Aerial view of a natural pool in the Canary Islands

Natural pools for taking the plunge in the Canary Islands

Canary Islands

Without waves, calm and smooth even when the sea is choppy. These natural formations are found everywhere on the Canary Islands, creating natural swimming pools protected from the tides and currents, where people of all ages can enjoy the water. In some of them, steps, walkways and diving boards have been added to make them even easier to use.Some people see the Canary Islands as an oasis in the Atlantic. After all, the temperatures are spring-like all year round, so you can enjoy the beautiful volcanic landscape in any season. These natural pools have the same effect on the rockiest parts of the islands: it doesn’t matter if the sea is choppy or there are strong currents. Here the calm waters let you enjoy a swim any day of the year.These pictures will give you an idea of what they're like - here are some of the most popular.

Natural pools of Tenerife

The best-known are in the northern part of Tenerife, and two are very close to each other. These are Charco de La Laja and Charco del Viento, two volcanic formations making natural pools. The first one is in San Juan de la Rambla, and although it’s very easy to reach, you’ll probably take your time getting to the water. Why? The views from the lookout point, and all the photos you’ll want to take. The second is also easy to reach from the road to Icod de los Vinos. But here too, there are great views - of Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. Charco del Viento has different swimming areas, some with sand, others with rocky arches, but all with crystal-clear water.The natural pools of Bajamar are about 15 kilometres from the historic centre of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage site, so these visits can easily be combined. There are several swimming areas, including two large pools, one for children, and a beach of yellow sand protected from the sea.

Natural pools in Tenerife

Finally, the Caletón is in Garachico, which has one of the most photogenic historic town centres on the island. It combines tranquil pools with sea inlets. All of them have lovely views of the coast.

Natural pools in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria also has natural pools in the north of the island. Here are four you can visit on a 40 kilometres trip from the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to Agaete.The closest to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is Los Charcones, in Arucas, and although it seems hidden away, it is easy to reach on the GC-2 motorway. It has three large swimming areas, one of which is especially suitable for children. Oddly enough, people say its aerial view looks like a human form.Charco de San Lorenzo is just five kilometres further, in the town of Moya. It has two pools, plenty of services, and a sandy beach area. Santa María de Guía, about 10 kilometres away, is home to the Roque Prieto pools. They are more isolated than the others, making it the perfect spot for some peace and quiet. Some parts of the pool are shallow, and others are up to three metres deep.

Natural pools in Agaete, Gran Canaria

The last natural pools on our list in the north of Gran Canaria are in Salinas de Agaete, easy to reach from the town harbour. The three pools are connected by lava tubes and protected from the waves by walls in the style of a fortress. We recommend snorkelling here - you’ll discover a surprising array of marine life. This village is also known for its seafood cuisine.

Natural pools on El Hierro

The smallest Canary Island is entirely volcanic in origin, giving it unusually beautiful natural pools. For family groups the best is probably La Maceta, in Frontera (in the north of El Hierro).But to see something different and enjoy its surrounding area, you should visit Pozo de las Calcosas, in the area of El Monacal (Valverde). This is a small bay sheltered by a cliff, where there are odd little houses of volcanic stone with thatched roofs, originally made by the local fishermen. Nearby, the swimming pools of La Caleta have been adapted to make them more comfortable to use, rather than having to walk over rocks.

Natural pools in the Canary Islands

Natural pools on La Palma

A great way to spend the day on La Palma is a morning walking in its forests and spectacular landscapes, and a restful afternoon on its lovely beaches, or if the sea is rough, at its natural pools. You can do it in the north of the island, for example visiting the famous forest of Los Tilos and then the Charco Azul, in San Andrés y Sauces. When you see the colour of the water, you’ll understand why Charco Azul means Blue Pool. It’s very large and completely protected from the waves, and there’s also a children’s pool. About 10 kilometres further north, in Barlovento, La Fajana is also perfect for families with its three pools and play area.

Charco Azul, in La Palma

Natural pools in Lanzarote

Would you prefer a more family-friendly option, perhaps in a fishing village? Or perhaps almost completely isolated, unspoilt natural pools? The first option is in Punta Mujeres, in the north-east of Lanzarote, which is just like a natural water park (with a little help from human hands), next to a lovely village of whitewashed houses. The second is Los Charcones, in the south of the island, close to Playa Blanca. The pools are spectacular, but bear in mind that access is tricky, and you will need to be much more careful when swimming, depending on the state of the sea.

Los Charcones natural pools in Gran Canaria

Natural pools in Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura has long sandy beaches and the coastline is not as rocky as the other islands. Even so, in the area of Betancuria there are six kilometres of natural pools and inlets of the sea which turn into pools at low tide. These are the Aguas Verdes, and if you go there you’re sure to find their warm waters calming and relaxing.Have you heard of Lobos Island? This is a practically untouched island of less than 5 square kilometres, a 20-minute boat ride from Corralejo (north-east Fuerteventura). Here you’ll find paradise beaches with transparent water, and very beautiful natural pools.

Lobos island, Fuerteventura

Natural pools on La Gomera

There are not many natural pools on this island, even though it has many beaches with calm waters, such as La Cueva and San Sebastián beaches, both in San Sebastián de La Gomera, and Vueltas beach in Valle Gran Rey. However, in Valle Gran Rey you’ll also find Charco del Conde, the most popular natural pool on La Gomera. It’s highly recommended for families, and has a sandy area for sunbathing.

Charco del Conde on La Gomera

Tips and recommendations

Worth knowing

- Although most of these natural pools are protected from the waves of the open sea, don’t forget that they are connected to it, and you should be careful if the sea is at all rough.- Many natural pools have rocky floors, so it’s a good idea to wear water shoes or other footwear you can get wet, so you can walk more comfortably.- In some natural pools swimming can be more or less difficult depending on the tides.The following list shows the tides (low tide, high tide, and mid-tide) when you can enjoy each one:Tenerife: Charco de la Laja (low tide) – Charco del Viento (low tide) – Piscinas de Bajamar (low tide) – Caletón de Garachico (mid-tide)Gran Canaria: Los Charcones (mid-tide) – Charco de San Lorenzo (low tide) – Piscinas de Roque Prieto (mid-tide) – Salinas de Agaete (mid-tide)El Hierro: La Maceta (low tide) – La Caleta (any time) – Pozo de las Calcosas (low tide) La Palma: Charco Azul (mid-tide) – La Fajana (low tide)Lanzarote: Punta Mujeres (mid-tide) – Los Charcones (low tide)Fuerteventura: Aguas Verdes (low tide) – Puertito de Lobos (high tide)La Gomera: Charco del Conde (mid-tide)

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