Bowled Over By New Wave Of Swimming Fun In Santa Cruz

Free supervised sea swimming and sun bathing, just a short stroll from the heart of Santa Cruz. That´s the good news from the Charcos de Valleseco, part of the neglected old industrial port in the Tenerife capital. Wallowing between the cruise ship terminal and backed by the towering mountains of Anaga, three years of reconstruction has produced a user friendly bathing zone, open daily from 7am to 11 pm.


Reached by two concrete ramps from street level, the leisure zone offers fun and relaxation to all ages, and caters for those with limited mobility. But this makeover has gone far beyond the functional, a sprouting of shade shelters will be very welcome on those scorching days, and ample showers include a fixed seat on the end of each row to support the less mobile of sea lovers. There´s a large spread of toilets and a first aid room, plus facilities for the attendant life guards.

Among the neat extras are shallow ramps into the sea, with water running over narrow metal grids that remove stones and other possible hazards. Work is on going as trees and flowers burst forth along the width of the whole zone, and a large cafeteria which will soon be meeting those snack needs. Bike racks mean people can easily get to the pools but there are strict rules to prevent the zone from suffering the curse of scooters.

Centre stage goes to the sea. Two large pontoons are perfect entry points to the waves down steel ladders or by diving in. On my visit different generations were enjoying the wide open spaces and the protected walkways. There´s a reminder that this is a maritime preservation area, respect for nature is encouraged. The huge man made beach of Las Teresitas is a popular draw to the north but takes around 30 minutes to reach by bus, or a hopeful search for parking spots, and oftens packs out in high summer. The new kid on the block has a more relaxed, natural feel.

Valleseco is relying on good up keep and respect for the facilities. A police car dipped down from the road above and the life guards will be able to keep the mood light around the bathing areas. Full marks to Santa Cruz council for enhancing the capital.