It is said that Los Caños de Meca is a paradise, for its white sandy beaches, for its spectacular sunsets… Many civilisations made this place their home and built towers that show that in ancient times we were an important strategic area. In addition, the Trafalgar lighthouse that guides us, going into the dunes and immerse ourselves in the transparent, clean and pure water makes it a magical and unique place.
The name of the town, a small street of low houses located on a cliff, refers to a fountain (“caños”) whose fresh water was very popular during the time of the Muslim domination, for which it would have received the name of Mecca, the holy city of Islam. These “caños” have their greatest exponent in “las cortinas” (Cala Verde), which are located at the end of the naturist beach of Little Lulu, and although it is an area of difficult access, it is worthwhile to be visited.
Los Caños de Meca is a district of the town of Barbate. It could be defined as an outstanding tourist centre due to its varied beaches, which extend from the cape of Trafalgar to the cliffs of the natural park of La Breña y Marismas del Barbate. On the one hand, the cape is protected within the Trafalgar tombolo natural monument, while the cliffs form part of the Breña natural park, together with its pine forest and maritime strip.
The beaches are open and flat, with fine sand and dunes, although they are dotted with reefs. Towards the east, in the centre of the town, the terrain begins to rise, forming smaller beaches, protected by rock walls. Finally, as the cliffs of the natural park rise, smaller coves appear, whose access is only possible at low tide and up to the so-called Cala Verde (Green Cove).
What to see
A place you cannot miss if you come to Caños de Meca is the Trafalgar Lighthouse, a natural and historical wonder, due to the great battle that gave it its name. It is a construction of approximately 34 metres in height with a white truncated cone-shaped tower, erected in 1860 very close to the watchtower of the same name. In 1857, Eduardo Saavedra y Moragas was commissioned to build this lighthouse, which was refurbished in 1929. The entire exterior cladding was modernised, while the optical apparatus was renewed and the lighthouse keepers’ accommodation was improved. Nestled in the Trafalgar Tombolo, it will allow you to enjoy one of the best sunsets in the area. The magic lies in the silent applause that comes from the hearts of those in attendance once the sun goes down.
Another essential place to see and walk around in Caños de Meca is the Breña Natural Park, with kilometres of nature and paths for walking or cycling. At the top of the mountain we can find the so-called Torre de Meca, with its 11 metres high, built in the 19th century to complement the other two existing towers, Torres de Trafalgar and Torres del Tajo. Its origin is due to the fear of the constant looting raids carried out by the Berbers from North Africa. But, of course, we cannot leave behind the incredible views of the entire coast, which can only be enjoyed from the top.
And a wonderful place to see and delight are the cliffs, better known as the Tajo, located between Los Caños de Meca, and Barbate. This incredible “Tajo” stretches for more than four kilometres and rises to heights of nearly 100 metres, and at the top of the cliff is the so-called “Torre del Tajo”, a fortification built in the 16th century. The three towers (Trafalgar, Meca and Tajo), are oriented towards Africa, and had a clear function of protection, since by means of fire signals, those in charge warned the population of the arrival of pirates to their coasts. As a curiosity, we can tell you that in the tuna-catching months, the almadrabas can be seen in the ocean.
Last but not least, we can recommend a visit to the Palomar de la Breña, which is just 10 minutes from Los Caños de Meca. We are talking about an old dovecote, located in an 18th century Hacienda. Here we can marvel at the 7,700 clay pigeon nests. It was built to supply gunpowder to the ships bound for America, as the dung of these birds was essential for their creation at that time. It was also used as a post for carrier pigeons.
If there is something that stands out in this area, it is precisely the large number of beaches, and their quality, as there is something for everyone.
MARI SUCIA BEACH. This beach is a beautiful small oasis of crystalline waters next to the road that goes to the Trafalgar Lighthouse. It is very special because due to its strategic location, the coasts of the surrounding villages are visible, and on clear days, Africa. This beach is perfect for days with a westerly wind, as at this time its waters are practically calm. On the other hand, when the wind is easterly, there is a lot of swell and its shores receive many surfers and kitesurfers, as well as lovers of various water sports.
THE PIRATE’S BEACH. El Pirata is a beautiful beach of fine sand located in the heart of Los Caños. It is a beach with small rocky sections, transparent waters and little waves. As it is an urban beach, it is the best equipped as it has several bars and restaurants, as well as sanitary services.
LOS CASTILLEJOS. Los Castillejos are small coves located halfway between the Pirata beach and the nudist beach. They are quiet beaches with clear waters. They are the perfect place to take shelter from the easterly wind, although care must be taken as at high tide they practically disappear.