The Akamas Peninsula is an unspoilt spread of land in northwest Paphos. This area is ideal for trekking and offers spectacular views. The peninsula has been identified as one 22 areas of endemism in Europe. This peninsula’s wealth lies mainly in its unique biodiversity, habitats and ecosystem. In this area, there are 530 indigenous plants, of which 35 are endemic. Some fauna is endemic to this area. The endangered centauria akamantis, which took its name after this peninsula, is an endemic plant that can only be found in the Avakas Gorge. If you are lucky enough to encounter this species, it has a pretty purple flower that blossoms in Spring.
The beaches of this peninsula, in particular the remote Lara Beach, are very important for sea turtle nesting in the Mediterranean. The Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta) and the rarer Green Turtle (Chelonia Mydas) nest in on the beaches of the Akamas Peninsula. In fact, the survival of the Green Turtle in this region heavily depends on the nesting in this area.
In Greek mythology, this is the place where Aphrodite met her lover Adonis. Some natural landmarks even have associations with this myth. Legend states that Aphrodite enjoyed swimming in the crystal clear waters of the peninsula. She would then walk up the hill and bathe in a spring of fresh mountain water dripping down the sides of a shady grotto. This spring has come to be known as the Baths of Aphrodite. Adonis was hunting in the Akamas forest when he spotted the goddess bathing in this spring and immediately fell in love with her.
Pressure for tourist development is a huge threat for this area. Hotels, restaurants and holiday houses have enslaved the majority of the island’s coastline. Throughout the years, other incidences have had detrimental effects on this ecologically sensitive area: the British army has used this area for military exercises, fires spread naturally or by humans, uncontrolled safari expeditions, motor rallies and of course uncontrolled fishing and hunting.