XIX century, the birth of the deputation
In 1804 the 19th century began with the definitive consolidation of the Rincon de San Ginés as the Diputación de Cartagena, encompassing towns as significant as Cabo de Palos, Los Belones or La Manga. Also on these dates the lords Belón (possibly the name of this population comes from this surname and this family) gave up land for a hermitage to be built, under the dedication of San Isidro Labrador, which in 1893 became a Parish Church.
During the 19th century, the confiscations of Mendizábal and Madoz caused the unworked lands of La Manga to be sold in small lots for their use. The area would see the power of the Sierra Minera de La Unión and Cartagena reemerge as the emigration center for the new ore seekers. Due to these two circumstances the population began to grow, forming new settlements at crossroads such as Atamaría, Los Nietos or El Llano.
In Cabo de Palos its lighthouse was first illuminated in 1865. Already in the 19th century there is evidence of Cabo de Palos as a place of fishermen, from which salt was exported. The locality was known by the name of La Barra, although in 1900 it would become Caserío de Cabo de Palos.
20th century in La Manga and Los Belones
At the beginning of the 20th century, fishing was abundant in La Manga. Fishermen walked along its coasts and tasted cauldrons on the shore of the beach, some wooden piers dotted the coast to facilitate the mooring of fishing boats. In the middle of the 20th century, the Maestre family acquired the northern area of La Manga by public auction, shortly afterwards also with the southern area, which currently belongs to the Rincon de San Ginés, and soon began an urbanization plan backed by the Government.
What would initially be a luxury for a few would become over the years the largest center for sun and beach tourism in the Region of Murcia, also promoting tourism in the Minor Islands and Playa Honda. In 1964 the first apartment tower was built in La Manga, in the late 1960s it was already an important tourist destination, beginning in 1973 with the construction of the Puerto Tomás Maestre, which would reach 1,500 boat mooring points.
In the 70s, La Manga was still a private farm and the City Councils were exempt from administering the usual municipal services, so it had to be the communities of owners who paid a fee to receive the primary care such as beach cleaning, garbage collection, street lighting, etc. Currently, the municipalities have fully assumed the management of municipal services.
After the mining crisis that devastated the region, in the 1960s and 1970s many inhabitants of the area had to emigrate in order to work and help their families move forward. But in 1971 new jobs would be offered in an industry that, until then, had gone unnoticed, tourism. A large number of residents of Los Belones and surroundings would be hired to work on preparing the land where La Manga Club would later be built. Finally, in 1975 the start of construction of the La Manga Club was approved, the largest tourist complex in the Murcia Region up to that date. Also in this decade of the 70 ′ were created urbanizations of temporary occupation (summer) such as Cala Flores, Playa Paraíso, Playa Honda, or Islas Menores.
Playa Honda: Playa Honda is located near La Manga del Mar Menor, just off the Cartagena highway, and about a 35-minute drive from Corvera, Murcia airport.
BEACH: The complex enjoys a gently shelving beach directly on the placid Mar Menor. Playa Honda has a short promenade backed by the urbanization of villas and apartments. There are beach facilities for water sports. There are also showers.
SHOPPING: There is a supermarket near the seafront within the complex. Nearby, on the main strip of La Manga, there are many more shops, and there are also banks. There is a pharmacy near the store in the complex.
EATING OUT: There are several restaurants and bars within the complex. The La Manga strip, within walking distance, has many more options.
CUISINE: The plains of Murcia are incredibly fertile and produce a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are the basic ingredients of the region’s cuisine. Rice is also a staple here, and is found in many dishes.
The abundant and varied shellfish from the Mar Menor and the Mediterranean, together with game and farm meat from the mountains complete the picture.
Some typical dishes include: Arroz y Conejo (rice with rabbit), Arroz de Verduras (rice and vegetables), Arroz y Costillejas (rice and ribs), Arroz Marinero (rice with seafood) and Paella Huertana, a delicious vegetarian paella.
Non-rice specialties include Potaje, a rich stew; Menestra, a plate of sautéed vegetables; Habas con jamón “(ham and beans and Caldo Murciano, a local soup dish. The prawns caught in the area are also particularly fine, and the Huevas de Mújol, a type of caviar, is also a very rich delicacy from the region.
Many desserts and cakes are made here, often based on local almonds. Try the famous “Jijona” ice creams that are still traditionally made and have genuine “Nougat” ice cream, also made with the region’s almonds.
The fine wines of Jumilla and Yecla are known throughout Spain and beyond for their earthy, full-bodied, rounded and fruity flavors.
NIGHT LIFE: Playa Honda is a quiet and relaxing place with very little commercial activity. La Manga Club and the La Manga strip offer sophisticated or simple evening activities.
MARKETS: The La Manga market takes place every Thursday and offers a wide variety of products to a busy crowd.
EXCURSIONS: Murcia is a short drive away and offers cultural attractions and shopping. Cartagena has a proud maritime heritage, a visit to this city rewards with interesting architecture and several museums.
LEISURE AND RECREATION: All kinds of water sports are available on the Playa Honda promenade or in the many nearby tourist centers. Sailing in the Mar Menor is very popular as the sea is calm, but you can find a cool breeze.
Horse riding is available locally. There are many good walks in the surrounding hills. Runners will enjoy the flat walks without traffic and the quiet streets of the complex and its surroundings. The Mar Menor and La Manga make some very enjoyable bike rides. There are dunes near the Mediterranean coast that offer a wild and natural landscape to spend a pleasant day by the sea.
CLIMATE: Playa Honda enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with cool sea breezes in summer and protection of the surrounding mountains from the cold north winds in winter. The area averages nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and the average temperature easily exceeds 20 degrees.
In 1986, the World Health Organization recommended the climate of the area as one of the most equitable in the world, neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. On average, it can boast 325 sunny days each year, making it an ideal year-round destination.
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