Spain Nude Beaches on the Canary Island of Tenerife
Guest Blog by: J. Paul Jones
Nude Beaches in Spain
One of my favorite clothing-optional beaches in Spain is on the Canary Island, Tenerife. The beach is called Las Gaviotas, located at latitude and longitude, 28.513127, -16.175982, which you can paste into Google maps, for example. This beach seems to have an established option for nudism or not, entirely according to the desires of each individual person.
In my experience, the overall population on the nude beach increases as the day goes on, and the proportion of nudists reaches its peak in the morning, with generally more nudists than not, and by late afternoon, fewer nudists than not. But there is always a good number of nudists: you will not be alone or feel out of place.
The beach has a reputation as a “nude beach.” This is entirely legal, apparently, as I have seen uniformed police officers arrive in a marked police van, get out, walk down to the beach, enjoy the view, and then walk back to their wagon and drive off. They didn’t hassle anyone, and no one reacted to their visit.
Presumably the beach was just part of their daily or weekly beat. Maybe they were checking on the chain-linked fences reducing the likelihood of and effects from rock slides.
I enjoyed very much the happy intermixing of nudes and not. As is typical, the nudists tended to congregate farthest from the beach’s entrance from the parking lot, but they could also been seen anywhere on the beach throughout the day, and intermixed with those wearing swimsuits.
I found it quite interesting to witness a group of college-aged men and women enjoying themselves all day long, with all of them in swimsuits, except one man. He and all of his friends seemed entirely comfortable, playing cards in a circle on the beach.
Las Gaviotas is a beach primarily for locals from the city of Santa Cruz. Every type of person seems to be enjoying themselves: single, couples, groups, families, children, parents, grandparents, soccer players, paddle boarders, swimmers, surfers, picnickers, lovers, gay, straight, whatever, young, old, and middle-aged, black, white, brown, whatever, tan lines and no tan lines – all types!
There are very few native-English speakers. I visited alone, and I quite enjoyed the self-made challenge of asking someone to rub suntan lotion on my back essentially with only pantomime. In many requests over the course of many visits to this beach, I have only been declined once. This is a testament to the friendliness of the Spanish people.
The ladies that I asked were gracious and helpful. They also agreed to snap some photos of me, on my iPhone, when asked. I think I was a bit of a novelty there, being from the USA. Most of the tourists are from Europe, and most of them stick to the southern end of the island, far from the beaches that I am reviewing in this blog.
The black sand beach Las Gaviotas has a pure-sand swimming area with a gradual entry and clear water with moderate swells breaking in long waves that on some days are good for body surfing. The sunrise is over the water and sun sets on the beach early in the afternoon because of the steep hillside to the west – typically the sand is in shade by 5 pm on a summer day. Typically there is a food truck in the parking lot if you didn’t bring your own food. Otherwise, the closest place is a 15 minute drive to San Andreas on the winding coast road. There are no lifeguards. I recall there may be a couple porta-potties in the parking lot.
You may be able to use AirBnB to find an apartment for rent at the nearby “Playa Chica” apartment complex. That complex has its own private tennis courts, sun deck that stays sunlit longer in the afternoon, and a private beach. It’s nice but the public beach is nicer and the private beach is not really clothing optional. My limited experience is that a few people go nude on it, but generally not. But if you did, no one would ever complain. And topfree is entirely okay on any beach.
On your drive to Las Gaviotas from Santa Cruz (or on the bus), you may want to skip past the popular tourist beach Las Teresitas at the town of San Andreas, because the latter does not permit nudism and is an unnatural white sand delivered from the Sahara by barge.
Las Teresitas does have a sheltered swimming area, so on high surf days, especially with children, it would be a good choice. As everywhere in Spain and much of Europe, Las Teresitas is topfree. If you do take the bus, pack light because Las Gaviotas is a 15 minute walk down a steep, curvy, paved road from the unmarked bus stop at the intersection with the main road.
Another favorite nude beach on Tenerife is Playa Benijo located at 28.574703, -16.188429. It is a short, steep walk down a path from a nice restaurant perched on the edge of a high cliff, El Mirador (The Balcony Window). If you park in the restaurant’s lot, be courteous and explain your intentions, i.e. to eat and drink later, after your visit to the beach.
This beach is, in my experience, simply a remote beach where nude sunbathing and swimming is okay, as it seems to be on any remote beach in Spain. High tide covers this beach almost entirely, so check the tide tables. It’s about an hour’s drive along a curvy road from the University town of La Laguna. Those susceptible to motion sickness can find a different destination; happily there are many. Indeed, if you’re staying on the south end of Tenerife, please know that there are plenty of excellent nude beaches there too.
Truth is, on any of the Canary Islands, and much of Spain, the beaches are terrific, and the tolerance for individual freedom is much greater than at almost any beach in the USA.
If you want to plan ahead for a visit to Spain, the following websites have a lot of data on beaches, i.e. geographic coordinates and public transportation, such as bus routes:
this article about the Tenerife, Canary Islands Nude Beaches in Spain was published by – Young Naturists & Nudists America