Juan Jose Ruiz Joya is the deputy mayor of La Herradura and is himself a true Herradureño. This means that he was born and raised in La Herradura. His mother was born in Almuñecar but his father and his family go back many generations in La Herradura. His grandfather was a fisherman and lived a so-called ‘chosa’ on the beach, a simple beach hut. Juan Jose Ruiz Joya has been the deputy mayor of La Herradura for five years. He started working as a town-hall employee in 2002 and has since worked his way up to become the mayor. Juan Jose loves his village and is proudly referring to it as ‘my small paradise’. Juan Jose is 38 years old, happily married and has three children.
Everybody in the village knows him and his friendly smile. He feels he has the responsibility to make sure that many things in the village work better and ensure that La Herradura will be known internationally as a fantastic place to be, both during the summer and winter months, with its excellent all-year-round diving, tracking, hang gliding and water-sports possibilities, its gastronomy, natural beauty and cultural offer.
Not only is this small village on the Costa Tropical a hotspot for artists of every type, it is also a great example of integration between foreigners and Spanish people, living peacefully side by side. At the moment the village has 6000 registered inhabitants but on top of that there are between 4000 and 5000 people who are staying in La Herradura for longer periods each year.
Juan Jose is proud that so many interesting festivals and events are organized in the village attracting people from far and beyond. Apart from the typical national and local holidays and religious festivities in the village, such as carnival, San Jose (the mayor festival to honour the Patron Saint of the village), Easter Week, San Juan, the Virgen del Carmen, to name but a few, the village also hosts many annual events and the list is growing.
Currently La Herradura welcomes people to their internationally renowned Andres Segovia classic guitar competition, their sea-festival, blues festival, puppetry festival and their candle-lit three culture festival which had its first edition in 2016 but Juan Jose is already collaborating with local associations to create three more important events.
-A residential festival where the many different nationalities can come together to share their specialities, whether that be food, art, music, etc.
– Noche en blanco, a flamenco festival
– Artists painting live, where artists are creating their art in the streets of La Herradura.
If you ask Juan Jose what makes La Herradura so special he likes to point out that many other interesting things are happening in his beloved village as well, amongst which some important photography contests such as the Campeonato de España de Fotografía Submarina -Spanish submarine photography championship, but also The European underwater photo competition are taking place in La Herradura. La Herradura is one of the best known diving areas in Europe, hence attracting divers from all over the world.
Juan Jose is also very appreciative that people who live in the small urbanisations in the outskirts of La Herradura where many expats live, such as San Antonio, San Nicolas, … are participating in many events organised, but also do their shopping and leisure activities in the village, which is important in his view and is something La Herradura needs to cherish.
In his function as a deputy mayor Juan Jose has many hopes and plans for La Herradura. He explains that the first phase of the renovation of the old centre has been completed. Apart from beautiful mosaics in the old streets, the old sewerage and draining systems have been replaced. This will also be done in the
entire old centre of the village including Calle Real and apart from creating an attractive appearance, which will delight future visitors; a more important objective is to stop damp in the old houses, which is a major problem.
He also wants to energize the commercial activities in the village with help of the town-hall and stimulate all-year-round tourism, not just during the summer months. Part of this are the training workshops that have been organised to give their young people a chance to learn a skill, for example plumbing and painting. More of these workshops are planned for the near future.
Another project that is high on the deputy-mayor’s list is the maintenance of the Cerro Gordo which is a protected area of natural beauty. The maintenance activities are not organised and carried out by the Town Hall of Almuñécar/La Herradura but at a higher level, the Junta de Andalusia. Juan Jose and his team are continuously making efforts to make them aware of the importance of this, as the area homes many animal species that are not seen anywhere else in the region. Interestingly he explains that over the last year many new species, that were prior unknown to the area, have been spotted. This area is a treasure and an enchanting place for hikers to spend some amazing hours and it needs to be taken care of well.
More plans on the agenda are: the renovation of the seafront boulevard and the entrance roundabout in Calle Prietro Moreno.
Juan Jose knows his career as a politician will not last forever and he only wishes to be a politician in his own village of La Herradura. He hopes to be able to leave a legacy of possibilities and prosperity for future generations, including his three children, and for everybody who lives or spends longer periods of the year in the village, to be proud of this jewel in the bay. His ‘pequeño paraiso’ (his small paradise).
You can follow Juan José Ruíz Joya on Facebook.