Tenerife’s most consistent blue flag beach lost out because of the notorious Puerto Santiago sewage spill

Updated 10 June: There is controversy today as it begins to appear that Playa La Arena lost its blue flag because of a notorious and much-criticized sewage spill in Puerto Santiago. Nationalist politician Jonathan Fumero, now in the regional Government’s Education Department but formerly a member of Santiago del Teide Ayuntamiento, is incandescent that nothing has been done about the spill which has now cost the beach a flag that it has previously won, as I said yesterday, in every one of the 32 previous years in which the blue flag system has been in place.

Over recent years, the particular spill in Puerto Santiago has been responsible for the closure of Playa Chica, the cancellation of beach events like the Noche de San Juan midsummer bonfires, and there have been promises (see HERE and HERE) that the problem was being or had been resolved. But still it continued. Until the recent lockdown, when the spillage problem around the whole of Tenerife’s coastline was found to have halved in just a few weeks … but too late to make a difference to the lovely Playa La Arena’s hopes of a 33rd consecutive blue flag.

When the tourists return we must hope that ways are found not just to maintain the lower level of spills but to reduce them still further. There needs to be political will, and practical solutions. I doubt many will be holding their breath. Their noses, maybe, but not their breath. Very sad.

Original post 9 June: The European Environmental Education Foundation (ADEAC) has announced its awards for 2020’s blue flag beaches. For the first year in 33, there is no award for Santiago del Teide’s Playa La Arena – there is no explanation so it’s possible the council didn’t present the beach for an award, something that’s happened in other municipios in recent years. Playa La Arena has previously one won every single year of the 32 that the awards have been presented.

Tenerife’s 12 blue flag beaches for 2020 are:

Adeje – El Duque, Torviscas; Arona – El Camisón, Las Vistas; Garachico (a newcomer to this list!) – El Muelle, Piscinas Naturales de El Caletón; Guía de Isora – Playa de La Jaquita; Los Realejos – El Socorro; Puerto de la Cruz – Jardín, San Telmo; San Cristóbal de La Laguna – Piscinas Naturales de Bajamar; Tacoronte – La Arena (Mesa del Mar).

In addition to the beaches, there are also again blue flags for Los Gigantes sports harbour and the Real Club Náutico de Tenerife. Last year’s success by Adeje’s Puerto Colon has not been repeated this year.


  1. I presently own an apartment directly above Playa Chica and due the present situation remain in residence. At the moment we can say without doubt that sewerage is being dumped into what we assume is the sea on a daily basis – approximately twice a day. Having spent time here during the last 6 months and witnessed all the work carried out on the harbour I wonder what it was intended to achieve?

  2. I passed Playa Chica on Monday and today. The beach was open, with a lifeguard and a yellow flag was flying which I presume was because of the waves. I assumed the spillages were fixed. Obviously not!

  3. I’ve long complained and campaigned (as best I can) about the disgusting mess that is discharged into the sea around Santiago and Playa Chica beaches. It’s a total disgrace.

    Unfortunately I have not been successful in getting any one to take much interest and that includes the Mayor with whom I met several months ago. He was dismissive, and quoted the fact that Playa Arena beach had these blue flags and the quality of water tested throughout the area was of an acceptable standard (presumably samples taken when no discharging) He did acknowledge the occasional mishap (LOL) but blamed the previous administration for poor engineering at the Santiago Beach waste management station as well as the rapid growth in tourist population. He also said the situation would improve when they were able to connect to the main sewerage facilities at Guia De Isora but that may be a ‘few’ years!

    I very much hope that this latest news will focus some attention on the issue and hopefully the Canarian Gov’t will not be so negligent

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