Mar de Cristal may be the little beach with big dreams. It covers just a small portion along the Mar Menor on the Costa Calida. Even so, its near-white sand dunes and azure sky beckon thousands of visitors every year. It means "crystal sea" in English. One look at the sparkling water of the Mar Menor ("Minor Sea") and tourists see why. It is this combination of natural beauty that has led to the rise of development in the area in recent years.
Mar de Cristal is an exceptional choice for a Spanish holiday. Its beach front location at the southern tip of the Mar Menor makes it ideal for recreation. The Mar Menor is isolated from the rest of the Mediterranean Sea by a small strip of land just over 20 km long. The La Manga strip has helped to create a saltwater lake that remains warm all year round. Shielded from big winds, the Mar Menor is subject instead to tropical breezes perfect for windsurfing and other water sports.
Mar de Cristal is a superb home base for a Spanish holiday. It is largely a resort area, though some locals live in the area year-round. It is slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of Spain's urban life. This makes it a spectacular location for a quiet walk on the beach or a day in the sunshine.
When visitors are ready for activity, they can venture into nearby Cartagena. This fortified Spanish town has a rich history dating back to 230 B.C. Tourists will see evidence of its naval presence almost everywhere they look. Cartagena's many museums give tourists a taste of its interesting heritage. A number of its buildings have survived hundreds or even thousands of years. They bear witness to the deep roots of Roman and Carthaginian influences on the area. The Roman Amphitheatre is one such site. Its ancient ruins lay buried until they were re-discovered in the 1980s. Archaeological excavation has since restored some of its original magnificence and uncovered hundreds of artifacts.
There is no shortage of recreational activities for visitors to participate in when they visit Mar de Cristal. Surfing, sailing, wind and kite surfing, diving and snorkeling are among the most popular. Equipment rentals and lessons are available in various locations around the coast. For those who prefer to watch instead, both amateur and professional athletes train regularly in the area. Venturing inland slightly, visitors can golf at one of the many world-class courses in the region. Cycling is also an excellent way to combine physical fitness with sight-seeing. Bikes and quads are very common in Mar de Cristal and along the entire Mar Menor coast. The region is rife with trails, though cyclists may stick to main roads and still get a view of the magnificent coastline. Bicycles and quads can be rented in locations around the Mar Menor area.
So many tourists have fallen in love with the region that development in the Mar de Cristal area is booming. People have been building summer homes in the area since the days of the ancient Romans. This fact attests to the popularity of the area. Today, visitors have a variety of styles and options to choose from. Rentals can be arranged with private owners or booked through travel agents or with local resorts. Many Spaniards and foreigners alike are choosing to purchase property in Mar de Cristal. Homes in the area are still relatively affordable compared to more heavily traveled areas of Spain. Whether tourists wish to visit once or twice a year or stay for a summer, Mar de Cristal is a paradise for rest and fun.