If you are dreaming of a place in the sun but do not want to stray too far from the comforts of home Ciudad Quesada offers the perfect solution.
Nestled on a pleasant south facing hillside in the Province of Alicante, Ciudad Quesada provides a wonderful compromise between the familiarity of home and an exciting new life in the sun. It is a relatively new area of Rojales which has expanded to include the pleasant urbanisations of Pueblo Lucero, Doña Pepa, Pueblo Bravo and Lo Pepín. Whilst it does not offer a beachfront aspect, it is close enough to the coast to allow you tantalizing glimpses of the glistening Mediterranean, which are particularly striking as you travel further up the hillside. The town also boasts outstanding views over the famous Torrevieja salt lakes, which are among the most important working salt lakes in Europe; along with the stunning sight of the Sierra de Orihuela mountain range, which is an important nature reserve and hotbed for flora and fauna, and the lush “La Marquesa” fairway, depending on where you are situated.
The town has developed rapidly over the past two decades, with a wide spectrum of properties to suit all needs and budgets, including detached villas, smaller private urbanizations, bungalows and apartments. The amenities available within Quesada have also improved over time, so that it is now home to a vast array of bars, restaurants, shops and supermarkets, along with various banks, dentists, chemists, hairdressers, newsagents, tobacconists and a brand new Medical Centre located in the Doña Pepa urbanization. There is also a cultural centre hosting a variety of shows, workshops and exhibitions; and a town hall to support residents with all manner of local housing/ welfare issues and other important paperwork. There is a modern bowling alley which is open throughout the day until late at night, and features a lounge/ bar, sun terrace, darts area, live sports coverage on big screen TV’s, a children’s play area and free Wi-Fi. Food and tapas are available to eat in or takeaway. The Aqua Park is another popular attraction, which opened 30 years ago to become the second water park in the country. Spanning 21 000 square metres, the park has a selection of slides, swimming pools and sunbathing zones, and is open from the end of May to late September.
One of the things which has really helped to give Quesada international recognition is its prestigious Golf Course, “Club de Golf Quesada”, which was founded in 1989 by one of the town’s founders, D. Justo Quesada. Its close proximity to the Provincial Capital, Alicante, and busting city of Torrevieja meant that interest in the club spread rapidly, making it one of the most popular courses in the region. It changed its name to “La Marquesa Golf & Country Club” in 1994, in line with an ambitious Real Estate Project launched by the Quesada Family, which saw the creation of some 15 000 homes in the first instance. The residential area surrounding the golf course now comprises over 30 000 properties as well as a thriving clubhouse and commercial zone. The club boasts multicultural representation, with a significant percentage of expats who have helped to create a warm, friendly environment. Aside from the glorious fairway, budding golfers have the opportunity to perfect their swing on the putting green, which is situated just in front of the Club House and completely free to use! The club also hosts one of the most impressive driving ranges on the Spanish East Coast, featuring an area for long, fast swings with artificial grass (in the covered area) or natural grass, as well as an approach, chipper and bunker area. The driving range is open daily from 08:15 and is comparably cheap to play with tokens available from the Golf Shop.
If you have children of school age, the one thing that lets Quesada down is the lack of educational services. There are still no state schools operating here, in spite of the high demand, with the nearest primary and secondary centres being situated in Rojales, Colegio Público “Principe España” and IES “La Encanta”. The short bus journey is not too daunting for older children to undertake, although as a parent you might find it too much for little ones to cope with, which can mean running them back and forth several times each day. The schools do offer a “comedor”, which means that they are cared for over the lunch break, including provision of a school dinner with a rest or play session afterwards. Also on the plus side, the Rojales schools are accustomed to catering for the needs of non-Spanish children, with many English speaking staff on hand to support both students and parents. The high levels of foreign children can mean that Teaching staff are under more pressure and find it difficult to attend to the needs of individuals, but in practice the children do tend to assist each other when they are struggling. This can be more beneficial as it gives them the opportunity to make friends with peers and adjust more quickly. There are no international schools in the vicinity, with the closest options being El Limonar International School, in Villamartin, and Phoenix International school in San Miguel de Salinas. Both are an easy distance to commute and although more costly can be a favourable option for parents who do not have much confidence in the State Education sector. Meanwhile, situated in Urbanization Doña Pepa, the “Berlingua International School” is a private academy which offers additional language support to adults or children. The academy employs fully qualified Tutors and offers courses in English, French, German and Spanish. Each programme of study is designed to meet the needs of students at a certain level, as well as catering for specific audiences and age groups, such as teenagers and pensioners.
Clubs and Associations
What Quesada lacks in educational services, it makes up for in clubs and societies with something going on locally to suit people of all ages and interests. Aside from the golf club, Quesada is home to a very popular lawn bowling club, which travels throughout the region and beyond, to compete in the sport. There is also a bridge club, pool and darts leagues, tennis, squash and badminton clubs, a running club, various dance classes including aerobics, line dancing, belly dancing and Zumba fitness. There are a plethora of social clubs taking place in Quesada and the surrounding area, some with a specialized mutual interest or hobby, and others simply offering good company with excursions or entertainment nights thrown in. Age Concern and the Help Association operate in the area to support residents with all manner of problems, from financial issues to health concerns, whilst the Asociacion Espanola Contra el Cancer (AECC) is also extremely active in the town, and works to promote cancer screening and prevention programmes, as well as supporting sufferers and their families. Each of these organizations, among others such as Paul Cunningham Nurses, Debra (The Butterfly Children) and Easy Horse Care, are always on the lookout for willing volunteers to assist them with their fundraising ventures or work in their local charity shops. Therefore, if you wish to get involved in the community in some way once you have settled in then it may be worth contacting one of them. It is also a great way to make new friends who will be happy to take you under their wing until you find you feet.
With so many other expat families already living in Quesada you should find it relatively easy to make friends with likeminded others if you chose to move here permanently. Relocating to a new country is a BIG thing, and Spain is particularly renowned for its ridiculous amount of paperwork and rigid bureaucracy, which you might find daunting, and even quite deflating when you first arrive. However, living in a town such as Quesada can help to take the sting out of its tail, as you will be inundated with advice, warnings and the chronicles about the obstacles that your new neighbours had to overcome when they arrived, in which you may take comfort that it is not just you, and things do get easier!
The high number of Brits compared with Spaniards can be off putting for some people, particularly if your intentions in relocating to Spain also include adopting the culture and learning the lingo. It is true that there is an abundance of British bars, restaurants and other businesses which mainly attract expats who are looking for a welcoming atmosphere where they feel at home. Older residents in particular will be glad of their “local”, where they can always find a familiar face, some decent chat and are guaranteed to find their favourite tipple, served just as they like it. If you like the sound of that, then Quesada can certainly deliver. However, if the idea does not appeal, then it does not necessarily mean that you should rule the town out of your property search, just simply avoid the Brit bars and choose to frequent the great selection of Spanish, and other international venues instead! Places such as the “Don Carlos”, “Lizarran”, “Patagonian Steak House” and “De Bassus” will offer a refreshing alternative, with fantastic cuisine available at great prices, and a warm friendly atmosphere into the bargain! You will generally find that staff speak some English so you will not struggle to make yourself understood. However, at the same time you will also have the opportunity to listen to Spanish banter and chip in as you begin to feel more confident, make friends of other nationalities and get to know the customs and traditions observed in your new country. Furthermore, the traditional towns of Rojales, Benijofar, Guardamar, Los Montesinos and Algorfa are only a short distance away, allowing you even more freedom to soak up the Spanish culture and easy pace of life. There is nothing to stop you from spending time at the Brit bars when you are feeling a little home sick, and diving into the international sector when you feel more adventurous and fancy a change. So when you look at it in this way, life in Quesada can offer you the best of both worlds, and is essentially what you make it!
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