Lower Guadiana River

  Friday, December 7, 2018 / Stephanie / Sailing  

We took a little detour from the ocean scene, and found a relatively unexplored corner of Portugal along the Guadiana River. <--- Portugal                               Guadiana River                                    Spain ---> Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal Ayamonte, Spain                 The Guadiana International Bridge is the only height restriction on the river; our Navionics chart indicates this bridge clearance measures 18-meters (59-feet).  Farther upstream, there are overhead powerlines and a zip line, we'll get to those... Guadiana International Bridge H = 18m Just beyond the bridge we anchored near the Quinta do Vale Golf Course where there is a pontoon enabling shore access (the pontoon is gated, don't be deterred, it's unlocked).  We enjoyed a 5k morning stroll along muddy farm roads,  winding through a heard of cows, past a fisherman, and choosing the opposite direction of some quail hunters. Setting sail with the incoming tide, we continued upstream.  There are pontoons available at Foz de Odeleite (disrepair), Guerreiros de Rio, and Larajeiras; we did not stop at these locations, however many boats were anchored in the vicinity of Guerreiros de Rio and Larajeiras.  There are also ruins at Larajeiras which may be worth a short visit. After a slow sail, and a bit of motoring, we anchored on the Spanish shore side (more shallow, out of the current) between the towns of Alcoutim (PT) and Sanlucar de Guadiana (ES).  There is a winter cruising crowd here, many more boats than we'd anticipated, comprised of passsers-though, returnees, and ex-pats who've moved ashore.  The community the cruisers have developed is friendly, informative, and active; intertwined with the locals of both towns.  Each town has a pontoon available with water and power.  There is a cost associated with the pontoons and the cruisers seemed to rotate through the pontoons taking turns on both the PT and ES sides of the river; we utilized the pontoons only for the dinghy, so have no information about cost/duration/etc.  In Alcoutim, however, there are public toilet, shower, and laundry facilities at the pontoon.  Both PT and ES have small food stores with ample supplies, restaurants, bars, libraries, public WiFi, access to hiking trails, historic sites, and cultural events. view of Sanlucar de Guadiana view of Alcoutim We enjoyed a warm welcome during Sunday's chicken BBQ lunch, and we extended our stay so that we could attend Tuesday night's open mic night with the cruising community.  We met some adventurous sailors!  But there was more for us to explore on the Guadiana, so we continued upstream with the sun shining and the tide in our favor.        


  1. From Stephanie Grandjean on Dec 09, 2018
    Hi Paula! The river was exceptionally brown due to heavy rains we'd had, and as you might see by the sky in some photos, scattered showers continued. The rain was cause to much debris in the river also, moving up and down stream with the changing current, and creating little rafts of reeds and logs. There were fish! Local fishermen seemed to be catching something, and farther upstream (beyond Mertola) we found nets set along the riverbanks.

  2. From Paula Sundstrom on Dec 08, 2018
    Looks like an interesting adventure. The river seems to get muddy further upstream. Are there fish?