Ria de Villaviciosa: Cruising on an Estuary

My second day in Asturias was just as busy and fun-filled as my first. The first stop of the morning took us to an estuary called Ria de Villaviciosa, for a cruise down the river and out to the Cantabrian sea. Our skipper was a charismatic Asturiano named Carlos, who warmly greeted us, then cracked a few jokes; putting us at ease right away. We were about to take a small boat into (what I deemed) rough waters and since swimming is not my strong suit, having someone like Carlos by your side makes you say “Oh, what the heck”, and go along with it.

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As we set sail, Carlos gave us a tour of the estuary, shouting over the roar of the boat’s engine and the choppy waves sloshing against the sides. Not wanting to fall head-first into the chilly waters with my DSLR around my neck, I planted my butt on the nearest bench and snapped photos from the safety of my seat. The estuary is beautiful; filled with all sorts of flora and fauna (if you’re into bird-watching, apparently this is an excellent place for it) and surrounded by green hills. 

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As the river meets the ocean, some big waves roll in, making this area a draw for surfers. As I looked out over the water, about 10 wet-suit cladded figures bobbed up and down in the water, chasing waves with their boards. 

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Carlos owns a business called TRAMPALONES that offers not only these cruises and sailing equipment, (not as extensive as yachtmailchandlery in the UK) but kayak rentals, fishing, diving, and even classes of “Kayak-Surf”, which is essentially surfing the waves in a kayak, not on a board. If you’re in Asturias, I highly recommend you stop by–the prices are budget-friendly (river cruises are 6€ per half hour, and kayak rentals are 8€/hour) and it’s a great way to do something active and different in a largely unknown part of Spain. Besides, who wouldn’t want to hang out with a Santa Clause look-alike, who’s just as jolly?

He’s also in the process of remodeling this boat to offer for rentals for small families and couples. He gave me a tour of the inside, which is fully-equipped with showers, beds, a kitchen and more. I particularly loved the Asturian touches he put on the outside…Asturias has a lot of myths and legends, which he utilized in the decor. Isn’t it a beaut?

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I went to Asturias as a guest of Turismo de Asturias and Paradores de España. All opinions are my own.