Playa PAraiso

La Manga del Mar Menor

La Manga Strip, Puerto Tomás Maestre and the ferry to Santiago de la Ribera
La Manga Stip beach
La Manga Strip is a strip of land 21 km long and 300 metres wide (on average). La Manga means 'sleeve' and it is a strip of land which separates the Mediterranean Sea from the Mar Menor (Small Sea). It is not to be confused with La Manga Club, which is a huge, luxury, all-round sports and leisure resort, about 10 km inland.
Castla de Mar on La Manga Strip
La Manga Strip has many hotels, shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. The tourist map shows the Strip in more detail.
Driving along the Strip is extremely tedious, due to the huge number of traffic lights and endless tower bocks. From the road, the whole area looks extremely unpromising.
However, the buildings are hiding miles of beautifiul beaches and during the summer months this is the place to go for nightlife.
bridge on La Manga StripIt is worth exploring the Strip to the end of the road; at the northern end of the Mar Menor a shallow inlet divides the Strip into two. At the very end, you go across an amazing hump backed bridge onto a low lying island.
Thin house on La MAnga stripAs you drive along the Strip you pass commercial areas, marinas, beaches and some very bizarre architecture. There are tower blocks with battlements and houses that are so thin that it must be difficult to swing a cat in them. I assume that they were built like that to comply with some local building regulations (or maybe the architect had a sense of humour).

La Manga Strip from Cabo de Palos lighthouse

Puerto Tomás Maestre

Marina and Ferry
Puerto Tomás Maestre - Marina on La Manga Strip
This is the largest marina on La Manga Strip and has some amazingly expensive yachts moored in it. It faces the Mar Menor side of the Strip, but has a canal, with a lift bridge, leading to the Mediterranean.
There are an awful lot of boats, but there never seem to be many people around. The offices, shops and restaurants never seem busy during the day.

Puerto Tomás Maestre - Ferry at Marina on La Manga StripOur main reason for visiting the marina was to take the ferry across the Mar Menor to Santiago de la Ribera. This takes about 40 minutes and costs about €4 per person each way. It is a good way to see the coastline around the Mar Menor and, if you go in the morning, you often have the Spanish equivalent of the Red Arrows (who are based at the airport) practising above you.
Puerto Tomás Maestre - Marina on La Manga Strip

Ferry to Santiago de la Ribera

Santiago de la Ribera
Santiago de la Ribera is a small seaside town on the western shore of the Mar Menor, just to the north of the airport at San Javier.

In the summer the beaches are crowded and there is a wide selection of bars, cafes and restaurants along the promenade and in the pedestrianised back streets.

Buddy's Bar, which is in in the back streets, is a popular destination for many people who are moored in the marina. Evidently they do a good English breakfast (served with Guinness if you wish).
Santiago de la Ribera Buddies BarSantiago de la Ribera back street

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