First things first, you can swim in the sea at any time of the year in Tenerife. However, there are a few things that you need to know about swimming in the waters around Tenerife before taking the plunge.
Sea temperatures around Tenerife’s coastline vary very little between summer and winter, staying around 19/22C. It’s a pleasant temperature for swimming in… as long as the sun is shining.
Whilst sea temperatures change little throughout the year, the temperature above water does. It’s one thing diving into refreshing waters when thermometers are steaming at 30+ in summer, but diving into the same water when it’s winter and 21C on the beach is more likely to result in a high-pitched yelp. When you head to the sea on a sunny January day, the water feels welcoming enough. But if it clouds over and the sun’s warmth is stolen, it can be a very different and goose pimply picture.
The biggest obstacle to swimming in the sea in Tenerife isn’t the temperature, it’s the waves.
For anyone staying in the southern resorts of Los Cristianos, Playa de la Américas and Costa Adeje waves are less of a problem. Resort beaches tend to be man-made with protective breakwaters or even near a harbour which keeps the waves at bay most of the time. Playa Las Teresitas outside of Santa Cruz is the same and perfect for those who like the sea to be like a lagoon.
Head north where beaches are more rugged, dramatic and exposed to the Atlantic and it’s a very different picture. La Orotava’s beaches at Playa Bollullo are some of the most attractive on Tenerife, but swimming there is only recommended if you’re as at home in the sea as the average mermaid. At Puerto de la Cruz, the ferocity of the Atlantic rollers can make a dip in the sea a bit of a lottery. Even if it’s a gloriously sunny day, the lifeguards could be flying a green flag (strip off and dive in), a yellow (dive in but don’t stray too far) or a red (no swimming even if you’re a dolphin).
The worst time for lively waves is during the change of seasons. In October/November and March/April there can be some pretty spectacular displays on Tenerife’s beaches. If you venture onto the beaches without breakwaters during this period, keep an eye on the waves crashing on the sand; more than once we’ve had to leg it up the beach to escape wayward waves that threatened to drag our towels and clothes back into the deep blue.
Compared to some places, sea-life around Tenerife is friendly but occasionally you have to be aware of potential hazards. The last few weeks have seen an invasion of jellyfish in some parts with El Médano, Los Cristianos, Playa San Juan and Los Gigantes suffering from an influx of the stingy, wobbly creatures. Lifeguards post warning notices if there are any dangers, so always take note of flags and signs before diving into the unknown.
In reality, for most of the year the sea around Tenerife is a joy to swim in and anyway, even when it isn’t, there are pools and swimming complexes galore.
Category : beaches
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