Last week we visited the town of Aguimes. As with most places in Gran Canaria, Aguimes is not only a town, but also an area.
The municipality of Agüimes is divided into three perfectly defined areas: the grazing or mountain area beginning at an altitude of 300 metres above sea-level, the agricultural area situated at 275 metres above sea-level (where the Historic Quarter of Agüimes is situated) and the coastal area which heads for the fishing village of Arinaga.
It was the coastal area that we visited this time, starting with the lighthouse.
The terrain in this area looks like it could be on another planet – windy and desolate-looking.
But it was an easy drive on a well maintained dirt road up to the lighthouse.
The Punta de Arinaga Lighthouse is an active lighthouse. The first lighthouse was completed in 1897, as part of the first maritime lighting plan for the Canaries, built in a similar style to other Canarian 19th century lights. The light was shown from a lantern room at the top of a six-metre-high (20 ft) masonry tower, attached to the seaward side of the house, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It remained in service until it was replaced in the 1960s by a new taller tower, which was connected to the side of the original station. This second tower was removed in the recent refurbishment and renovation of the original building.
The third lighthouse which was also built nearby, first entered service in 1984. This active light consists of a 14-metre-high (46 ft) cylinder-shaped tower, which supports twin galleries and the lantern. The lantern emits both red and white light, varying with direction, at a focal height of 47 m above sea level. The white light can be seen for 12 nautical miles and the red for nine.
The lighthouse is not connected to the electricity grid, but instead is powered by six solar panels charging a set of batteries.
To the right of the lighthouse is a restaurant, but it wasn’t open, although there was a flurry of activity inside, indicating that they open later in the day.
There’s no beach here, only craggy cliffs and treacherous-looking sea, although there was a man fishing down below, so maybe it wasn’t as treacherous as it looked. I wasn’t going to be the one to find out.
Driving a little further down, we came to El Cabron beach. At first glance, it looked like a place where the general public wasn’t really welcome as it looked like there were a couple of apartment buildings and some houses, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
But I learned that, due to the crystal clear waters here, it’s a popular spot for scuba diving and we saw a few people offloading their equipment and doing just that.
A little further north still is Playa Vargas, extremely popular for windsurfing and kite surfing.
To the right of the lighthouse is a jetty which is a jumping off point for divers and swimmers alike
and then further down, a pebble beach with delightful little rock pools at low tide with tiny little fish swimming in them (I love rock pools).
When I said wind, I meant wind – constant and all day. The largest wind farm in the Canary Islands is there along with the largest single windmill (right opposite the beach). There’s even a wind turbine in the ocean!
To the very south of the town (closest to that HUGE wind turbine) you’ll find the salt farm
We walk along the promenade towards Arinaga Town
where we come across this interesting-looking sculpture
and then down the other side to the beach
past pretty houses
and a row of fish sculptures!
Once a small fishing village, (how did I guess?) Arinaga town has two beaches along it’s seafront promenade. Both are a mix of pebbles and sand and are best visited at low tide, otherwise the sandy beaches are underwater. Even if you are in Arinaga at high tide and the beaches are underwater, you can always swim and sunbathe at the lido area and there are even wooden decks to sunbathe on.
The seafront promenade stretches the length of the town and has several famous fish restaurants by the jetty
and at the far northern tip by the lime kiln museum.