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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Tenerife, the paradise of pools

Piscinas Naturales de Garachico

The island monopolizes the majority of natural pools (61 of 117) in the Canary Islands that have just been declared of regional tourist interest

Tenerife is the Canarian paradise of pools. From north to south, from east to west, the Tenerife coast is full of well-known or undiscovered natural pools full of unimaginable biodiversity. In addition to being a hallmark, they have become a great claim for those looking for a different way of enjoying the sea, more in contact with volcanic nature. 

You just have to look at the internet, where hundreds of articles circulate with classifications of the best pools in the Canary Islands. For this reason, the Ministry of Tourism has just declared 117 of these pools of regional tourist interest. And Tenerife accounts for the largest part: 61 out of 117, 52% of all the Islands.

The Charcos de Marea Master Plan presented last week includes measures to improve the service facilities with an investment of 29.4 million euros. Fernando Miñarro, general director of Tourist Infrastructure of the Canary Islands, explained that the most accessible and visited natural pools have been selected, as well as the best equipped and with the greatest landscape values. "The objective is to improve all the facilities with the utmost respect for the enormous biodiversity in these pools. At no time is it intended to modify the landscape. It is a plan to improve accesses and car parks, with actions to minimize the impact of the urban intervention already carried out or to be carried out”, details the person in charge of this department of the Ministry of Tourism.

In Tenerife, the municipality with the most lava hot tubs is, by far, La Laguna (28). And within La Laguna, most are at, Punta del Hidalgo (27). This part of the coast linked to the Anaga massif has a volcanic platform that juts out into the sea for a kilometre and extends for more than four kilometres, with a succession of pools and coves of black sand between streams with shapes sculpted at the whim of the waves and tides. There are Punta Arroba, Redondo, Intermedio, Alargado, Cumplido, El Redondillo, De Las Ovejas, Del Mono ... and Charco Del Diablo (The Devil's Pool).

The north of Tenerife concentrates those best known by the local population: Charco del Viento de La Guancha, El Caletón de Garachico, La Laja de San Juan de la Rambla or Los Charcones de Buenavista del Norte. But in this list of the Government of the Canary Islands there are also interesting options in the south: El Roquete de Arico, los 8 del Malpaís de Rasca (Arona), el Del Marqués de Adeje, La Jaquita de Guía de Isora ... "What we are looking for is simply to put value these extraordinary corners of our coast, which provide a different and unique experience, at the same time that we guarantee their preservation", details Miñarro. The Minister of Tourism, Yaiza Castilla, contributes as other objectives "the consolidation of a specific model of intervention in the coastline of conservation and integration in the offer of the destination" with placement of signs, general improvements –which concern safety– and new facilities, such as a shaded areas.

This first census of natural pools of regional tourist interest arises from a larger project. The embryo is the work Charcos en Marea, edited by the Ministry of Tourism and in which a detailed study of the 492 tidal pools registered in the Canary Islands is carried out. Its author is the architect and scholar of the volcanic coasts of the Canary Islands, Alberto Luengo, a work that is part of the Ecoáreas-Mardetodos project, which has been developed by the Government of the Canary Islands since 2014.

The classification was made from a screening of those 492 described by Luengo's work. "First half was discarded and then there were 117 that we consider to be perfectly suited to the selection criteria," says the general director of Tourist Infrastructure of the Canary Islands. Tenerife accumulates the largest amount, perhaps because there is a tradition on the island that goes back a long way and that has prompted some municipalities to finance actions in the most well-known pools. But the rest of the Islands are also of great value, apart from the wild ones, which have not entered this list because they are more inaccessible and because the priority in them is to keep their natural world intact. In addition to the 61 in Tenerife, 18 in Fuerteventura, 11 in Lanzarote, 10 in Gran Canaria, 8 in La Palma and El Hierro and 1 in La Gomera have been identified as being of tourist interest.

Sergio Hanquet, photographer and diver, knows the pools of the Canary Islands very well. But above all he knows the enormous natural wealth that they hide. "There is much more than what people imagine: algae, crustaceans, fish, octopus ... Even salts are formed that are also very interesting." Most of those species, are characterized "by a great resistance to constant changes in natural conditions". "It must be taken into account that many of these habitats fill and empty depending on the tides, suffer jumps in temperature and salinity ...". "Those who visit these places must take into account the enormous variety of life they possess" and asks for "a lot of respect for the natural environment and to bathe with great care". "What cannot happen is what happens sometimes, that you come to a pool and you find accumulations of waste. They are delicate ecosystems and you can enjoy the pool but with great caution", he emphasizes.

This Charcos de Marea Master Plan goes in parallel with specific plans developed by some municipalities that pursue the same objective as the regional Executive. The most significant case at present is that of La Laguna and its Sendero Litoral de Punta del Hidalgo project. After obtaining the Blue Flag for the also known as Camino de San Juanito, the Lagunero mayor, Luis Yeray Gutiérrez, promotes this part of the coast - from the Roquete beach, next to the Fishermen's Association of Nuestra Señora de la Consolación, up to the Charco de la Arena– on a maritime path with services and equipment and without altering its natural values. It is precisely in this coastal strip of Punta del Hidalgo where 27 of the 117 pools declared of regional tourist interest are concentrated.

Tenerife, el paraíso de los charcos