What if I told you that there are a string of calm natural beaches along the island’s south coast that barely see any local visitors, let alone tourists.
From the bright white sand of Pasito Blanco beach to tiny Tiritaña, these low key beaches are all a short walk from the main south coast road but are rarely crowded.
One beach, two names, no crowds
Our favourite is Pasito Bea beach just west of Pasito Blanco harbour. This sandy beach, protected from any wind by small cliffs, is only ever busy at the weekends and during the easter and summer holidays. During the week you could well have it all to yourself.
These days, the area behind the beach is completely natural; green after rain and brown during the summer. Before tourism, the whole area used to be a vast network of tomato farms.
The area’s history of tomato farming, in the days before tourism, give it the alternative name of Playa de las Mujeres (Woman’s Beach). Apparently, the tomato workers used to bathe in the sea every day. The women would use Pasito Bea while the men had to walk west to Montaña de Arena beach.
What to do and sea at Pasito Bea beach
The beach at Pasito Bea is just 130 metres wide and the sand is a dark yellow. Even at high tide the beach is wide and the sea is calm enough to swim as it is sheltered by a rocky outcrop at each end.
The water here is clear except for the odd strand of seagrass that floats in from the offshore beds. Look out for white, oblong cuttlefish bones along the high tide line; most have tooth-marks from the local dolphins.
In the water, look out for spotted bass and striped bream. In late summer, you may well come across endangered butterfly rays as this coast is where they come to breed. While they can get as big as a single bed, butterfly rays are harmless and spend most of their day just sitting on the sand.
Last time we visited, our kids spent so long chasing a puffer fish in the shallow water that it lost its temper and inflated itself. I had to rescue it and take it out to sea where it felt safe enough to deflate and swim off.
Take a picnic as Pasito Bea beach has no facilities at all. It attracts a nature-loving local crowd and the sand is clean.
The east end of the beach, tucked behind the rocks, is nudist although next-door Montaña de Arena (a short walk west then a short scramble down a huge sand dune) is a more popular nudist spot.
How to make friends with the beach lizards
In the old days, the fields must have been paradise for Pasito Bea’s resident lizards because they will do almost anything for a tomato. Bring a few along and head to the rocks at the east end of the beach. Look carefully and you’ll see Gran Canaria’s unique lizard species, one of the world’s largest true lizards, basking in the sunshine.
Throw a handful of chopped tomatoes their way and all hell breaks loose as the rocks come alive with lizards. The males are the big ones with large orange jaws but their size doesn’t mean they get it all their own way. The smaller females are fast and will snatch food right out from under their noses.
Feeding the lizards, sunbathing and swimming in the small waves is about all there is to do at Pasito Bea. You may even be able to update your Instagram account because mobile reception is patchy. At least this gives you something to do on the trip back home.
Getting to Pasito Bea beach
To get to Pasito Bea, get any bus that heads between Maspalomas and Arguineguín along the coast road and ask the driver for Pasito Bea (about three kilometres west of Maspalomas bus station, or five kilometres east from Arguineguín town). If you drive, there is parking along the road.
From the GC 500, follow the dirt path down to the coast (keep east for Pasito Bea, west for Montaña de Arena). The track is wide except for a short scramble down the rocks as you get to the sand. Most people could do it in flip flops.