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There are four types of bus in Estepona.
The urbano buses
The local buses
The inter-city buses
The airport buses
And there's the new Bus Station - Estación de Autobuses - which has made things just a little trickier in some ways.
The urbano buses are run by Autocares Ricardo, with good sized mini-buses. Sometimes they are posh ones, as in the photo above, sometimes smaller pale grey ones.
There are two
routes, Linea 1 (circular) and Linea 2.
You can download the timetable and routes here: http://www.autocaresricardo.com/es/bu...
Do not, however, believe the times. The first one of the day doubtless leaves on time (never been up that early to check!), but the rest just pootle along and get to any stop at any time.
One thing to note: both routes now stop at the new bus station out of town, which is not, however, the Estación de Autobuses that is on their timetables and routes; they haven't updated them unfortunately. Going East, ie. into town from the Marbella end, they drive into the bus station and stop right outside the building. Going West they stop just past it on the other side of the road, a two-minute hop to the bus station. However, they are so unreliable that it's best not to bank on them to get you there on time. Take a taxi if you are going for an expensive long-distance bus, you don't want to miss it.
Going East all the way along the seafront, from the Plaza de Toros (Bull Ring) to the big Carrefour hypermarket, past the new Estación de Autobuses and further on to McDonalds, both routes run, so there are 4 buses an hour along there from West to East. In the other direction the circular bus goes up and round the Avenida de Andalucia, so there's just the one route all the way along the seafront promenade, therefore only two buses an hour from East to West.
Autumn 2014 the ticket price is 1€10 including children.
Three of the routes count as local buses, run by the Portillo company. These are the Estepona to Casares bus, the Estepona to La Linea bus for going to Gibraltar, (but NOT the La Linea Directo bus), and the Estepona to Marbella bus, via San Pedro and Puerto Banus.
The Casares and La Linea buses all start from the new Estación de Autobuses which is near the Conference Centre, past the big Carrefour hypermarket on the road to Marbella. You can get there on an Urbano (see above), or by taxi. Allow yourself enough time to buy your ticket – they won't allow you to get on at the bus station without one. On the way back, there is a taxi rank by the side of the bus station if you can't bear the wait for the Urbano.
However, these buses also stop at some bus stops along the seafront. Careful – they don't all stop at them all! And there, obviously, you can get on without buying a ticket first, so you save a queue as well as a walk.
Here are the stops:
Estepona Centro (most of them don't stop here, so don't get your hopes up) going West towards the Bull Ring is about 100 metres before the Calle Terraza junction, going East towards Marbella is on the beach side, opposite the weird red and green building with a uniform shop on the ground floor, more or less outside the Chiringuito El Madero.
Estepona Centro stop, going towards Marbella ^
Estepona Centro stop, going towards the Marina/Plaza de Toros ^
El Bingo is some way along the seafront, just the other side of the roundabout with the fountain and the horses, near the Avenida Juan Carlos 1 junction. It's called El Bingo because until recently there was - guess what - a Bingo there. There still is a Gaming Room, but it doesn't say Bingo, just Sala Estepona, Ruleta. Currently by the bus stop there's a Beauty Salon called AQA – but these come and go.
Estepona Bingo stop
The Antiguo Portillo is on the other side of the road, for buses coming back into town, a 100 meters or so from El Bingo. It is immediately opposite the tall yellow building, the tallest building in all Estepona, where the old Portillo bus station used to be. Hence its name.
The Portillo building
The antiguo Portillo stop
The Plaza de Toros
stop is easy to find – it's just below the Bull Ring, across
the road from the Marina. N.B. on the way back, the stops for
getting off are not immediately opposite the stops for getting on
(see below), except at the Plaza de Toros. Ask the
driver when you get on, saying Estepona Antiguo Portillo, or Estepona
Toros, and with a bit of luck he'll shout when he gets there. If you recognise where you are, of course, you ring the bell.
The Plaza de Toros stop
There is also a stop just 200 yards further up the road from the Plaza de Toros, going in to Estepona, by the Lighthouse. The stop is called El faro.
Now here comes a complicated bit. The buses stop in different places.
CASARES. The bus starts at the Estepona bus station. It then also stops to pick up passengers at El Bingo, and at Plaza de Toros, then on to Sabinillas, Manilva and Casares. You have to buy a ticket before getting on at the bus station, but can buy from the driver at El Bingo and Plaza de Toros.
On the way back, it goes, obviously, to the bus station. But with different stops. It does NOT stop at the Plaza de Toros (but it stopped at the El Faro stop when coming back at the end of October.) It stops officially at the Antiguo Portillo, and then it goes to the bus station. Different stops on the way there and the way back.
The driver may not want to stop at Estepona Centro because if the Ricardo Urbano bus drivers see him they would report him and he could lose his job. It's seen as competition to the urbano buses, you see.
LA LINEA. The buses
all start at the Estepona bus station. But some are Directo, some
are Ruta. The Ruta ones go round the villages and thus take longer.
Therefore – get this! - the fast Directo air-conditioned bus is
cheaper as the prices are based on mileage. So slow and boring and
hot is expensive.
You can only tell the difference between Directo and Ruta buses by looking at the printed timetable – link later on for downloading it – and looking at whether there's a box round the time. Box = Directo
The Directo bus goes straight there along the motorway, does not go through the town, so you have to get it at the bus station. However the Ruta bus also stops at El Bingo on the way there, and you pay as you get on. This is generally the best place to get it. In theory it does not stop anywhere in town on the way back, but you might be lucky if you ask nicely as you get on in La Linea, and it might stop at the Antiguo Portillo or at El Faro.
So that was for the Casares and La Linea buses. Now for the most popular route – the 79 to Marbella via San Pedro and Puerto Banus. This is slightly more complicated, but at least you don't have to queue to buy a ticket to get on it.
Numver 79 MARBELLA via SAN PEDRO
& PUERTO BANUS. It used to go to and from the old bus station,
and then from the temporary bus terminal in the Avenida Juan Carlos. Now it goes to and from the Plaza de Toros (Bull Ring) up by the
Marina. See photo of the stop above.
It's important to know this when catching it towards Marbella, because of the times: it leaves the Plaza de Toros/Marina pretty promptly at quarter to and quarter past the hour, so for picking it up in town, you need to add just a few minutes.
You can pick it up at the stop called Antiguo Portillo – not very near the Bingo stop in the other direction, but exactly opposite the tallest building on Estepona seafront, where the old bus station was. See photo of the stop above. From then on it stops at the bus-stop further along the seafront – Estepona Centro - where it is opposite the weird red and green building with a uniform shop on the ground floor, more or less outside the Chiringuito El Madero. See photo of the stop above. You can also catch it further along the Avenida del Litoral just a bit past the entrance for the Carrefour Hypermarket, and opposite McDonalds.
On the way back for getting off, it stops at McDonalds, at Carrefour, at the very beginning of the seafront promenade, (just past the statue of Hercules with his two pillars and his lion), at the Estepona Centro stop (just a bit further along from the outward stop - about 100 metres before the Calle Terraza junction), at El Bingo and then to the Plaza de Toros. See photos of the stops above.
Where you cannot catch this most popular of all the buses is at the bus station. It doesn't even stop near the bus station. The service is run by Portillo, the bus station has been built by Portillo, this bus does not stop there. For heaven's sake!
Apparently the Town Hall has given the concession for town urbano buses to Ricardo, so cannot let the 79 bus stop there. *sigh*
And the worst thing of all is that the 79 bus can only be caught in Estepona if you are getting off OUTSIDE the municipal area!
In other words, you cannot get on it at the Bingo and then get off at Cancelada or Isdabe - the driver will only pick up inside the municipal boundary when going towards Marbella, it woon't put you down. And on the way back from Marbella, it will let you get off anywhere in Estepona, but it will not pick up inside Estepona to take you to the town centre. This is all part of the agreement with the Ricardo buses who have the monopoly within the town limits.
This is extremely annoying for anyone in Cancelada who has to rely on the Ricardo buses that come at any old time, instead of the very punctual Portillo 79. :-(
These are the ones that go to Malaga (both the express and the ones that goes via Torremolinos and Benalmadena), Algeciras, Cadiz, Cordoba, Madrid, Granada, and La Linea Directo.
They all go from the Estación de Autobuses ONLY. No stops in town. You have to get an urbano or a taxi, or Shank's pony, to get there. Timed it this morning at a pace suited to the heat - it took 40 minutes on foot from the Bingo bus stop.
You can download the timetable for the local and intercity buses here:
They publish a new
timetable quite often; any changes are made on 1st of the
month. Best to buy the ticket at least the day before to be sure
that there will be places available. Which, of course, means going
to the bus station to do so. :-(
This is separate because it is different from the others. In the summer 2014 timetable, and the September one, there are 6 a day – six! - in each direction. N.B. November 2014, It is now winter timetable and there are only two a day.
And there are two sorts of Airport bus – those that start at Estepona (where you have a better chance of getting on) and those coming from Algeciras en route to Malaga town. These will be more crowded and you'll need to buy your ticket a few days earlier. The two buses also go a different route through the town with different pick up stops on different sides of the road . . .
THIS ROUTE ALL YEAR ROUND The buses from Algeciras to the airport are the ones on the current timetable at 7.15 and 14.30, and are marked in pink as Servicio Plus. This just means that they have wifi, and that the chap in front has inclined his seat to have a doze so that you are cramped in yours. :-)
They leave the bus station at those printed times. They pick up in the town at the Antiguo Portillo stop anything from 10 to 20 minutes earlier. As it is so imprecise you might feel safer, since it's to catch a plane, going to the bus station by taxi and picking it up there.
THIS ROUTE IN SUMMER ONLY The airport buses leaving from Estepona have a pick up at El Bingo about 5 minutes after they leave the bus station.
On the way from the airport to Estepona they don't in theory stop in the town unless you ask. However, in both cases they will go first to the station and you wait there, out of the bus, for them to go again and can only go on again if they haven't got a full load of other passengers. Better to wait for an Urbano or take a taxi.
For both airport services you are advised to buy a ticket at least one day in advance to be sure that you'll get on.
Child Fares: Under 4's pay half price. 4 and over full price.
Drop-Offs: at the bus station. If someone is dropping you off, coming from Estepona town centre they have to drive past the station (it's a dual carriageway), turn round at the roundabout, and drive back. The entrance is NOT the tempting one just before the station, but immediately after, where it says TAXI. There's a little road there round past the taxi rank and back out near the bus exit onto the main road.