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News 2011 - 2014

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New attempt by Council to reduce naturist beach
Illegal beach signs at Vera Playa's naturist beach - photo copyright Hugo Goosens 2013It seems that Vera Council cannot take no for an answer - a decade ago the Council tried to limit the length of the naturist beach and after an investigation by the Ombudsman for Andalucia he found that the Council was acting beyond its powers. Despite this, since then the Council has periodically erected signs describing parts of the officially declared naturist beach as "Zona Textil". Now in summer 2013 the Council has erected signs at Playa de Baria (the same southerly point that the Council previously and illegally tried to draw as the limit of the naturist beach by erecting stones and planting trees as well as a sign). A sign (see photo) has also been erected at the northern edge of Natsun which means that both Natura World and The Hotel Vera Playa Club are, according to the Council, not fronting a naturist beach. The signs use the term "Zona Nudista" which will no doubt grate with many naturists who would not describe themselves as "nudists". On previous occasions when the Council has erected illegal signs attempting to reduce the length of the naturist beach naturists have ensured that the signs have not survived long enough to mislead many visitors to the beach - doubtless this will happen again this time - and the sooner the better!
Thanks to Hugo Goosens for the photo.
See our Beach Protest, Beach Guide and News (2004) pages (and the news pages for each year from 2002) for more of the history of this saga
www.veraplaya.info - news - 30 July 2013
Take care on car rental - the stakes may be high
   For a long time it has been the case that the car rental rates shown by online brokers have been misleading - a bit like the airlines who used to show the flight prices without all the unavoidable extras such as airport fees, tax, fuel supplements etc. Fortunately the UK government eventually legislated to make the airline show the full price on their websites. Now it looks as if the same tough action is needed in respect of car rental.    
   For example, one of the main rental brokers (www.doyouspain.com) has a clear statement on its search results pages that prices include full insurance with no excess. However, when they send you the rental voucher they say insurance does not cover wheels, tyres, undercarriage, underbody, glass or roof and you will have to pay an extra daily supplement of around €3 if you want these covered or you will carry the risk yourself. Actually this has been the situation for many years and regular travellers often take out an annual car hire excess insurance policy to to cover this risk.
    What is different this year is that when you collect the car, at least with Goldcar car rentals, probably the largest renter of cars to British holiday visitors, is that you are told that not only does the allegedly "full" insurance not cover all the items indicated above but that it is actually only third party, fire and theft cover which is included in the rental price and that if you have a collision or vandalism you will be responsible for the full cost which could be as much as the full value of the car in the case of severe damage or total loss. And this is not covered by car hire excess insurance policies, so what practical alternative do you have but to pay up when you collect the car? - around €40 per week, maybe more, depending on the car and which rental company you are using.
    So, do your research carefully before booking or you may find that the bill you pay is much more than you expected and if you don't pay the extra and then have a crash or other incident with the car you could end up paying thousands of Euros - either way, bad news!
Also, if you have the choice, always opt to bring back the car full of fuel - the cost of a tank of fuel if you buy it from the car rental company rather than yourself at a petrol station can be up to 50% higher - another way in which the cost of car hire turns out to be much higher than you expected.
    www.veraplaya.info - 15 & 17 March 2013
End of an era - Peng Travel ceases trading
Many, possibly most, British visitors to Vera Playa first came with Peng Travel and stayed either at the Hotel Vera Playa Club or in apartments at Vera Natura. Many became regular visitors and a sizeable proportion eventually decided to buy their own properties in the Vera Playa naturist zone or nearby and so cement their relationship with this absolutely unique naturist resort. Founded by Peter Englert who built up a significant naturist holidays company over the years, Vera Playa became in the 1990s his flagship resort and he was often to be seen accompanying holiday groups and ensuring that the standards he expected from the hotel and apartments was being delivered. On his retirement a few years ago he sold his company for what the British tabloid newspapers reported as a multi-million pound figure. Now it seems the company has ceased trading but the reason for this is unclear - no doubt the holiday business has become tougher in recent years and these days there are several competitor companies offering package holidays to Vera Playa and also many holidaymakers now make their own arrangements, booking apartments direct with owners and booking flights and car hire directly themselves. Whatever the reason, the demise of Peng Travel, which offered package holidays to many naturist resorts not only in Europe but around the world, represents the end of an era for British naturists.
www.veraplaya.info - news - 21 December 2012
Quite a year weatherwise - early November brings hot winds and cold rain
After an exceptionally hot and humid summer, wild fires in the countryside and then two deluges of rain leading to floods in late August and late September , there was fine weather for much of October. Sunday 4 November was around 20C at breakfast time and then a warm/hot wind lifted afternoon temperatures to 31.3C and it was still 25C at midnight! Monday 5th started at around 20C and climbed to 24C by midday and then suddenly up to 30C by 12:20. Not to last unfortunately as within an hour or so temperatures dropped rapidly to 21C the cloud came in and by early evening it was raining. Tuesday temperatures down to 12/13C in steady rain. What a roller-coaster!
Later November and December saw the return, mainly, of the sort of weather we expect at VP with only the occasional brief period of poor weather. December daytime highs in the low to mid 20 degrees Celsius and a perfectly swimmable sea (matching or even exceeding UK summer temperatures!)
Bob, webmaster, 21 December
Late September Floods Spare Naturist Zone
 beach debris art - Vera Playa October 2012 - copyright  Large parts of south-east Spain suffered devastating flooding following exceptional rainstorms on 28/29 September. In the Vera area around 2000 homes were damaged, some completely destroyed and many people have been made homeless. Around 750 cars were wrecked by the floods. A 52 year old lady, an English resident of Vera, who was a hairdresser in Vera, was killed in the floods. Locally, the damage was confined to an area around the rambla (normally dry river bed) of the Rio Antas which, swollen by the extreme rain, swept away an embankment leading to the bridge crossing this rambla and carrying the coast road from Garrucha to Villaricos (ALP-118). Not only was the road breached but then the floodwater raged through the adjoining residential areas of Costa/Pueblo Laguna and parts of Puerto del Rey and Las Bugainvillas. The floods did not affect the naturist zone but the beach was littered with huge quantities of debris, much of it bamboo, fruit trees and other vegetation carried down the Almanzora and Antas ramblas by the storm waters - the Council are currently clearing the debris from the beaches. Initially several roads were closed due mainly to embankments having been swept away but good work by the authorities means that the local road system is now back to normal.
For a fuller report on the flash floods visit our news page - click here
www.veraplaya.info - news - latest update 6 November 2012
Naturist Zone's miraculous escape from flash floods
   One month on and the worst hit areas are far from back to normal, but miraculously the naturist zone at Vera Playa escaped any significant damage from the rain storm and consequent flash floods which resulted from ramblas overflowing or breaking their banks on 28th September 2012. For a week the biggest problem for naturist zone residents was the severed coastal road at the Rio Antas rambla just beyond Puerto Rey where the embankment on the approach to the bridge had been swept away - the floodwaters overflowing this rambla caused great devastation to the surrounding residential areas, especially Pueblo Laguna. To their great credit the local authorities managed to re-open the main coast road only a week after the approaches to the bridge over the Rio Antas rambla had been swept away, thus avoiding the 40 kms diversion to get to Garrucha which had been in place immediately after the floods. Although the naturist zone has had some problems in the past from extreme rain and flash floods, on this occasion when there was widespread damage throughout south-east Spain and more than 10 deaths, there was no significant damage at Vera Playa's naturist zone. Debris, mainly trees and other vegetation, but also all manner of other things which had been swept away by the raging torrents, was carried down the ramblas and out to sea and has since washed up on all the local beaches. Council workmen have started the task of removing all this debris but their first priority has quite rightly been in the areas which have been devastated by the torrents. Around 2000 homes have been affected in the Vera area, some of these have been completely destroyed and many hundreds of people have been made homeless by the floods. More than 750 cars were destroyed. Eye-witness reports are that there was no more than 5 minutes between the first signs of any floodwater to the time when properties were inundated. In the urbanizacion immediately next to the rambla the police broke into every property in case people were trapped as the pressure of floodwater made it impossible to open doors. Al;though more than 10 people lost their lives in the floods throughout south-east Spain it seems only one person in the Vera area did so, an English woman who ran a hairdressing salon and an elderly English man is said to have died from a heart attack after being rescued by helicopter (around 800 people were rescued from the floodwaters in this way). Despite a line of deposited debris, mainly bamboo and other vegetation, the naturist zone beaches are undamaged and usable and within a day or two people were enjoying the sun as usual. No doubt all trace of these cataclysmic events will have gone from the beaches within a few weeks but the damage to the residential areas near the Rio Antas rambla (Pueblo Laguna, Las Bougainvillas, Puerto Rey) will take much longer to repair and renew.
For a fuller report on the flash floods visit our news page - click here
www.veraplaya.info - news - 7 & 28 October 2012
Naturist Zone has miraculous escape from damage after flash floods devastate south-east Spain
   Normally completely dry ramblas became raging torrents as a result of incredible rainstorms which started on Thursday evening 27 September and lasted most of Friday 28 September The death toll in the Andalucia/Murcia regions is at least 10, including an English woman in the Vera area. In scenes redolent of the Boscastle, Cornwall flood a few years ago, at least 80 people in the Puerto Rey/Puerto Laguna area only a kilometre or so from the naturist zone were rescued by helicopter. Inland there is much damage and the mountain village of Bedar has been cut off due to a destroyed road bridge and helicopters have been ferrying supplies to the village from the Consum car park at Vera Playa. The naturist zone at Vera Playa has, amazingly, escaped any significant damage - the biggest problem for naturist zone residents was the severed bridge at the rambla just beyond Puerto Rey - the floodwaters overflowing this rambla caused great devastation to the Pueblo Laguna area. Amazingly, the authorities have managed to re-open the road only a week after the bridge was swept away thus avoiding a 40 kms diversion. At the height of the torrent many cars were swept down Calle de Juan Sebastian Elcano, Puerto Laguna to the sea, scenes again redolent of the Boscastle flood in Cornwall. The severely damaged area extends from the Hotel Reina at Puerto Rey almost to Las Bugainvillas. The photo above shows the severed coastal road near Las Buganvillas. North of the naturist zone towards Villaricos is the biggest rambla in the area - that of the Rio Almanzora. Like all other local ramblas this rambla is normally completely dry and few if any are old enough to have ever seen it flowing as a major river in torrent and nearly overflowing its high concrete banks as it was on Friday, but fortunately the banks held and the massive torrent drained out to sea. Although many local beaches are in a bit of a mess due to the storm and to the quantity of debris swept out to sea and then deposited on the beaches, the naturist beach is OK and with the weather back to its normal perfection, is usable as normal. Anyway beach debris is a small problem compared with the read devastation elsewhere in the area, including Pueblo Laguna. Vera Council has declared a state of emergency and says that 4,000 homes have been affected, 900 vehicles, and damage to infrastructure, power supply, and water supply. In total it estimates between 25 and 30 million euros in damages. The AP-7 toll motorway is now reopen with a contraflow system in operation where part of the motorway was destroyed by floodwater. Once the immediate problems have been dealt with there are likely to be recriminations about the extent to which local ramblas have been maintained - some of them had extensive vegetation including trees growing in them even though they are supposed to be kept completely free in order to be able to cope with these rare flash floods. There are signs already that Vera Council is pointing the finger at official agencies which it maintains have not been doing their job. In the past, when there has been severe rainfall the naturist zone has had some flooding problems especially in the Avenida Ciudad de Castellon where, due to indadeqate or non-existent surface water drainage from the developments on the hill behind Vera Playa, water and mud made its way down to the sea. Fortunately that deficiency has been remedied in the past couple of years and we've also heard that the local fire brigade took steps to ensure that this storm water drainage system as open to the beach even as the storm was in progress and the result was a good one - no flooding or damage. One or two palm trees came down in the storm and there was some surface water flooding of the local roads and community areas at the height of the rain storm but this soon went down and the naturist zone's residents were able to count themselves lucky that there are no ramblas (river-beds) in the immediate vicinity as it is the torrents in these which seem to have been responsible for the massive damage in some places.
As you would expect there are lots of photos and video of the floods on the internet - there is a particularly graphic short video on YouTube of the flood at its height in Puerto Laguna - click here
You may like to visit the one local beach webcam which is still working
- click here - this one is at Antonio's chiringuito near Playa de Baria 2 and the Hotel Zimbali - that is to say on the southern part of the naturist beach. The other 3 webcams further south are not working, possibly due to the floods as they are in areas which suffered flash floods.
www.veraplaya.info - news - 29 September and 4, 6 & 7 October 2012
Live webcam shows the naturist beach NOW
webcam on the naturist beach at Vera Playa - 10 March 2012 - copyright KG & www.veraplaya.infoVera Council now has four live webcams on the various beaches, one of which overlooks the official naturist beach (Playa el Playazo). It's not where the Vera Council website shows it to be (which looks to be between Vera Natura and Marina Natura) but further south at Antonio's beach cafe/bar (chiringuito) near to Playa Baria 2. This is on the official naturist beach. There are 3 other webcams further south, the most southerly nearly in Garrucha. All four were working last weekend but now only the two most northerly ones are working. The webcams are useful for seeing what state the sea is in and the wind shake on the supporting pole indicates if there is a breeze or wind. The present webcams are quite low resolution and there is little chance of you being recognised. But who knows, in a year or two there may be more and in HD quality, with directional control and zoom lens...
www.veraplaya.info - 6 & 10 March 2012. Thanks to Ken Green for the photo - photo copyright 2012
Visit the naturist beach webcam - click here    Editor's comment - see our Commentary page
And don't forget, you can take a much higher resolution, but non-live tour around the naturist zone whenever it suits you with Google's Street View - click here
Car Rental - book early or pay more/go without?
Spanish car rental prices have been on a real roller-coaster these last 4 years (since the Credit Crunch). After hitting all time highs a couple of years ago last year was back to reasonable prices and this winter prices were just about the lowest anyone can remember - far lower than could possibly be viable. Now, with large rental company Auriga Crown likely to scale its operations right down or even go bust, rental prices for Spring and Summer are going up by the day. So, if you are holidaying in Spain this year best get your car rental booked whilst prices are still tolerable and whilst there is still availability. Also, see our Commentary page
www.veraplaya.info - 28 February 2012
Fly to Almeria from two more UK airports with Ryanair this year:
Monarch sprang a surprise by dropping their route from Manchester to Almeria for this year but Ryanair has added new routes to Almeria from both Liverpool and East Midlands as from late March 2012. East Midlands flights are twice per week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, starting on 27 March. Liverpool flights are on Thursdays and Sundays, starting 29 March. It's not so long ago that it looked as if Ryanair might pull out of Almeria but in fact the airline has introduced a number of new destinations across Europe from Almeria which will see Ryanair as the biggest operator at Almeria - this may reverse the fortunes of Almeria airport, which despite having an improved and enlarged terminal building, saw its passenger numbers decrease by one third over the past 4 years.
Chances of new Murcia Corvera airport opening in 2012 receding:
There may be an under-supply of rental cars in Spain in 2012 but there will be no shortage of airport capacity - top of the list is Alicante with its new terminal 6 times bigger than its predecessor - designed for 20m passengers by its planned opening time of 2010. Late in opening, actual passenger numbers in 2011 were less than half those forecast. The interesting question is when the new Murcia/Corvera airport will open? - the politicians seem to say it it is more or less on target and will open April or maybe June 2012 whilst the airlines are saying late 2012 (and some of the main ones have not yet said whether they will fly there at all). Why is this of importance to travellers to Vera Playa? Because, if you can't fly to Almeria then Murcia - Corvera will be the next nearest airport (at around 140 kms), two thirds of the distance to Alicante. See our Commentary page for more

www.VeraPlaya.info © 2012

News 2011

Scroll down to see all the news items - the most recent ones are first
See homepage for latest news items
Ryanair anounce twice weekly flights from East Midlands to Almeria from late March 2012 - www.veraplaya.info - news - 13 December 2012
Monarch axe all flights between Manchester & Almeria in 2012
We have learned today that Monarch Airlines has told passengers with bookings between Manchester and Almeria in 2012 that there will be no flights and they are being given refunds or flights from/to alternative airports. There is currently a bit of a mystery here as the airline's website still shows 2 flights per week as from late March but sure enough if you try to book one of these flights the website tells you there are no flights. It appears that there are flights between Birmingham and Almeria as from late March 2012. It was only recently that Manchester had twice as many flights to Almeria as did Birmingham so it is a double surprise that it is flights from Manchester which have been axed. Monarch have recently had a lot of publicity for new routes they are introducing from Birmingham, but it is perhaps no surprise that there is no announcement or press release on their website to say that they have axed Manchester-Almeria. This news will be a blow and inconvenience for many naturists from northern England wishing to travel to Vera Playa and bad news for the Vera Playa Club Hotel and apartment owners whose bookings may well be adversely affected.
www.veraplaya.info - news - 24 November 2011
Natura World apartment owners set to protest in Garrucha
The long running trauma of Natura World continues: The Spanish Press and English Press based in Spain, such as the Euro Weekly News, is today reporting that a public demonstration is to be held on Garrucha sea-front on Monday 22 August by up to 186 of the owners in the 500+ apartment development Natura World. Purchasers of the apartments in Vera Playa's biggest naturist development which has been beset with problems since its commencement more than 8 years ago have been unable to get the deeds (escritura) of their properties or register their ownership with the Notary because the developer Proleal SA has, allegedly, not paid the the land owner Pradul which now says it is going to claim back all the apartments next month. Some of the purchasers have launched legal actions against the developers but they are fearful that the now proposed action of the land owner will mean they will lose both their money and their properties. Developer Proleal, run by the Fernandez Montes brothers, allegedly says it canít and wonít give the families their money back or pay it to Pradul. More on the Euroweekly website - click here
(www.veraplaya.info - news - 18 August 2011)
Motorway speed limit to go back up - but from when?
Confusion rules over a decision of the Spanish national government to change motorway speed limits back to 120 kms per hour after just a few months at 110 kph. It seems new "skins" have to be fixed over the 110 signs as the previous ones cannot just be removed as the original signs will have been damaged by the 110 kph "skins" placed over them. Because of the uncertainties about changing the signs back to 120 kph, no date has yet been fixed for the change but it is likely to be after the heavy traffic periods of the Spanish summer holiday period in July/August. For more info click here
www.veraplaya.info - news - 28 June 2011
photo copyright - www.veraplaya.info - June 2011You couldn't make it up really!
Owners and visitors at one of the Vera Playa naturist urbanizacions couldn't believe their eyes when a new illuminated sign was installed by technicians in the swimming pool area a few days ago. Just about the only absolutely mandatory rule of the Community is that costumes must not be worn in the swimming pools - with absolutely no exceptions. So imagine the surprise when the large new sign was erected saying quite the opposite. Already this has added complications in dealing with instances where textile visitors (who should not be staying at the urbanizacion but whom some owners persist in letting their apartments to) who don't want to disrobe to use the pools.
   Clearly the sign is a mistake, but whose mistake is yet to be discovered - did the sign makers mess up or did the urbanizacions's Administrator order a textile sign? Given the track record of the Administrator's office in mis-biling proprietors one suspects it could be the latter. If so, let's hope the President insists that the Administrator bear the cost himself.
The swimming costume sign is not the only mistake on the sign - see the full sign to spot some other oddities, especially in the English translations, like saying swimming is only permitted "out of hours"
(21 June 2011)
Council cutbacks hit beach services?
photo copyright - www.veraplaya.info - June 2011Vera Council usually has a full life-guard service in operation from 15 June to 15 September each year but now, at 21 June, there is no sign of the service starting and signs on the beach about the lifeguard service and first aid and security/policing on the beach have been taped over. We do not know the exact reason for the delay but it is probably to do with economy measures being introduced by the Council given the Credit Crunch, Government debt and the state of the Spanish economy. We can only guess as to when the beach services will commence this year - if at all - it could be 1 July or even 15 July, when the main Spanish holiday period comences, and possibly terminate at the end of August by which time most summer visitors will have left.
In previous years, by this time, lines of buoys have been placed off-shore to protect swimmers from power boats but this is only just beginning to be done - the buoys are now on the beach waiting to be towed out to sea. The lifeguard's watch tower was destroyed in a storm in March 2011 and has not, so far, been replaced.
(21 June 2011)
STOP PRESS Ed's comment: The lifeguards are on station (from end of June). It is not clear whether the delay was due to cut-backs or poor preparedness this year but it could be the former (as the signs were taped over making it look like a planned deferment - it will be interesting to see what happens at the end of the season - the lifeguards normally operate until 15 September, by which time the summer crowds have long gone, so maybe this year there will be some economies at the back end of the season as well as the front (16 July 2011)
New motorway speed limit
As from Monday 7 March the speed limit on Spanish motorways is reducing from 120 kph to 110 kph.

    The government is lowering the speed limit on motorways and highways to 110 kph as one of a number of measures to reduce oil use in the wake of the current oil supply & price crisis caused by the events in the arab world and Libya in particular, which is a large supplier to Spain.
    Train fares are to be reduced by 5% to encourage a switch from road to rail. The speed limit change is said to be a temporary measure aimed at reducing oil usage by 15% during the current supply crisis. (3 March 2011)
Car rental rates down
After cheap rental rates returning this winter it looks as if summer rates may also be much more reasonable than in the past two years. A small car with aircon will cost around £90 for a one week hire in June - a bargain price by any reckoning. Check out the online car rental brokers such as www.allinclusivecarhire.com or www.carjet.com
(3 March 2011)
Also see FAQ on car rental

www.VeraPlaya.info © 2011 - 2014

To access our archive of news from Vera Playa for other years, click on the appropriate year:
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