Most surfers don’t know that there are waves in the South of Spain. But honestly: Andalusia and the Costa de la Luz are one of the best winter surf destinations in Europe. Especially for longboarders and soft top surfers!
Los Caños de Meca has some really good surf spots that are sheltered from east winds. What makes this Andalusian town so special?
It has several breaks: one for shortboarders and two that are perfect for longboard surfing. And to top that off: there’s also a vicious bodyboard slab and a pro-barrel reef. All in a 1 km bay. Here’s a spot guide to this Costa de la Luz surf mecca.
It’s totally different from other parts of the Costa de la Luz, like the desert-like El Palmar. Los Caños de Meca is a little town in the green jungle of the Barbate hills. Expect hippie vibes and tropical cabanas.
Caños consists of two parts:
- the main town with some beach resorts and a promenade
- the neighborhood around Trafalgar
The main town is a typical Andalusian small tourism resort. In winter there’s not much there. There is a road towards the south end of the town that eventually runs in a dead end in the lush green Barbate mountain.
The Trafalgar neighborhood – around bar Las Dunas – is a surfers paradise. There are some bars and little restaurants and the views are amazing.
In summer the whole Andalusian coast is flooded with tourists and the ocean goes flat. If you’re coming here to surf, Los Caños de Meca could be the place for you between October and April. And keep this in mind: generally, at the Caños bay, the further you go east the more powerful the waves.
The Surf Spots
If you’re in El Palmar and the west wind starts blowing – you have a problem. Luckily, the Costa de la Luz offers some points that give shelter to the Poniente winds. The Trafalgar beach faces south-east. This means that North West winds are offshore here! This Andalusia surf town has multiple surf spots:
1. The Trafalgar right
The historical Trafalgar lighthouse is built on a peninsula. On the map it doesn’t look like it’s giving much shelter – but actually it does! The winter swells from the Atlantic wrap around the peninsula, resulting in clean and mellow waves.
The wave looks like a point break but it’s a reef break. Although it’s a beginner friendly spot – beneath the surface there’s sharp reef.
I can seriously say that this might be the longest right I’ve seen in Spain. It’s a long paddle out and you have to be patient to wait for the big ones. But when you do catch one out the back, you can expect a 15 second ride!
The wave is very mellow, even in bigger swells, and has some flatter sections. That’s why it’s a true longboard or soft top wave. It is Foamie Heaven.
Swell + tide conditions
The Costa de la Luz can be plagued by non-ceasing trade winds. When the north-west wind is on, and all exposed beaches become messy: the Trafalgar Bay is the spot. Does not work with high tide.
When the swell is small you better try the more exposed spots such as Conil, El Palmar or the Zahora beach right around the corner.
2. The A-frame
The longboard wave in Los Caños consists of two reefs: the right along the lighthouse peninsula and the and this one: a two-directional wave. We dubbed it the A-frame but most people would just call it the longboard wave.
You’ll find this wave a few meters east to Trafalgar Right: it’s on the same stretch of beach. The two waves are divided by a paddle-out channel. This break tends to be a bit more powerful than the right – but it’s still a very mellow wave. The wave breaks over a reef and produces a very steady left and right. There is plenty of space for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers. There are multiple take-off spots and it breaks a bit closer to the shore when compared to the right.
Swell + tide conditions
Same as the Trafalgar Right: does not work on high tide. When the wind is west it will be more onshore than on the left point.
3. The Left Reef
The pro-spot in Caños! Only paddle out here if you’re an experienced surfer. And respect the locals. If you’re not a pro you can still enjoy this wave – from the beach. This wave is so much fun to watch!
This barreling wave is right in front of the boulevard. It’s a left with a mellow take-off that quickly changes in a hollow barreling section. It’s a long left that – if you get lucky – runs all the way to the shore break. There’s a local crew that is absolutely ripping here.
Swell + tide conditions
Starts working with 2 ft up to 5 ft and can handle some winds. Works on all tides. Is always much bigger and steeper than the longboard waves.
4. La Pequeña Lulu
At the dead end of the road you can scout for some good sandbanks and reefs. These are not easy acces spots and I never surfed there. But it looks absolutely stunning!
5. Bodyboard Waves
At the foot of the Trafalgar Lighthouse there are some heavy slabs that attract local bodyboarders. The waves break over rocks and the entry is difficult. I would rate this wave expert only. You can hike from the Las Dunas Bar to the Trafalgar lighthouse. Around the rocky peninsula you can find multiple slabs.
Some more Los Caños de Meca gold:
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Los Caños de Meca is one of the best places to find long mellow rides. If you want to hunt tubes you’ll be better off in El Palmar or Conil de la Frontera.
If you like long and easygoing waves and you don’t mind to surf on a reef – check out the longboard spots in Los Caños de Meca!