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As we briefly mentioned on our general introduction pages, this area of the south east coast around Puerto del Carmen is widely recognised as having some of the largest beaches on the island, all of which carry the prestigious European Blue Flag for cleanliness, water quality and facilities. The main resort beach at around 1.2km long, is called Playa Grande, which roughly translates into English as "large beach". Playa Grande shelves gently into the sea, making it very popular with families with children, and as a added bonus the sea is usually very calm with little, if any, currents.
As you would expect, the beach is cleaned every day and has loads of amenities including sun beds, parasols, first aid facilities, toilets, showers and snack bars. Despite it size, Playa Grande can still become very crowded at weekends due to the sheer numbers of both tourist and locals alike who wish to take advantage of its facilities.
This beach was once known locally as La Tinosa, which translates into English as "The Stained One", however, for purely commercial reasons it was felt that "The Stained One" somehow lacked appeal, and hence the subsequent name change.
The smaller cove of Playa Chica is adjacent to the old town and close to the Hotel Fariones at the edge of the resort. Playa Chica is surrounded by volcanic rock formations and is a popular site for diving and snorkeling in the clear waters. Playa Chica also has a very good selection of water sports activities available to suit all ages and abilities, including jet skis, parascending and the ever popular banana boat.
Moving north from Puerto del Carmen, development funds from the European Union have in recent years been used to create a wide traffic free promenade connecting the resort to the beaches at Playa de los Pocillos and Playa de Matagorda. Playa de Matagorda has however, been described on more than one occasion as being a plane spotters paradise, and is certainly not the place to spend a quiet relaxing day. At one point the airport runway lights actually extend through the beach area and into the sea, and it is not uncommon for aircraft to pass as low as 300ft above sunbathers at this point, on their final approach before landing. In all fairness to Playa de Matagorda, the beach does actually stretch for some 1,200 metres further south of the airport, and its mixture of sand and small volcanic stones have been awarded the prestigious European Blue Flag for its facilities, cleanliness, and water quality.
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