Western Andalucia: Isla Canela, Rio Tinto & the Guadiana River

8 Days from £749 | April, May, September 749

This holiday has the perfect balance of relaxation beside the dunes along Spain’s Atlantic coast and on the banks of the Guadiana river and scenic sightseeing jam-packed with historical and cultural interest. Your holiday base is the 4* Playamarina Hotel on Punta del Moral on Isla Canela in Spain, just over the Portuguese border. From here you visit the beautiful coastline of the Donana Natural Park, enjoy the fascinating Columbus sites and the stunning scenery of the British Rio Tinto mines and have a lazy day on a boat sailing up the River Guadiana which marks the border between Spain and Portugal.

Western Andalucia: Isla Canela, Rio Tinto & the Guadiana River

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 92%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

  • 7 nights hb in a 4* hotel on Isla Canela, with one included spa entrance
  • Full day excursion to the Columbus sites and El Rocio
  • Full day excursion to the Rio Tinto mines with train ride, Boat cruise on the Guadiana River

Day One: Flight to Faro in Portugal and transfer to your hotel on Isla Canela in Spain for seven nights half board accommodation. The transfer takes around an hour, but you have to put your watches on an hour when you cross the Guadiana which is the border.

Days Two to Seven: In resort with three included excursions. There is plenty to do in your free time. The front of the hotel looks across to the thriving fishing village and marina of Punta del Moral. You can have a pleasant stroll around the harbour or take a little ferry ride across to Isla Cristina. The rear of the hotel backs on to the promenade from where there are wooden boardwalks across the dunes to the beach and the sea. Walking past the inviting chiringuito (beach bar) might be difficult!

There is a frequent bus service which makes the 5-mile journey to Ayamonte on the Guadiana river. Ayamonte is a bustling ‘frontier’ town with a compact old centre, marina and port. The ‘frontier’ is the river and for under 3 euros you can get a return ferry across to the pretty town of Vila Real de San Antonio in Portugal. If you can find the time, a complimentary 1 ½ hour circuit of the hotel’s extensive spa facilities is included for you!

You really chill out and relax on your first excursion – a boat ride up the Guadiana river. The boat leaves from Ayamonte and poodles upstream through the soporific scenery of the gentle hills of the Guadiana valley. The captain might stop in Portugal on the left – then again, it might be Spain on the right – either way, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the hospitality of one of the riparian communities. The return to your hotel will be by coach.

Another included excursion takes you to the unique landscape and ecosystem that are the Rio Tinto mines. There has been mining in the hills 80 miles north-east of Isla Canela for over 5000 years. In the museum in the town of Rio Tinto there is an excellent re-creation of the Roman mine. There is British influence in many parts of Spain but nowhere as pronounced than in this remote corner of  Andalucia. The pinnacle of mining in the area began in 1873 with the arrival of the British Rio Tinto Mining Company Ltd who paid £3.68 million for the rights to exploit the disused copper mines. The company employed up to 20,000 men, laid 300km of rail track, built houses for employees and management, a Protestant church and a Social Club which had a cricket team and introduced football to Spain. The museum is housed in the company’s hospital and its offices are now the town hall. A highlight of the tour is the rail journey through the open cast mines where you’ll see an amazing ‘Martian’ landscape with the red (bright red!) Rio Tinto river running through it. (NB the train is accessed down a long flight of steps – no ramp).

The third included excursion is to La Rabida Monastery, Caravelle Wharf and El Rocio. Just over an hour to the east of your hotel lies the monastery of La Rabida, where Columbus stayed with the monks before his voyage to the New World in 1492. The King and Queen of Spain had rejected his request for funding to seek a westward route to China, but with the intercession of the monks (who were to get a percentage!), funding was granted…and the rest, as they say, is history. Nearby lies Caravelle Wharf, with full-size replicas of Columbus’ three ships – the Pinto, the Nina, and the Santa Maria (entrance fee included). All are much smaller than you might expect – but they actually travelled across the Atlantic in 1992, for the 500th anniversary. You then travel to the strange town of El Rocio, which seems like something out of the Tex-Mex West, with clapboard houses, sand covered squares and avenues and rails to tie your horse to! But this is no tourist movie set – in fact, it is a major pilgrimage site, and lies at the edge of the Doñana Natural Park. There is free time for a late lunch here before returning to your hotel.

Day Eight: Transfer back to Faro Airport for your flight home. You can put your watch back an hour after crossing the river.



Western Andalucia: Isla Canela, Rio Tinto & the Guadiana River

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 92%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

HOTEL PLAYAMARINA SPA ****, Punta del Moral, Isla Canela (seven nights)
An excellent hotel in a quiet position located between the beach and the marina on Punta del Moral. The hotel has a buffet restaurant with show cooking, indoor and outdoor pool. There is also a spa (a free 1 ½ circuit is included for you), bar and entertainment on most evenings. Rooms have bath with shower over and separate shower and wc, hairdryer, LCD tv, air-conditioning, ceiling fan and safe (chargeable), terrace or balcony. Free Wi-Fi in reception (30 mins) – chargeable in room. (www.playasenator.com/en/hotels/playamarina-spa-hotel/)
Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this hotel* - 84%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
Escorted Holiday - Western Andalucia: Isla Canela, Rio Tinto & the Guadiana River
Holiday code: 7ISL
Supplements per person:
Single Room: £140
Sea View Twin/Double Room: £50
Sea View Single Room (single supp applies): £50
Travel Insurance: £59.95
Travel Insurance - Extra Week: £20
Extra week: £270 - £280
Supplements on some holidays vary by departure date - the applicable price will be shown when booking.

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Prices shown include carriage of one piece of hold luggage per person (maximum size and weights vary). Prices include return transfers between airport and hotel and are based on the shared occupancy of twin/double standard rooms. Please refer to 'Accommodation' for details of any room supplements (including single rooms) and extended stay costs that apply to this holiday. All flight details are provisional and subject to confirmation when known. All holidays are subject to minimum numbers and are subject to availability. Further details in our FAQ.

Data as at 18/01/2020 at 8:47:06

What a wonderful trip. The weather was lovely, Concha our Tour Director was great. My room was large, clean and in a great spot and the hotel itself was very nice with food and drinks inexpensive. Loved the trip to the Rio Tinto and found everything ran as expected. Already looking for my next holiday with Preferred Travel Services.

Mrs R, West Sussex

What a pleasant, peaceful resort and area. The Hotel had an ideal position, with a beach of golden sand (7 km.) at the back and a pretty harbour at the front. The excursions were good. Concha, our guide was pleasant and helpful. May thanks. Keep up the good work.

Mr & Mrs W, Yorkshire

Having just returned from a week in Isla Canela, we wish to express our thanks for a superb week. The trips were excellent and varied with just that certain variety in the venues and the well run arrangements. We also wish to commend our trip advisor, Maria Concha. She unfailingly provided the right degree of informality that endeared her to all the guests and created cohesion within a very varied group. Many thanks indeed and we feel sure this will not be our only outing with you.

Mr B, Co. Durham

We have enjoyed a wonderful 8 days with everything to our liking. The staff have all been so helpful and polite, which encourages us to want to use Preferred Travel Services again. We will certainly be recommending your company to friends and family. Thank you.

Mr J, Essex

Another wonderful holiday! This is the third holiday we have taken this year, we have visited Lanzarote, The Algarve and Western Andalucia and they have got better and better. All the Tour Managers have proved to be fantastic and have really made our holidays a little bit extra. The excursions on this holiday have been superb – particularly the optional trip to Cacela Viehla and Vila Real de San Antonio and our stop off on the way to the Rio Tinto mines at Museo de Valverde del Camino. I will be booking again on my return home and look forward to at least one more next year!

Mr S, Sunderland

We enjoyed a great holiday in Andalucia last week. The hotel staff were all helpful and friendly and from the hotel it was easy to explore Isla Canela on foot. We found all the organised trips varied and very interesting. Concha, our representative was excellent. She obviously knew about all the places we visited and the local guides, which made the experiences enjoyable as well as informative. She was extremely friendly and was always there to help with any problems.

Mrs L, Birmingham

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Don't forget, we fly from 20 airports right across the UK.
Most of our holidays include half board as standard.
All of our holidays have included visits and tours.

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Western Andalucia: Isla Canela, Rio Tinto & the Guadiana River