Los Charcones and Punta Mujeres: the best natural swimming pools on Lanzarote
Volcanic activity and the pounding of the Atlantic Ocean both contributed to the formation of amazing natural swimming pools on the coasts of Lanzarote. Today, we want to share with you some interesting options if you fancy a swim in a totally unique natural setting.
Los Charcones at Playa Blanco: get away from it all and enjoy some peace and quiet
In the south-west of Lanzarote, only 5 minutes’ drive from the residential area of Playa Blanca, are the Los Charcones natural swimming pools. These natural formations are found along a 2-kilometre stretch located half way between the Pechiguera lighthouse and the Salinas de Janubio. In this area, visitors will find an enormous variety of swimming pools with very diverse shapes and depths.
Among the swimming pools located in the Los Charcones area, the best are those located next to the derelict Atlantic Sol hotel, which has lain abandoned for around three decades—and, in fact, never functioned as a hotel at all. This structure (which for some reason has never been demolished by the authorities) stands almost as a monument to ugliness in one of the most beautiful parts of the island.
In any case, this unsightly grey hulk really only serves as a landmark, as 50 or 60 metres to the south of it are to be found the best of the Los Charcones swimming pools—at least according to the island’s inhabitants. These pools stand out by virtue of their good size, the fact that they are well sheltered form the wind, and because they are not subject to excessively strong surges from the tides. If however you take the trouble to explore the area, you may find other pools that better suit your personal preferences.
There are two ways to get to Los Charcones:
- This pleasant area can be accessed on foot and it only takes about an hour to walk along a dirt track which you will find to the north of the Pechiguera lighthouse. Fortunately, the path runs close to the coast, so you feel the benefit of the Atlantic breezes as you walk.
- The other alternative is to drive to Los Charcones, which entails skirting the tourist resort of Montaña Roja in Playa Blanca, and then walking along a tarmac path until you catch sight of the unmistakeable hotel. At this stage, you will need to drive along a winding dirt track littered with potholes, although this only takes five minutes, after which you can leave your car near the abandoned hotel.
We realise that the description does not make it sound very attractive, but we can assure you that the experience is worth the trouble, because once you have passed the hotel, you can choose the swimming pool that appeals to you most and then plunge into its clear waters. Moreover, because of the difficulty of access, you will not find here the crowds of bathers often seen on the resort beaches, although—also thanks to their secluded location—the pools are a regular haunt of nudists. This is an area of impressive natural beauty, which exudes calm and tranquillity. Without a doubt, this more than compensates for the trials of getting here.
On a different note, you do need to take care as you walk down to the water over the rocks as they can often be slippery, so it is advisable to wear suitable footwear, and to take along sun cream, water, food and, of course, your camera. Incidentally, bathers must never venture beyond the edges of the swimming pool into the sea, as the ocean currents are stronger than they may seem. For this reason, despite their enormous appeal, the Los Charcones natural swimming pools are not really a suitable place to take children. Don’t worry though, because next we are going to recommend an alternative that you can all enjoy as a family.
Punta Mujeres: the easier alternative
This little fishing village is located at the other end of the island, on the north-eastern coast and around 2 kilometres from tourist attractions such as the Jameos del Agua and the Cueva de los Verdes. Although it is not among the best-known places on the island, it is worth visiting Punta Mujeres because, among other things, it has some of the finest examples of traditional Lanzarote architecture, not to mention the interesting cuisine available here.
Legends abound about how the village got its name. One claim is that the name derives from the similarity between the rocks in the area known as Punta de las Rosas and the female shape. Another, rather more literary tale alludes to the journey undertaken by a pirate ship during the early years of the eighteenth century, which was en route to France, and—as it passed through the Canary Archipelago—abandoned a group of women here.
In any case, what really interests us about Punta Mujeres is that its coastline is strewn with natural swimming pools, with the added advantage over Los Charcones that access is genuinely easy—and you can park your car in the village. The natural swimming pools in Punta Mujeres were walled in by the village’s residents to protect them from the reboso, a local dialect word meaning groundswell. These pools, therefore, are safer than those at Los Charcones, and each is entered via a small flight of steps.
In this area of the island of volcanoes, the sky often remains cloudy until midday, so the locals say that the best time to go for a dip in Punta Mujeres is after 12.00 noon.
Whether you opt for Los Charcones or the pools at Punta Mujeres, we’re sure you’ll have a wonderful time and fall even more deeply in love—if that is possible—with this delightful Canary Island.