Mar Menor, Murcia, Spain.
170 km² of shallow saltwater lagoon in the Murcia region of south east Spain separated from the main Mediterranean Sea by the La Manga strip. The maximum depth of the Mar Menor is 4m and it has zero shorebreak of swell activity. What it does have is mini microclimates depending on which part of the Mar Menor you happen to be launching from. It can be blowing thermal (wind) dogs off chains in one spot yet two miles down the road is mirror flat.
As above, the Mar Menor can be flat or moderately choppy depending on the wind. The wind is thermal driven but can come off the land as well as the sea. Depending on the gradient wind direction the thermal direction can differ. And with the Mar Menor having little micro climates around its shores the actual conditions on the water, at any one spot, can fluctuate massively. It’s therefore worth having a nose up and down the shore if there’s breeze in the mix as you might be surprised to find somewhere that’s tantalising free of flotsam.
There aren’t too many hazards in the Mar Menor. Some rocks in places, some mud also (which is super exfoliating – hence why many hit the Mar Menor to scrub themselves in the mud). One thing, however, are the blooms of jellyfish which appear during warmer months. These blooms can be huge – both in width and depth. Mostly these jellyfish aren’t the really painful stinging variety. Although they still can. The jellyfish drift in the breeze and may not be that close to shore. Instead, you may happen upon them whilst paddling. Boating traffic should also be given a wide sweep.
Extremely easy with put ins along the whole circumference of the Mar Menor. Take your pick. When flying to this part of Spain you fly directly into Murcia, which is then a half hour drive (ish) to the shore.
In the more built up areas along the Mar Menor it can get pretty busy. But there’s room and scope to get away from the crowds.
With towns and villages lying in close proximity, or right on the Mar Menor, you can find everything you need. And for the golf lovers out there this is Golf City. Mar Menor Golf Club is right on the Mar Menor so you could paddle and put until your heart’s content.
The Mar Menor is a saltwater lagoon that sits in the south east corner of mainland Spain. It’s split from the sea by the La Manga strip. There are a couple of islands in the middle of the Mar Menor which are perfect for paddling to. One has a restaurant and the whole area is just adventure SUP paradise.
It’s super easy to paddle across to La Manga strip, or vice versa. Likewise, traverse the coast and paddle the Mar Menor’s entire circumference. It’ll take a while but it’s a great location for some real distance covering.
Learning to SUP in the Mar Menor would be great. As already stated it’s a shallow spot with lots of standing depth areas that go out for quite a way. As such it’s a pretty safe spot to paddle. The good news is SUP hire and schools are dotted along the shores of the Mar Menor. So you should be able to find some instruction if needs be.
For anyone bored with paddling on the flat you have two choices. Head over the La Manga strip side and paddle on the Med that side. Or jump back behind the hills that sit above Cartagena and hit up Calblanque National Park. SUP surfers should take not as there’s a decent point break wave that can materialise. Particularly out of season.
Back to the Mar Menor and it’s worth noting the little microclimates that occur in each part of the lagoon. Depending on the general weather and gradient wind. Checking different areas each time you’re about to put in (not going over the top) could reveal better (or worse) paddling conditions. Bottom line is don’t be disheartened if it’s breezy at your chosen launch spot. Head elsewhere and it may get better.
Additional pics: Neilson Active Holidays.