Charco Azul Blue Lagoon in Gran Canaria

Charco Azul
A Blue Lagoon in
Gran Canaria’s Wild West

My whole body tensed as it broke the surface of the pond. Cool, translucent water shocked my slightly sunburnt skin, still warm from the short hike from El Risco to Charco Azul.

It was worth it.

Charco Azul, Gran Canaria Feature

Small as it may be, the sapphire blue water of the Charco Azul (“Blue Pond” – definitely sounds better in Spanish) is worth a visit for anyone who finds themselves near El Risco in the northwest coast of Gran Canaria. The pond is easy enough to reach, with some lovely landscapes on the way and a perfect, picturesque place to take a solitary dip and cool down beneath the small waterfall.

When to Visit the Charco Azul

The best time to visit Charco Azul is spring, when the waterfalls are still streaming, the water in the pond is still fresh and plenty and it’s neither too hot for the hike nor too cold to dive in.

Spring is also the perfect time to see Gran Canarias’s colorful vegetation on the short trek to the charco, like the vibrant red and orange poppies bursting to life, and my personal favorite, the yellow and coral blossoms blooming from the prickly pear cacti.

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Lookin' *sharp* 😄🙃🌵

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The charco is rarely inundated with people, but if you’re aiming for some quiet time try to go on a weekday when you’re more likely to have the little oasis all to yourself. If you set off in the morning, you’ll have the whole day to swim, have a siesta in the sun and enjoy a picnic lunch beside the trickling waterfall.

Trekking to the Charco Azul

Once you reach the small village of El Risco, you´ll see a parking area just off the highway in front Bar Perdomo.  From there, signs point you toward the blue lagoon, though you can always ask the group of local old dudes gathered in front of the café enjoying the morning sunlight to point you in the right direction.

The short trek to Charco Azul only takes about 30-45 minutes for fit walkers and is easy enough to get to. You’ll first ascend through the pretty white village of El Risco, complete with vibrant bougainvillea and a few stray cats napping in sun puddles.

At the end of the village, you’ll turn left onto the path that goes through the barranco, the lush green ravine that will lead you to the lagoon. The walk is easy enough, though you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for drop offs and pinchy prickly pears. The path can be more or less visible in places, but as long as you head straight on you won’t get lost.

Soon enough you’ll reach a large, open area with massive, broad stone surfaces and a small pool, but that’s not what you’re here for, it’s just a sneak peek.

Trek to Charco Azul, Gran Canaria

Continue on the path leaning toward the left. There are a few parts here where you’ll have to scramble along holding onto rock outcroppings, but considering the amount of families with young children who make it safely here and back, you should make it unscathed.

A Day Out at Charco Azul

As the path came to an end at the beautiful, glittering pool backed up against the tall walls of the ravine, we took in the scenery and braced ourselves to dive in. We dipped our toes in knowing it was going to be cold in early spring…

But hey, you only live once right?

Charco Azul, Gran Canaria

Chucking our clothes aside, we found the deepest part of the small, sapphire pool and jumped in, a shock of cold piercing our warm, sun kissed skin.

After a swim and some chattering teeth, we settled in for our picnic lunch and whiled away the rest of that sunny spring afternoon to the soundtrack of the waterfall filling the pool — swimming, sunbathing and siestaing along the bank of the pond and on the small shelf just behind the pool. Aside from a group of spelunkers who ‘dropped by” — rappelling down the waterfall — we had the Charco Azul all to ourselves.

Charco Azul, Gran Canaria

As the sun started to dip behind the high walls of the ravine, we gathered our things and made our way back to El Risco along the same path, arriving back to the village and Bar Perdomo just in time to watch the sky spark into pinks and oranges as it dipped down out of view and into the Atlantic.

Just another day in paradise.

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Splish Splash 💦💙

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Getting to El Risco

The small village of El Risco along the northwestern coastal cliffs of Gran Canaria is the starting point for any trip to Charco Azul. From Bar Perdomo, just follow the signs for the short hike through the village and then the ravine toward the Charco Azul.

El Risco, Gran Canaria

El Risco By Car

El Risco is just between the regions of Agaete and San Nicolas de la Aldea. From Las Palmas, take the windy coastal highway G-2 to Agaete and then follow the wild western coastal highway, GC-200. It should take about an hour, and while it’s not the scariest of the islands’ windy highways, it’s not the easiest either.

You can also reach El Risco from the south by travelling north along the west coast, but the highway here is even more windy and rugged and I’d only recommend it for confident drivers.

Once you reach Bar Perdomo, you can leave your car in the parking section reserved for visits to the Charco Azul at no cost. From there, follow the signs to the start of the trek.

El Risco By Bus

Buses to the western coast of Gran Canaria aren’t exactly the most convenient (read: pretty sucky), but if driving isn’t an option, you can take the Global Bus 105 from Las Palmas to Gáldar and then transfer to Global Bus 101 from Gáldar to El Risco. You’ll be dropped off right in front of Bar Perdomo where the trek to Charco Azul begins. If you time the transfer well, the bus journey should take about two hours.

Buses from the south to El Risco take an impossibly long time and frankly just aren’t worth it.

Charco Azul, Gran Canaria Pinterest

A Day Along the Agaete Coast

The Charco Azul is only just one of the charming destinations in Agaete and along the northwest coast. If you want to make a day of it, there are plenty of other local sights to enjoy along the way.

Visit the charming white washed town of Agaete and adjoining Puerto de las Nieves, where you can swim in the natural pools, have lunch on a sunny terrace or explore the ancient indigenous land at Maipés.

Trek down and take a dip in Playa Guayedra, a virgin beach just beyond the charming town of Agaete along the coastal highway.

Playa Guayedra, Gran Canaria

Continue driving the coastal highway to stunning La Aldea de San Nicolas, the wild west of Gran Canaria.

Whether you decide to spend the whole day at Charco Azul or to combine the day trip with another wild west excursion, you’re sure not to be dissapointed. Get exploring!

Until next time, isleños!
         Erica 💙✌️🏝️

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Iulia Ganea says:

    What a beautiful trip! Nature trails, than sapphire waters then picturesque villages. I have never been to these islands, but I would love to because I feel it’s a place where you can enjoy mountains, sea, scenic towns all in the same place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      The islands really do have somthing for everyone! Sun, sand and sea along the coasts and lush, verdant mountains dotted with charming whitewashed villages in the center 🙂


  2. Jenia says:

    Man, that scenery is striking. Really sounds like a perfect afternoon. Was the pool pretty deep?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      It’s deep enough to dive in! Perfect for hiding away on a hot summer day 🙂


  3. I have friends that go to Gran Canaria every year and they keep trying to get me to come along. Visiting the town El Risco and trekking to the Charco Azul Blue Lagoon is deffo up my street. If we do go we’ll have to check out it mid-week. The mini oasis looks like its better enjoyed without the crowds. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      I think a lot of people imagine Gran Canaria as the tourist resorts in the south, but there’s so much more to it then that! The north is full of hidden gems like this to play and get lost in 🙂


  4. Maggie McKneely says:

    I’ve never been to the Canary Islands, but I’ve been reading a lot about them recently! I love that this Charco Azul place seem look touristy at all; thats my main concern when it comes to tropical island destinations! But I love hiking and getting away from the crowds, so this would be a great thing to do if I ever go there 🙂


  5. I never heard of Charco Azul before but it truly looks like the American Wild West! We have found a similar landscape on the USA West coast! A picnic near a beautiful waterfall like that sounds like the perfect plan!


    1. Erica says:

      Yes, it’s interesting how a tiny island off the coast of Africa could have so much in common with the west coast of the USA. I love being reminded with nostalgia of other destinations when I’m in a completely different part of the world.


  6. your pictures look beautiful! the water really does look so clear! you say that there is a 30 minute hike is there an option for a longer hike?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      There’s always a longer option 🙂 It’s just 30 minutes if you park at the town of El Risco, but you could always take a detour from Playa El Risco below, or simply go a more round about way of exploring the ravine. There’s absolutely no shortage of walking and hiking trails in Gran Canaria!


  7. The lagoon looks so inviting! And I love your reference to “old dudes soaking up the morning sun” as the go-to for askingn directions. I am sure they are continually amuzed by the tourists wandering by and have to chuckle at how many villages we have visited over the years that could fit that same description — a cafe frequented by old dudes as the place to go to ask directions. Nice photos too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Absolutely! I first started internationally about 12 years ago and smart phones with google maps were definitely not a thing yet. And in a way, I prefer it that way! I love asking strangers for directions and getting their input, recommendations, etc. I think it adds an important layer to our travels, wouldn’t you agree?


  8. Ha you’re right, it does sound better in Spanish! I have some family in Gran Canaria who I visit often but I have yet to go to the Church Azul! I must rectify that next spring! I love traveling in the spring so it’s good to know that this is the best time to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      You’re so lucky to have family in Gran Canaria, but you’ll have to scold them for not taking you to the Charco Azul yet! It’s quite an easy hike up from the town of El Risco and the area is breathtaking in spring 🙂


  9. Jack says:

    Great post! Been to the Canary Islands but not to Gran Canaria. Would love to explore the natural sights, especially the Charco Azul. The colours and rock formations look stunning, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      It’s a gorgeous island, they call it “the continent in miniature” since it has everything from verdant mountains to white sand beaches to volcanic natural pools… definitely something for everyone! Which of the islands have you visited?


  10. Paula Morgan says:

    You had me at white villages and bougainvillaea but throw in a waterfall and I am there. This sounds like a perfect day trip and I think you are right. Spring is the best time to travel to this area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks for reading & commenting 🙂


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