El Puerto de Santa Maria ("The Port of Saint Mary", or just "El Puerto") is a port city located on the banks of Guadalete River in the Cadiz province (Andalusia, Spain). It has population of around 88,000, of which around 50,000 live in the town.
El Puerto is approx 6 ml (10 km) north east of Cadiz across the Cadiz bay and is famous for having been the port from which Christopher Columbus (Italian navigator and colonizer, 1451-1506) sailed on his 2nd voyage to the Americas. The pilot of Columbus, Juan de la Cosa, drew a world map (the first including the New World's coast) in El Puerto in 1500 AD.
The town was also the residence of wealthy cargadores, merchants who operated the trade of Spain with the Americas. During the 16th-17th centuries, it was the winter port of royal galleys. In the 19th century the city became the French Army's General Headquarters during the Peninsular War under Joseph Bonaparte's reign (1801–1812). El Puerto de Santa Maria is steeped in history, monuments and museums. It is within easy reach of the historical Spanish cities of Cadiz and Seville.
El Puerto de Santa Maria's most important economic activity is tourism, mainly due to the beautiful beaches, as well as the bullfights at the arena in the summer months. The city also hosts groups of motorcyclists during Jerez Motorcycle Grand Prix.
There is a highly developed wine industry in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Bullfighting is enjoyed during Feria season in August, and during Feria de la Primavera (Spring Fair) in May. This Feria is specially dedicated to sherry wine - 180,000 half bottles are being drunk in 4 days. There are several wineries (bodegas) in the town centre, all of which available to the public. The most famous El Puerto bodegas are Terry and Osborne, both of which export brandy and sherry worldwide.
Highlights: Bodegas, Beaches, Castillo de San Marcos, Cathedral
El Puerto de Santa Maria tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
Jerez de la Frontera
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