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Naturist Opportunities on Tenerife

 Las Gaviotas beach 

[Las Teresitas beach]
Las Teresitas beach by San Andrés
Las Gaviotas [pronounced in Spanish, Lahs-Gahvyaw-tahs] is a beach mainly used by local naturists from the capital of Tenerife, the city of Santa Cruz. Las Gaviotas is a small beach situated under steep rock cliffs in the East of Tenerife on its Southern coast some 10 km to the East of Santa Cruz, next along the coastal line from the Las Teresitas [pronounced Lahs-Tehrehsee-tahs] beach most popular among the capital inhabitants.
Las Teresitas is a big and very nice fully artificial beach. It is an about 1.5 km-long and 100150 m-wide stripe of thin bright-yellow sand brought to Tenerife from Sahara. Las Teresitas is located at the foot of mountain slopes near a small town San Andrés [reads Sahn-Ahndrehs], 8 km North-East of Santa Cruz.
The beach is a well developed public facility furnished with benches, hammocks, sunshades, cabins, toilets, water-pumps, showers, etc., and decorated with magnificent palms and other verdure. The place attracts thousands of sunbathers, mainly from Santa Cruz. It has spacious parking lots, cafes and kiosks, and is connected with Santa Cruz with a good motorway TF-11 going along the coast almost at sea level. City bus No 910 goes from the Bus Station (Estación de Guaguas, in the Canarian Spanish) at Santa Cruz via the central Plaza de España [Plahsa de-Ehspah-nya] to Las Teresitas every 1015 minutes. Unfortunately, there is no naturist opportunities at the Las Teresitas beach itself.
Las Gaviotas, where naturism is practiced, is distanced no more than 1 km on straight line from the farther end of Las Teresitas, but the direct way along the waterfront is impassable because of high plumb cliffs of the Punta de los Organos cape. An access to Las Gaviotas is only possible over the motorway winding high above the sea level. The distance on the road from San Andrés to Las Gaviotas is about 6 km. In front of Las Gaviotas beach there is a plain ground used for car parking; a small kiosk trading in drinks and snacks works right at the beach entrance.
Las Gaviotas is a small natural beach, some 200×30 m of size, composed of black volcanic sand and confined from the land by overhanging rocks. Unlike at Las Teresitas, there is no breakwater to protect the beach from the ocean waves, so the surf is running right upon the beach to make it very attractive for local surfboard fans.
[Las Gaviotas from atop]
View of Las Gaviotas from the
top point of the road from
San Andrés to Las Gaviotas
[Las Gaviotas beach]
A closer view of Las Gaviotas beach
On the day I was there, there were no more than 2 or 3 dozen of people on the beach, most probably, almost all of them locals, even though it was a weekend day and the beach at Las Teresitas was crowded. True, the weather was mostly cloudy, which might have reduced the sunbathing urge. Only about a half of the people at Las Gaviotas were staying nude, and not a single woman among them.
Adjoining Las Gaviotas from the North-East is La Chica residential complex. It is a multistorey single block with a road coming to its flat roof used as a car parking, while the building itself comes out with its ground floor straight onto La Chica beach. The two beaches are separated by a small rocky cape.
I can advise coming to Las Gaviotas once for the sake of curiosity, perhaps, combining it with an excursion and shopping tour to Santa Cruz. But I would not be going there regularly, unless staying in Santa Cruz or nearby that seems to be hardly worthwhile.
Getting there:

Almost the only practical way of reaching Las Gaviotas is by car. The local boys and girls who have not got cars also use motor scooters.
Go to San Andrés over the road TF-11 (7 km from Plaza de España in Santa Cruz). Right after San Andrés, at the beginning of Las Teresitas beach, make a left turn onto road TF-121 heading for Igueste de San Andrés [pronounced in Spanish: Eegheh-steh deh-Sahn-Ahndrehs]. The road comes serpentining uphill to reach in about 3 km the highest point from which a superb panoramic view of both Las Teresitas and Las Gaviotas is opening. After another 1 km of a more or less flat road winding over the hill slope you are coming to a smaller local road forking to the right. About 1.5 km of a breathtaking downhill ride, and there you are.
In principle, one can make these 56 km from the bus at Las Teresitas on foot over the side of the road, as I actually did it. I was not a solitary pedestrian there: I met a few other people walking in the both directions too. But the road is narrow, and the traffic is not insignificant, so one must be very careful and considerate towards the drivers making this difficult ride.
There may be a great temptation to make shortcuts upon the rough slopes from one loop of the road to another. I did it once to save a 1.5 km walk on the road, but I would not do it again: climbing up or descending the steep talus covered with thorny grass is by no means a safe and easy affair.

[Plaza de Espana]
Plaza de España in Santa Cruz
An additional opportunity is rendered by route bus No 245 going from Santa Cruz to the village Igueste de San Andrés. The drivers will stop the bus at the road crossing to Las Gaviotas and La Chica, if they are asked to. Then there is only 1.5 km left to go on foot upon the local road descending to the beach. I saw a few boys carrying surfboards come that way on the bus. But one must know the timetable in advance: there is just a few bus services a day on this route.

[Las Teresitas Map]
Click on the map to open it full size

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Naturist Opportunities on Tenerife
Andrei Samartsev, St. Petersburg, Russia    May 2002