Archive for June 17th, 2011
Natures Beauty Below The Oasis

To a thirsty football fan the white domes of the Oasis restaurant mean a welcome beer stop half way up the TF1 motorway to Santa Cruz. During the season I stop there every 2 weeks in the company of the Armada Sur as we go to worship CD Tenerife but I have never gone down below the Oasis to check out Los Roques a small historic village that is hoping for a revivial in fortunes.

The recent elections have brought a new mayor for Fasnia the region where Los Roques is situated, and Damien Perez has vowed to restore this area to its sparkling rugged best. I headed down the winding road to the coast below and found a choice awaited me, to the north Playa del Abrigo and to the south Playa de Los Roques. Taking the Playa del Abrigo path I soon got the full benefit of the large dark sand and shingle bay, on a scorching day with lively waves there were just two people bathing on the beach. Walking to the far end I looked across the beach to the two rocks that give the area its name, the largest is attached to the mainland and the second is a small volcanic spit a few yards away.

Tucked in behind the main rock are the Bahia Apartments, an early attempt to atrract tourism, built in 1964 they look run down now but it looks like there are still people living there. Moving closer I could see a neglected swimming pool near the beach and a blocked pathway where the sea laps close at high tide. There used to be a passage way through here linking the two beaches and the new mayor intends to restore this and improve the main beach. On this side of Los Roques there are some modern new apartmenrts and houses, the regeneration of Los Roques seems to have been a very sporadic affair. Looking up I could see the empty local opposite the Oasis, it has been a work in progress for around four years and is partly fitted out as another restaurant and bar, the views from the terrace would give an uninterrupted vista of the beachand the roaring sea.

Back tracking up the hill and taking the other path to Playa de Los Roques I found a much more traditional fishing village that had clearly seen better times. On this other side the old village is pressed against the base of the rock and includes a small church. In it’s day this was a busy area, a large cave of salt deposits Cuevea de La Sal was used to preserve and prepare potatoes for a sea crossing to Gran Canaria. A closer view of the smaller rock revealed that it was teaming with bird life, this is such a vibrant stretch of the coast. A large levelled area makes a handy natural car park, maybe at weekends people flock down to swim at the main beach but somehow I feel it is still a hidden gem.

The Oasis above is just a baby, born in 1998, but is a well visited stop off point. It’s strange to think that most people popping in to quench their thirst are unaware of the splendour of the landscape that unfolds just below. Hopefully the mayor will fulfill his promises and restore some pride to Los Roques.