We went to Tarifa for a week at the start of June, so I thought I’d put a few points down here for anyone considering a visit.
We flew to Malaga from Bristol with EasyJet and then picked up a hire car to drive down to Tarifa. The drive at the other side is about 2 hours and very straight forward (straight down the motorway). You can also fly from Gatwick to Gibraltar (30 mins from Tarifa) which is obviously better if you live near London. There are other destinations in Spain you can fly to also, but for various reasons I went with the Malaga option. It was pretty painless really. Once away from Malaga and your tracksuit and football shirt clad travel companions have disappeared off in search of the nearest MacDonalds, excitement builds as you pass the wind turbine covered hillsides (surely a good sign) and descend in to Tarifa.
Tarifa requires a bit more effort then places like Dahab and Vass as the windsurf beaches are a 5 to 10 minute drive away. There is plenty of accommodation near the beaches, but then obviously you have the difficulties of getting in to town in the evenings. I guess it depends on what you want, but given our love of a night on the lash, we opted for the town. We stayed in a really nice apartment (double room and a twin room) about 10 minutes walk from Tarifa old town.
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There are 2 winds in Tarifa which blow in opposite directions. Both are cross shore, but one is generally stronger than the other (can’t remember which). Each day we drove to the beach. The first few days we windsurfed out of the Mistral centre at the Hurricane hotel. Hurricane hotel looked nice and did good lunches. The beach is quieter here and slightly less windy than further along at the Dunas. However, given that I was using a 4m sail at the time, more wind was not something I thought I needed. I had 3 days of excellent bump and jump sailing on a 4m sail and a 75 litre wave board.
The wind dropped after that and we decided to head to Las Dunas to have a look. It’s about 3 minutes further to drive. It is a lot busier there, with more windsurfers and lots (hundreds) of kites. There are stacks of windsurf and kitesurf centres and beach bars here and there is a lot more going on. However the beach is much bigger so there is plenty of space; I never felt that space was too much of a problem. I enjoyed another 4 days of great sailing on sails between 5m and 6m. All in all – I preferred this part of the beach as it was just more interesting.
If you were thinking of going for any length of time, I'd consider taking my own kit, as the hire costs do bump the price up significantly.
Tarifa town is lovely with lots of bars and restaurants to choose from and all the food we had was excellent (especiallt the steaks and fish). There are also plenty of surf shops to blow your hard earned cash in.
I would recommend Tarifa – it’s a great place to windsurf and the town is beautiful and the nightlife as lively as you want it to be. The only thing I would say is it is best for intermediates and above as when the wind blows, it get pretty lumpy and you need to be in a harness and footstarps to get the most out of it. Caroline struggled to learn beach starts due to the steep shelving beach and shore dump (cracked a couple though). However, for non windsurfing partners it’s a lovely place for a holiday and we both loved it. You could do a long weekend there really. We’ll definitely go back some time.
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