SUMMER CAN now officially begin, as following weeks of uncertainty, beach bar and chiringuito operators on the Cartagena coastline got the green light to open for business this weekend.
For many of us, a day at the beach is not complete without an hour or two under the shade of a cool chiringuito, sipping a chilled drink or maybe indulging in a spot of lunch.
However, almost two months into the summer season, visitors to the beautiful beaches of the Cartagena region, stretching from the Mediterranean coast of La Manga to the west coast of Isla Plana and La Azohía and including the coast of the Mar Menor have been unable to enjoy a drink on the beach.
The delay in bringing this process to a successful conclusion has caused a stir in the Association of Chiringuitos de Cartagena (Achica) and was due to a change in practice in issuing licenses to operators, followed by an administration error between Cartagena City council and the Murcia regional government.
Only an appeal by Achica, brought a swift conclusion to the delays and allowed the go ahead which was received earlier this week.
There are forty eight planned sites for chiringuitos and beach bars of various sizes, with some where beachgoers can enjoy taking an aperitif, eating, listening to music, and In some cases watch live concerts and Dj’s.
Almost all of them will open within the next ten or fifteen days, with some of the more simple ones able to set themselves up in time for this weekend, with at least a rudimentary service, such as the ones in Isla Plana and La Azohía.
Others need more time to install water, electricity and other supplies for their kitchens, bathrooms and sound equipment, amongst other accessories.
Until 2016, concessions were assessed seasonally and renewed annually, however this year’s new procedure grants licenses for four years.
The cost of each concession varies greatly depending on the turnover of each business and the particular beach location.
Monthly rentals go from 400 euros for a bar kiosk with stools, in Los Nietos, to more than 4,000 in another with tables and chairs, pergola and platform, hammocks and umbrellas, toilet, storage and walkways such as the large one on the beach of Cabo de Palos.
Last week, the city council also passed licenses for 16 sun terraces and facilities, 11 boat rental and nautical businesses and four water parks with floating platforms.