Difference between revisions of "Algeciras"
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<map lat='36.132051884162735' lng='-5.44647216796875' zoom='12' view='0' float='right' /> Algeciras is an industrial port-city in southern Spain, in the region named Andalusia. It is one of the main ferry crossings to Tangier, Morocco, and from which it is often possible to hitchhike with truckers ("camioneros") onto a boat to Morocco, without having to pay a ticket. Many drivers have the right to bring a passenger along with them, so it is both legal and free for them to take you along. Beforehand, you will see many trucks waiting in the many parking lots surrounding the port. The easiest way to find a ride is to simply ask, and continue asking everyone you see until you find someone who is leaving on the next boat. The last ferry of the night departs around 24:00, and each ferry loads about an hour before departure. So, to be on the safe side, you should arrive no later than 21.00 if you´d like to try for the last ferry of the night. There are basically two ways of getting a lift. Walking around and asking truck drivers is one option, you will meet many of them on their way between town and the truck parking lot, a little south of the main terminal, where the military port is. Stand near the roundabout (see maps) and ask people, but they might go hours or days later. If you want to get a quicker ride, it's better to try your luck in the terminal itself. Follow the signposting for the trucks to Tangier (same as for the P.I.F. parking lot). If you feel you are running around areas where no pedestrians should be, don't worry, authorities seem to be quite relaxed. Walk until you come to a roundabout where the signposting for Tanger (trucks) and P.I.F. parking lot lead different ways, there should be a little police control - but they don't seem to care. You can walk around that roundabout and the adjacent parking lot, asking for a lift. most trucks there are going to Morocco, and should leave in the following 1-2 hours.
Remember that the ferries do not go to tangier itself, but to Tangier-Med, a port 40 km to the east of tangier. Apparently, there is a free shuttle service to Tangier itself, or you can just hitch from the port.
Customs and border crossing patrol will take place on the ferry. You should bring your passport and a pen to fill out the form that you will be given. Sometimes, you have to ask the staff for guidance, since the border personnel expect you to come to them, rather than for them to come to you. You should take care of all passport-stamping before the boat arrives in Tanger because you will have to present your stamped passport page to the authorities before leaving the port.
Some drivers are actually willing to take more people into their truck than they are allowed, but don't bet on it, it's better to split up if you are hitching with more than 1 person. Once on the ferry, you can expect a free meal and coffee (if your driver is nice and shares the coupon with you), and sometimes even a shower and a room.
It took n0id two hours to find a ride in August 2009. Without a basic knowledge of French it would have been much harder. Many trucks already had two drivers, only a few didn't. Truck drivers on the ferry told him that it was much harder to hitch a ride from Tangier to Algeciras, due to the drivers' fear of getting busted for drug-trafficking and the tight security at the port in Tangier. On the other side, security will let you sleep in the gare maritime in Tanger (New Port) if you arrive after 23:00 because there won't be any buses going to Tangier city anymore.
DamnthatTelevision got a ride with the first camion he saw, and crossed the straight with the Moroccan driver, who also bought dinner and let him sleep at his place in Tangier. French was crucial, moroccan hospitality is legendary.
2014 IMPORTANT UPDATE: I tried to hitch a truck to Morocco August 2014 and there were major renovations going underway all around the port, meaning there is no longer a nice easy parking lot where truckers park before getting on the ships. It took me almost 10 hours of searching but I finally got someone by standing by the road near the boarding platform. There is a parking lot to the south where you will see lots of truckers, but DO NOT go here, as it is only for truckers coming off the boats, and there are lots of guards who will shoo you away. Here is rough instructions to get to the spot I found: Walk towards the main terminal (where the public buys tickets). Take a left and follow the Tangers/Truck signs. You should pass a big warehouse and eventually (just north of the warehouse) come to a little gas station. Just next to the gas station in front of the cement deviders is your best chance. Trucks pass there on the way to boarding, and often times park and relax for a bit. It's not ideal, but it will work. The situation should change rapidly as the renovations continue, so if you hitch it please update this section -PhysicsHipster
UPDATE February 2015: A hitchhiking couple, Ewelina and Luís had to wait for around five hours (8-13) until they got a ride (this is not counting with the couple of hours they spent the night before checking how the place looked like and trying their luck - which was useful to be quicker getting around next morning). They followed the directions mentioned by PhysicsHipster. Close to the little gas station there's a roundabout where the trucks pass through a gate towards the main parking lot. They managed to cross it easily, both at day- and nighttime, without any problems from the workers who didn't say anything when they got to know they were trying to hitch to Morocco. Just as both of them managed to find drivers willing to take them onboard, a not-so-empathetic worker didn't allow Luís to get on the truck without a ticket. Soon the police arrived and they were both told to head back to the roundabout. Again, not much traffic, but Ewelina managed to get a ride in ~10 minutes and Luís also found a truck driver after another 30 minutes, both luckily on the same ferry (the explanation "my girlfriend is already onboard, and me here on this roundabout" was convincing enough). The port in Tanger Med is huge, it has many platforms and the main building is quite big. So getting to meet on the same boat was really fortunate and made things easier (they had only one phone).
You can just simply walk all the road for trucks to the place, where they are entering the ferry. How it was already mentioned, no one actually cares that you are in prohibited area for pedestrians. I walked around the police, security, stuff and nobody said anything. When you are on the place few meters from the sea, there are plenty of trucks waiting for the next boat. The very first driver that was alone offered me a lift. Dinner included :)
If you are planning on buying a ferry ticket to Morocco, consider sailing out of the little-known port of Motril, which is an hour and a half south of Granada. If you don't want to make the detour all the way to Algeciras, the boat from Motril to Melilla costs about the same as from Algeciras to Ceuta (€36 for adult, €32 for ages 17-21). Drawbacks: Ferries leave only once a day, and the trip is several hours long (although you may enjoy the cruise). Melilla is a bit out of the way, but if you plan on heading straight for Fes or Tazekka National Park, it may be a good starting point.
Traveling Charles used this information and hitched the ferry in May & June 2013. Since they were two people, they were unsuccessfull asking the trucks waiting in line to board the boat and many of the drivers said no, as they can only take one person. But they asked the guy who was in charge of loading the boats and he was the key for getting a ride as he said he'd help them and basically gave permission to one of the drivers to take two people and so the driver who had previously said no, was then happy to take them now that he had the permission.
Coming from Morocco
Arriving by ferry from Morocco you should have tried to locate a ride on or before the ferry. If this failed (as it did in my case) you arrive at the passengers port. Go past the places where there are long distance buses and you'll come to a crossing. Follow the signs to whatever direction you're going to. If your going direction Malaga (many people going long-distance here) follow the signs to Malaga for a couple of minutes and you'll see the huge shipping port. Keep on walking until you come to a roundabout where there will be many trucks going in slow speed and many cars from all over Europe coming from the ferry. Although these cars tend to be full.
If you're going far make sure the driver drives on Playa del Sol or some other motorway and don't avoid them because they aren't free.
Vrana found that if you just walk over to where the cars are being led off the ferry and out of the port area (the roundabout by the main building), you can find a lot of people hitching and cars that stop. She found a ride directly to Amsterdam there.
Fedecicco found his lift on the same round about but he was very lucky. It is better to try next to the harbour (you can see also a petrol station but don't ask there) there is an alimentary security control for trucks. All trucks trasporting fish or fruit (the bests to go straight in continental europe) must pass by it and stop inside. He arrived there during spanish holidays (semana santa) that's why it was pretty hard but normally this option should be the best. Either try directly at the ferry harbour (not the big merchandise one) where cars and trucks leave the ferries, or look for trucks that doesn't cross the sea and just wait for containers.
Around the harbour are plenty of supposedly "cheap hotels" for around 10€/night. However, the waiting hall for the ferries is open 24/24h, is actually safe, controlled and also some other people (locals/homeless/travelers) sleep in it. If you don't find a lift for the ferry or a long lift for Europe, it is better to sleep there and try the next day instead of moving somewhere else. nomad:Algeciras