Jan 14, 2012

You've Got Orders to Rota, Spain...Now What?

Congratulations!

If you've somehow managed to swindle get your hands on orders to Naval Station Rota (NAVSTA), read on because you're in for an unbelievably amazing experience, one that you'll never forget for so many wonderful, exciting, interesting and challenging reasons.

And for you, I am going to write a series of 'Moving To Rota' blog posts, each one covering VITAL information from my year-long point of view as a military spouse of an E7 active duty husband, living off-base.


I want to bypass the not always entirely accurate handbook of a million details and make your move and time in Spain as REALISTIC and enjoyable as possible.  Consider this post on 'Where to Live', Part 1.

First things first: Don't Be Scared!  Sure, you're moving overseas but in reality, you're moving to an American military base (lamen) that just so happens to rest on Spanish soil.  This means that if you foolishly decided to never leave the gates (and some people do), you would probably never even know you were in Spain...Walmart could be just down the street for all you'd know.

Naval Station Rota Map (Absolutely NOT to Scale)
But, please please please DO NOT become a Base Rat as they are unaffectionately known here.  Base rats are those people that rather than get off their butts and experience the amazing short drive away travel opportunities (Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco) and cultural experiences at their doorstep (literally), choose to sit at home and become Base Rats..no bien!

Where Should I Live?
Fortunately, as it stands now, you have the choice to either live on base in standard (very small) cookie cutter thin walled, base housing without cost, or, you can live off-base (in the economy) and utilize your housing allowance cap, which is different for each service member.

Keep in mind, when you arrive though, you'll have thirty days of paid lodging either at the Navy Lodge or in temp base housing (some deduction in pay for temp housing), to find a house off-base or move into a base house, of which I'm not sure if or what the current wait list is.  

However in my opinion, if you have children or pets like we did, and don't mind a small reduction in pay for comfort, opt to stay in temp base housing, as the Navy Lodge is a simple small hotel room.

And on that thirty day window....don't be too scared by the deadline...extensions are possible through housing, as during our way too long (picky) 'house hunting' period, we extended an additional fourteen days.  

Eventually, after multiple house inspections and negotiations we found a fabulous house off- base in an area known as El Puerto de Santa Maria (Puerto for short), an area that we had chosen to live, even before arriving to Spain.  

We chose to live off-base for the sole reason that we wanted to experience Spain as locals and not as American tourists visiting for three years.  We wanted to immerse ourselves into the Spanish culture and with all due respect, remove ourselves from the possible daily drama of on-base nuances of which, unless your spouse happens to be the big big boss (el Jefe), chances are may experience on this tour in some form or another.

ON-BASE HOUSING 
There are two housing areas: Las Palmeras (the palms) and Las Flores (the flowers).

Las Flores:  Two story apartment, separate kitchen, living, television room. Thin walls, squeaky floors and stairs. Lino floor downstairs, thin grey carpet in upstairs bedrooms.  Very small back yards.  Joined to adjacent house at kitchen/living room wall.  Outside patio area joined to adjacent apartment.

Las Palmeras: Single level, brick house, separate kitchen, pantry, television room. No living room, so most people use a high bar-style table and chairs.  Thin walls, larger yards.  Houses joined at garage.

 Either way, unless you or your spouse happens to be a big, big, big wig, base housing is SMALL, I mean REALLY, REALLY, sell that living room furniture, small...really!  

DGF School: Facing the Elementary & Multi Purpose Buildings
However, an exciting conversion project (two houses into one) is underway in Las Palmeras, which from what I've heard is going to be wonderful, although if you are arriving any time within the next 6-12 months, don't get your hopes up on getting one of these...the show model was only released just before Christmas 2011.

Which House, Which Area?
If you do decide to live on-base, when you arrive, not beforehand, head into the Housing Office (beside the hospital), register your arrival and house hunting intentions with them, and you will be shown a map with the available houses to you, rooms based on how many dependent children you have.  

Then, head off in your matchbox rental car (from the airport terminal desk) and drive around and see each house.

Keep in mind that some corner lots will have larger yard, some even with trees, some are on a slight hill with a view of the nearby fields (Las Palmeras area: splashed with vibrant sunflowers in season) and some are simply wedged between other houses with no view or yard to speak of.  Make your decision wisely, as you only get one paid move!!!

Costs?
If you live on base there are NO out-of-pocket expenses, no gas bill, no phone bill, no heating/ac bill, it's an all-inclusive use as much as you like deal!  

Proximity to base facilities?
Base housing is approximately a five-minute drive from the majority of base facilities including the drive-in, Commissary, Exchange, Child Development Centre (CDC), fitness centre, hospital, and obviously, you or your spouse's place of work.

Downtown Puerto: A Bustling Area with the Famous Bullring
David G. Farragut (DGF), the shared one complex elementary/middle/high school is within walking distance from all base houses in Las Palmeras, or at most a two-minute drive away from Las Flores housing.

Is it safe?
Absolutely, you're inside a gated secured military facility.  

I mean I wouldn't take it for granted, but your children will always have a playground to play in (they are scattered throughout housing) with numerous other American children wandering around...at all hours and all ages!!!   This base is small, everyone speaks English and seems to know almost everyone else and who's children go with which parents. It feels like little suburban America to me.

Should I sell my appliances?
Base housing runs on US voltage with US outlets so you would be crazy to sell your appliances.   If you do decide to sell them, housing warehouse can loan you appliances (no cost) for the duration of your tour.

110 US voltage
220 European voltage

OFF-BASE HOUSING
Living off-base doesn't mean that you are removed from the base.  If fact, we live in an area called Santa Catalina within El Puerto de Santa Maria, and it takes me approximately a 10-15 minute drive to reach the base, a distance that is not even a talking point considering the size of our house and the experience for us of living in the economy.

Santa Catalina Beach: El Puerto de Santa Maria
I drive Michael to the CDC every morning, work out, drive home, shower, go back on base, sometimes two or three times a day...it's never a concern, every facility is still at my finger tips, though they are just a touch longer.  

And, if you are worried about no habla Espanol (no speak Spanish) DON'T BE, as English is widely spoken by most real-estate agents or with the translation assistance of Housing.

If you are considering living off-base, here is a breakdown of the most desirable areas, each with their own personality and each within a few minutes drive from the base.  There are other lovely areas, however they are a little further away from base.

EL PUERTO DE SANTA MARIA (El Puerto for short) - pronounced PWERTO!
This is, from what I keep hearing is, I guess the most desirable area for American's wanting to live off-base.  Puerto is like a fancy umbrella and underneath it sits little suburbs including Puerto, Puerto Sherry, Santa Catalina, and Vistahermosa.  

Houses are typically large three or four story in a white or red wash stone exterior and white marble interior large.  Most have medium sized front yards, high security fences, swimming pools, view of the ocean, and are within walking distance to either a gorgeous beach, the port, the country club, bullring or some other form of delightful Spanish entertainment.  

ROTA
Rota, an old town is the closest to the base (just outside the gate) and is typically favored by young couples and single people who enjoy a vibrant beach party atmosphere, especially come Summer when the clubs open and the streets pouring with happy tourists and locals are filled with music until 6-7am.  

Rota Rooftops from the Castle
The houses are usually two-three story white wash, close or attached to each other with minimal or no yard.  

Rota is a quaint historic town filled with great restaurants and nightlife, however, with young children it personally would not be my first choice.   

EL AGUILA, EL MANANTIAL & LAS REDES
These beachside areas sit in between Vistahermosa and the Naval Base and the famous Churos stand.

El Alguila with two-three story homes, saddles Vistahermosa but some 'shady' agents will try to tell you that it's considered Vistahermosa...it's not!   The reason I cover this is because, just as back in the US, public school selection (if you are interested in sending your little ones to Spanish school) in Spain is dependent on where you live, and the Vistahermosa, El Puerto areas are highly desirable for American and Spanish families.

El Manantial and Las Redes remind me of a 'dude' if Spanish had 'dudes' beach town with a touch of the classic European style.  More medium rise apartments than houses here, and all a close walk to the beach and base.

Rent?
Monthly rent, after negotiation can be anywhere from 1500-2200 Euro plus utilities depending on the area of preference, the size of the house or apartment and number of bedrooms.  

BUT!!! Never accept the initial asking price EVER!  

The Spanish real estate agents and landlords know that whatever seemingly low amount that we Americans pay for rent, it is still likely to be double what the local Spanish locals would pay.
They also have an idea of the military housing CAP range (never reveal your cap), so with that in mind, don't be afraid to negotiate on rent or other amenities such as a pool fence or heating/ac installed etc.

We negotiated our rent down almost 800 Euro per month from the initial ridiculously way above our cap, asking price, and had the owners pay half for the pool fence.   

Oh, and by the way, unlike in America where it's law to have a pool fence, not in Spain, so don't expect to find it, and if you do, it's likely that an American family lived in the house previously.

Proximity to base facilities?
Of all the locations above, you will never be more than a ten-minute drive from base or a 20 Euro taxi fare (set amount to get on base).  Plus, the benefit of living in town is that you have endless walking-distance options when it comes to dining, entertainment and beaches.  There are no cab fares, no carrying your military ID, no 10:00 pm curfew, Spain never sleeps (at night anyway), and you become instantly immersed in the Spanish way of life and the beautiful language...no habla Ingles!

If your children attend DGF school as my older daughter does, the free DGF only buses route throughout all of the above areas to school and return.  The buses are supervised by a teacher, names are checked off and ID must be shown.  My daughter has only a five-minute walk to and from the bus stop.

Is it safe?
I can truly only speak of El Puerto de Santa Maria in regards to daily living of which yes, it is incredibly safe with private security cars that patrol nightly.  It is not uncommon to see families walking around late at night, us included.  I have left the cars unlocked with windows down numerous times and never had an issue..we also live in a cul-de-sac, so I'm sure that's part of it.  Overall though, I have never felt unsafe, ever.

We were warned of the petty crime in Spain, smashing windows to retrieve sunglasses etc, but touch wood, we have not experienced any of this, however, I have heard from many that Rota and El Alguila are more familiar with these petty crimes.  Typically if I'm in town though, I never leave anything valuable in sight in the car...that's common sense.

Should I sell my appliances?
We kept most of our appliances, despite being warned otherwise, and I'm so glad we did.  Housing will loan you (no cost) as many transformer's as you need (suggest 3 or 4) for the duration of your tour.  

A transformer is NOT a power converter like you buy when you travel abroad, so please do NOT try to use those little travel converters on your US hairdryer or other appliances: they will catch fire and blow up..trust me!

Transformer:  So Inconspicuous!
Rather, they are small grey boxes that convert your US voltage (110) appliance to European voltage (220).  

The newer transformer's seem to blend better with our appliances and although still two-hand heavy, with three in the house, it means that I can still use the Dyson, whip up my cakes in the Kitchenaide and keep the computer's and X-box charged.  

List of Appliances to Consider
Washer/dryer:  SELL, as they will not likely fit into the allocated spaces in houses here, plus housing will loan you (no cost) brand new washer/dryer with Spanish outlets for the duration of your tour.

Television/ X-Box/Computer/Stereo:  DON'T SELL, as you can hook them up using a transformer, however most houses in Spain come furnished or partly furnished (meaning you tell them what you want them to leave..eg TV)

For all those other smaller items like hair dryers, portable fans, humidifiers, personally we sold most as we knew we were going to live off-base and, then simply went to nearest Walmart equivalent (Carrefore) or the Exchange and purchased Spanish voltage appliances for little cost.  

I trust that I have at least given you an insight into the different areas surrounding the Naval Base, the style of house on or off-base and a general insight into your up-coming move. Stay tuned for Part II, which will discuss the intricacies of finding the right house off-base and the process in how to make it yours, despite what 'they' will tell you, plus a little more about the Rota Naval Base facilities and the surrounding area.

Crikey!













53 comments:

  1. I wish when we moved here we had the option to live off base but at the time we were told we had to live on base, I think it was just a Marine thing but we would have loved to live in the community. You are such a great writer!! Love reading your blog

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you so much babe. We were just on the cusp of not being allowed, so very very lucky, but in saying that, I'll always make the best of any situation. On or off base, either way, I'm in SPAIN!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love your blog - I sent you a facebook message a while ago regarding offbase schools for my kids (thanks for the insight) - well we are finally here. Decided to send the kids to DGF this year with Spanish lessons, we are hoping they will be ready for Spanish immersion next year.. We are staying in Puerto right now and are looking for houses in the area - in fact we got very lost today walking to the beach - our 30 min walk turned into 2 hours.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, glad you arrived and although got somewhat lost are actually out there being a local as such. Stay tuned for next post....congratulations and, again welcome to Spain..you'll love it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful! Thank you so much for the insight. We are headed that way in July, and the information you have provided in your blog is fabulous!!!! Can NOT WAIT to immerse myself in the Spanish culture, as we, too, will be living off base!!! Thank you for the heads up on the living areas ;)!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This has been so helpful! We just arrived in Rota this afternoon and are so excited to get out and go house hunting. Thanks for all the information!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Welcome to Spain...rock on. I will be posting today.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, and thanks so much for the great info! We have orders to report in Rota in July, and I am trying to gather all the information I possibly can before we get there. I like to be prepared. :) About the enrolling the kids in Spanish schools, I would certainly be interested in that, however, I do wonder how well they will adapt if they speak no spanish currently?? I want them to learn all they can, and become immersed, but I wouldn't want to throw them too far into a culture shock. Are the spanish schools pretty "english speaking" friendly? If I thought they wouldn't fall behind because of the language barrier, then I would LOVE to do that! Also, thanks for the info on finding jobs! I am wondering about that process also. :) Either way, I am sure it will all be very interesting!! LOL! All of that being said, the 4 of us are extremely excited to make the move, and wish July would hurry up and get here already!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As for the schools I would recommend that you consider their age before deciding. Elementary school kids would definitely benefit from the schools off-base. I had both my kids begin in DGF when we arrived in 2005 and after a year of playing with the idea we decided to move them to the school in Rota. It has been the best decision we made. Although both of them will be a little behind in some American education subjects (like English literature), they have become fully bilingual. On the other hand, I can attest to the higher level of education they have received in subjects like math, science and writing skills. My daughter started Spanish school at age 5 and was writing perfect cursive style and multiplying by age 6. My son is currently 13 and will finish this year in the Spanish school. He is able to read and fully understand any literature in either language with ease and is currently working with Algebra (in math class) and cellular composition (in science) while keeping a “B” average. Next school year I’ll move them both to DGF to begin the transition back into the American style of education so they can get used to it. My family does have a Latin background so Spanish was easier for my kids but one of my son’s friends (currently the highest grade in class) comes from an American family that came here without any bilingual background. He even corrects my Spanish every now and again  . I hope this helps and wish you guys a great time in España. Ole!

      Delete
    2. Thank you VERY much for taking the time to comment and help out, I truly appreciate it. It is great to have your personal experience as a guide to options for different ages. Again, thank you.

      Delete
  9. Hi,

    Yeah, congrats on the orders and July is SUPER hot and wonderful here. You will truly LOVE it and yes I will write a post on schools next..it's interesting.

    Crikey

    ReplyDelete
  10. We're headed that way in May and will be living in El Puerto. We have a 4 year old and 2 year old and are looking forward to making Spanish friends as well as finding Americans to hang out with.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Rock on..Congrats. You'll make a ton of both American (from base) and Spanish (off base) friends...LOVE IT!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Do you know if E-2's can live off base?? If so what website can I use to find a cheap apartment in Rota or Las Redes?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was under the impression that anyone could live off base including single sailors...but let me double check. As for websites...there really are none, as housing is competitive, so by the time a house went online it could already be taken. The individual real estate agents or housing have listings and pictures for you to just visit...there really is no other way. Before we moved here, I tried searching for websites and listings but found only one or two and they were not reliable anyway.

    I like to plan WAY ahead, but it's just not possible here unfortunately.

    Let me get back to you about E2, but I can't imagine why they couldn't..that just wouldn't make any sense.

    Crikey!

    ReplyDelete
  14. crikey mum, thanks for your blog. not a lot of info out there for folks like us...moving to rota with our 9 and 6 yo in June '12. Looking to live in Puerto maybe? Will you be posting more about off base schools and housing options for families? glad you're having a great time over there. looking forward to getting there myself!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you soo much for this great info!! We are arriving in May and your blog just changed my mind about living on base! I have a question concerning our vehicle. We own a ford explorer which is a rather large suv. Are we crazy for expecting to drive around Spain?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Sweetpink22: DO NOT sell your SUV! Everyone thinks all of the streets in Spain are tiny but it's not a rural horse and cart (ok some places and the highways) place. There are many SUV's including minivans on/off base, I even saw a few Hummer's so don't sell. Note though: When you park anywhere off base the car spots are definitely geared towards the European matchbox, but honestly even then, it's not a problem. DON'T Sell! Check out my FB page also where I can respond immediately to comments.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crikey-mUm/231949243519466

    ReplyDelete
  17. We were stationed at Rota for 4 yrs and we are coming back for another tour soon, I'm looking for current info and I love your blog. It's completely accurate. (Although I don't know much about living offbase since when we lived there we were forced to live in Las Flores, but we had a great little group of neighbors.) anyways... this is good info, thank you for taking the time to give people such a good idea of what to expect. (PS I'm totally going to be implementing your 'instead'rule tomorrow!)By the way do you happen to know of estate agents over there? I would really like to live in the Vista Hermosa, Puerto area but it's impossible to find anything online. I'm looking everywhere and am only finding places in Marbella and around there. :( Thanks! I mean Crikey!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      LUCKY YOU! I wish there were more online sites (actually just one would be nice) for housing, however it's just no bueno. How did the instead rule go?

      Crikey.

      Delete
  18. We just found out that we're going to Rota this July 2012! I'm excited but nervous!! This article was so helpful. I know you recommended selling the washer and dryer, is that absolutely necessary? I just bought brand new ones and love them, I really don't want to get rid of them but also don't want to bring them and not be able to use them. I have 2 daughters, they are 10 & 12. We are really thinking we're going to live out on the economy instead of on base, I want to experience Spain in its truest form. Thanks for your article, and I look forward to upcoming ones :) Crikey!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only a few months until you are in Spain...very exciting. Wanted to see how you are getting on with the planning?

      Delete
  19. Thank you for such an informative post! My wife and I just checked in to the Lodge here on base, can't wait to get everything started. We plan on living off base, preferably in Puerto as well. Hoping you're still posting Part II up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just checking in to see how life in Spain is treating you?

      Delete
  20. Hi I'm Mrs Miranda


    You are an Angel! We do not have orders for Rota , well we still going since my husband ship in moving to rota permanently , so we are going, at first I don't like the idea much, we just "got" to VA, I am not afraid of the spanish since I'm puertorican also my husband so we speak fully spanish (my problem was the english lol) my kid dosent speak spanish at all, he can understand it but he get trouble speaking it, so I dont know if is a good idea for him study off base, we are getting to Rota next summer and I just found your blog by searching randomly in the internet, now I'm pump it up haha, I would love to live off base, I am sure I going to feel like "home" Thank you so much fot you article, Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Miranda...So glad you found me.

      CONGRATS! You will love it as your attitude is already in a great place. I think perhaps 10% of the base speaks spanish, the rest choose not to or just don't make or have the time to learn. Your son will benefit from being off base although as another reader mentioned, it depends on the age and what's more important, having a close knit English speaking group of friends or being in town where he will almost be required to speak Spanish. Either way, it's a wonderful place.

      Delete
    2. It's have been a year from this post , we have the orders now, I'm beyond excited with this new adventure, I've trying to reinforce the spanish to my children (8yrs, 4 yrs) My 3rd grader is a lil bit scare about this... anyway i got his back on the spanish "situation" :) I have like 30 rental houses on bookmark haha hopefully we can get one of them , my hun is going in january we are leaving on june because of the school, I want my kiddos to finish that school year , I love being prepare before I move to a new place, is our second overseas , still loving you for this article!

      Delete
  21. Hello. From the looks of it (one can never be too sure) we'll be moving to Rota in November, this year. Your posts have been incredibly helpful (including the "instead" rule!) and I cannot wait to get there! I am northern European and I have lived in Lisbon as a college student, but that was years ago and it is great to have up to date information! Thank you for letting us know about not accepting the asking price on housing off-base and whether or not to bring big cars. I, as one previous commenter, would just like to know if you have any good recommendations on good real estate agents/companies. We had a couple of not so good experiences in Belgium and would like to avoid those. :) We look forward to hopefully living in Spain and being so much closer to my family than living on the West coast of US. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, you should be here by now! I'm interested to know how your house hunting goes! Let me know if I can help at all.

      Delete
  22. Great blog. Very helpful.
    Just wondering if there any bilingual schools nearby(Eng/Span or Eng/French)? I tried Googling it, but don't get the info I need.
    Again, thanks for a wonderful blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Centro Ingles (English Centre) where my son goes to school is bi-lingual Spanish/English and is absolutely fabulous. Most of the public and private schools are Spanish speaking only, and as for French, I know the secondary schools offer it as an extra class on schedule, but not so much for pre-school or elementary.

      Delete
  23. Do you have any more info on off base schools? My 5 year old is already very fluent in Spanish and she will more than 1/2 way done by the time we get there. I' m leaning towards enrolling her at the base school primarily because she already knows the language....still a bit undecided. Have you heard anything from other parents that have their kids in grades k-3 at the base? Thxs for taking the time to write this usefjl blog. Adios

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If your 5 year old is already fluent in Spanish, she will have no problems within an OFF base Spanish school. Many of the schools do actually have teachers that speak some English, although my son speaks ZERO spanish yet he is happy as anything at a school where his teacher does not speak any English. He is 4.5 years. As for on-base k-3, most parents DO like the program, although obviously it is in English so if you're interested in Spanish immersion, then it will not be what you are looking for.

      Delete
  24. I am also looking for off site schools or summer programs for my daughters ages 7 and 10. I want them to learn Spanish. Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most, actually 99.9% of the off-base schools (with exception of the El Centro Ingles Private school) are PURE Spanish and unless your children do speak Spanish, most parents have shared that their children find it rather difficult to adapt (at the age that your children are). Remember that they will be given homework and exams in Spanish, so what most parents (friends of mine) have said is that the first 6 months are very very trying for their children as naturally, their grades are often at a fail level. As for Summer programs, El Centro Ingles does offer a Summer Camp as such which is run in English and Spanish, although it is rather expensive, but they do a LOT of activities.

      Delete
  25. Hey! Great blog post! We are headed to Rota the end of this year and I really appreciate all your great information. I noticed that you have your animals. We have a dog and cat and I know there are certain requirements you have to meet to bring them into another country. Do you have any information on that or could you point me in the right direction? Is it true they have to be quarantined for 6 months?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No quarantine in Spain. You come straight off the plane at the Rota terminal and home with them. You are required to have them visit the base vet within a week (might be a little longer) to get scanned and logged into the system: that's easy. Just make sure that your CURRENT vet has completed all of the necessary paperwork including necessary vaccinations, to allow them to travel and that you get the completed health certificate within 10 days of travel (double check to make sure time frames still current).

      Delete
  26. I'm so glad to find this post! Hubby is stationed on the Donald Cook, so we'll be coming to Rota next FY. I haven't found a lot of information yet on housing off base and good areas to live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FABULOUS! There are so many lovely areas within an easy drive to base. El Puerto (15-20 min), Rota (right outside the gate), Chipiona (15-20 min), Las Redes (5 min off base). Depends what you are looking for in an area....on the beach, downtown feel, quiet, etc. Let me know and we can talk more.

      Delete
  27. We go to Costa Ballena, near Rota every summer and I am desperately looking for a summer camp for my girls ages 8 and 11 - I cannot seem to find any information at the Centro Ingles you mentioned above. do you have any information on the summer camp there and any other ones nearby - we are looking for them to be immersed in Spanish and practice, practice, practice :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not seen the Centro Ingles summer camp billboard displayed yet, so that might be why..usually don't start until late June/July...I'll have another look for you. For some updated information on what's happening in the area through summer, like the Rota Naval Station Facebook page and every Thursday they issue the online version of the Coastline (base newspaper). https://www.facebook.com/USNavalStationRota

      Not long until Summer now!

      Delete
  28. AnonymousMay 02, 2013

    A perfect choice is Chipiona. A peaceful town 10 km from the base. Its perfect beaches where surfing, kitesurfing or paser watching sunsets. You can eat the famous fried fish, ham or cheese by taking a chilly beer. Strolling through the streets in the summer cheerful full of tourists and enjoy a quiet village in the winter. The best way to find home is going into the various pages of Facebook ("rentchipiona" for example) where people advertise their homes and watching them can go before reaching Spain and seek advice from other military residents. Greetings and welcome to Spain.

    ReplyDelete
  29. AnonymousMay 29, 2013

    Crikey mUm,

    Great blog, great info!!!

    Living off base seems to be the way to go!

    We're headed that way early 2014 and will be living in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Don't know where in El Puerto though.

    Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated… as to where to live and not to live, etc.

    Between all the helpful info you provide and the House Hunters Int'l video we found on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rokBPTNvnn8 we decided to live off base at El Puerto. You mentioned three different locations within el Puerto and we need help in choosing the right location (Puerto Sherry, Santa Catalina, or Vista Hermosa) based on our current situation.

    I'm married, 32 yo and my spouse is 28 yo. We don't have any children yet but we're planning on having our first little one while in Rota. We will be taking our pet dog with us to Rota too.

    We're past the party/wild/crazy phase so that environment is out of the picture. We're more into laidback type entertainment. For example, we enjoy going to the movies, shows, plays, coffee shops, restaurants, hiking, etc. We would love to have a cafe, bar, beach in a walking distance from our home and at the same time, we don't want to live too far away from the base.

    Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJuly 26, 2013

      Are you heading to Rota with the new ships that are moving there? My husband has the possibility of going on one of those ships and we have to make a decision ASAP. Do you know if they will be deployed much. We are like you and have no children, but I'm reluctant to go overseas if he is going to be gone all the time?

      Delete
    2. Is your spouse on the DDG 80? We heard its doing a change of home port to Rota. If that info is correct, we're picking orders to it. :-) I'm so looking forward to it. We will get there towards the end of 2014.

      Delete
  30. AnonymousJune 04, 2013

    Pгetty! Thіs hаѕ bеen аn inсredibly wondеrful аrticle.
    Τhаnkѕ fог proѵiding these ԁetailѕ.


    mу blog post - Cheap Hotels in Portugal

    ReplyDelete
  31. AnonymousJune 21, 2013

    Im am so glad I found your blog. My husband landed orders to Spain for the end of August! Im exremely excited! This is our first PCS (we hit the order jackpot) I know from reading your blog that you brought pets to Spain. Our 3 year old German Shepherd is our "baby" We have spoken to the Vet at Rota regarding the "dangerous breed" (as German SHepherds fall in this category) and we're assured that we can bring out boy. My question to you is, how did it go with getting them over there. Did you have to arrange for them to travel with you on commercial or where you able to get them on AMX flight with you? Ive ready horror stories about commercial air travel with pets. I have no stress about moving overseas or living in foreign country but the dog gets me haha. Thanks for your blog, reading get me so excited for the next three year adventure!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I just wanted to offer your blog's readers our house to rent. I think this information can be of your interest.
    I grown up in a nice house in Urbanización Cuatro Pinos. We had american friends from the Rota naval Base when we were teenagers... Now my brother and sister' live in Seville and Madrid and we are looking for a nice American family who would like to live in our house taking care of it and enjoying as much as we did when we were kids.

    Our villa has got a nice garden (800sq metres) with 3 ancient olive trees and fruit trees. It has got a BBQ and oven. The house has got 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, has got fireplace in a spacious lounge, air conditioning, it is fully furnished and nicely decorated. IF you are interested, I can send you photos and more information.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi!
    I hope this information helps you!
    I have been living in Puerto Santa Maria since I was a kid (at urbanization Cuatro Pinos, very close to Rota Naval Base, only 15 minutes driving). Now my brother and sister and myself we all move away from Puerto to work.
    So we are looking for a nice american family who would like to live and enjoy our nice villa house as much as we did when we were kids.
    The house has got a nice garden (800 sq. meters) with 3 ancient olive trees and fruit trees. It has got oven and BBQ. 2 porches to enjoy dining out.
    The house (300 sq meters) has got 3 bedrooms, an spacious lounge with fireplace, a kitchen fully equiped... It's nicely decorated and ready to live in. If you would like to receive photos and detailed information, please sen me an email to: elma_pacheco@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. AnonymousJuly 20, 2013

    Thank You so much !! We now have a sense of direction:) Our next assignment is to Rota 2014. We were wondering, do you know the availability in Puerto de Santa Maria? Being that's a popular area will it be hard to find a home? Also,I read that you work out do you go on base? I go to the YMCA because they have classes. Does the base have classes? Do they have aquatic classes?

    Thank You so much for your time!
    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for the info.
    I may be moving to Rota soon and was wondering if you knew anything of small houses for rent in the nearby countryside for a single person.
    The more buried into Andalusia the better!
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you so much for providing this Great infomation! We just picked orders to a ship that we hear is relocating there. Is it true they're building new homes there? How many cars will they ship there? Is there a storage unit to rent if we have to much furniture to fit inside the homes there? Thank you in advance for all the helpful information you're providing.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi. Thanks for all of the information. We just received orders to a ship in Rota mid 2014. Now that you've been in the area a little longer, do you have any more opinions of housing in the Rota area?

    ReplyDelete

Crikey mUm welcomes your comments! Got something to say...SAY IT!