Beach exploring in Tenerife.
We didn’t bring bathing suits to Ireland - shocker. And we didn’t think far ahead enough to pack them for our jaunt to Tenerife. Fortunately, there was Pennyes. (It’s only known as Pennyes in Ireland. Elsewhere, it’s Primark.) The department store is a clothing-focused Target with a trendy selection of wearable fashions. It's famous for its bargains and has thus been our go-to shop for years. Our eyes light up when we see the name.
Back to the point: Tenerife + sun + days on the beach = a need for bathing suits. We picked up a few from Penneyes and slung them in our backpacks.
Unfortunately, they didn’t see much of the sun. Too accustomed to the bathtub water off our Florida coast, we considered Tenerife’s ocean temperatures not so inviting. Even most locals didn’t brave the waters. Alas, we wanted our day at the beach.
Roque de las Bodegas
We picked up some grocery store snacks and headed for the lesser-known beaches (amongst tourists anyway), starting with Roque de las Bodegas, in Taganana, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, on the northwestern tip of the island. To our backs were the Anaga Mountains and at our feet was a combination of grey sand, pebbles, and large rocks. We didn’t fancy a dip but maybe some sun and gazing. So we perched ourselves on a boulder-sized rock just far enough from the sea spray and ripped into our snacks.
We heard of even better beaches further south so we set out - Benijo bound. Seeing no actual signs for Benijo, we followed what we thought was a continuation of the coastal road, but it seemed to dead end on a dirt “clearing” that morphed into a coastal hiking path. Clearing is a generous term, which I discovered when I tried to turn our rental car around on it - mountain rock face to my right and the Atlantic ocean just below the cliff to my left. The stuff of nightmares! But we managed and found a small street spot near an unopened beach restaurant. Let’s just say that some of the rental car paint is still on the curb I managed to scrape, but thank goodness for the peace of mind that comes with insurance.
We ran back to peek over the edge of the cliff our car just braved for a stunning snapshot of what we learned was actually Benijo beach just below - black beauty.
Just around the corner, past the commandingly yellow El Mirador cafe, we climbed down what seemed like an endless labyrinth of wooden and, at times, steep stairs. It was a breathtaking introduction - an untainted, pristine patch of coast with the blackest volcanic sand you could imagine. We crossed an area of medium-sized rock boulders to a section of just sand, didn’t even wait to put our stuff down, kicked off our sneakers and socks and sank our toes into the black. Sure, sand is sand. But this, this was like gritty, clean mud. It retained water so you could squeeze out the moisture in every handful. The compacted sand washed over by the waves was as hard as wood floor, giving ever so slightly with each footprint.
We tossed up the sand for a bit and then sat and read, allowing our skin to feel the sun; while our eyes took in the water between pages.