Isla de Cabrera lies in the Parque Nacional del Archipielago de Cabrera (Cabrera National Park). Given National Park status in 1991 Isla de Cabrera, and its neighbouring eighteen smaller islands, are as close to unspoilt as is possible in the Balearics. This is especially impressive when you realise that approximately ten million visitors descend on Mallorca each year! Book a buoy before you go and spend an evening here on your flotilla or bare boat charter yacht and listen to nothing but the wind and waves.
Due to the regulations regarding this marine and terrestrial national park, Puerto de Cabrera on Isla de Cabrera is the only bay that yachts are allowed to spend time in.
Anchoring is not permitted anywhere in Cabrera National Park.
Hefty fines can be imposed if you are caught anchoring in the park or if you pick up a buoy without booking and paying for it.
Approximately 50 buoys have been laid to protect the fragile seafloor and beds of Poseidon Weed. Yachts must obtain a permit to visit Isla de Cabrera before arriving and all buoys must be booked online beforehand.
If you want to visit Isla de Cabrera check with your charter company first as often these companies have block bookings so the work is done for you already. Usually 20 buoys are “reserved” each day for charter companies. If your chosen charter company does not have a booking, I would suggest you get the company make one for you before you leave as the online system can be frustrating. During June and September you can book two consecutive nights but during July and August only one night stays allowed. Seven days must lapse before you are allowed to revisit the area. The buoys are colour coded. White = 12m or less, Yellow = 12 to 15m, Orange = 15 to 20m and Red = 20 to 35m. High season runs from 1st May to the 30th September and the prices in 2014 were; White = 15€, Yellow = 24€, Orange = 42€ and Red = 129€ (out of season prices are half the high season price). Buoys are booked from 1800hrs to 1700hrs the following day. If you arrive before 1700hrs you may find someone still on yours and likewise if you arrive after 1800hrs you buoy may have been reallocated to someone else.
There are some “day” buoys available and park rangers can direct you to these but you must vacate the area before sunset.
Ashore there are a couple of dingy docks for trip boats and your dingy. Access is restricted to the castle/fortress and foreshore without a guide. Isla de Cabrera has had a checkered history with a distinctly military flavour. During the Napoleonic Wars the fortress was used to house French prisoners. Most did not survive the ordeal. This connection with military occupation continued until well into the 1980s before the island was granted national park status. There is a small park rangers office ashore as well as a museum and monument to the French soldiers that were forced to live here.
There are no tourist facilities in the bay so come prepared to self-cater for the night.
Isla de Cabrera is a wonderful island for those budding zoologists and botanists among you. With over 450 species of plants and 150 species of birds onshore (not to mention the other million and one invertebrates and vertebrates on land and beneath the sea!) you don’t go long before spotting something worth noting down.
For a more in depth look at Isla de Cabrera and the park make time to visit the Interpretation Centre of the Cabrera National Park located in Colonia de Sant Jordi. A new building incorporates a fascinating circular talayot – a stone tower typical to the Balearics but probably modelled after the nuraghi found in Sardinia. The Centre was constructed in 2008 and contains interactive displays and videos covering the National Parks geology, flora and fauna. There are several aquariums displaying the types of marine life that exists within the park. Admission is free. The Centre is open from 1000hrs to 1430hrs and again between 1500hrs and 1800hrs. There are guided tours or you can just make your own way around.