Pulpí (Almería), May 23 (EFE) .- The geode of Pulpí (Almería), the largest in Europe and second in the world after the one located in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, offers a visit among impressive gypsum crystals, which with the end of the state of alarm is once again available to discover this spectacular jewel.
It opened its doors in August 2019 and just a few months later it encountered the covid-19 pandemic, which prevented it from developing its activity normally, a situation that is now reversing.
“It has been hard for all sectors, especially for tourism. Actually the Rich Mine – in which the geode hides – has been closed for a very short time. There were few people but we did leave a minimum of personnel so that people who could come from Almería could visit the mine, ”explains the Councilor for Tourism and Deputy Mayor of Pulpí, Juan Bautista López.
Interest has not stopped growing and the mayor reveals that every day he receives articles in different languages about this geode covered by crystals, in this case made of plaster, and which stands out for its size: 8 meters deep by 1.7 and 1, 8 wide and high, about 25 cubic centimeters, and for its transparency.
“It has been open for a few months and from May and June we will have it like last summer. We are trying that people can come to visit this wonder. Because the truth is that people want to come and see it, and we have it here, in the municipality of Pulpí, in the Pilar de Javaría, within the Mina Rica ”, the councilor emphasizes.
Already last year, when the restrictions due to covid-19 were relaxed, reservations for visits were exhausted. “During these months we have had three groups a day during the week, during the weekends about ten groups. Now, especially from June on, we wait between 8, 9, 10 groups in the morning and others both in the afternoon, ”he says.
This will mean that around 250 to 300 people can enjoy this whim of nature every day. Because when the visits were resumed, in the most restrictive moments, only three people agreed in each group, rising in recent times to a dozen. As of June they expect them to be between 10 and 15.
Future and development plans were also “paralyzed” with the pandemic. For example, this year a space to receive visitors and a restaurant were to be in operation. It was also planned that “other types of visits” could be made.
“We want another visit of experiences, of adventures, that allows us to get into corners of the mine that are not seen now, with overalls, with a light helmet … Another experience of a caver.” The initiative is still on the table and the intention is for it to become a reality between this year and 2022.
But what they are looking for in Pulpí is for the Rica Mine and its surroundings to become “a global geominero theme park. Something possible even in these uncertain times because, as the councilor points out, there is an interest in “this type of underground visits, which are quite safe, have a safety distance and in which you always go with a mask, in addition to being reduced, that it is something that people look for in time of covid ”.
Juan Pedro, guide and maintenance manager, insists that from the beginning they have always worked with proper hygiene of helmets and other elements that now, with the pandemic, has been reinforced.
“The public is received in a disinfection arch, their temperature is taken, their hands are sanitized, their feet are disinfected with rugs. In the area of the helmets they are given a net. The helmets are disinfected with ozone and bactericidal machines. Once in the mine, they go through a foot bath and can find hydroalcoholic gel spots all over the way ”, he explains.
This type of measure is a “demand” of visitors, for which a certificate has been obtained that certifies good practices and that Mina Rica is a COVID-free space.
And in the end, says Juan Pedro, the experience is satisfactory and exceeds expectations. “They come to see the geode, a jewel of nature, but the mine is something they discover (…) They end up finding much more than they expected,” he concludes.