La Manga Strip
La Manga Strip is a famous area of the Costa Calida that separates the Mediterranean sea from the Mar Menor lagoon, and can be reached from Cartagena in under 30 minutes drive. Due to it being long and narrow, it's referred to by many as ‘the strip' but its Spanish translation is pretty close, meaning ‘the sleeve'. With Cartagena being home to one of the busiest and largest ports in the country, many water sports and activities are restricted to the surrounding coastal areas. For this, you really can't beat the La Manga Strip that boasts numerous thrilling water activities.
La Manga Strip Activities
At the beginning of the strip is Cape Palos. This is a fantastic place, and not just for water sports, but for attractions and entertainment too. Indeed, although the La Manga Strip stretches for miles, some visitors don't make it past Cape Palos such are the number of great things to do. Its main attraction is the Faro Cabo de Palos (lighthouse). This has excellent hiking trails around its base and forms part of a protected marine reserve. Due to this, snorkelling and scuba diving here are very popular. Proof of this is evident in the five dive centres around its small marina alone.
Just off the RM-12 before you reach Cape Palos is La Manga Go-Kart. With three classes of kart and three tracks, this is one of the best karting centres in Spain and has hosted the Spain Karting Championships. As you venture along the strip you will find further water activity centres among the beaches, hotels and entertainment venues. There are further dive centres, snorkel safaris, jet ski, stand up paddle, kayaking, wind and kite surfing, parasailing, deep sea fishing and sailing. A great place for multi-activities is Dos Mares Ociosport, and the La Manga Club has 4 golf courses.
La Manga Strip Attractions
Cartagena is bursting with all sorts of attractions, but if you're visiting La Manga Strip and not one for activities, check out the excellent beaches, lighthouse and Puente de la Risa. Numerous beaches lie on both sides of the strip. The most popular ones are around the central resort area. They have good facilities and a choice of lively beach bars (chiringuitos). This is also where you will find Dos Mares Ociosport and Peke Park. Dos Mares boasts a nautical club, various water sports, bars and restaurants. Peke Park is an exciting kids amusement park. Young ones can enjoy loads of fun in the sun on bouncy castles, trampolines, boats, karts, a train and mini-golf.
If you venture to the very end of the strip you reach Puente de la Risa (bridge). Here there are a few beaches, bars and restaurants. The main attraction though is the bridge itself. The bridge boasts wonderful stonework and is pleasant on the eye, but the drive over it is an attraction in itself. This is due to how steep it is with a blind rise that has taken out quite a few cars sumps! On the way to this you pass Puente del Estacio which splits and rises to allow boat traffic through. Finally, make sure to pay a visit to the amazing La Manga Club (covered in a separate article).
La Manga Strip Entertainment
The strip is lined with high rise hotels and holiday apartments. Some of these have children's entertainment during the day and adult entertainment at night. The strip is also home to a few British bars where you can enjoy pub games, quizzes, live music and the latest sports on big screen TV's. For a pint of the ‘black stuff' and a bit of ‘craic' there is also the Celt Irish Bar. A popular venue that regularly features live music is Paddy Wack's located close to the beach.
Talking about the beach, La Manga Strip has some lively beach bars where fun is always assured. San Juan Music & Beach Bar is a favourite. Also try Chiringuito El Faro named after, and offering great views of the lighthouse. Restaurants along the strip run the gauntlet from little tapas bars to larger Spanish establishments. Seafood restaurants feature highly, and you will also find a selection of Indian, Italian and the kids favourite Chinese that also offer all you can eat buffet.