour sea tour to see dolphins and I am now interested in trying it. Grade: 8.5

Mike's family evaluating Dolphin/Whale watching (New York) grade: 7.3

Dad: We weren´t able to see dolphins on the trip we took, but maybe it just was not our day. Overall the trip was well run, but perhaps a bit pricey at 100 euro for 2.0 hours on the water, probably would of felt differently if we saw dolphins. Grade: 7.0

Boy (7 yrs): We didn´t see any dolphins, but I got to try the boat with my Dad. Grade: 8.0

Girl (9 yrs): It was fun being on the Mediterranean Sea for the first time,in a small boat. We did see a flock of pink flamingos out the water which was interesting. Grade: 7.0

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