My dear wife and I spent a wonderful week in a little village called Charco del Palo on the Spanish island of Lanzarote in the Atlantic Ocean in July 2011. Lanzarote is part of the Canary Islands which are Spanish possessions 1500km from Madrid and a mere 125km off the coast of Morocco. The Canary Islands are volcanic, so white sandy beaches are not common. The volcanism makes for interesting and strangely beautiful landscapes. One should not expect lush bush and sandy beaches that one might associate with a tropical paradise, instead expect to have your notions of beauty challenged but you will not be disappointed.
Lanzarote is about 50km in length and about 20km wide. It has a good network of roads which means that day trips to any part of the island are easily doable. There is a lot to see and do apart from enjoying the sun and sea as it was meant to be enjoyed, wearing just your God given skin.
The climate on Lanzarote is mild and uniform, the temperature is fairly steady year round and hovers around the 25°C mark most of the time, and it hardly ever rains. It can be windy though, most often there is a steady 20km/h wind blowing. At some times of the year a hot sand laden wind blows off the Sahara Desert and across the Atlantic Ocean to Lanzarote.
Charco del Palo is on the volcanic eastern rocky shore of Lanzarote. There is no beach at Charco del Palo, but instead there are three tidal pools (As I understand it Charco del Palo means St Paul’s Pools, I can’t imagine the stern and sombre St Paul relaxing naked in these pools, but who knows…). The tidal pools have ledges or terraces surrounding them for comfortable sunbathing. The sea is pleasantly refreshing so frequent cool-off skinny dips between sun baking sessions are a real pleasure.
Charco del Palo is naturist village with probably about 400 or more bungalows, apartments and houses. It has shops, restaurants and bars. Nudity is usual at the seaside and is acceptable in the streets, though when shopping and in the restaurants, clothing is expected. Peter's Pub has a terrace when nudity is allowed. It was liberating and refreshing to be able to walk around town wearing nothing but the vacant and happy look of someone at peace with himself and the world. There are also paths along the seaside outside of town where it is possible to ramble naked enjoying the wind on your skin under God’s wide skies.
The village is not gated or controlled anyone can freely come and go. People are respectful and well behaved without any form of obvious or visible policing.
There are some other nudist beaches on Lanzarote, though bear in mind ALL beaches in Spain are clothing optional, it is perfect legal to bathe naked on any beach in Spain, it’s just that some beaches are used by nudists and others by textiles. There are a series of coves with white sandy beaches on the southern tip a Lanzarote, the main and most well known beach is Playa Papagayo, this beach is a textile beach but adjacent to it is Playa del Pozo, a beautiful white sandy beach with lots of nudists and some textiles, and nobody felt uncomfortable. On the western side of Lanzarote is a very long stretch of beach with a nudist section, we didn’t find the nudists on our day trip there, but it was a windy and unpleasant day so maybe the nudists were elsewhere.
Getting to Lanzarote can be a bit of a challenge and I would suggest using a good travel agent to book your flights. We booked a hire car via the people who we rented our accommodation from and I would suggest doing just that, much cheaper than doing it from South Africa using one of the big car hire companies (Avis, Hertz etc)
The choice of accommodation is wide and I think it’s all pretty good; we stayed in self catering seafront apartments. There is nothing quite like waking up walking out your front door stark naked across the sand to the sea for a refreshing skinny dip. And then with a kikoi over your shoulder walking to the shop to buy baguettes for breakfast, being mindful to wrap the kikoi around your waist before entering the shop.
I think most of the accommodation in Charco del Palo is self catering. The two restaurants in town are fine and not too expensive and the little supermarket has the essentials like bread and wine (and cheese and ham).
Charco del Palo is a quiet peaceful naturist village, no clubs, no parties, no jet skis, no motor bikes or motor boats. If it’s excitement you’re after don’t stay at Charco del Palo.