The “Costa de la Luz” (Coast Line of the Light) has welcomed us with what it is known for – gleaming light and bright blue skies. The sun burning laser sharply – though at temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius.
What a difference to the sweltering 30 to 37 degrees that our small travel party had to endure in the places we visited before.
How is this possible – “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind….! ”
The entire coast line (with the exception of the “Coto Doñana”) down to the city of “Tarifa” is basically wind-surfer’s and kiter’s paradise. The beaches are miles and miles long and sandy, the tidal range is impressive and the wind makes it all perfect.
The region is influenced by two winds:
The names are derived from the directions from which they blow – the Levante from where the sun rises (levantarse=to rise, to stand up) which is the East. The Poniente from where the sun sets (ponerse=to lie down) which is the West.
The Poniente brings the cool air from the sea, which in June can be chilly and strong to the degree that you cannot sit outside in the evening or at least not without wearing a sweater at 20 degrees Celsius ambient temperature.
The Levante brings drier and hotter air from the North Africa – with is often a stuffy, sweltering heat and lots of insects.
If you ask me: The Poniente is my favorite wind – it gives you the North Sea feeling in the sunny south of Europe.
Another characteristic of the “Costa de la Luz” is the impressive tidal range of the Atlantic.
The tidal range often causes confusion and surprise with new arrivers at the hotel, which is situated directly at the beach.
Depending on the time of arrival you are not only faced a long beach but also with a “deep” one where you can barely see the water.
Or you arrive when the high tide is in action and you are looking forward to a nice swim the next morning to only realize that the sea has gone. Manfred and I have witnessed quite some interesting facial expressions.
The inhabitants of Rota have used the tidal range to their advantage for decades and decades. At the Punta Candor (a part of the beach 400 Meters from the hotel) the socalled “Corrales de Rota” – can be found. They are man-made bassins that are flooded with the high tide, and slowly drain with low tide – leaving lots of seafood and smaller fish for harvesting. They also serve as habitat for crabs and clambs.
Sometimes – at night – you get to see spooky and eerie images of lights in the sea – the solution of the mystery is sober: the lights belong to the collectors or harvesters wading through the “corrales” to sell their quarry in Rota in the morning.
There are many gems along the “Costa de la Luz” – the crown jewel however is the “Coto Doñana” one of Europe’s most impressive nature reserve with a unique biodiversity. The access to the area is restricted to guided tours. The main entry point is in “El Rocio”.
I highly recommend taking a tour . Manfred and I did it twice (in 2006 and 2013) and we were impressed every time.
An interesting piece of trivia: the “Coto Doñana” is believed to be part of the ancient “Atlantis” – go figure.