If you’re coming to Cartagena, Spain for a bit of a thrill then try out these ideas.
Cartagena offers one of the most unique places for scuba diving with 100 miles of coastline divided into three main areas: Cabo de Palos, Cartagena and Cabo Tiñoso-La Azohía, with 53 dive sites. With an average temperature of 14.5 degrees in winter and 25 in summer you can dive throughout the year. Though it gets a little too cold for me!
We dive with Hesperides, www.hesperidesbuceo.com, right out of Cartagena port at the Club de Regatas de Cartagena. You take a zodiac to the Algameca river outlet, which is ten minutes away, where there’s a buoy to indicate the attachment point to a sunken boat at 15m below the surface. The keel of the boat is at around 20-22 meters, stranded on a sandy slope.
The old tug is covered by vegetation and numerous species of underwater creatures inhabit this manmade terrain. Moving on there’s the wreckage of a small airplane. You can see the two seats, pilot and co-pilot, some electrical wires are still visible. The more adventurous divers get into to the seats, though the aluminium frame is sharp and dangerous.
These sunken artefacts are used by Navy divers to perform experiments and tests. Their base is just a couple of minutes away in Algameca, you can see them having fun off their jetty.
There are plenty of other dive sites with Hesperides along this coastline. There’s a couple at Isla Paloma, the small island we could see when visiting the battery at Roldán.
When you’ve finished diving for the day enjoy a snack and a beer or two at the bar in the Club de Regatas de Cartagena, they have outdoor comfy chairs and you can watch the yachtees playing with their big boats.
Address: Edif. Real Club Regatas Cartagena, Muelle Alfonso XII, Telephone: +34 968 50 84 33 +34 606 34 45 42, Web: www.hesperides.biz
Nice place to park a boat and have a beer with views of the marina. They also offer some reasonable tapas and menú del día. If you’re a member you can use their swimming pool and gym. For lesser mortals the bar and terrace areas are welcoming, with comfy seats.
Address: Paseo de Alfonso XII, Telephone: +34 968 50 15 07, Web: www.clubregatascartagena.es
This sea defence is is located southwest close to sea level to easily monitor the entrance to the port. The port is bordered by two mountain ranges, San Julián, to the east and Galeras to the west, with these characteristic ‘points’ of Trincabotijas and Santa Ana to the east, and Podadera and Navidad to the west. The islet of Escombreras seals the circle to any hint of exposure to southerly winds. The fortress was built in the 1860s to defend the inner harbour of Cartagena. It was designed by Spanish military engineers in a sober neoclassical style with solid construction lines that emphasize its image of power.
Getting to the fortress is easy by foot or car: head from the streets of Cartagena Real, towards the village of Concepción, take the road to La Algameca and the Navantia yards (ship-builders). There’s an interpretation centre which is open every day from 10:30 to 14:00 and 15:30 to 20:00 in the summer, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 17:30 in the winter. This is a great place for a good walk. The cliffs are stunning and you can head off down towards the pirate town of La Algameca Chica (probably near where you were diving in the morning).
La Algameca Chica is a beautiful little port town, difficult to get to but well worth the effort. In the 18th century it was a pirate stronghold, it’s now on land belonging to the Ministry of Defence. Neither the Ministry nor the city of Cartagena is responsible for these illegal houses that lack basic needs. They have electricity for just a few hours per day and water has to be brought in.
All along the inlet small fishing boats are moored. Most have seen better days. The houses are scattered along the slope of a hill, ending in a ravine, built with anything they could lay their hands on – bricks, sheet metal, wood, concrete blocks, corrugated sheets – with large plastic containers on the roofs to store water. It’s colourful and exciting and really quite voyeuristic to visit this village that time has forgotten. Unfortunately the Ministry of Defence wants to tear down the 110 illegal homes built here, with the 20-30 year long residents not paying taxes. Visit soon, or there may not be anything to see.
Enjoy the evening in Bar Al Borak. This bar is recently opened and offers good tapas and an excellent patio area overlooking the Parque de Artillería. Open every day of the week, this is a great place for a drink with friends. It’s beautifully decorated, with comfy sofas and an upstairs area with curved ceilings under the arches of the Roman walls.
Address: Plaza Juan XXIII, Opening hours: Afternoons till late! Web: www.al-borak.blogspot.com.es
For more information on Cartagena get the Cartagena City Guide:
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