Just outside of El Golfo there is a breathtakingly beautiful black sand cove, sometimes called “the secret beach”. Tour guide David Penney takes us on a trip to Playa del Paso.
I have walked to the Playa del Paso several times. The clifftop route to the beach is one walk where you really do need good, strong walking shoes, preferably with ankle support. Trainers or sandals aren’t going to hack it. Walking poles, or just a sturdy stick, can also be helpful on the rough lava.
You start at the children’s playground at the eastern edge of El Golfo, heading out onto a footpath that slowly rises until you’re overlooking some impressive cliffs. Waves constantly pound this part of the coast, and on days when the sea is particularly rough there’s a chance you could get a soaking, so stay well back from the edge.
In fact, it’s a good idea to stay on the path all the way. This part of the island is known as the “sea of lava” and is honeycombed with caves and jameos (openings to a lava tunnel where the roof has collapsed), but this is a protected area where wardens patrol the area regularly – I’ve received a telling off a couple of times for straying beyond the track.
You’ll enter the National Park area once you’ve reached the highest clifftop (you’ll see the signs), and you’ll soon be able to see the beach ahead and below. Descend gradually over some increasingly rough terrain until you reach a dirt track. This is where you turn left and head down towards the sea until you end up on the remote black sand beach of El Paso.
On a sunny day, the beach is simply stunning, with waves crashing into foaming white surf on the jet-black sand. It’s an eternally dynamic landscape of colour, sound and motion. Often you’ll see brilliant sapphire-coloured By-The-Wind Sailor jellyfish washed up here; their “sails” still inflated like balloons.
Enjoy the beach but DO NOT even think about swimming here. This is one of the most unpredictable and treacherous coastlines on the island, and it has already claimed the life of one physically fit young bather this year.
You can head back the way you came, but I prefer to make this a circular walk by following the dirt track inland all the way back. The track is a private road giving wardens vehicle access to this part of the Timanfaya National Park, but walkers are permitted providing they stay on the path. Continue along the dirt track until you reach the remote villa of Casa de Juan Perdomo, a huge private property which is owned by a Swiss lady, who rents it out for holiday lets.
Turn right at the T-junction and continue along the dirt track, passing a couple of fincas on the way to the main road (LZ-702). There are some wheelie bins by the roadside, BUT rather than risk walking on the tarred road, my preferred way back down the hill to the village of El Golfo is to follow a very small track back across the lava field which brings you back to the centre of the village, it is very easy to miss, so head west rather than southwest.
Once you’re back in El Golfo, you may have worked up enough of an appetite for a delicious seafood meal. Well, you’re in the right place – buen aprovecho!
This is a linear (or circular depending on your chosen route) 4-7km walk which should take you approximately 3-4 hours to complete. The terrain is manageable with stone paths, rough lava and dirt tracks.
Unfortunately, there is no public transport which will take you to the starting point, so you’ll have to use a car.
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