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)


Monday, June 18, 2007

Puerto Duquesa Celebrities

For those of you who haven't seen him around, Keith Floyd has visited Puerto Duquesa on number of occasions and I believe he owns a property in the area. A legendary chef, Mr Floyd is making a number of appearances at the Roman Oasis this summer where he will show off his skills and cook up a mediterranean inspired treat. Tickets are 125 euros and he is performing on the following dates:

June: Tues 19, Thurs 21, Sat 23, Tues 26, Thurs 28 and Saturday 30.
September: Tues 18, Thurs 20, Sa 22, Tues 25, Thurs 27 and Sat. 29.

For more details, email romanoasis@europe.com

Thursday, June 7, 2007

"The Pain In Spain"

Whilst the content is familiar and somewhat sensationalist, it's worth watching Trevor McDonald's Tonight programme on house prices in Spain, especially if you are thinking of buying in the not too distant future. There is nothing specific on Puerto Duquesa, but I think it does reflect sentiment on the coast at the moment accurately. For the brave out there, there are bargains to be had...

Here's the link.

A walking tour of Puerto Duquesa

The route I'm about to describe is actually a favourite jogging track of mine (at least before the builders really started tearing up the road around the golf course and created lots of dust!). However, if you wanted to walk it, it would give you a really good idea of what Puerto Duquesa is all about, beyond the marina. If you are thinking about moving here or purchasing property, it will also give you a good idea of what's available and give you an opportunity to nosey around the different communities, all of which have their own distinct character.

Start

Starting in the marina, with the entrance arch behind you and the little 'supermercado' on the left, head out of Puerto Duquesa. You'll pass the car park on your right, followed by a relatively new development Mikinos Playa on the left (nice Greek architecture) and then the huge Marina de la Duquesa on the right. This development was met with some opposition when it was first proposed, largely because of its size, but I think it looks really smart and I'm told the apartments are well constructed and spacious.

Head under the main road via the hopefully-graffiti-free underpass and then follow the road round to the left. To the right, you'll notice a development built about 3-4 years ago just off the slip-road. Continue along the road and then bear right, having passed the garden centre on your left. You'll now be going up a very steep hill into the main residential area of Puerto Duquesa. Interestingly, the garden centre, which has previously been both a second-hand car dealer and a furniture shop, was originally owned by the local authorities. One night, some enterprising rogue fenced the whole site in and was, faced with a hopeless lack of opposition on the part of the powers that be, granted adverse possession of the site. Whilst a bit frustrating - it was meant to be an overflow car park - it really does reveal a lot about the Spanish psyche!

El Hacho

The residential area on the hillside overlooking the golf course is called El Hacho. As you near the top of the hill you'll get a good view over the golf course and the coast. The first property you come across is a private house on the right hand side and then you have the oldest hillside development on the left (not sure of the name) and the newer Las Brisas on the right, as the road flattens out. A telephone box marks the a junction where you should go straight over - turn right, almost double-backing on yourself up a steep hill, and you'll go up behind Las Brisas and on to some further new developments which have been built overlooking the golf course (a mixture of detached houses and flats). Interestingly, some of these had to be knocked down as the builders were careless/cheeky...a good sign that the Manilva Town Hall has started to enforce these things.

Los Castillos/Los Carmenes/Monte Duquesa

These are the next three developments you come across and they are probably the most mature. Los Castillos was built by Taylor Woodrow and is renowned as having excellent build quality and spacious interiors (apartments only). Monte Duquesa was built by Spanish builders and doesn't have any sea views, but is good value. It also has a newish Courtyard development which houses a range of useful shops and services, including an excellent cafe, Beccy's. The English influence is strongly felt here, perhaps more so than it other areas of Puerto Duquesa. Finally, as you head further up the hill you have a row of townhouses and villas on the left called Los Carmenes (the second oldest community). To the right is a large new development with attractive gardens and swimming pools...again I am not sure of the name.

Still further up the hill

Continue past Los Carmenes and you head up another steep hill. There are developments to the left (slightly older) and to the right (fairly new) which offer apartments. I do not know an awful lot about them, but the views should be pretty spectacular. Beyond these apartments is what is known locally as 'The Duquesa Palace', a detached house built by a wealthy Swiss expatriate on the site which the original visionary for the whole Puerto Duquesa development reserved for himself (the original visionary having returned to Sicily). It's a spectacularly tasteful property in a traditional style with great views...maybe one day I'll try and buy it!!

The summit

Beyond the Palace is a row of townhouses on the left (again, a fairly mature community and home to an above average number of Spanish families) is where a lot of the action is happening. There are numerous new developments and as you head to the highest point of your walking tour, you could across a scarred landscape full of building. There is going to be a huge range of new property and I am not that up to speed with it, but http://www.duquesagoldenmile.com/ has a good overview of what's being built and what's planned. My view (hope) is that once the dust settles, the increased number of people will encourage more businesses and amenities to move into the area and prosper, and that the typically excellent Spanish landscaping will turn all the little bits into a cohesive whole. Time will tell...

Heading back down now

Once you've admired (recovered from the shock of seeing) all the building, follow the road round to the left and head downhill. The road runs round the golf course so you can follow it all the way back to the main road. Again, there are lots of new developments here; apartments, little golf townhouses and substantial detached villas. I've always found the backdrop of this particular area very beautiful...absent the obvious draw of a sea view, but with rolling countryside and the odd wind farm in the distance...it's quintessential modern Andalucia.

One community of note is the tall town houses which hang over the road as you get back down to sea level and approach the refurbished Hotel La Duquesa. This area is particularly popular with expats and there tend to be lights on here in the evenings year round. Definitely something to consider if you are contemplating a permanent move to Puerto Duquesa...sitting in a community which is all dark is not very homely.

The hotel, the castle

As you arrive back at the coast road, have a peek around the hotel and the golf club and then use the elevated pedestrian crossing to cross the main road safely. Once the other side of the main road, if you still have the energy, head right and explore the castillo and the little village next to it. Otherwise, you can walk back to the marina via the beach front promenade. Again, there are lots of communities around the marina itself so have a peek at these. One thing to note in the marina is that petty thefts (sneak thieves) do occur - if this is something that concerns you, ensure that your property is either not on the ground floor or has good security (wrought iron bars are aesthetically pleasing and put off these chancers).

I think you'd want an hour to an hour and a half to do the work, but it might take a bit longer if you amble. Take water it it's hot and don't do it in the middle of the day in the summer. Have fun.