Nestled on the rugged yet enchantingly beautiful coastline of El Hierro, the smallest yet remarkably captivating member of the Canary Islands, lies a precious gem that captures the true essence of natural beauty and serenity: Charco Azul. This natural seawater pool, whose name translates to “Blue Pond,” offers a unique blend of crystal-clear waters, dramatic volcanic landscapes, and an undeniable sense of adventure that invites travelers from around the globe.

Charco Azul Blue Pool El Hierro
Charco Azul Is Also Known as the Blue Pool of the Canaries – ©acongar

Want to experience a truly mesmerizing place where nature’s artistry and the island’s tranquility merge? Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer, a lover of natural wonders, or simply searching for a peaceful escape away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Charco Azul promises an unforgettable adventure. With your swimwear and sense of wonder, let’s dive into the captivating allure of El Hierro’s prized natural pool.

Created by Fire and Sea

Charco Azul is a stunning example of nature’s ability to craft beauty from power. This natural swimming pool was formed by the relentless forces of volcanic activity, which is quite fitting given that El Hierro itself is an island born from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Over time, lava flows from these eruptions reached the sea, cooling rapidly upon contact with the water and solidifying into unique shapes and forms. In the case of Charco Azul, the cooling lava created a natural basin encircled by rugged volcanic rock, perfectly shaped to hold seawater. 

The Atlantic Ocean, with its endless energy, fills this basin with crystal-clear water, creating a tranquil and safe swimming spot protected from the open sea’s strong currents and waves. Over centuries, Charco Azul has been sculpted not only by the geological processes of volcanic activity but also by the hands of time and the elements, resulting in the breathtaking natural swimming hole we see today.

Things to Do in Charco Azul

Whether you’re into snorkeling, catching some rays, or snapping Insta-worthy pics of the stunning scenery, there’s something for everyone in Charco Azul. And when you’ve soaked up all the goodness of this spot, don’t forget to check out what else this awesome destination and its nearby attractions have in store for you.

Swimming and Then Some

Charco Azul is an exceptional spot for those looking to take a dip in the unique setting of El Hierro. What makes Charco Azul particularly great for swimming is its naturally protected environment. This stunning natural pool is shielded from the open ocean by volcanic rocks, creating a serene oasis sheltered from the strong currents and waves typical of the Atlantic. Its natural barrier ensures that the waters remain calm and welcoming to all levels of swimmers.

The clarity of the water is another reason swimmers love Charco Azul. The pool is naturally replenished with seawater, offering crystal-clear conditions ideal for swimming and snorkeling, allowing visitors to clearly see the vibrant marine life beneath the surface. Additionally, the pool’s design, courtesy of volcanic activity, includes smooth areas and easy access points, making it convenient for swimmers to enter and exit the water. Plus, there are diving points for daredevils wanting to create some splash.

Beyond the physical attributes that make it a great place for swimming, Charco Azul’s unique location adds to its charm. Swimming here means being in the midst of breathtaking natural beauty, surrounded by the dramatic landscapes of El Hierro.

Natural Pool Charco Azul
Natural Pool in Charco Azul with Stunning View of the Atlantic Ocean – ©charles03

Sunbathing

Sunbathing at Charco Azul isn’t just your run-of-the-mill lounging in the sun; it’s an experience elevated by the stunning natural beauty all around you. Here, you can stretch out and soak up the warm Canary Island sun, with the soothing sounds of the ocean in the background and dramatic volcanic rock formations framing your view. It’s pretty much a sunbather’s paradise.

Charco Azul gets it—they know you’re here not just for a dip but also for that blissful sun-kissed vibe. That’s why there are specially designated spots for sunbathing. These areas are carefully laid out to make sure you’re getting the best of the sun while fitting right into the gorgeous natural landscape. It’s all about chilling in style, with the comfort of smooth, natural surfaces to lounge on and the ocean’s breeze keeping you cool.

Nature Photography

A dream spot for nature photography enthusiasts, Charco Azul offers a wealth of subjects that can captivate any photographer’s eye, from the mesmerizing blue hues of the natural pools against the rugged volcanic backdrop to the diverse textures and forms of the surrounding rock formations. The interplay of light and shadow, most especially during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset, can add a magical touch to your shots, highlighting the area’s natural beauty in stunning detail. For those into wildlife photography, while the area may not teem with a wide variety of marine life, the occasional bird or endemic species around might provide a fascinating subject.

Photographers should keep a few things in mind to make the most of their visit. Firstly, the changing tides and weather conditions can dramatically alter the landscape and lighting, offering unique opportunities but also challenges, so always be prepared for a bit of flexibility in your shooting plans. Additionally, respecting the natural environment is paramount; be mindful of where you step and set up your equipment to avoid damaging any part of this pristine setting. Lastly, don’t forget to bring along waterproof gear and protection for your equipment, as the ocean spray and humidity can be unpredictable.

Explore Nearby Attractions

Before or after soaking up the serene beauty of Charco Azul, there’s a treasure trove of nearby attractions on El Hierro that are definitely worth checking out. 

First up, don’t miss the opportunity to visit El Sabinar. This area is famous for its ancient juniper trees, which have been twisted and shaped by the relentless winds into natural sculptures. It’s a surreal landscape that feels like stepping into another world, and it’s a photographer’s paradise.

Then, there’s the Mirador de la Peña, a viewpoint designed by the renowned architect César Manrique. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of El Golfo Valley, the Atlantic Ocean, and the rugged coastline. There’s also a restaurant there, so you can enjoy some local cuisine while taking in the view.

For hikers and nature lovers, the Camino de Jinama is a must-do. This trail, one of the oldest on the island, offers stunning vistas of El Hierro and leads through some of its most beautiful landscapes, including lush forests and dramatic cliffs. Not in the mood for hiking? No worries. The trail begins at the Jinama Viewpoint, allowing you to still capture the breathtaking scenery without embarking on the full hike.Z

Lastly, for a bit of relaxation, check out the pools at the charming hamlet of Pozo de las Calcosas. These natural sea pools, enclosed by unique abodes and a cliff, are perfect for a relaxing dip.

While each of these attractions highlights a unique aspect of El Hierro’s natural and cultural beauty, enriching your Charco Azul visit, it’s worth noting that the island boasts many more wonders. These mentioned are just a glimpse of what El Hierro has to offer, with plenty more to explore beyond the vicinity of Charco Azul, promising an unforgettable journey across this remarkable island.

How to Get There

Here’s how to make your way to Charco Azul from a few key locations on the island. For those opting to drive, input the GPS coordinates 27°45’43.1″N 18°02’23.3″W into your navigation system for precise directions to this stunning destination.

From Valverde

Driving: Start on the HI-10, then continue on the HI-5 and HI-550. Make a sharp right onto C. Charco Azul.

Public Transportation: Unfortunately, direct public transportation to Charco Azul from Valverde is limited to taxis. If you prefer to take the bus, perhaps because you have plenty of time and wish to enjoy the beauty of nearby towns, you’ll need to embark on multiple bus rides. Start with bus line 05 from Valverde to Mocanal, then switch to bus line 03 to the Frontera bus terminal. From there, take bus line 12 to Los Llanillos, which is only a few minutes walk to Charco Azul. Check the local bus service for any possible routes that may take you close to the area.

From Frontera

Driving: La Frontera is only a couple of minutes away from Charco Azul. Simply take the HI-50 road and continue following it as it merges with HI-550, keeping an eye out for signs to Charco Azul. The route is straightforward and well-signed.

Public Transportation: Bus line 12 can’t take you directly from Frontera to Charco Azul, but it can get you quite close since it stops at Los Llanillos. Make sure to check the latest bus schedules for routes that get close to the area, and consider taking a taxi for the final stretch to Charco Azul.

From El Pinar

Driving: From El Pinar, head northeast on the HI-4 through Taibique and Las Casas, heading towards San Andrés. Continue on HI-10, HI-5, and HI-550, then continue to HI-551 and make a sharp right onto C. Charco Azul.

Public Transportation: Direct public transport from El Pinar to Charco Azul might be challenging to find. It’s best to take bus line 02 to Valverde and follow the instructions from Valverde to Los Llanillos or just take the taxi.

Traveler Tips

Here are some top tips to ensure your adventure is as amazing as the destination itself:

Check the Weather: Before you head out, take a peek at the local weather forecast. Charco Azul is best enjoyed on a sunny day when the sky is clear and the waters are inviting. But remember, El Hierro’s weather can be a bit unpredictable, so it’s always good to be prepared.

Wear Comfortable Shoes: Although the path to Charco Azul is well-maintained, wearing comfortable shoes is a must. You’ll navigate some natural terrain, and good footwear will make walking easier and more enjoyable.

Bring a Waterproof Camera: You’ll want to capture the stunning beauty of Charco Azul, so a waterproof device or a waterproof case for your smartphone is a great idea. There’s plenty to photograph, from the vibrant marine life to the dramatic volcanic rock formations.

Pack Snacks and Water: There aren’t any facilities right by Charco Azul, so bringing some snacks and plenty of water is wise. Stay hydrated and energized to fully enjoy your time swimming and exploring.

Respect the Environment: Charco Azul is a natural wonder, and it’s up to all of us to keep it that way. Please avoid leaving any trash behind and be mindful of the local flora and fauna. Let’s preserve its beauty for future visitors!

Arrive Early or Late: To avoid the crowds and have a more serene experience, try to visit Charco Azul either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Not only will you enjoy some quiet time, but the lighting for photographs is also magical during these hours.

Know Your Limits: The allure of the crystal-clear waters is strong, but always be mindful of your swimming abilities. Charco Azul is generally safe, but the ocean can be unpredictable. Pay attention to local advice and posted signs regarding swimming conditions.

Explore the Surroundings: While Charco Azul is the star of the show, the area around it is full of natural beauty and charming towns. Make some time to explore El Hierro further; you’ll be surprised at what this small island has to offer.

FAQ

Check this short list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Charco Azul, designed to help you plan your visit effectively:

Is there an entry fee to access Charco Azul?

No, accessing Charco Azul is free of charge. It’s a natural attraction open to the public.

Are there facilities or amenities available at Charco Azul?

Charco Azul in El Hierro is a natural attraction that offers a pure and unadulterated nature experience. As such, it does not have facilities or amenities like changing rooms, showers, or sunbathing decks on-site. Visitors should come prepared, bringing their own necessities such as water, snacks, towels, and sun protection, and plan accordingly for a more rustic and natural experience.

Is Charco Azul suitable for children?

Yes, Charco Azul is family-friendly. However, due to the natural environment and the presence of deep water, children should always be supervised by adults.

Can I find accommodation near Charco Azul?

While there are no accommodations directly next to Charco Azul, the nearby towns of Frontera and Valverde offer a range of lodging options, from hotels to vacation rentals.

The Raw Beauty of El Hierro Through Charco Azul

And there you have it—the essential guide to exploring Charco Azul, one of El Hierro’s hidden gems. This natural pool, carved by the relentless will of the ocean and cradled by volcanic rock, offers more than just a place to swim; it’s a sanctuary where the elements of nature converge in harmony. With its crystal-clear waters inviting you for a dip and the surrounding landscapes whispering tales of ancient geological wonders, Charco Azul is undoubtedly a testament to the island’s raw beauty.

While it might lack the conventional amenities of a tourist hotspot, this only adds to its charm, encouraging a closer connection with nature and a more authentic adventure. Remember, visiting Charco Azul is not just about taking a refreshing swim—it’s about embracing the serene and unspoiled character of El Hierro itself.