Paying the Price for Tenerife’s Beaches

If Arona council were a football team they’d be top of the league in the table for scoring own goals.

Although Arona is home to some of Tenerife’s biggest resorts, the powers that be there seem intent in alienating the tourists that bring much needed dinero into their sun-kissed world.

As well as ridding Playa de las Américas of the popular horse drawn carriages and treating the lifeguards, who watch over the municipality’s suntan seeking guests, abominably by not coughing up their wages, the council has now taken another step to piss off the people who they should be bending over backwards to please.

But they’re not alone in tarnishing the image of Tenerife during uncertain times.

The sorry, silly saga started when the council stupidly agreed to signs being placed in the sun lounger zones of Playa de las Vistas which decreed ‘Reserved area for the exclusive use for clients of sunbeds and umbrellas’.

It was misguided and possibly even contravening the law of their own country as all Spain’s beaches are public. However, it’s common for some of Tenerife’s politicians to behave like Medieval despots, forgetting they’re democratically elected representatives and that they have to abide by their country’s laws like everyone else.

In reality the signs probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference to life on the beach if it weren’t for tabloid style spin and exaggerated implications on the part of a couple of English language reports. The sensationalist ‘interpretations’ of the impact of the signs has lead to some people thinking that they’d have to pay to use the beach and others declaring they’d think twice about coming to Tenerife in future.

Apart from being utter tosh and nonsense, they also revealed a lack of understanding of local life on Tenerife’s beaches.

Sandy Las Vistas Beach, Los Cristianos, Tenerife
No room at the beach? Stop pulling my suntanned leg.

Sun Bed Zones – Who Uses Them?
I don’t like them and subsequently I don’t use them. Comfortable though they may be, they’re cattle pens for sunbathers. Many Canarios and Spanish visitors seem to share the same view, opting to lay out their towels in the sand rather than fork out for a sun bed. There’s a marked difference on some beaches at different times of the years. In the winter the balance leans more toward sunbed usage as many visitors a) hail from Northern Europe and b) are quite mature and so like a bit of comfort. In summer, the sunbeds on some beaches lie like rows of Billy-no-mates as Spanish and Canarian beach goers prefer the virgin sand.

The point here is that the people who tend to prefer to lie on the sand really don’t want to lie amongst the regulated rows of sunloungers. Therefore the sign deterring them from doing so is, in many ways, academic. If, as was suggested, anyone is worried that it’s going to impact on families who pay for the sunbeds for the adults but not the children, threaten to walk away if confronted by a jobs-worth quoting questionable rules and see what happens.

Sunbeds on Playa de las Vistas, Los Cristianos, Tenerife
So who really wants to plonk their towel in the middle of the sunbeds?

Sun Bed Zones – Where Are They
Another fact that makes a mockery of outraged outcries is that sunbed zones are often in areas that the savvy local population avoid like the plague – i.e. the middle of the beach. Smart sunbathers stick to the area of sand near the shoreline where there’s less of a foot-burning trek to the water. Lesser numbers hug the back of the beach where walls, cliffs etc. may offer some shady respite when it becomes too hot.

However, the points above don’t address the ridiculous suggestion that there won’t be enough beach to go around.

The idea that these silly signs would result in there being no space on the beach for the general public is quite incredible.

Playa Los Cristianos, Los Cristianos, Tenerife
Hope we can find some space to lay down the towel

The existence of the signs wouldn’t significantly change the amount of space available on the beach for all those who don’t want to fork out for a sun lounger. Suggesting otherwise amounts to scaremongering and doesn’t do a lot for tourism.

Have you seen Las Vistas? There’s an awful lot of beach to go round.

The only people it would affect are those who like to stick their towels smack bang in the middle of the sunbed zone. Hands up how many of those are out there (see above).

The bottom line, if you’re thinking of visiting Tenerife, is don’t be deterred by silly transient politics or sensation seeking journalism. There’s plenty of FREE room on Tenerife’s beaches.

Playa Bollullo, La Orotava, Tenerife
SIGH - no sunbeds, no sillines... no worries

And if you really want to avoid the nonsense, head to the real Tenerife where the beaches are more wild, carefree and beautiful anyway.

2 Comments

  1. It was a non story when a Canarian papeer put it on the front page and didn’t get any better when others piled in. If only Los Cristianos and other resorts were so full that the only sun bathing spots were between two pairs of cheesy feet.

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