Waylaid By A Tenerife West Coast Wander

Seagulls packed the breakwater that was exposed by the low tide and a small group of kayaks tailed behind their leader like ducklings following their mother. Aah yes it was a delightful morning as I made Playa San Juan my kick off point for a stroll along the west coast of Tenerife.

One of my favourite sculptures has been moved along to greet walkers as they take the concrete path that hugs the coast. The rock formations left by the receding tide were spectacular, nimble footed fishermen and women had found some precarious perches while others explored brimming rock pools. Up top an enclosed petanque court was staging a hotly contested game and the pink cactus pears were plentiful on the plants. It’s a busy walkway and a fairly gentle one but it pays out so much in sights and sounds.

Half way to Alcala there’s an interruption in the form of the new desalination plant, this small section  is sealed off but hopefully may reopen soon, the diversion leads inland a few yards to the small village of Fonsalia. There are two modest sized bar restaurants that open after 1.30 pm but all could change if they expand and link the road out to the new ring road. The whole point is to service a new port, it was first planned in 1995 but still only exists on paper, in the meantime I enjoyed my 10 minute diversion through the charming back water of Fonsalia. Emerging back on the coastal path I rose upwards on a narrow and tricky section with a vast expanse of craggy fingers reaching out into the sea.

The approach to Alcala is always good, I love the drag of the shingle below in the small coves. A few people had taken the steep stone steps down but I pushed on into the plaza for a cold drink. My old Western Sun office was just off the fishermen’s quay and I have fond memories of lunch break sea swims followed by home made sarnies as I sat on the rocks. Much has changed and mainly for the good, the walkway around the bay is always a blaze of flowers and opens out to a wide strolling area in front of the Palicio de Isora hotel. The play areas, wooden benches, and Tourist Information Kiosk help to encourage hotel visitors to explore back down into Alcala, and it is reaping the benefit from more trade.

Pressing on the Playa La Jaquita is another good addition, a mix of small, subtle, dark sand coves and rocky bathing pools, all well served by the Arela Beach Bar. The recent upgrade could have distorted the canvas but it has just opened it out and what a pretty picture it makes. Around the headland and I could see the cliffs of Los Gigantes in the distance but the path was signed as closed for a new coastal walkway to be made.

I of course detoured up to the main road and didn’t squeeze around the barrier, If I had, I might have seen the new path taking shape, again it’s that balancing act, this time between encouraging more people to see the wild Punta Blanca coast without smoothing over too many of natures wrinkles. Time will tell but hopefully it will finally stop the illegal campers, I can remember the piles of rubbish they used to leave behind. I still ended up in Varadero ready to revisit old friends on the way through Playa de La Arena. It’s still good up west.


Belinda Ratcliffe
October 22nd, 2016 12:19 pm

My husband and I have enjoyed this article greatly and I have shared the hyperlink with my Facebook friends. We spend time in Playa San Juan, where we have a little apartment, and await with interest the new ferry port in Fonsalia.

October 24th, 2016 4:03 am

Thank you for your interest.These are changing times on the west coast but hopefully all for the better.