Ayamonte has zoo and there is no entrance fee. It's inside the botanical garden, next to the Plaza of Spain. It has tigers (one albino), lions, bears, monkeys, baboons, ostriches, deer, exotic birds, peacocks and a wide variety of waterfowl in a large pond. The animals are classified by species, in large spaces recreating their natural habitat with trees, artificial lakes and vegetation. You can watch them through large windows. There are also explanatory panels of each species. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm (in summer until 9 pm).
This is one of my favourite bars because of its wonderful sunsets, the view of Portugal, the large Isla Canela beach, and its tranquility (there are always few people). If you are on Isla Canela, be sure to visit. And if you want to have a bite to eat, try the star of Huelva: clams.
This July I went to Ayamonte and I found it to be a place with great people, and not just in the typical coastal town of Huelva, but once you're in the area you realize it's something special. What I liked most was the sun that's created in the port, the sun hides itself behind the mountains and it makes a beautiful reflection on the water.
If you're vacationing in Ayamonte and you want to cross into Portugal, you don't need a car because from the fishing port in Ayamonte there are ferries that leave every hour for the small fee of 1.50 €. In about 15-20 minutes you'll be at the port of Vila Real de Santo Antonio, which is close to the Portuguese border town where people go shopping (which is lessening now due to the arrival of the euro and the prices are now almost the same as they are in Spain). These ferries, rather than being a tourist attraction, are a means of transportation because they can carry both people and vehicles.
This place was much more exciting than I expected. After spending my childhood hating processions and changing the channel whenever he heard a bolt, these live processions have been quite an experience. To summarize: respect, tradition, sacrifice and beauty. Highly recommended for anyone who has planned to spend those days in the area, regardless of your religious beliefs.
The historical association, cultural and socioeconomic Ayamonte is a famous place in Portugal with regards to its nascent state. The city was conquered from the Moors by the Portuguese and became a member of the Lusitanian kingdom for a period of the thirteenth century, and then moved permanently to the Crown of Castile. This place is absolutely magical.
Even though it is not as notorious as the Carnival of Isla Cristina, the one in Ayamonte is also a festivity that has deep roots in this Spanish province, whose origins date back to the Middle Ages. The celebrations were recovered in the year 1976 after Franco banned them, and has now been named "Festival of Joy". As in many other Andalusian carnivals , there is a contest of troupes and jokes at the Teatro Cardenio, whose theme is usually to sarcastically make a political and social criticism. There is also a massive carnival parade, with monumental floats and all kinds of funny and varied costumes. Ash Wednesday marks the traditional burial of the sardine. The party also has its particular queen, there are child and adult categories.
The first week of September is when Ayamonte celebrates its patron saint festival, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. The program is rich and varied. There are parades, open-air dances, bullfights, parades of giant costume heads, concerts, painting competitions, fireworks, etc. Undoubtedly the most significant event is the procession and the floral offering to the Virgin, held on the really important day (September 7th), at the door of the church of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Virgin is placed on a throne at the door of the church, on which part the people cover it with flowers. Of course you shouldn't miss the typical Andalusian fair, with its booths where you can have a drink near people who are dressed in traditional clothing.
For the festivities of Sorrows, during the first week of September, everyone in Ayamonte dresses up, the streets are decorated, the residents don their ruffled dresses and the popular fair is inaugurated with the traditional turning on of the lights. The fairgrounds are the soul of the party with their booths (public or of the Brotherhood) and the amusement park. There are many different open-air dances and music shows.
In the centre of the Spanish Plaza, next to the botanical garden pond, there is this majestic monument dedicated to the Virgin of Sorrows, patroness of Ayamonte. It's of Carrara marble and was installed in 2006 to mark the 250th anniversary of its patronage. It has a large wingspan: 365 tons, and is 12 meters wide by 12 high. It consists of a kind of two-storey temple, crowned by the Our Lady of Sorrows. At the base, there are relief images of the Virgin of Solitude, the Blessed St. Angela de la Cruz, San Diego de Alcala and the Blessed Vicente Ramirez.
The Ayamonte Food Market is at the end of Paseo de la Ribera, near the theatre and the port. It has a fairly ugly, yellowish smooth facade. Housed inside is the market, where you can buy fresh local products (meat, fish, fruit, vegetables). Prices are much cheaper here than in any supermarket. Although only open in the mornings, it's very common for the "churro" shops to open in the afternoon, as it's very typical to buy small bags of potato chips as a snack in the afternoon.
From here you can see the mouth of the Rio Guadiana. In the background, you can see the magnificent suspension bridge linking Spain with Portugal on the border of Ayamonte. To access the end of the Huelva coast, you have to wait until the tide goes out. It's worth taking a stroll down the coast to get to this place.
From Ayamonte you can choose some different types of Guadiana river cruises. The company that is managed by the Guadiana River Transport is called SL and they all start from the dock and then go to the fishing port of Ayamonte, where you can purchase the ticket (although in summer keep in mind that seating is limited, so reserve ahead). Last year I made the cruise to Sanlucar de Guadiana River. It's a pretty full day excursion, it leaves about 10 am and returns about 17h. The boat has a portion that goes upstream, and you get to view the landscape and the lush vegetation, as well as the tropical nature of the place, and the tons of different birds (herons, storks, black vultures ...). The journey to get to Sanlucar de Guadiana takes about 2 ½ hours, and meanwhile, offer drinks and snacks (Huelva prawns and pork), accompanied by music. Once in Sanlucar have free time to visit this small town that has preserved its typical traditional style. Then they take you to a small restaurant where they serve food (included), and we start the journey back to Ayamonte.
At the end of the fishing port in North Dock, there is the Monument to Canning Women, one of the area's and city's most distinctive crafts. It consists of a bronze statue of a woman seated at a table, cleaning and packaging fish. It was sculpted by José Gámez Cano in 2003.
If there is one thing in Ayamonte par excellence, then it's the churches, chapels, shrines and other religious monuments and things to see in Ayamonte. We cannot forget its presence at Easter with the various guilds, and the Passion and the Veneration of Christ that exists in Andalusia. Among the religious monuments and places to visit in Ayamonte, there are the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, the parish of Salvador, the Convent Mercedario (headquarters of the Association of Brotherhoods of Easter) and the Hermitage of San Sebastián. Among the civil buildings, landmarks and other Ayamonte to see, we can highlight the Castle, the Tower of Isla Canela, the Roman Mausoleum, the Palace of the Marquis of Ayamonte and the Molino El Pintado. There are many things to do in Ayamonte which is why it's best to plan your trip ahead of time. Stuff to do in Ayamonte includes getting to know their neighborhoods and making the best of each one. The Barrio de La Villa is the oldest of the city with very steep and winding streets, and low whitewashed houses. If you want to know more about what to do in Ayamonte today, then search on Minube to find the Ayamonte activities that are taking place in each of its main districts on a daily basis. And for nature lovers, there's also a place. Get to know the attractions in Ayamonte related to nature, like the Marshes Nature Reserve of Isla Cristina.