There is a well guarded and little-known secret to the west of Gran Canaria, where hectic hustle and bustle can be calmed down with a relaxing bathe in a fresh water pool. This place is called El Charco Azul.
You can reach this spot from the village of El Risco, some 49 kilometres from Las Palmas and just 14 kilometres from Agaete. El Risco is a tiny hamlet with around 300 inhabitants, behind which is one of the finest hybrid treasures on the island. It is one of those spots for those looking for more unconventional natural attractions.
Many day-trippers who rush past this tiny village can easily make the mistake of overlooking El Risco. It is easy to see it as a simple place to stop off at for a quick drink and a breather on your way around the winding main road.
However, there is much more to this place than meets the eye. Firstly, you will be pleasantly surprised by the traditional family welcome you will receive from the locals. Then after this you will find yourself in a stunning piece of countryside that seems to draw you in and keep you walking on and on.
As we make our way through the ever changing daytime colours of the ravine, we are treated to a gorgeous spectacle. We can cast our eyes over the hillsides of the ravine, with agricultural plots that are dotted about with Canary palm trees and pools. And we are on our way to one very special pool here. This is the final destination of our ramble. After around half an hour’s walk we come to the Charco Azul.
There are plenty of reasons to go for a dip in the main pool. The Charco Azul obtains its water from the Mountains of Tirma. The bathe will pick you up and give you renewed vigour after your tiring walk here. A splash among the mountains, cliffs and high above sea level, is definitely an experience worth repeating.
The presence of running water depends on the time of year, but the site is a great place to come to any season. There is certainly less water around from June to September, differing from the pictures shown in photos, taken during April.
Whether there is a lot of water or just a little, you will always find something in your walk around the Charco Azul. You will see a mosaic of colours both on your way up and on your way down, from the pine trees to the cliffs and viceversa. If you pay special attention, you will tune into peace and quiet, the croaking of a frog or the fleeting flight of a dragonfly in search of pure water. You will see everything come together, under the twinkling light of the sun as it beats down over the high massifs, gorges, valleys and cliffs where your worries will simply fade away, slipping off into total silence.
Now you are at peace with yourself, you can leave the Charco Azul, to come back again another day.
For all those who prefer to go along in summer, there is the option of following the line marked out along the ravine down to the coast, and enjoying a bathe in the sea at Playa del Risco, another place that is off the tourist map, from where they used to extract sand and gravel. We do recommend you take the utmost care, as the beach is often affected by strong waves.