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Cruising Southern Spain

By Sue Richards last modified Aug 23, 2017 05:22 PM
At the bottom of the article cruisers have posted useful feedback about ports in Southern Spain as well.

Published: 2011-09-27 11:55:00
Countries: Spain

Our Summer 2011 cruise covered most of the possibilities along the Southern Spanish coast, I don't think we missed too much! It is going from East to West and also includes Ceuta on the North African Coast.
Amanda and Mark on SY Balvenie

05 May 2011
Aguillas at anchor: 37 24.31N 01 34.17E

Able to tuck in quite well, flat water, 6m sand. Busy with fishing boats entering/leaving harbour and some wash from them. Didn’t go ashore. No free wifi signals, used Vodafone dongle.

06 May 2011
Cabo de Gata at anchor: 36 44.54N 02 12.98E

Considering the rough sea state less than a mile away, this was flat as a pancake. Anchored in 6m sand. Quite scenic ashore but didn’t get there. When wind eased we were lying to current or tide, something weird going on. Would be a nice spot to stop in good conditions, walking ashore looked good. We had a Westerly change forecast for early the next afternoon but it came through at 4am. We pulled up anchor with only 10knots but with a sea building quickly from the SW causing us to hobby horse considerably. Going across the Bay of Almeria we had up to 25 knots and thunderstorms, so very pleased we left when we did. No free wifi signals, used Vodafone dongle.

07 May 2011
Aguadulce Marina: 36 48.87N 02 33.71W

Least depth seen 4.5m Totally exposed to any winds with East in them. Marina entrance is only 50 metres off the beach. No swell in marina. Huge breakwater where most visiting yachts were stern or bow to. Upon entry tie to Fuel dock/Control Tower dock for berth allocation. Not much English spoken. Wifi available but not free, didn’t check rates. Marina berth around €16 a night all-inclusive (low season rates).

Supermarket – go out of Marina entrance by the beach and take the first or second road on the right - they both go uphill, its just up on the left. Not great but ok. Bus stop – carry on past the supermarket under the flyover and up the other side, bus stops on both sides of the road depending on what direction you want. Cost was €1.20 each, each way, to Almeria. Sightseeing – Alcazaba closed on Mondays, Cathedral closed from 2pm – 4pm but last entry is 1.15pm.

12 - 23 May 2011
Almerimar Marina: 36 41.78N 02 47.42W

Least depth seen 5m. Entrance is much more sheltered than it looks but totally exposed to the south. Well marked with red and green markers for the channel (no yellow buoys as noted in Cruising Guide). Tie up at Control Tower/Fuel dock for berth allocation. Marina berth around €12 a night but we are in an 18m berth. It was plus water and power and worked out around €19 including tax. Again we are still on winter rates until the end of May. English spoken in office. This is an enormous marina and apartment complex, lots of bars/cafes, but no town as such. Couple of laundries, chandleries and excellent Mercadona Supermarket. Marina gives out good map, all nearby. Wifi is €3.50 a day then gets cheaper the more days you buy.

23 May 2011
Herradura at anchor: 36 43.56N 03 44.26W

Anchored in 8.5m sand. One of the few anchorages with some coverage along this coast. We were able to escape most of the easterly swell and if wind/swell was from the west you could tuck in over the other side of the bay. Totally exposed to south. Long sandy beach, ATM's on foreshore road, some restaurants. A couple of supermarkets a block inland, closed at siesta time. No free wifi, used dongle.

24 - 27 May 2011
Marina del Este: 36 43.67N 03 43.57W

(We only came in here to undergo engine repairs). Approach to entrance totally exposed to the East, there is some surge inside as swells reflects off rocks, even in light easterlies and we met a boat that had left the marina after spending 2 nights in there with 30 knot easterlies as the surge was so bad (they went to windward in 30 knots to get out!!)

It is a small marina, we ended up paying up for a longer berth just so we could manoeuvre into it. The 2 mooring lines that were pulled up were not attached to the bottom, the chain had worn through!! They did replace them first thing the following morning but this is a very expensive marina and should be maintained accordingly. The staff, however, were excellent, spoke good English, answered channel 09 on VHF and were ready to assist us when we were towed in.

There is a fuel berth and waiting berth on the right on entering and room there for turning. Least depth seen 3.5m (on fuel berth). Clean showers and toilets, free wifi, small minimarket, laundry (not self service), a few restaurants, and a couple of shops. Mechanical repairs onsite, reasonable English spoken, €40 per hour. Hard stand with large travel lift. Very steep walk over hill to Herradura town. May 2011 Cost €55 per night plus power and water.

27 May - 01 June 2011
Caleta de Velez Marina: 36 44.85N 04 04.03W

Huge breakwater, entrance exposed to south. Very big fishing port with a lot of fishing boat traffic, but marina is at far end so little noise or wash from the boats, does smell somewhat fishy. The waiting dock is on the left past the fuel dock, it has a huge sign on it, it is only about 15 metres long and is covered in seagull droppings – wear shoes!!! There was no one to take lines. Plenty of turning room, depth around 5 metres from memory.

Clean showers and toilets, self service laundry €3, free wifi but weak signal. Cost €19 per night all included - still low season until 31 May. Main road just behind marina has good bakery, not so good butcher and a couple of supermarkets (more minimarkets) within a couple of minutes walk. There is also a Saturday morning market on this road, mainly clothes but some produce. Lidls Supermarket is about 10 minutes away, head right (east) on the walkway along the beach until you get to a pedestrian roundabout (cobbled pavement), there is a road roundabout with a boat on it and you can see Lidls just behind it.

Buses to/from Malaga leave from main road just by the hotel with the big green hotel sign on top. We caught one to Malaga at 12.35pm and back at 6.50pm, €2.56 each one way about 1 1/4 hours there along the coast, 45 minutes back along the motorway.

01 - 05 June 2011
Fuengirola Marina: 36 32.50N 04 36.97W

Entrance straightforward but totally exposed to the east and quite a swell rolling in with easterly winds, not too much movement within the marina. Depth at entrance around 4m, 3.5 at berth. Visitors/waiting dock on right after the fuel dock, reasonable room to manoeuvre. Not much room in fairways between docks though.

Plenty of bars and restaurants around marina area, (with English, Dutch and German menus!). Closet ATM opposite Club Nautica restaurant in Marina complex. Clean showers and toilets, self service laundry. Free Wifi, average signal. Good Mercadona Supermarket, head east along waterfront just a few minutes, it is one block back and you will see the sign and the car park signs from waterfront road. Bus to Marbella from bus station (about 3 blocks inland and slightly to the west of the marina) leaves 1/2 hourly on the hour abut €3 pp one way. Marina €35 per night all incl.

05 - 08 June 2011
Estepona Marina: 36 24.91N 05 09 .45W

Entrance all ok we did briefly see 3m at end of wall but maybe cut the corner a little closely (found better depths when we left so must have cut the corner). Entrance exposed to SW. Visitors/waiting dock on right with little white office on it. Good area to manoeuvre and plenty of room in fairways for a change. Clean showers and toilets. Laundry (not self service) on alley behind marina. Free Wifi, good signal. ATM by Marina office (max €300). OpenCor Supermarket just across the road, reasonable selection but most expensive we have seen in Spain. Estepona town quite a walk along the front to the North, not much there (found a Vodafone shop). Marina €40 per night, power and water extra, too expensive for what is here really.

09 - 14 June 2011
Ceuta Marina : 35 53.46N 05 18.93W

(Spanish enclave on Northern African Coast opposite Gibraltar)
Plenty of room in outer harbour for dealing with sails but stay to the east side to keep out of way of fast ferries. There is some current at final turn for marina due to through flow of water in the moat. Fuel dock on left at entrance - Diesel €.97c a litre (cheapest for a while). We called on VHF 9 first and they waved us straight into a berth on the wall, bow to with one stern line. If you are too far in there is some noise at night from Spoons Bar which is on the wall (it does however have a wifi signal!) Cost for 12-15 metre incl power, water & IVA 35.56€ p/n (another big increase to rates in latest Cruising Guide). Showers and toilets by office. No marina wifi. McDonalds with free wifi is just outside marina complex on the left. Lidls Supermarket, can see sign from marina to west. Morning fruit, veg & fish market in indoor Central Market. Cross road from marina and walk uphill, just there (its a small town), another supermarket in behind here. Bus No 7 to border (frontier) goes from outside market €.75c each, very regularly, takes about 15 minutes. Our Gymsim international mobile and Vodafone Spain both worked here ATM’s closeby.

June 2011 and again in August 2011
La Linea Anchorages and Marina (borders with Gibraltar)

1st anchorage - 36 09.62N / 05 21.81W - 5.8m
This was further out and we may well have been ok here the whole time (i.e. maybe not moved by the Guardia Civil), but we were getting some chop and the boats further in looked more comfortable.

2nd anchorage - 36 09.39N / 5 21.71W - 6.5m
Great all round shelter in flat water. Moved on after 4 nights by the Guardia Civil, possible to anchor further out which should be ok but not such good shelter. Dinghy can be taken into the Club Nautico, it is the marina for small boats on the left (Alcaidesa is on the right). Tie dinghy on the outside end of the closet pontoon to restaurant. Gates locked, need to buzz to be let out then go to front desk to pay. It is €5 a day but they give you wifi access too, but couldn’t get their signal from the boat.

Puerto Deportivo Alcaidesa (La Linea Marina)
Large new marina, not fully finished yet, floating docks – some with finger berths but most med mooring with dock lines provided. Shelter from swell looked very good (would only get swell in west or nor’west), very low lying so may cop the wind. Summer rates 12 – 15metre are €19 plus power, water and 18% tax. Has wifi, not sure if extra (it was locked). About 10 minutes walk into town, found a Vodafone shop on main street and a reasonable Mercadona supermarket (tucked away in a back street). There were also signs for Carrefour but we didn't go there. English speaking British Forces Radio on 89.4FM.

SVSnowflake says:
Aug 20, 2017 08:55 PM

If waiting out a NE wind / swell before Cabo de Gata, the anchorage at Cala de Agua Amarga offers great protection. There are quite a few small boats on mooring balls, but anchor around 10 / 11 meters, just outside these moorings. Quite, peaceful night. Beautiful view of the cliffs. Looks like some caves to explore with the dingy or kayak, if time allows.

SVSnowflake says:
Aug 20, 2017 08:52 PM

August 2017: Port Adra at anchor: If the sea is calm, the anchorage just outside of port Adra is nice. There is a bit of swell from fishing boats leaving and entering the port, but nothing unbearable.

SVSnowflake says:
Aug 20, 2017 08:41 PM

August 2017: Aguadulce Marina: We berthed for a night at Aguadulce marina a week ago. We stayed side-to at the reception / fuel dock. If you go to this marina, please ask to be berthed at a more secure dock. There is no security there - anyone can walk along and have access to your boat. Around 10pm, someone walked by and picked up several fenders, immediately dropping them. At 2am, we were awakened by one of our hatches slamming shut. Upon investigation, we found shoe prints on the boat and a lit cigaret butt that was thrown in through the hatch that was slammed shut. If we had not seen this, there could very well have been a fire on board from the cigarette.

The next morning, we notified the marina office of the incident. They were shocked and apologetic that we had this experience, but they took no responsibility because the dock is not secure.

I’m not sure how secure the rest of the marina is, but am hoping this was just a one-off incident.

August 2017: Almerimar Marina: We went into this marina several days ago with a problem with our furlex system on our headsail. The rigging support in Almerimar was quick and provided excellent service - highly recommend.

The marina itself was nice, staff friendly and helpful. There is a Mercadona nearby as well as a pharmacy and doctor.