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)


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why I love Puerto Duquesa

In response to a forum post on www.manilvalife.com, I post this response about why I love Puerto Duquesa:

I love the Port (more so not in July and August) for the great restaurants - Traviata, Macues, Il Capitano, Parapiros (my favourites, there are others) - and the familiar and friendly welcome I get from the owners everytime I go for dinner there. I love the spectacular views and architecture. I love the proximity to everything great on the Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz - the beaches on the Atlantic Coast are easily reachable. I like the sense of community evidenced by the clean-up volunteers/heroes. I like the beautifully relaxed pace of life and strolling down the hill to dinner and grunting my way back up afterwards. I love the new Spa at the hotel.

It's not perfect, but nowhere is.

No wonder I keep coming back...


 


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Incredible beach 1hr from Duquesa

Just returned from a magnificent beach on the Atlantic Coast...

It's called Punta Paloma.

To get there, take the main coast road (N-340) towards Algeciras/Tarifa. Once past the Tarifa turning continue for about another 15 minutes until you see a sign for Punta Paloma and a turning on the beachside of the road. Turn off the road and follow the road until you get to the end (ignoring the "Militar" signs. Seriously!).

At the end of the road you'll get to a car park (basically a rutted field) where you'll be charged €2 to leave the car all day.

Walk down to the beach by going through the restaurant entrance (it's paved) and just head for the water. It's a 10 minute walk with some slopes so not necessarily suitable unless you relatively fit.

Once you get to the bottom you'll be greeted with golden sand and crystal clear water. There is a line of rock out to sea which acts like a reef and means that the swimming area is only waist deep and full of tropical fish - perfect for kids and adults alike.

It does tend to be windy on this part of the coast so bring an umbrella and dig it deep into the sand to give some protection.

Note that the traffic can be a bit 'dodgy' in Algeciras and on the road from Tarifa to the beach at the weekend so suggest a mid-week trip.

Enjoy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cheap international calls from Spain

Found an excellent service for cheap international calls from Spain called Call2Abroad Euro. Calls to UK landlines are 4 eurocents/minute and to UK mobiles an excellent 15 eurocents/minute.

Be interested to hear any feedback.

Click here for more info.

Cleaning efforts in Puerto Duquesa

I just wanted to say 'thank you' on behalf of all the residents of and visitors to Puerto Duquesa to a group of people who have taken the issue of dirt and graffiti into their own hands and started to clean the place up:

http://www.manilvalife.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10993

Muchas gracias.

It's a great shame that the businesses in the marina do not have enough pride and/or foresight to realise that if the place isn't kept clean and attractive, visitors, who provide a great proportion of annual revenues for those businesses, will simply chose to holiday somewhere else.

On the issue of local kids causing trouble - I've seen Costa del Street Crime (which was shown on Bravo in the UK) and the local police can be extremely effective when they want to be. Let's lobby for them to be more active in the marina and the surrounding communities.

Monday, March 23, 2009

March trip to Puerto Duquesa

Returned two weeks ago from a fantastic week in Puerto Duquesa. Weather was 15-20 degrees (t-shirt during the day) with chilly evenings spent under a duveet on the settee!

Took a drive to Gaucin, parking at the entrance to the town and then walking through via the main square to the castle at the fair end of the town. A lovely walk and not too strenous (apart from the climb to the castle). The castle was closed when we were there and opening times are, according to the English locals we bumped into, 'random'. The little market in the town square (on Saturdays) sold looks of nice trinkets and gifts and the bar opposite served excellent tapas included quails eggs on toasted bread with a piece of serrano ham and local spicy sausage. The views from Gaucin and on the drive are spectacular so do stop for photos!

Found a new restaurant in Nueva Andalucia called Thai Gallery (near the Shell station and in the complex where Dreamers nightclub is). It was full on a cold March evening and the food and service were excellent so will definitely be returning.

Traviata was up to usual standards - the seabass in lemon butter sauce really is unbeatable if slightly on the expensive side.

Visited Selwo after picking up a €5/person discount in the old town square in Estepona. A great day out with lots of animals in a semi-wild habit along with a more traditional zoo. Particularly pleased to see Little Kanver who I believe is the first baby elephant to be born in captivity in Spain. My only complaint is that the trucks to take your around the site are a little erractic and you can end up waiting for quite a while to get back to the carpark. Food also looked rough so we went to Laguna Village (next to the Kempinski just to the East of Estepona) and at at a delightful new Italian restaurant called Portofino. Sitting out of the patio overlooking the sea with some music from Puro Beach in the background was awesome.

Can't wait to return.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wonderful Spa in Puerto Duquesa

I've found my new favourite place in Puerto Duquesa...

...the wonderful new spa in the basement of the revamped and refurbished Hotel Golf La Duquesa.

Whilst the revamp of the hotel has been impressive, taking it from a 4* to 5* venue, the hidden gem is the thermal spa. All the regular treatments, such as massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and waxing are available, along with the so called 'thermal club'.

Pay €15 each (based on two people using the buy one get one free offer) and you get access to a steam room, sauna, ice cave (frio!), vichy showers and a sizeable pool with eight or so different jet areas.

Start by entering the pool and working your way around the different jet stations. The chrome buttons activate the jets and they last for around 4-5 minutes before stopping. Spend one turn at each station and your body will be thoroughly pummelled, but relaxed. It really gets the circulation going and relieves any muscle tension.

Then hit the steam room and sauna to detoxify, followed by the ice room to cool down and close the pores, and then the vichy shower to wash down. A final session in the main jacuzzi tub - elevated over the main pool area - and you've just spent what I would consider to be 90 minutes of heaven!

Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ViaPost - send cheap post from Spain to the UK

Sending post from Spain to the UK tends, in my experience, to take ages, not be particularly reliable and cost quite a lot. However, a new service called ViaPost, has recently launched and is set to change all of that. For just 27p + VAT you can send a letter to anywhere in the UK from Spain (or from anywhere in the world, actually) and the price includes printing (on nice glossy paper), the cost of the envelope, folding and stuffing, and, finally, delivery. It's very simple to use and simply involves downloading an additional print driver to your computer.

For any business owners who regularly market to potential customers in the UK (I'm thinking especially estate agents, hotels, etc.), this is a very cost-effective way of reaching the consumer and has so much more impact that an email. It's also pretty good for personal use - I wrote some Christmas thank you letters using it!

So for sending cheap post from Spain to the UK, this could be a good solution.

Duquesa update: will do this soon; lots to report.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cheap international calls from Spain

I received the following press release today (copied below). Having tested the service it seems very good offering a novel way to make calls from Spanish mobiles:

2 January 2009, London

DialAbroad, the low cost international call provider, is proud to announce the launch of the DialAbroad Euro service in 8 countries. This new service from DialAbroad offers cheap, reliable and high quality international calls from Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Spain, the USA and the UK to anywhere in the world from just 4 eurocents per minute.

The DialAbroad Euro service has been designed to be simple and easy to use. To get started a customer follows these steps:

(1) Visit www.dialabroad.eu and purchase with DialAbroad calling credit securely using a credit or debit card or PayPal. Credit is available from just 5 Euro and there is no ongoing subscription or commitment.
(2) Confirmation of purchase is sent via email and a PIN code sent to the customer's mobile phone.
(3) The customer makes a call by dialing the access number for the country they are in (for example, 914 149 940 if calling from Spain) followed by their PIN number. Calls to the DialAbroad access number will be included in most "free minute" bundles on both landline and mobile phone packages.
(4) The DialAbroad credit balance is read out and the customer makes a call by dialing their destination number beginning 00 and then followed by the country code and local number (for example, 00 44 20 8497 8008). Once the destination number is dialed, the customer will be advised how many minutes they have left to their destination before they are connected.

Full rate information along with local access numbers are available at www.dialabroad.eu and wallet sized information cards can be requested by emailing enquiries@dialabroad.eu

Unlike calling cards and other account based services, DialAbroad Euro offers:

- purchase online with no contract, commitment or subscription
- make low cost calls 24 hours a day
- call from landlines or mobiles
- use the same credit from 8 countries - great for travelers, they can use the same credit for making calls in Spain, France and Ireland all for the same great rates. No need to pay for different services when visiting different countries.
- especially low cost calls to UK mobiles
- premium quality routing and no hidden charges
- excellent customer support

Notes to editors:

DialAbroad has been operating market-leading telecoms services in the UK and Spain since early 2001. The new DialAbroad Euro service ideally complements the existing DialAbroad services in Spain (DialAbroad Spain Instant www.dialabroad.es) and the UK (www.dialabroad.co.uk/landline.asp and www.dialabroad.co.uk/mobile).