June on Tenerife, Beach Parties and Goat Bathing

Mon, May 23rd, 2011 - By Jack Montgomery

If someone asked me what the best month to visit Tenerife would be I’d have to opt for June for the simple reason that there are oodles of really cool events taking place during the month.

 

For a start there’s the Santa Blues festival in Santa Cruz, although we never know exactly when until a week or so before it takes place (Tenerife and good marketing are not terms that mix well). Then there’s Corpus Christi and the enchanting La Orotava flower carpets followed by a flamboyant romería (harvest festival) in the same town. It’s also the month that one of my favourite fiestas of the year takes place on the beaches across Tenerife. The Fiesta of San Juan on Midsummer’s Eve involves partying, live bands, bonfires, fireworks and stripping off at midnight to bathe in the magical Midsummer waters.

It doesn’t matter where you are on Tenerife on the eve of the 23rd June…as long as you’re near a beach. Even in the main tourist resorts of Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos local people take to the sands to celebrate a tradition that’s been around since Tenerife’s original inhabitants, the Guanche, wandered around the island in their goatskin equivalent of Speedos and bikinis.

 

Events range from the intimate, small bands of local musicians and rows of fiery torches lighting up crescent-shaped beaches near Garachico, to huge events like the beach parties in Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz. On Playa Jardín in Puerto de la Cruz, tens of thousands of people fill the sands from 7pm onwards to listen to live bands playing sounds that can range from traditional folk music to thumping rock anthems. It’s customary to bring mountains of food and enough wine to see you through what can be seven hours plus of partying. It might seem a bit intimidating to first-timers but the Canarios are a friendly bunch and everyone is made to feel welcome.

Round about midnight a firework display announces that Midsummer has arrived and it’s time to take to the water. This Midsummer bathing is a serious business – Tinerfeños believe that bathing in the magic waters guarantees good health, love (if that’s what you’re looking for) and increased fertility which, considering all the booze that’s been consumed and the fact that everyone is wearing skimpy swimwear, can be a risky business.

 

The midnight bathing usually signals the end of the official celebrations in Puerto de la Cruz. However, many continue to enjoy the balmy night on the beach for a few hours longer…which means that there are never too many spectators for a quite bizarre ritual the following morning. Goatherds and horsemen from the La Orotava Valley bring their animals to Puerto’s harbour and systematically dunk each one in the water for exactly the same reasons that humans took to the sea a few hours previously – good health and fertility. It’s a visually absorbing process which involves a lot of indignant bleating and neighing and lasts from early morning to around midday.

Take my advice and join in with the fiestas of San Juan and whilst I can’t guarantee good health and fertility, I can guarantee an incredible and unforgettable Tenerife experience.

Posted : Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 11:29 am
Category : beaches
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One Response to “June on Tenerife, Beach Parties and Goat Bathing”

  1. […] I could have spent all three nights at Santa Blues, or headed to the beach on Thursday for the Noche de San Juan live bands and it wouldn’t have cost me any more than the price of my beer. If I had wanted, […]

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