Despite a gate and a sign clearly stating ‘no trespassing’, many beachgoers venture daily on the beach of Aguamarina on Orihuela Costa on Spain’s Costa Blanca. They could pay for their disobedience with their lives.
Every day there are still people on this beach in the coastal town south of Torrevieja. It looks paradisiacal with high cliffs. Though the ‘forbidden’ and ‘danger!’ signs with their respective icons are in Spanish, English and German and leave nothing to guesswork.
Yet it is precisely that cliff that can cause major problems. It is unstable and rocks can come loose and fall. There is also a risk of collapse, according to the municipality. In October 2020, the cliff under which people were sunbathing on a Sunday partly collapsed.
The stormy weather of the past few days luckily did not provoke falling rocks but broke off part of the thatched fencing, right where the signs had been posted, giving beachgoers ‘free rein’ to get around the restrictions.
At one point there were so many people on the beach on Sunday that since Wednesday there have been guards posted there to prevent a repeat performance. The local police patrols from time to time, including from the water by jet ski, to inform and send away people who are in the restricted area.
Technical project for recovery
The city council finished the technical project to intervene and prevent the landslides from recurring. This is carried out in the second half of September to avoid the high season. It requires heavy machinery.
The reason for all the hassle is the terrain on which the Orihuela cliffs are located is clay-like and low in consistency. That creates landslides and sinkholes, some of which have not been repaired for months or even more than a year, such as La Caleta. In a few months, there have been four landslides along the Paseo of Orihuela. That indicates how weak the coast is. Punta Prima, La Caleta and Aguamarina are the worst.
With the repair work, safety in those tourist areas must be guaranteed again. So far, no personal accidents have occurred. To keep it that way, the municipality hopes that people will now follow the instructions not to enter the beach.