I spent nearly 4 weeks this time in Tarifa, plus another 2 back in May, so thought it would be worth capturing a few quick pointers for anyone who may travel there in the future….I hope its useful!
Cafes and bars
- Based outside of the town between Tarifa and the beaches, Stoked and Surla both serve great food, coffees, and have good wifi, with a chilled atmosphere.
- Cafe10 based in the old town of Tarifa itself also does great coffee and has good wifi
Restaurants – lots of choice!
In Tarifa itself
- The vegetarian place near Bossa bar (turn right as you enter the old town from the new town end and it is on your right)
- Lolas at the port side of the old town does great tapas (on the pricey side)
- The Ecocentre does a great mix of food, and has music some nights.
Outside of Tarifa
- Pachamamma’s does great pizza, fish, meat, salads and has a great atmosphere (gets busy, especially sundays with live music), based neat the Rio Jara campsite.
Camping and free camping
- I spent 24 / 25 nights free camping through June and July, and 12 / 14 free camping in May, and there are loads of places to do this. Just look for the vans! Out of town the main spots are the field next to Valdevaqueros, and in town there is a ‘compound’ and also plenty of off street parking. Worth bearing in mind at the weekend the locals party until early so choose your spot wisely to get some sleep unless you want cheesy spanish music from car stereos at 5am….
- I got moved on once when camping at Los Lances, so would recommend avoiding that beach at night!
- Campsites wise I used Rio Jara, basic but fine and god location for the top end of Los Lances beach (€14 per night mid season), and Valdevaqueros (slightly more upmarket than Rio Jara with pool) and good location for Valdevaqueros beach (€32 peak season).
Just choose your spot along the coast!
- With Poniente, Los Lances is good, as is Valdevaqueros (cross / cross on)
- If the tide, moon and wind align then you can session in the lagoon, but it is prohibited and the police generally turn up to move you on…..
- With Levante, Los Lances is manageable (cross off) and you can buy boat rescue cover, and Valdevaqueros and Punta Paloma are both good (cross off / cross, but with the headland to save you if it goes wrong!)
Time of year
- May / early June was relatively quiet and relaxed kiting wise, still quite busy in the old town at night, roads were also OK and no traffic / issues parking.
- End of June / July was busy, kiting wise, parking wise, traffic wise (especially on the beach road, and old town wise…..it was getting busier as I left on the 21st July so I can’t imagine what August will be like!
- There are lots of places for running and biking!
- The Ecocentre had some health related food and products
- Izumo based at Valdevaqueros is the expert with juices, smoothies and detoxing if required after too much Spanish indulgence!
Others things to do
- Mountain biking, http://mtbtarifa.com, has good info on local trails on the hills opposite the beaches and beyond. Quite easy to get lost so see if you can source a map or do a guided ride. Henk is the man here and very helpful.
- Isla de Las Palomas is worth a visit on a no wind / rest day.
- The whale museum / info centre, opposite the port, is worth a look to describe how the Straights were fished back in the 19th / 20th Century.
- Free Tour Tarifa also do tours of the old town most days, leaving from the tourist info centre.
- And so so much more….
Bars and night life
In Tarifa itself
- Way too many to mention here, starts late and finishes early! There are a few clubs and the music can be good but also can be suspect…..quality house music wise I found a few small local places with DJ’s that were good, but the bigger ones seem to lose it a bit, personal taste of course.
Outside of Tarifa
- Valdevaqueros – busy and good atmosphere, mix of kiters and locals and tourists, my best nights there were Fridays and Sundays.
- I hear Arte Vida is good but didn’t get to sample this time round
Thats it for a quick shakedown, I hope it’s of some use to anyone who heads to Tarifa in the future. If you are considering it I would completely recommend it. It may not be the best kitesurfing conditions wise, or the easiest place to learn or progress, but it has so many elements to it that make it worth a trip!