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Beautiful lava pools

Los Charcones on Lanzarote’s southwest coast is a treasure trove of natural beauty where rock pools form, sheltered from the wild Atlantic by rocky outcrops

The Los Charcones natural rock pools are one of the island’s best kept natural secrets. They are in a remote location that’s difficult to access and recommended only for intrepid explorers with a keen awareness of the ocean and its tides because there’s always a danger that a large wave can come along at any moment with dramatic results. All this means they are not suitable for children or the elderly.

The pools are located near Playa Blanca tourist resort, about two kilometres north of the Pechiguera lighthouse, beyond several housing developments, approximately 4.6 kilometres up the coast towards Janubio. You know you’re close when you see the ghostly silhouette of the half-finished Hotel Atlante del Sol, which was abandoned in the mid-seventies.

These beautiful natural pools are tidal, filling with each high tide and receding again as the tide goes out. The surrounding rocks provide natural shelter from the currents and the wind, helping to create a calm oasis set against the ocean’s waves just a few metres away.

Bellas piscinas de lava

You’ll come across pools of all shapes and sizes in a myriad of different colours; from azure blue to bright turquoise, through sea green and even ochre, depending on the depth of the water and the play of the sunlight. Nature’s stunning colour palette formed by the sea, sky and different shades of black and red lava rocks.

Of course, it’s vital you wear suitable footwear, like trainers, to access the natural pools, as the rocky paths are very rugged and can be tricky to negotiate and rather slippery in places.

Despite the need for caution, the sheer beauty and location of Los Charcones mean they are featured in the GEA Bulletin of the IGME (Spanish Geological and Mining Institute) as a Site of Geological Interest in the Canary Islands. Along with many natural pools and arches, they were formed by the force of the ocean against the basaltic lava.

Apart from being visually stunning pools created by the ebb and flow of the ocean, each one is home to its own ecosystem. No matter how deep or how shallow, their rocky seabeds are inhabited by seaweeds, crustaceans and fish, as well as sea urchins, sea bunnies, starfish, sea cucumbers and various species of molluscs.

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