Natural pools in Tenerife – Charcos
Tanks made of solidified lava from a volcano, with incredible shapes, filled with water from the ocean. Sounds interesting, right? These natural phenomena are called ‘Charcos’ in Spanish, which means natural pools. Carved by the ecosystem, these rock formations create unbelievable images that will surely be remembered. They take on various shapes, often divided into several pools, and they are also rich in colours. The aquatic vegetation that covers their bottoms adds charm, as it influences the colourful diversity of the water reservoirs. It happens that the water takes on citrus shades of yellow, orange, frog green, and even azure-blue and turquoise colours. These places can truly leave a huge impression. Moreover, we can bathe in them all day because the water there is a few degrees warmer.
Among the many ‘Charcos’ found on the Canary Islands and Tenerife. We can find popular and touristy ones, as well as those that are usually harder to reach. In the first ones, we will immediately notice human intervention, sometimes in the form of railings to facilitate descent, paved surfaces, or steps. Other times the entire area is accompanied by fenced concrete structures. The wild natural pools are certainly more charming. Although some of them are less comfortable due to their rocky bottoms or the difficulty of access. It is always worth bringing special shoes for water movement.
Remember that these are not beaches, and there are no lifeguards, so it is important to exercise caution. During high tides, the most elemental places, especially those with caves and grottos, can be very dangerous. That is why we have prepared a detailed description of the 7 most beautiful natural pools in Tenerife, so that you can choose the most suitable one for yourself.
Charco de los Abrigos
Beautiful, wild natural pools that, however, are not easy to reach. Heading along the route from Los Abrigos towards El Médano, the pools are located about 200 meters after leaving the town of Los Abrigos. Just before a large area of banana plantations, on the right side, you will notice a natural unpaved surface made of concrete, sand, and stones. You should drive about 50 meters towards the ocean. This is the destination point where we can leave our car. Then, a short walk awaits us along the plantation, descending down the rocks. At the bottom, there are several pools with various shapes and colors: yellow, green, and azure. The first and largest reservoir, which is the main “charco” here, has an auxiliary ladder installed for entering and exiting the water.
The main pool is very deep, so we definitely won’t touch the bottom. However, children can have a lot of fun jumping into the pool. This place is definitely worth a visit, even for those who don’t intend to swim, as the views make up for it.
Charco de Isla Cangrejo
A public natural pool with significant human intervention. However, this doesn’t detract from its quality. Navigating through the narrow streets of Los Gigantes, following the signs for “charco,” we will reach a tiny viewpoint at a considerable height, revealing a stunning view of the pool and the ocean, separated by a concrete wall. In the background, black rocks with low white buildings create a unique atmosphere.
During high tide and when the ocean is restless, the impact of the waves against the concrete wall transforms into a several-meter-wide sheet of water, creating an incredible effect. The locals have embraced this phenomenon as an attraction, standing on the wall and waiting for the wall of water to knock them into the pool.
The pool is not very deep, and its overall difficulty level is considered easy to moderate, mainly due to occasional strong tides. Since it is a popular spot in a tourist town, it can often be crowded. Nonetheless, it is worth seeing this place.
Charco de los Mujeres
The natural pools located in the north of Tenerife, beyond the golf course and banana plantations in Buenavista del Norte. The walk from the parking area through narrow streets takes about 10-15 minutes, but once we manage to reach it, we will see two pools connected by creatively shaped rocks. They are surrounded by high mountains, which provide an incredible landscape from the pools. We won’t notice any human intervention here, so their original state has been preserved, which is an additional advantage. Nevertheless, the pool is safe and has a low difficulty level. Right at the entrance, we have shallow water that gradually becomes deeper, up to the neck of an adult. Furthermore, if you forget special water shoes, it won’t be a problem because the bottom is covered with soft algae. Due to the limited exchange of water with the ocean, its temperature is higher.
This place is definitely fantastic for families with children. The only caution is the sharp rocks, which make lying down almost impossible, but this is a characteristic of almost all “Charcos.” We highly recommend it because it is one of the best natural pools in terms of visual appeal, safety, and comfort.
Charco del Viento
When we arrive at the parking area and look through the railing, the view will take our breath away! From above, we are presented with an incredible sight of a massive natural pool with two smaller ones on either side. The three interconnected reservoirs create an interesting composition. Where depending on the location, the water has different colours, ranging from shades of green to blue and turquoise. In front of us, there is a whole set of stairs leading down. They are definitely worth it. Upon reaching the bottom, we will see large rocky spaces filled with water, and even smaller pools with a diameter of 2 meters. The main part of the “Charco” has a small shoreline, so we don’t have to jump into deep water.
However, the pool has its drawbacks. The terrain is very rocky, and without special shoes, we won’t be able to move much. Moreover, we need to be careful not to hurt ourselves on the sharp rocks, which can also be found in deeper water. Northeastern part of the reservoir, a long narrow corridor with green, transparent water, is for the daring ones. The amazing color of the water contrasting with the gray rocks is enticing, but it requires some effort to reach. The locals jump from the rocks and swim around the colossal pool, reaching the narrow shore in the middle.
Charco de la Laja
Located close to the previously described El Viento, this is also a public pool. It is of much smaller size than its predecessor but equally worth seeing. La Laya is a circular reservoir surrounded by tall, dark, rocky walls. The most spectacular effect is created by the bottom of the pool. Where stones covered in moss and aquatic plants form an incredible texture. Their diverse colors shine through the azure water. Access to the place is hassle-free, with just a few steps leading down. However, the only flat area is the approach to the reservoir, so we won’t be able to lie down in this place.
The pool has steps leading down, making it very easily accessible. Although it is a public area, it looks very natural, as the rocky surroundings have been left untouched. We would rate the pool as safe and relatively shallow, as an adult can touch the bottom in most parts while standing. La Laya and El Viento can be visited on the same day as they are located close to each other and differ in shape and, above all, size.
Charco del Caletón
The public pools located in the historically renowned Garachico are very pleasant places to visit. They are easily accessible, and thanks to amenities such as railings and stairs, they are highly accessible for everyone. There is a flat area where towels can be spread out. However, one downside of these pools is that they are often crowded. Due to their location on the coast of a popular tourist town, they tend to attract a large number of visitors. It is also common to see school-age children here since it is considered one of the safer “Charcos.”
During the season, the area is monitored, and a lifeguard tower is set up each year. If you are on vacation in the northern part of the island, especially with younger companions, it is definitely worth visiting this place. It is undoubtedly suitable even for those who are afraid of the power of the ocean, as the water there is usually very calm.
Charco del Sauzal
A coast with beautiful green-turquoise waters featuring a variety of charcos (natural tidal pools) and bathing spots. This place could be referred to as a ‘complex’ of natural pools that are truly worth visiting. Finding it might not be easy, so here’s a little tip for you.
Just before reaching El Sauzal, your navigation will lead you down a very narrow street. A bit past the entrance, there is a misleading no-entry sign. However, during the day, you can confidently proceed as there’s a sign below it stating ‘Does not apply from 8-22 hours.’ The narrow, winding road along the cliffs will take us to a parking area. Going down the stairs, fantastic views will unfold, with uniquely sculpted black rocks contrasting the ocean.
Continuing to the left, we’ll pass by several interesting charcos. Depending on the tide, not all of them are entirely safe. Nevertheless, after about a 10-minute walk from the parking area, we’ll arrive at one of the most beautiful spots in El Sauzal. Before our eyes, a turquoise-green expanse of water will reveal itself. With a massive cave under a majestic cliff that stretches for several meters. This is a bathing area where the water is quite deep, but handrails are installed, making entry and exit relatively easy. Next to this spot, between the rocks, you’ll also find smaller and larger charcos.
We recommend bringing special shoes, as the ground is quite rocky. Undoubtedly, we highly recommend this place due to the vast selection of bathing spots and the diverse coastline of El Sauzal.