Contributor Review – Leonora Ruffo
Local Expert. Visited 2023
Get ready to experience the most authentic southern beach lifestyle you can find in Tenerife! We are talking about Playa Diego Hernandez, better known as La Caleta, a sun-kissed secluded beach surrounded by high cliffs and cactuses, where you will really feel like you escaped society and found a little corner of paradise and freedom. Here, everyone is welcome; solo travelers, families with babies, groups of friends, couples, you name it. Nudity is not mandatory. You can go naked, topless, or with a full bathing suit. No one will judge you or think about what you look like, as diversity is the main theme here. If you prefer having a more private experience, you can choose to go there during weekdays, since the site tends to be much more crowded during weekends.
With its charming golden sand, the beach extends from a vertical white cliff, topped with endemic plants, to the next hill, much rounder in shape. Do not expect a massive stretch of sand to choose from; the beach is about half a kilometer long. A rocky formation in the center divides the beach into two parts, with the first one on the left being much more free, authentic, and nudist, while the second half past the rocks is more dressed up and suitable for families who do not want to merge too much with the hippie side. Usual beach-goers will surely tell you that the best spots are to be found in the first half, and we couldn’t agree more. Not only because the original community of ‘La Caleta’ used to gather here, but also because it has the most interesting rocky shapes and the best views on the majestic cliffs siding it on the left, assuring you to really experience the beach and its singularities. Here you will also find the few commercial activities held by locals, such as a cocktail stand, a massage practitioner, improvised markets of macramé or other art forms, and occasionally some food.
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If this is the first time you go to a nudist beach, La Caleta might just be perfect for you, as lots of people have experienced public nudity here for the first time and you will instantly mix gracefully with the bystanders. You will soon feel like you have done this forever! No one will notice you.
The beach is also known for the variety of its visitors. You will meet plenty of young folks from all over the world, creating a beautiful cultural meeting point for solo travelers where all languages are spoken. All of this, in a strongly respectful place for each body and individuality. It’s not unusual to meet families too, just hanging out with their kids and dogs, playing games such as ping pong, football, or bodyboarding between waves.
But what is considered to be the most interesting trait about La Caleta is its original inhabitants. A whole community lives here, now less numerous than back in the days, but still bringing family vibes to the beach. You will recognize them by the unique way they greet each other, saying “bambulé”, a word that is soon taken up by those who get to have a chat with them, and by the brownish color of their skin and bleach-blonde hair, telling the tale of lives lived in the sun rays. Few people know that looking at the white cliff on the left side of the beach, straight on top, you can see the caves where they use to live, decorated with proper furniture inside! However, if you are not experienced, trying to go there is definitely unsafe.
If you get to spend a couple of days here, and camping is a valid option to enhance the experience, you might just be lucky enough to participate in djembé gatherings at sunset or even spontaneous campfire circles where all people sing and play guitar. During full-moon nights, locals often meet to host full-moon ceremonies, which mainly consist in sharing songs and mantras around the fire and finally greeting the moon with joy when it pops out of the cliffs, for an absolutely special way of experiencing lunar monthly phases.
A few things are to be remembered if you are planning to go there. This is not the typical beach with all types of facilities nearby, so you must arrive prepared with plenty of food and supplies (especially fruit and water for better enduring the hot temperatures). It’s always better to bring sunscreen and a beach umbrella since the sun tends to be merciless in the south. Also, this is not the easiest place to swim because of its strong currents and waves that can easily suck you out to the outer sea. Those who know the ocean will suggest you only bathe up to your waistline if you don’t feel confident, and never go where you can’t touch. Swimming in the central area of the beach is safer than on the left side, where the cliff forms a peculiar swirl that might put you in trouble. If you are in doubt, ask the locals for advice! We also recommend wearing comfortable shoes to get to the beach, since the path to get there might be a bit tricky. But of course, bring your flip-flops with you for beach time!
By adopting these few precautions, you will ensure to get the best out of this wonderful place, experiencing a not-so-common contact with nature in its purest and untouched forms you could ever find in southern Tenerife. The nude beaches in Spain are some of the best in Europe and Tenerife is no exception.
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The pathway to get there is not properly marked. You will have to reach the town of Adeje and park in Avenida Los Acantilados (you can only reach it by car or taxi), near the crossing with Calle Tajore. You will then meet two rocky paths that enter the dry area with cactuses and plants, which start right beside the road next to the trash cans. Make sure you follow the left one, while always overlooking a golf camp on your right. Keep following the rocky path, and once you almost get to the end of the plain area, you will see that it turns right, and there you will start walking down the hillside. You are basically descending to the beach by walking down those white cliffs described before. The path is pretty rocky and steep, but walkable for anyone who doesn’t present reduced mobility of any kind. It just adds to the adventure! Once you get to the bottom of the path, you will find a cord helping you descend the last three metres safely. It might sound complicated, but it is way easier than it sounds, and it also ensures the seclusion you are looking for.