The town of Ayamonte - situated on the banks of the River Guadiana which forms the natural border between Spain and Portugal - is in the province of Huelva which forms a part of the autonomous region of Andalucia.
The Huelva and Cadiz provinces combined form the coastal area known as the Costa de la Luz - the Coast of Light. The Ayamonte area is regarded by many as the "Jewel in the Crown" of the Huelva province with endless golden beaches bathed in sunshine almost all year round. Glorious summers are followed by mild winters with temperatures seldom below 10c and often reaching afternoon peaks of 20c. More sunshine and daylight hours than anywhere else on mainland Europe truly make this the Coast of Light! The climate of the Spanish Algarve is one of its' greatest attractions. The summers are long and hot with very little rainfall. The coast is usually a little cooler than inland. The Costa de la Luz averages over 3000 hours of sunshine a year, that's an amazing average of 8 hours sun for every day of the year.
Area overview - History and localities
Ayamontes' history is rich and diverse and is reflected in a number of historical places in the town. "Ayamonte - Historical Places" is are well worth a visit.
Although Ayamonte is generally referred to as a town it was actually granted city status in 1665 by King Felipe IV. The city status reflected its' importance in terms of strategic border location for the Spanish Kingdom.
The Costa de la Luz lays claim to having the oldest city in Europe, Cadiz. It is well worth a visit and is just 3 hours away by motorway. We would recommend stopping over in El Puerto de Santa Maria and taking the 20 minute ferry journey across the Bay of Cadiz to the city - we've done it twice already! Cadiz was established as a city in 1100 BC by the Phoenicians for whom it was an important trading port. Andalusia was widely settled by the Phoenicians before the arrival of the Celts and the Tartessus Kingdom.
Huelva province is famed as the sailing place of Christopher Columbus or Cristobal Colon as he is known in Spanish. Columbus is thought to have stayed in Ayamonte with Rodrigo de Xerez, one of his crew, before setting sail on the first of his four voyages across the Atlantic in 1492. Columbus set sail from Palos de la Frontera near Huelva. Rodrigo de Xerez encountered Cuban tribesman smoking tobacco and brought some home with him, for personal use only of course! He is now regarded as the first man to have introduced smoking to the European mainland. Unfortunately, his nasty little habit became a bit too addictive and he was reported to the inquisitions by locals wary of his new practice. He is said to have been imprisoned for between three and seven years, according to different accounts - now that's what you call a smoking ban! One of the town’s schools is now named after the sailor.
The town had an official population of 18,000 in the 2005 census. It is generally considered to have risen above the 20,000 mark by 2007. Visitors boost the population by around 25% during the summer, especially in the months of July and August. Ayamonte has now become one of the principal tourist destinations on the Costa de la Luz. This has been partly aided by the attractive way that the Isla Canela golf, beach and marina areas have been developed. The more recent emergence of the Costa Esuri golf development has further added to the attractions of the area.
Isla Canela is a natural island at the mouth of the River Guadiana. It is separated from the town of Ayamonte by a river and is linked via a bridge. The Island occupies over 1700 hectares. Much of the land mass consists of Marismas del Guadiana, marshland which is home to an abundance of wildlife. There are many navigable waterways on the island and over 40% is a protected wildlife sanctuary.
Isla Canela has four distinct areas - Barriada de Canela, Punta del Moral, Playa de Isla Canela and Isla Canela Campo de Golf.
Punta del Moral is a thriving community, still occupied by local fisherman, with locally caught fresh fish served in a number of restaurants in the old village. It has been developed with a new marina on the beach side across the river from the old village.
Barriada de Canela, adjoining the golf course area, is a traditional fishing village seen to right as you cross the bridge from Ayamonte. The village sits on the River Guadiana directly opposite Vila Real de San Antonio on the Portuguese side - well worth an evening visit to see the fantastic sunsets over Portugal.
The beach at Playa de Isla Canela combines with the Punta Moral beach to provide making a total of 7 km of continuous sandy beach. The area has also been widely developed with villas, low-rise apartment blocks and one hotel. The area also has a number of bars, restaurants and chiringuitos (beach bars).
The fourth area of development is around the golf course not far from the village of Barriada de Canela. This area is close to Ayamonte and has small number of apartment buildings, villas, a clubhouse and the Hotel Vincci, the region’s only 5 star hotel.
Why Ayamonte/Isla Canela?
We first visited Ayamonte/Isla Canela 7 years ago. Previously we had spent time in the Alicante region, to no avail, looking at property with a view to retirement/investment. Frankly we had never heard of Ayamonte but the decision to visit was prompted by an article in a travel magazine “Homes Abroad” which had a feature enticingly titled “The Costa Less Expensive.” We flew into Faro in late August 2001 and planned 3 days in Ayamonte and then a further 3 around Malaga.
As we finished dinner on the final day we concluded that this place offered everything that we were looking for. It had maintained its authentic Spanish ambiance, it was not commercialised, prices were great, people friendly and it was readily accessible being on the main Spanish/Portuguese motorway system and close to Faro and Seville airports. Furthermore any development to date was in the authentic Andalucian style and on a much smaller scale than on the other Costas. We rang Malaga, cancelled our arrangements and booked accommodation at the golf course for the next 3 days at the end of which we signed up for a frontline apartment.
Since then we have spent 2 holidays a year in our golf apartment which was ready in February 2003. Each year we spend one visit entirely in the Ayamonte/ Isla Canela area and the other visiting other parts of Andalucia and the Algarve. By now we have a genuine feel for the area, well assured that we made the right decision back in 2001.
Ayamonte offers opportunities for golf, aquatic sports, fishing, walking, cycling, sailing/boating and sight-seeing. The town centre, beach/marina areas and the various local residential districts offer an abundance of shops, bars and restaurants. Being so close to Portugal also widens your choice. Whilst we avail of our apartment facilities to relax and just cook at home, 2 or 3 times a week we eat out or enjoy tapas and just soak up the “al fresco” atmosphere. After 7 years we can safely state that the sun always shines and the sky is always blue.
Top-floor 2 b'room 2 bth'room apt. 32m2 balcony overlooking 17th fairway in 19 apt complex. Ideal for 2 couples or family. 5 minutes by car from beach and town