Rio Piedra and El Rompido

We spent a few days at El Rompido in Autumn 2011. We last visited in 2004. There seemed to be many more boats moored off the yacht clubs in the approach to the village from the entrance, and a marina below the lighthouse where there had been none!

El Rompido is a very pleasant holiday village situated on the estuary of the River Piedra. As such, it has plenty of bars and restaurants to complement the sand dunes which protect it from the Atlantic beyond. The dunes have been designated a National Park. West of the village, extensive sand dunes back the beach along northern bank of the estuary to the entrance, and beyond to the east. Walking tracks exist along both banks, the northern one through saltmarsh backed by woods.

Above the village, the river is empty, wide and deep enough to provide a delightful anchorage for about 1.5 miles, as far as the small marina at El Terron. Beyond the green starboard hand buoy just before El Terron depths shallow, although small boat moorings extend well up river.


The buoyage differed considerably from that indicated on our quite recent (electronic) chart. The entrance was at 7 02.17W, 0.4nm east of the position shown on the 2010 CMAP charts. As the sandbar shifts, the buoys are moved to take account of the situation. The least depth we found entering was around 3.3 metres, two hours before high water springs (0.7 metres at datum). It is best to make for the first (No.2) port hand buoy at 37 11.7N, 7 02.18W, on a northerly course. It is situated close south of the sandbar. Pass this close to port, then steer a fair course to leave successive green, red and green buoys on the appropriate side, until deeper water is found running close to the beach on the north side. There are green starboard hand buoys outside the lines of moored boats in the run upriver: depths in the channel are adequate, but appear to come up at isolated points (close to the green buoys?).

Our actual course according to the position of the buoys
differed substantially from the charted position
No2 buoy, just off the sandbank, No 1 being missing

There has been some dredging performed further west, in order to create a more direct entry to the harbour. At this point in time the sand is still shifting, and there remains a bar that would for the time being prevent its use. Wolfgang hoped that this entrance might be in use from 2012. If so, the entrance will be at approximately 7 03.1W and the buoys moved accordingly.

Moorings extend in three or four ranks for approximately 3 miles up river. There is now relatively little room to anchor below the lighthouse, east of the marina, and it would be subject to ferry traffic, and impede access to the fishing/fuelling jetty.

The results of an August 2011 survey, showing the results
of dredging activity. The sand is still moving about
Moorings extend for nearly 3 miles down river from El Rompido

Marina Puerto El Rompido

The marina offers 337 berths on floating pontoons/piles, in tidal waters, close to the mid stream. It opened in 2005, and is managed by Wolfgang Michalsky, who formerly ran the Varadero Ria Piedras.

The marina has a web site www.puertoelrompido.com, this includes recommendations for entry to the river, tariff, local conditions, etc. Other contact details: +34 959 399 245 and Email

The marina recognises that many boats prefer to anchor, and makes their facilities available to anchored yachts for payment of 6euros per day. This includes mooring of the tender, use of showers and facilities, and wifi.

The new marinaThe new marina


There are limited landing points available, other than on the beach, apart from the marina. The Varadero no longer welcomes boats on their pontoon, although (reluctantly) allowed us to stay. There is a pier restricted to the use of fishing boats, and a floating pontoon used by the ferries across to the beaches on the opposite side, where a tender would not be welcomed.

Yacht clubs

There are two yacht clubs in the estuary, below the village. They both have landing jetties, with a a gap left between the moorings to approach. We saw a yacht lying alongside the upper (Club Nautico) jetty, but did not try using their facilities at all. The clubs are some distance from the village.

El Rompido village

There are small shops and supermarkets in the village, serving basic requirements. There is a commercial centre below the lighthouse, and this includes a good supermarket conveniently situated, as well as bars and restaurants. There is a Carrefour signposted on the main road north of the village, but we did not discover exactly where or how far.

Fishing boats moored at El Terron viewed looking north
Moorings extend up river from here and there may
be a tenable anchorage
Fishing net repairs: service sheds and chandler behind


The Varadero still offers services, and a British yacht was undergoing a hull paint and makeover. It is now under new management. There was also another yard, offering some engine services.

At El Terron, there is a fishing harbour and small marina for local fishing boats. Moorings extend further up river. There is a chandlery, and service agents for Volvo Penta, Yanmar, Yamaha, etc., and some small fishing tackle and bait shops. The local industry appears to be the repair of fishing nets, delivered by truck with a large reel on the back.