Natural swimming pools in Tenerife – Charcos
Reservoirs made of solidified lava from a volcano with amazing forms, filled with water from the ocean. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Such natural phenomena are the Spanish “charcos”, or natural swimming pools. The rock formations carved by the ecosystem create unbelievable images that will surely be remembered. They take various shapes, are often divided into several collections, but are also rich in colors. The aquatic vegetation growing on their bottom adds charm, because it affects the color diversity of water reservoirs. It happens that the water ranges from citrus shades of yellow, orange, through frog green to azure blue and turquoise colors. These places can really make a great impression. What’s more, we can bathe in them all day, because the water here is a few degrees warmer.
Among the numerous “Charcos” in the Canary Islands archipelago and Tenerife, we can find popular and touristic ones. As well as those that are usually harder to reach, left in their original state. In the first ones, we immediately notice human interference, sometimes they are just barriers to help descend, pavement or steps. Sometimes the entire area with fenced concrete buildings. Wild natural pools are certainly more charming, but some of them are less comfortable. Due to the rocky ground or difficulty of getting to them. For sure, it’s always worth taking special shoes with you for walking in the water.
Remember that these are not beaches. These places mostly do not have lifeguards, so make sure if you want to take your children with you. At high tides, these most vigorous places, especially those with grottoes and caves, can turn out to be dangerous. Therefore, we have prepared a detailed description of the 8 most beautiful natural swimming pools in Tenerife, so that you can choose the option that suits you.
List of natural swimming pools
1. Charco de Los Abrigos
2. Charco de isla Cangrejo – Los Gigantes
3. Charco del Tancón – Los Gigantes
4. Charco de los Mujeres – Buenavista del Norte
5. Charco del Viento – Santa Catalina
6. Charco de la Laja – San Juan de la Rambla
7. Charco del Caletón – Garachico
8. Charco del Sauzal – El Sauzal
Charco de los Abrigos
Beautiful, wild natural pools which, however, are not very easy to reach. Following the Los Abrigos route towards El Medano, the pools are located approximately 100 meters after leaving the town of Los Abrigos. Before the large area of banana plantations that begins, on the right, we notice a natural, unpaved concrete, sandy and rocky surface. Drive approximately 50 meters towards the ocean. This is the destination point where we can leave our car. Then we have a short walk towards the plantation, going down the stones. Downstairs there are several pools of various shapes and colors; yellow, green and azure. The first, largest tank, which is the main “charco” here, has an auxiliary ladder to enter and exit.
The pools are deep and you probably won’t get your feet to the bottom. So, this is a more difficult place, not recommended for families with young children. However, it is worthwhile, even for those who do not intend to swim – the views will remain in your memory for a long time, and the photos are amazing here.
Charco de Isla Cangrejo
Public natural swimming pool with significant human interference. However, it does not take away the quality of it. Tearing through the narrow streets of Los Gigantes, marked “charco”, you will reach a tiny vantage point at a considerable height. From which you can see a beautiful view of the pool and the ocean, separated by a concrete wall. In the background, black rocks with white low-rise buildings create a unique atmosphere.
During high tide and a restless ocean, the contact of the wave with a concrete wall turns into a surface of water several meters long, giving an amazing effect. Locals like this phenomenon as an attraction, standing on the edge and waiting for the wall of water to blow them into the pool.
The pool is not very deep and we rate the overall difficulty as easy / medium due to the strong, sometimes high tides. As it is a popular tourist destination, many more people stay there. However, it is worth seeing this place, especially since we can get there from the main bus stop Los Gigantes on foot.
Charco del Tancón – “Blue Cave”
Charco del Tancón, a natural swimming pool with a blue cave. The place is indeed impressive, although it is not always safe and not easy to get to. The natural swimming pools are located in Los Gigantes, near the Globales Tamaimo Hotel, where you can park your car. Then, descend towards the ocean between the Barcelo Santiago hotel and the HyperDino market, after reaching the ocean, turn right, towards the Los Gigantes cliffs. At the beginning, you will see a complex of several natural swimming pools, to which there are stairs down. We can confidently recommend this place, because the descent into the water is gentle and safe. Of course, as with all rocky terrain, it is better to have special water shoes.
If, however, you are curious about the focal point of the Tancón, instead of going down the stairs, continue right until you reach the stones and boulders on which we will go down. The frozen lava has formed a circular pool between the rocks, which undoubtedly looks phenomenal. There is a cave under the boulders, which people swim out after jumping into the azure circular pool. It is also possible to go down the stones from the other side and see the cave “from below”.
The key to using the pool is common sense, because the place is considered really dangerous and it all depends on the tides of the ocean. When the water is calm and its level is low, we can swim in the pool, but when the tide comes and the water level rises, the ocean fills the entire cave, and this becomes very dangerous and makes it difficult to get out of the pool. Often, the water is calm when you get there, and things can change within an hour.
Charco de los Mujeres
Natural swimming pools located in the north-west of Tenerife are a fabulous place around a picturesque landscape. Access from the parking lot through narrow streets takes 10-15 minutes, but when we manage to get there, we will see two pools connected with each other. Made of interestingly formed rocks. They are surrounded by high mountains, which provide an amazing view from the pools. We will not notice any human interference here, so their original condition has been preserved, which is an additional advantage. Still, the swimming pool is safe and has a low degree of difficulty. Right at the entrance we have shallow water, which gradually gets deeper – up to the neck of an adult person. What’s more, if you forget special shoes for walking in the water, it won’t be a problem because the ground is overgrown with soft algae.
A fantastic place for families with children. The only remark is the sharp rocks, which makes it almost impossible to lie down – but this is a feature of almost all “Charcos”. We recommend it because it is one of the best natural swimming pools in terms of visual, safety and comfort.
Charco del Viento
When we reach the parking lot and look through the railing, the view will take our breath away! From the top, we have an amazing view of a huge natural pool with two smaller ones on either side. The combined three reservoirs create an interesting composition. Depending on the place, the water has different colors – from shades of green, to blue and turquoise. There is a whole pile of stairs in front of us to go down. They are definitely worth it. When you reach the bottom, you will see large spaces with rocks, filled with water, and even smaller tanks with a diameter of 2m. The main part of “Charco” has a small coast, so we don’t have to jump into deep water.
However, the pool has its downsides. The terrain is very rocky – you can’t move without special shoes. In addition, we must be careful not to bump into sharp rocks that appear also in deeper water. The north-eastern part of the reservoir, i.e. a long narrow corridor with green, transparent water – is for the brave. The amazing color of the water contrasting with the gray rocks is tempting. But to get there, the locals jump from the rocks and swim around the colossal pool, getting to the narrow shore in the middle.
Charco de la Laja
It is close to the previously described El Viento, it is also a public swimming pool. Much smaller in size than its predecessor, but also worth seeing. La Laya is one circular reservoir among tall dark rock walls. The most spectacular effect is created by the bottom, whose stones overgrown with mosses and water plants create an amazing texture. Their various colors break through the azure surface of the water. Getting to the place is hassle-free, and we only have a dozen steps down to go. The only flat area is the access to the reservoir, so we won’t be lying in this place.
The pool has a descent down the steps and is therefore very easy to access. Even though it is a public place, it looks very natural as its stone exterior has been left intact. We would rate the swimming pool as safe and with a low degree of difficulty. An adult in most of the places is able to stand on the bottom. La Laya and El Viento can be visited in one day. Due to the fact that they are next to each other and they are completely different – in shape and, above all, in size.
Charco del Caletón
Located in Garachico, known for its history (read more in – Towns of Tenerife). The public swimming pools are a very pleasant place. They are easy to reach, and thanks to barriers and steps, they are easily accessible for people. There is a flat space on the premises where towels can be laid out. This pool also has its weaker side, because there are always a lot of people here. Due to its location in the middle of the city, locals and tourists are eager to visit this place. Often you can meet schoolchildren here too, because it is one of the safer “Charco”.
In high season, the area is guarded as a lifeguard tower is set up every year. If you are on vacation in the north, or with a younger crowd, this place is definitely worth a visit. Undoubtedly, the place will work even for people who fear the element of the ocean. As the water there is completely calm.
Charco del Sauzal
A coast with beautiful green-turquoise water with lots of different charcos and bathing areas. This place can be called a “complex” of natural swimming pools that are really worth visiting. It may not be easy to hit, so we have a little tip for you. Right in front of El Sauzal, navigation will take you down a very narrow street. A bit behind the entrance there is a confusing prohibition sign, but during the day you can go through. There is another sign underneath it, with the words “Not applicable between 8 – 22”. A narrow, winding road by the cliffs will lead us to the parking lot.
By going down the stairs, we will discover fantastic views with unusually carved, black rocks contrasting with the ocean. Continuing the road to the left, we will pass some interesting charcos. However, depending on the tide, not all of them are completely safe. After about 10 minutes walking from the parking lot, we will come to one of the most beautiful places of El Sauzal. We will see a turquoise-green surface of water with a huge cave, under a several-meter-high, majestic cliff. It is a swimming area where the water is very deep. However there are barriers installed and it is easy to get in and out. Next to this place, between the rocks, there are also smaller and larger charcos.
We recommend taking special shoes with you as the ground is really rocky. Undoubtedly, we recommend this place. Due to the huge selection of bathing beaches and the variety of the El Sauzal coast. Everyone will find something here for themselves.