Palomares lies very near the coast to the north of Mojácar and the fishing port of Garrucha. It maintains a traditional Spanish feel because although many northern Europeans have now come to live here, it is an agricultural village and home to the many Spaniards that work on the surrounding land. It has all the facilities of modern small town with a supermarket, chemist, bank, hairdressers and a school attended by children of various nationalities.
The ruined site of El Artial is only a few kilometres away and the rows of houses that were the homes of the miners that worked in the mountains behind, lie empty amidst vast fields of vegetables.
Palomares thrust into the limelight on the 17 January 1966 when a U.S. B52 bomber collided with a tanker aircraft in the skies above. Three H-bombs fell onto the land and radioactive materials were scattered over the village and surroundings. A fourth fell into the sea just off the village and it took 80 days to find the elusive weapon, which was eventually caught by a local fisherman in their nets. Thousands of barrels of plutonium-contaminated soil were taken by the USAF for disposal in South Carolina. Compensation for the disaster was given to the inhabitants and to prevent them from leaving the area and also to try and revive the area around Mojácar, ruined properties were given by the Town Hall to the locals if they undertook to restore them. It has been said that the villages church tower, with its rounded cone, looks rather like an atom bomb.
Palomares is celebrated for the tomatoes grown there that are particularly firm and sweet and the abundance of other fruits and vegetables are evident in the local market.
The poverty of the past is being replaced with a new optimism, the beach is nearby and there are several splendid golf courses in the vicinity. Desert Springs, an excitingly designed course with wonderful views of the coast and the Sierra Cabrera, is a mere 5 minutes away, whilst Valle del Este, near to Vera, is also very upmarket Marina de la Torre, on the coast between Garrucha and Mojácar, is only 20 minutes drive. Not surprisingly, new villas are being built on the land between the coast and the village where new townhouses and apartments are also being constructed.