Huelva - Punta Umbria - Ayamonte
From Punta Umbría to Ayamonte
The last part of the Costa de la Luz begins at Punta Umbría. Surrounded by pine woods, the locality came into being in the 14th century when it was ordered that a tower, called Punta de Umbría, be erected to give advance warning of possible invasions. No more than a small fishing village until recently, it has now become a major summer resort. During the summer one can go to and from Huelva by “canoas”, as the locals call the boats. Nearby are Marismas de Odiel natural park and Los Enebrales nature zone, a veritable paradise for wildlife species.
The road carries on along the coast flanked on the one side by pine woods and on the other by solitary beaches. Now and again there are roadside restaurants and the odd camping site. On the way it is worth stopping at Isla de En medio, a nature zone, andLa Laguna del Portil, now classified as an ecological reserve. Further on is Cartaya, a place known to the Phoenicians, where one can still see the ruins of a small castle which was originally Roman and later Arab. Cartaya is famous for the beach and port of El Rompido, a strip of land separating the river from the sea, and for the nature zones of Río Piedras and Flechas del Rompido. The Mirador or vantage point offers a wonderful panoramic view.
Next along is the beach ofLa Antilla and white Lepe, a prosperous truck-farming town with important cooperatives and an intense devotion to the Virgen de la Bella, whose image is said to have floated in from the sea. And finally, at Ayamonte one comes to the end – or the beginning – of the Costa de la Luz. Ayamonte has always been a quiet fishing town, white houses sloping down to the harbour, where at any time one will find fishermen mending their gaily-coloured nets. “Ayamonte” is a corruption of the name originally given it by the Greeks: Anapotaman, meaning “on the river”. Set on a height is the Parador, which affords an excellent view of the town and the mouth of the river Guadiana – the best time is near sunset.
Ayamonte’s popularity derives chiefly from Canela and Moral beaches (each five kilometers long); although already becoming lively in springtime, the high season is from June to early September. The end of the Costa de la Luz marks the beginning of Portugal, now much closer since the international bridge over the Guadiana was opened in 1991.