Alex Bramwell, on his consistently-informative Sunshine Guide to Gran Canaria, has bigged up the “hidden” El Puertillo. I remember an even more tucked-away beach where instead of the Red Cross being on call (as they are now) you had bearded legend Sandokán aka Manuel Sosa Medina who used to rush off on rescue operations in his trusty boat. Before they built the newish slip road, you had to access El P through the village to which it belongs, Bañaderos.
El Puertillo: A beach for locals?
I expressed my fears when the slip road was being built to a football team-mate who lives in the area. “Matthew, don’t worry, ” Chano sought to reassure me. “This is, and will always be, an Arucas beach.” Chano was right in that people still travel down the gloriously-winding GC-330 (for an adrenaline rush, try descending on a mountain-bike as I recently did). However, the numbers making the visit to El Puertillo from the capital, a mere 11 minutes away, have definitely increased.
Salt lake city
But you can escape the hordes on El Puertillo’s beach and I don’t mean by heading to the new terrace on the gentrified promenade. There’s no access from the beach side anyway, probably a way of keeping la gente (the plebs) away from the pijos (snobs) listening to generic ambient music. Instead, visit during the week. Alternatively, walk behind the main playa in the direction of the old Las Salinas salt-works where you’ll find a collection of charcos (rockpools) to wallow around in.
As you can see, these are regularly topped up by the surge of the Atlantic, a bad boy of an ocean if ever there was one. Yes, it does look like a jacuzzi. So head on down to a natural spa, rather than having to dip into your wallet to visit one in a hotel.