|Melenara Beach: Gran Canaria's East Coast Beach|
While it is hard to pick a must-visit spot on the East coast, several bits are worth a stop: Divers, windsurfers and seafood lovers should definitely check it out!
Melenara is the biggest beach on the East coast. It is wide and never crowded, with small waves perfect for body surfing and general frolicking. Unfortunately, when the authorities did it up a few years ago they shipped in a load of cheap, brown sand instead of the nice yellow kind. Had they forked out the extra cash, Melenara would be on the tourist trail. Maybe they wanted to keep it local!
Melenara is hugely popular with Canarians, who love combining a trip to the beach with a seafood feast. The line of excellent local restaurants behind the beach do some of the best calamares and fried fish on the island. Melenara’s restaurants are packed at the weekends but quiet during the week. After food, walk along the promenade that connects Melenara with Taliarte to the north.
Pozo Izquierdo is a little town full of tanned dudes and dudettes living the windsurfing and kite surfing dream. Pozo is permanently windy; perfect for watersports but not much else. Because lots of guirris (foreigners) live in "Pozo", it has a couple of groovy cafes and a Bohemian atmosphere.
Arinaga used to be famous for being very ugly and very windy. The it built a wide seafront promenade and a huge natural swimming pool. Now Arinaga is a pleasant place to go for a swim and a spot of lunch. Its restaurants all have sea views and charge local prices. It is also the closest town to the world-famous El Cabron dive site just to the north. El Cabron beach by the dive site is almost always empty, apart from the stream of frogmen getting in and out of the water.
El Burrero Beach is a bit of gem. It’s only small but the sand is golden and the water calm. There are little fishing boats pulled up on the sand and even a tiny archaeological ruin just by the shore. During the week you will have it all to yourself. The tiny town next door has a couple
of shops and a bar with unreliable hours.
Tiny Tufia is toast! Almost all of its picturesque 90 houses has been condemned by the Spanish government because they were built illegally in a nature reserve. The residents argue that they have been there for years and don't damage the local environment. The battle for Tufia is likely to roll on for years: No politician is ever going to be brave enough to send in the bulldozers! In the meantime it's a pretty little village with a tiny beach that makes a good swimming and picnic spot.
Gran Canaria's East coast will always play second fiddle to the South. It is understated and under-rated, and has its own, albeit windswept, charm. Take a day to explore it and you may well find your own little favourite spot that nobody else has even heard of.
Check out my East Coast Flickr Gallery for more photos of the area.
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