Are you the type who loves quiet, isolated beaches? Our contributing expert, Linda Wainwright, has lived in the Canary Islands for 20 years and counting. She has great insider Scoop on the best, lesser known beaches on Tenerife Island. Slip into your flip flops, slather on the suntan lotion and enjoy.
By Linda Wainwright
You might be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing left to say about the beaches of Tenerife. After all, it’s what Tenerife, and all the other Canary Islands are famous for, but there are a few beaches which don’t make the travel agents’ glossy brochures.
All along the south west coast, sun-worshippers can be found on the island’s famous shoreline. From Los Cristianos up to Los Gigantes, visitors are familiar with the mostly black sands and many don’t stray any further, yet, I don’t number any of those beaches among my personal favorites.
There is one beach, which oddly, features on numerous publicity shots, yet doesn’t attract many foreign tourists, and that is Las Teresitas, just ten minutes out of the capital city, Santa Cruz. It nestles under the Anaga Mountains, nearby the village of San Andres. Its golden sand was imported from the Sahara years ago (that’s forbidden now), and there are ambitious plans to develop the area, yet political wrangling has kept them on the drawing board for years. One day there might be a five star hotel and all that entails, but right now, it’s a long, quite stunning beach, dotted with palm trees, and just a few kiosks selling beer and ice cream – take your own picnic if you plan to go.
The coal-black sands of Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island get their fair share of visitors, yet are still under-rated. The town had no real beach for many years (hence the construction of of an impressive Lido), but some time back the local council developed what was the rocky, uncomfortable coastline, and created striking spots to sunbathe. My only warning is not to wear white swimwear – the black sand can ruin a perfectly good swimsuit, as I know to my cost!
My favorite northern beach is well away from the tourist track, so promise not to tell anyone, please. It is the tiny cove of San Marcos in Icod de los Vinos. This horseshoe-shaped bay is surrounded by cliffs, and the entrance is marked by a banana plantation on one side, and a tiny harbor on the other. No boats bob on its quiet waters, as incoming fishing boats are hauled out of the water by a large crane when they arrive back. It is quite idyllic, and even the few bars and restaurants don’t cater to tourists so much as to locals enjoying their Sunday afternoons.
The noticeable difference between locals and tourists is that few residents sun themselves during the winter months even though the temperatures are high by the standards we expats are used to. This means that most of these beaches (Puerto de la Cruz being the exception) are quiet, and even deserted October through April.
Closer to my home, along the east coast there are several small coves, which, in summer overflow with locals, but in winter are tranquil, especially on weekdays. Again, it’s take your own picnic, but worth the effort for a bit of peace, so long as it isn’t too blustery. This coastline is sometimes nicknamed “The windy coast.” An afternoon with a beach to yourself can do wonders for the soul. I love Tajao and Poris de Abona, and Tajao has the advantage of a few excellent fish restaurants for your post sunbathing pleasure.
I’ve saved my favorite for last. La Tejita lies at the foot of Montana Roja, on the opposite side from the island’s windsurf capital, El Medano. Although it is Tenerife’s longest beach, it remains unexploited as yet. It is served by only one small chiringuito, (or beach bar) but does have a lifeguard service and European Blue Flag in the summer months. I’m spoiled, of course. I lived close to this beach for several years, and loved to stroll alone with my dog in the early morning, when I had it all to myself. Even on a busy summer Sunday, it’s so long and so little known that you can always stake your claim to a spot sufficiently away from others to find some peace. Plans are underway for development here too, but I fear (or rejoice!) that the recession halted plans some time back, and nothing is happening right now.
You’ll find a common theme when you weigh up my choices of favorite beaches. I like tranquility, and I like beaches as natural as possible. The south west coast has family fun beaches, trendy beaches, and beaches for beach volley or football, and they are fine, but give me Tenerife’s lesser known beaches any time.