This is a trip for those who enjoy nature, walking, sailing and enjoying the natural flora and fauna of this area. It is a very complete route that includes several activities all developed in an exceptional area: the south west of Andulusia.
During our trip we will follow nature and natural light; that means waking up early in the morning and also going to sleep early in the evening (of course this is up to you). After breakfast we will start the day. There are only two transfers by road (Aracena and Doñana) but they will never take more than two hours. We will have time enough for enjoying both tracks and villages. Andalusia is a privileged site to enjoy all year round: good weather, an island surrounded by mountains, natural parks and long sand’s tongue that creates a system of both dunes and very thin sand beaches perfect in order to do all kind of activities.
We have 4 Apartments in Isla Cristina. Each apartment has 3 bedrooms, lounge area and kitchen. You will be allocated a twin/double room in one of the apartments and will share with the other guests on the holiday. If you prefer to have an apartment to yourself or for your group. We can request the price for you. Our apartments located on coast line and in front of a natural reserve.
DAY 1.- Transfer from Faro (Portugal) or Sevilla (Spain) to Isla Cristina. Meeting point for all groups is Faro airport at 17:30 or Sevilla airport at 17:00. If your flight arrives earlier, then you could visit Sevilla or Faro Old City Centre, both very interesting. You will be then taken to our offices and we have a meeting to discuss the different activities and our itinerary. You will then check into the apartments.
DAY 2.- Kayak Excursion. After a short safety/training talk we take advantage of high tide to immerse ourselves in the tranquillity of this coastal wetland and learn about its unique ecosystem. Slowly traversing areas of salt pans, marshes and navigation channels we’ll enjoy a rich diversity of flora and fauna. There are ancient mills, shore carpenters, fishing ports and fish markets offering tastes and smells it seems we’d almost forgotten. No previous experience is necessary for the kayaking – the only requirement is that you are able to swim. The excursion takes 4 to 5 hours and the remainder of the day is free to visit the old town with its port, fish market and daily fish auction - a fascinating opportunity to savour the sights and smells of this lively town. Kayaking time: Four-five hours.
DAY 3.-Doñana Natural Park (World Heritage). This is doubtlessly the most eagerly anticipated excursion for bird lovers. With our naturalist guide we’ll leave early in the morning to enjoy a full day in this, one of Europe’s most famous stopover points for migratory birds. Doñana’s entire ecosystem is a vital haven and wintering ground for a multitude of birds that come there to feed and breed. Over 360 different species are seen at various times of year. We’ll begin in the well-known village of El Rocío, where the marshes become waterlogged with the first autumn rains, flooding the clay soil and creating a fantastic place for spotting waders such as flamingos and other animal species such as wild horses and organically reared livestock. We can also see a huge variety of birds of prey on the wing, such as kites, western marsh harriers and if we are lucky, the spectacular western imperial eagle. Springtime sees the arrival birds from Africa which come to breed - plenty of colour and activity. We’ll then visit the Mediterranean forest which is home to deer, wild boar, rabbit and the elusive Iberian lynx. In the afternoon we’ll approach the Dunas del Asperillo Natural Park by a path that ends at a deserted beach. For those interested it’s possible to enjoy a horse-ride across the dunes of the park. Later we return by road to Isla Cristina. Bird Watching time: Whole day.
DAY 4.- Portugal by Bicycle. Today we take our bicycles and cross the Guadiana estuary by ferry to Portugal. Following a “Via Verde” or ‘green way’ (a specially conditioned cycle track reclaimed from an old railway line) we pass salt pans, marshes and tidal mills. We’ll stop to visit a traditional salt plant, one of the last in Spain, nowadays engaged in supplying the modern demand for artisan salt. Finally our “Via Verde” brings us to the town of Ayamonte where from the quayside we’ll take the regular ferry to the Portuguese town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio. Like many towns along the Algarve, Vila real was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755 and was subsequently laid out and rebuilt in the enlightenment style. We’ll have time to stroll the pleasant town with its marina, stylish 18th century architecture and highly celebrated town plan. We can extend our cycle ride following the banks of the Guadiana to the wide open beach where the river opens to the Atlantic Ocean. There should be time to swim before returning to Isla Cristina in the afternoon. Cycling: Distance 30 kilometres. Whole day.
DAY 5.- Hiking in Sierra de Aracena Natural Park. Very early in the morning the van picks us up and we go to the north to Castaño del Robledo, a mountain village. From this point we make a gentle walk through paths and tracks that, even today, comunícate small white villages. This route crosses mountains, chesnut forests and also pastures of cork oaks and olm oaks where the Iberian porks run freely. In the afternoon, after enjoying the gastronomy, we will have a glimpse to the Rio Tinto mines. Then we go back to Isla Cristina. Walking time: 5-6 hours. Distance 12 kilometres. Whole day.
DAY 6.- Ocean Sailing. Today we set sail aboard our ocean-going yacht, Alcyon. If weather and sea conditions permit then we’ll take to the open ocean to learn the ancient art of navigation. There will be opportunities for everyone to crew the boat and help steer a steady course in search of soaring seabirds and dolphin riding the waves. Swimming at sea is possible and the excursion includes a snack aboard ship. For a few hours we’ll feel the magic of the ocean and discover a world of wind, sea, sky and tides. Sailing time: 4 hours.
DAY 7.- Today there may be some free time to relax in the village before our transfer vehicle takes us on the 1½ hr journey to Seville airport for your flight out.
Our Sailing Boat:
Alcyon is a 9,5m sailing boat, classic designed and has space for eight people. Driving the boat is easy with our skipper there to help. He will teach you about the navigation art. The comfortable mats allow us to sunbath while we sail to the horizon. Inside the boat, you have all you need, wood living room, kitchen, toilet, hot water shower. From the boat stern we can jump into the sea. The sailing boat has all the required safety equipment: life jackets, GPS that gives us information about our position, sounding line, automatic pilot and radio to contact local ports.
Our kayaks are designed to go slowly across the marshes. They are stable and do not need special skill to use them. Two people will be comfortable inside each kayak. We will bring a 26 l barrel where you can keep your personal items. OCEAN DUO is a very versatile kayak. It is perfect for marshes and coastline.
Before departure, we will give you basic instructions on how to manage your kayak.
A guide will join every group. His/ her task is that the daily activities comply with the program and to coordinate the group during all the time. It is provided that guides know already where the trip is going to take place. Staff has proved experience in organising groups.
The group is formed from 2 to 16 people. Although the guide coordinates and develops logistic and support tasks, it is important that the people get involved in smalls details.
There are several restaurants and local bars for people that would like to have lunch or dinner; this experience will allow you to get in touch with local people. Prices are going to be approx 10/15 Euros. You could also prepare food at the apartments as the kitchen is fully equipped and food can be bought at local market.
What to pack?
All the activities are subject to changes due to weather conditions or any other forces beyond our control.
Check in time is: 19:00, Check out time is: 12.00
The apartments are comfortable and fully-equipped with a kitchen. We will show you where the local market is for buying fresh fish and seafood recently brought in from the sea at affordable prices. There are also all kinds of shops nearby for you to buy anything you need during your stay. For those who would prefer to eat out, there is no place like Isla, a fishing village with a long culinary tradition, to discover fantastic places for lunch or dinner. You can choose from bar-type beach restaurants with the sound of the waves crashing against the shore in the background or small traditional restaurants in the port or fisherman's bars for excellent rice and seafood dishes. We would highlight that there are three or four top restaurants in Isla and some of these are recommended in the Michelin guide. We can make recommendations depending on your preferences.
|- Balcony||- Coffee/Tea Maker|
|- Fridge/Freezer||- Heating System|
|- Bicycle Hire||- Bureau de Change||- Free Car Park|
|- Indoor Pool||- Roof Terrace||- Secure Parking|
All the apartments are situated in Islay Cristina next to the sea with views of the beach, the marshes or the pine groves. Just five minutes to town centre. Below the apartments there is a beach. Our offices are inside the Marina, only 2 minutes from the apartments.
Transfer time from Faro 45minutes approximately.Car Hire Directions
Address for GPS
You can also fly to Seville or Faro
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Please note unless otherwise stated transfers and car hire are NOT included
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