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Sotavento area

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sotavento  map Matas Blancas Costa Calma Los Gorriones/Esmeralda El Paso

Sotavento is about 50 mins. S from airport.

Sotavento actually means "Leeward Side" (Barlovento being "Windward side" - yes, this is the name of the opposite coast!).

For those who don't want to take their own kit, Sotavento has two large rental centres - the René Egli Pro Centres. Their website is well worth checking out, with it's webcams, weather reports and weather stats, plus details of all the rental gear (F2 & JP Boards, Neil Pryde sails). The centres are located at Los Gorriones & El Paso.

A number of UK tour operators now go to Costa Calma - the Southern end of which is now within striking distance (1km) of the world cup site at the Rene Egli Pro Centre I (which I'll also loosely refer to as Los Gorriones and Esmeralda). Costa Calma itself has grown 3-fold over the last 5 years & is still a major building site. I'm led to believe that buses run from here down to Los Gorriones.

In the Summer trade winds, this area will typically be the windiest part of the islands. The Northerly wind hits the North coast of Jandia, and rises over the hills over this narrow isthmus where it's squeezed and accellerated between the hills, past the wind farms, before dropping down onto the Sotavento side of the peninsula.

Because the wind is fanning out, it blows almost dead offshore, can be very gusty, and some amazing wind bends which always seem to conspire to make it a little more difficult to get back to the beach! The Esmeralda/Los Gorriones site is probably where the wind blows strongest, followed by El Paso, Costa Calma and Matas Blancas.

Sotavento itself is some 16kms of superb, white sand beach. At the Southern end is the holiday town of Morro Jable with its serried ranks of sunbeds accurately lined up on the beach. If you're looking for wind, don't go this far South - it doesn't really blow there.

At the North-Eastern end; Matas Blancas can be useful when Los Gorriones is off the scale.

All the beaches down here are only accessible down dirt tracks - so the rental car insurance isn't - strictly speaking - valid here. In the irresponsible past, some windsurfers (names witheld!) have been know to bury their cars in the lagoons at low tide following which, the incoming tide will rise to just below roof height. I'm sure such things wouldn't happen now ;-) The rental companies have suffered sense-of-humour failures on such occasions.

June 2003 update - the track down to El Paso & the Rene Egli Pro Centre II has been surfaced almost all the way down to the beach.

There are one or two other tracks leading down to the beach which may be worth your while exploring.

Los Gorriones
6.5m NP V8 on Fanatic Gecko 278
Looking N towards Los Gorriones and the World Cup site.
Click picture for large image (31Kby)
Me - Light wind day, 6.5m2
Click for large image (14Kby)

There's an excellent supermarket in Tarajalejo - the Eurospar/Padilla. If you're visiting Sotavento from up North, it's well worth calling in here. It's about half the price of some of the supermarkets in the resorts. Just don't expect them to speak English. BTW, if you want to pay with a credit card then fine, but you'll need your passport or photo driving licence as proof of identity.

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