The best natural pools in the Canary Islands

Lunar landscapes and tide pools with underwater kingdoms full of life make the Canary Islands a top destination for those who like to explore the wild side of nature

Millions of years ago, the world underwent a seismic change and amidst a fiery explosion of molten lava, the Canary Islands were created. Located off the coast of Africa, these seven Spanish islands now enjoy a temperate climate akin to an all-year-long Springtime. Their distinctive topography, similar to a lunar landscape, has caught the attention of holiday-goers who have flocked to the islands since the tourism boom of the 60s. Yet, it is not just the good weather that enamours travellers. Each of the islands boasts its own unique landscape. Some have award-winningly clear night skies while others have textbook-perfect white sand beaches. However, what unites these islands is their unapologetically rugged volcanic tide pools. Once a best-kept secret by locals, these lava pools are a sizzling summer hotspot just waiting to be explored. So, grab your snorkel and surf shoes. It is time to hit the beach- Canarian style.

Swim in the best natural tide pools in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are formed of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera and Fuerteventura and each island offers a different take on natural beauty. From windswept landscapes, black volcanic beaches and hilltop towns with independent wineries, there is a wild charm about these islands that bewitches all who visit. Although each of the islands offers world-class beaches, it is the natural pools in the Canary Islands that pull in the crowds. These natural rock pools have been sculpted by treacle-like lava flows that blister the mountainside and bleed into the sea. Deep lava tide pools are eventually filled with seawater and provide an exotic spot for snorkelling or diving.

Swim in the tide pools of the Canary Islands

Dive into luxurious natural rock swimming pools

Take a plunge in the deliciously fresh Atlantic ocean and enjoy spectacular swimming in the best natural pools in the Canary Islands. Be sure to take your goggles as these deep rock pools offer incredible views of a kaleidoscopic array of marine wildlife and mystical rock formations. In the Canary Islands, there are over 60 known natural tide pools, commonly referred to as ‘Charcos’ by the locals, each one offering off-the-beaten-track rock pool swimming. This distinctive way of enjoying the ocean is typical of the islands and the perfect way to revitalise and recharge tired bodies. Discover our seven best natural pools in the Canary Islands.

Tide pools of Charco Azul, La Palma

Splash about in the tidal ponds of Charco Azul La Palma

Meaning ‘blue pool’, the Charco Azul on La Palma’s northern side of the island is a wonderful place to enjoy swimming in a natural pool. Earning an eco beach award in 2013, the car park, sundeck, lockers and changing facilities at Charco Azul La Palma carefully complement the striking natural surroundings. There is even a kids pool with a smooth, flat bottom for gentle paddling! Be sure to get here early to enjoy crowd-free black rock pool swimming.

Tide pools of Charco del Conde, La Gomera

Discover the rock pool spa of Charco del Conde, La Gomera

Noted as being one of the best natural pools in the Canary Islands, Charco del Conde in Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera, is the perfect place to refresh after a long hike. This volcanically sculpted natural pool is affected by the changes in tide making it a constantly changing natural paradise. That being said, the waters in this tide pool always remain gentle and easy to swim in making it a great family-friendly location for a sunny day.

Tide pools of Charco Azul, El Hierro

Take a plunge in the water rock pools of Charco Azul, El Hierro

Charco Azul El Hierro is one of the best rock pools for impressive rock formations and infinitely deep, blue, crystal waters. Located in El Golfo, a breathtaking valley formation along the steep coast of this small Canary Island, this tide pool provides an other worldly place to swim. Solidified lava flows make natural boardwalks and diving boards for endless fun and games and the playful echo of the ocean adds a calming soundtrack to the surroundings.

The tide pools of Garachico, Tenerife are a must-visit

Go swimming in the rock swimming pools of Garachico, Tenerife

Tenerife has no shortage of tide pools and some of the best natural pools in the Canary Islands can be found here. In the north of the island lies a town called Garachico which was once devastated by the volcanic eruption of Mount Teide. Thick viscous lava covered the town creating a Spanish version of Pompeii and today the best ocean tide pools on the island can be found here. 

Top Tip: Be sure to bring surf shoes with you when exploring the tide pools as the ground can feel rough underfoot

Garachico is home to El Caletón, a large natural swimming pool and an example of just how fiery the island can be. Located adjacent to the 16th-century San Miguel castle, visitors can while away the day climbing the windy cobbled pathways and cool off in the many tide pools.

The Salinas de Agaete tide pools in Gran Canaria

Dive into the rock grottos of Salinas de Agaete, Gran Canaria

Nestled between neatly cultivated fields and elaborate palm groves lies the sapphire tide pools of Salinas de Agaete. Located in the town of Agaete which is famous for its gastronomic dining options, these three natural pools are united by surreal volcanic tubes. Visitors to this Gran Canaria attraction can hop between tidepools using these interconnected tubes and feel relaxed and rejuvenated thanks to the nutritious combination of seawater and salty air. The Salinas de Agaete are some of the best natural pools in the Canary Islands thanks to their majestic appearance which resembles an old battlement structure.

Los Charcones tide pools, Lanzarote

Los Charcones Lanzarote- a tide pool not to be missed

Lanzarote is characterised by its moon-like landscapes and black mineral-rich soil. However, it also boasts a wide variety of natural swimming pools such as Los Charcones de Lanzarote. Just a five-minute drive from Playa Blanca, on the south of the island, these lava swimming pools are found on the 2km coastline of Pechiguera to the north towards Janubio. These pools are a must-see in Lanzarote and they vary in all different shapes, sizes and depths. Because Los Charcones of Lanzarote face out onto the open sea, it is common to enjoy windswept conditions which can make the water a little choppy.

Be amazed by the hot rock pools of Aguas Verdes Fuerteventura

While Fuerteventura is full of textbook-perfect beaches, this island is home to Aguas Verdes, or ‘green waters’, a collection of rocky natural pools in the town of Betancuria. The 6km stretch of natural pools and inlets that form the ocean beach tidepools is inhabited by a happy family of local squirrels and large crabs who all live harmoniously together in this lava-encrusted landscape. While this volcanic oasis is recognised as being one of the best natural pools in the Canary Islands, the ocean here is rougher than usual for the island. But, once submerged in the refreshing water the waves become less noticeable.