Welcome to my Puerto Duquesa blog

I've been visiting Puerto Duquesa three or four times a year for the past 20 years and have seen the area change enormously in that time. Where once there were dirt tracks and open countryside, there are now two lane motorways and apartment complexes. And whilst the area has changed and grown dramatically, it has still retained its small town, or should that be 'small marina' feel, which keeps me, and thousands others, coming back year after year.

Since I am currently in the USA it is a slightly odd time to start a blog about Puerto Duquesa, but the reason for doing so is simple - I may actually have some time to write some stuff! Most of the things I'm going to write about are things I like doing in the area or places I like going. Clearly I am not going to be able to cover everything, but hopefully I can give you a taste of what makes this such a special place and give you some ideas for your next trip.

If you can't immediately find what you are looking for, please scroll down and look in the blog archive (click the triangles to expand the list of articles). You might also want to start with these articles: Puerto Duquesa: the basics, Favourite (best?) restaurants in Puerto Duquesa, Puerto Duquesa beaches and Holiday accommodation in Puerto Duquesa. Want to get to know the area? Try A walking tour of Puerto Duquesa.

I welcome contributions, comments, criticisms and...well...praise.

If you want to link to me or you want me to link to you, that'll work too. If I think you're a good local company and you're prepared to part with a few euros, you might be lucky enough to advertise on the blog (which, fyi, is page rank 3 on Google - just type in puerto duquesa at google.com).

Thanks / Gracias

Chris (chris@cdgsmith.com) (March 2007)


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Puerto Duquesa: the basics

OK – here’s an overview of all the basic things (in no particular order) you need to know about Puerto Duquesa:

Supermarkets

There is a supermarket in the marina, right next to the entrance, which is good for basics, but doesn’t have much in the way of fresh produce and can be quite expensive. For bigger shops, there are two main options. You can either head towards Estepona and go to Carrefour or go to Supercor just the other side of Sotogrande. Supercor is a little more upmarket (say, Waitrose) compared to Carrefour (Tesco) and you do pay for this. Ultimately, I suppose it depends on your budget, but I prefer Supercor.

To get to Carrefour either: (i) take a right turn into Estepona from the main road and head through the town along the sea front or (ii) continue on the main road and take the Palacio de Congresos exit and turn right once you get off the motorway. The former is prettier, the latter quicker. There is ample parking both underground and right outside the shop.

For Supercor, take the main road towards Sotogrande and take the exit towards Valderamma (it’s basically the first exit once you’ve passed the supermarket on the other side of the road). Head under the main road and turn left. There is parking outside.

For smaller, local shops, there are a couple of supermarkets in Sabinillas which are all much the same. Personally, I go there to stock up and do major shops at Supercor.

Newspapers

There are three places that sell newspapers in the marina. They are: the supermarket by the entrance to the marina; the souvenir shop along the front (head into the marina through the main entrance and continue going straight until you see racks of postcards, etc.); and the newsagent upstairs just by the Macues. The majority of major English newspapers are now printed in Spain so you can get them same-day (no waiting for the plane to come in early evening….).

Internet

If you don’t have internet at home or at your hotel, there are a couple of internet cafes in the marina. The one I use is upstairs just off the ‘Italian Square’ (where Il Capitano is). The rates are fairly reasonably and you can either use the desktop machines they provide or bring your laptop and hook it up to a high-speed connection. They also offer fax and mail services if you need to conduct any business while in the area.

Calling home

There are a number of phone boxes in the marina. Generally, the cheapest method I’ve found is using DialAbroad Spain, but you can also buy phone cards. Using your mobile abroad is not a good idea as you will be hit with huge ‘roaming’ charges (fees levied to use your phone outside your home counrry), although this can be avoided by buying a local SIM (see for example, Sims4Abroad) or a service such as UK2Abroad.

Car hire

If you are staying in the marina, a car is not essential, but it can be useful (especially if you want to do one of my recommend day trips). I’ve used a range of companies over the years, but have found Brunos Car to be the best value with fully inclusive prices and free roof racks, baby seats, etc.

Post

There has been speculation amongst my friends that the post box in Puerto Duquesa is ‘merely there for decoration’ given the fact that I’ve always beaten my postcards home… If you are sending anything urgent, best speak to the chaps in the internet café (who offer a courier service) or go to a proper post office. Don’t forget to buy stamps when you buy postcards as some shops are reluctant to sell the former without the latter.

Health

Pharmacies in Spain are brilliant and can diagnose the majority of non-serious issues on the spot. Unlike the UK, prescriptions aren’t that widely used so most things can be obtained over the counter. The nearest pharmacy is in Sabinillas. If you need a doctor, I have called Doctor Furness before on 962 802 907 (I hope he won’t mind me posting his number here!) and he was fantastic – sympathetic and helpful.

For more serious issues, you can dial 112 (the international emergency number) or head to a local Hospiten, the nearest one is in Estepona (952 76 06 00).

Guidebooks

I have not yet found a guide book which provides a great deal of useful information about the Puerto Duquesa area (that's where this blog comes in!), but the following three guides are excellent if you plan on exploring further afield or fancy going on one of my Day trips from Puerto Duquesa.

The first is from the Rough Guides series and is called, somewhat unsurprisingly, The Rough Guide to Andalucia. The second is part of the well-known Lonely Planet series and is entitled Andalucia (Lonely Planet Regional Guide). And the third continues Dorling Kindersley's excellent range of 'Top 10' books - Top 10 Andalucia and Costa del Sol. Clicking on the links will take you straight through to the relevant information page on Amazon.co.uk.

Flights

There is a section on the right hand side of the blog which lists a range of flight related links. Typically, it is cheapest to use a comparison site like Avro, but I confess to being a big British Airways fan and always book directly with them for flights from Gatwick to Gibraltar.

Local radio

There are a number of excellent local radio stations which cater for the English-speaking/expat community. For full details see English radio in Puerto Duquesa.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Chris
I love your new site and over the years have tried many of the featured restaurants. One I would like to mention is Trader Vic's at Laguna Village. This is a new beach village with shops, various restaurants and private beach and pool and is situated just past the Kempinski Hotel. The setting is quite beautiful and I have had lunch and dinner there, both of which were great (very romantic in the evening). Quite expensive but worth it.

Anonymous said...

Chris
Last Summer I badly burned my thumb and went to Hospiten. It was brilliant! Important to know though that it is private and it operates a 24 hour emergency department.

agards said...

Hi Chris,

I have never been to the area but need to do a little research. Your blog has proven really useful and I am grateful that you took the time to share your knowledge.

I am considering buying a boat-based business based in the marina. It basically offers day trips on a sailing catamaran for excursions/whale watching etc.

May I ask are you aware of such an operation and does it seem to do well?

I guess the success of such a business would rely on a weekly influx of new holidaymakers rather than permanent/regular residents. Does the port area attract such tourists?

Thanks again Chris

Kind regards,

Lee said...

agards,

I have an apartment here (an am here at present) and to me the only thing that is missing from this port is a good boat trip service. You have to go to Marbella Sport Port or Banus to get a catamaran with fly-blue. There was one guy doing trips and banana boat things last summer but to be honest his prices were way too much for the average family with a few kids.

If you can arrange a catemaran and charge €40 per adult for around a 3 hour trip up the coast then your onto a winner!