Beach Art in South Tenerife

Mon, December 10th, 2012 - By Linda

You come to Tenerife for the beaches and the sunshine, right? You expect to relax, take a dip, top up the tan, but what you might not expect is an outdoor art experience. But that’s exactly what you might find on beaches from Costa Adeje to El Médano, and I’m not referring to the occasional hawker touting their watercolours of the Canary Islands.



Beach art uses the materials found naturally on beaches; sand, stones and rocks and occasionally driftwood or seaweed, and perhaps its most famous form is the sandcastle, something most of us did as kids. Sand sculptors, however, take our childhood fantasy to whole new levels.

Anywhere in the world where you find beaches, from Florida to Benidorm, you can stumble across a representation of Neptune or Geronimo, a brace of dragons, or perhaps Cinderella’s castle, molded out of damp sand, the sculptor carefully spraying or ladling water over it to keep the work from falling apart – an especially difficult task on Los Cristianos’s dry beaches – a cap or towel laid out to receive any tips you may want to leave in appreciation. And you will appreciate some of these fantastic creations.



Sand sculpting in the USA is big business, earning millions of dollars for the communities which sponsor competitions, with competitors crisscrossing the country to take part, and also attracting sculptors from Europe, Asia and Australia. We haven’t reached anything like those levels here in Tenerife, but in Los Cristianos there are often sculptures themed to the local fiesta in September or to Christmas, a very grand affair depicting the traditional story of the season.

The works are usually carried out close to the promenades and walkways to attract attention from strollers as well as beach-goers and of course to keep them as far away from incoming tides as possible. If they aren’t vandalized overnight, which happens surprisingly infrequently, they will last for several days so if you’re taking an evening stroll along Geranium Walk in Playa de las Americas or Los Cristianos keep an eye out for these original creations, they will probably surprise you.



Somewhat more permanent and also surprisingly infrequently vandalized are rock balancing structures. Walkers are used to seeing these sometimes amazing constructions marking routes or  summits and like sand sculptures, it’s an art form which is practiced around the world. There are even teams which do it professionally,  traveling to public events and happenings to create structures. Hikers in the Canary Islands will often find them by the wayside, including in the Teide National Parque, but the place which has acquired some fame locally is Playa Beril in Costa Adeje where an entire pebble beach is given over to rock balancing.



If you take an evening stroll along Geranium Walk in the direction of  La Caleta you will see it at its best. The rock balances set against the setting sun are very effective and slightly eerie and other-worldly. Needless to say they make a marvellous photo op.

Beach art is sometimes no more than the artistic arranging of pebbles and shells to form a picture in the sand, so keep your eyes open to see what you can spot on Tenerife’s beaches besides sunbeds and bodyboards.

Posted : Monday, December 10th, 2012 at 10:07 am
Category : beaches
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