Los Charcones – The natural pools of Playa Blanca

You probably know by now that Lanzarote is full of places to visit, thanks to César Manrique the number of unique tourist attractions is very large for such a small island. Hundreds of websites and guides tell you all about them and I definitely recommend their visit, but some others are now so well know, and Los Charcones of Playa Blanca is definitely a must visit during your stay in Lanzarote.

Located on the southern east coast, and stretching for a couple of miles, many natural swimming pools of diferent sizes fill the rocky coast from the abandoned hotel right at the SouthWest end of Playa Blanca, to the desalination plant near the Salinas de Janubio (where you can find the salt cells). Their beauty is unparalelled, with turquoise colored deep waters that blend with the volcanic rocks that fill all the coast, and there’s plenty of marine life about, so taking some snorkling equipment is more than recommended. What’s more, some of them are very protected from the wind that blasts that area of Lanzarote during the better part of the year, and there’s one in particular that I really like as you can practically go at any time of the day as the tide only covers the pool on sporadic waves during very high tide, meaning that (unlike other pools) it is safe to be there for more than 10 hours in a row.

Getting there, however, is no easy task, so I definitelly don’t recommend you to go there if you have children younger than 8, as there’s a twenty minute walk under the sun and five more minutes descending amongst rocky terrain until you get to the pool. The reward more than compensates as there’s usually very few people on this pool.

In order to go there, you need to get the road than runs parallel (and closer to the coast) to the LZ2 as you leave Playa Blanca. You will find you can get to that road from the roundabout next to Playa Blanca’s only petrol station. Once on that road, keep going for about 5.6km until you find an asphalted road to your left. Take that crossing and keep going towards the sea until you get to the desalination plant, which on Google Maps is marked as Janubio (use this link to tell your GPS Navigator where to drive to). When you do, unless you have a 4-wheel drive car (or a bicycle), park your rent-a-car, it’s time to start walking.

You will see there are plenty of paths that cross each other, just keep walking along the coast for about 15 to 20 minutes until you see the flower painted rock (photo on the right) and get to this exact spot. If you get right to the edge, you will be able to see one of the pools further down, just like in this photo to the right. However, that’s not the one you should go to. Start carefully climbing down to the sea, and you will soon see to your left a magnificent crystal clear pool with the water so still it will seem it’s a mirror. In less than 5 minutes you will be there and I can assure you you will not want to leave.

—> Click here to download a GPX file with the walking directions for your favourite GPS tracking app.