Getting around the Costa del Sol (without going broke)

Although well-connected via paved (sealed) roads along the coastline, the cities in the Costa del Sol are relatively far from one another. Well-off tourists just rent a car for the entirety of their stay. This is a great option, but for those of us who can’t afford a rental car every day (hellooo….most of us) there are planes, trains, and busses that will get a tourist anywhere he/she desires.

Staying in Marbesa – a tiny beachside area between Marbella and Fuengirola (east of Malaga) – Rob and I have found that it’s quite cheap traveling entirely by bus. From here, we can get to either Marbella (going west) or Fuengirola (heading east) for 1.86€ (3.72€ round trip). From Fuengirola, you can also take busses to various other pueblos (little villages) like Mijas for about 1.10€.

Most of our meals have come from groceries we bought, cooked in our kitchen at the apartment. A great source for fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and even spices are the local markets! You can google when and where they occur – the reception at our apartment was nice enough to provide us with a sheet outlining the nearby markets. The food prices are set, but feel free to bargain for other things you see there – clothes, shoes, watches, purses, black market DVDs, etc..

In town, watch for fruterias. These fruit shops always have nice local produce, and offer a closer look at what you’re buying before you commit. There’s usually several fruterias within a one block radius, so feel free to wander and shop around before you buy. My personal suggestions? At this time of year, we’ve had the best luck with oranges – especially mandarin oranges (naranjas), custard apples (chirimoya), squash (calabaza), and zucchini (calabacin).

We’ve also made a habit of picking up a baguette or barra (like a baguette, but broader and a little more crumbly on the outside) at the local panaderia (bakery) when we’re out and about. They usually run about .50€. They taste good, but I will say…they’re definitely not French.

As I’ll mention in a future post, eating tapas is a great way to save money on meals out exploring the town, but we’ve tried to keep eating out fairly minimal to save serious cash.

Any other tips for living on the cheap (without getting diabetes or going hungry) in the Costa del Sol? Holler in the comments below.

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