Until I moved to Tenerife I hadn’t realised that which country you came from determined how you acted when you headed to the beach. But since moving to Puerto de la Cruz I’ve noticed different beach behavioural patterns for various nationalities.
The Germans and the British are remarkably similar. At Playa Jardín the sunbeds are situated at the top of the beach. There’s a line beyond which they can’t be taken. It’s an idea I approve of; personally I detest the unnatural order of neat rows of sunbeds ruining a beach’s natural beauty, so Puerto’s compromise works well for me.
During winter months, these sunbeds are filled with German and British visitors; the sand in between them and the sea is the domain of the Canarians and those too mean to fork out for a bed (i.e. us).
The Spanish at the Beach
Around June, the balance completely changes. The Spanish mainlanders begin to arrive in their droves and although a few Brits and Germans occupy a handful of sunbeds, the majority are left empty.
Generally speaking the Spanish don’t use sunbeds, opting instead to find a space on the beach; the closer to the water’s edge the better.
There could be any number of reasons for this. If I gave them the benefit of the doubt I’d say it was because the sand gets uncomfortably hot in summer months; too hot to walk on. The sand closer to the water is less hot, so scalded soles are less of an issue.
If I was being mean I’d say it was laziness; the closer to the water, the shorter distance to walk to the sea – similar to the approach they have to parking.
There’s also another distinctive factor which identifies when the beach is full of Spanish…umbrellas. The space between the sunbeds and the ocean is transformed into a sea of colour as everyone erects an umbrella. Where some Brits and the Germans will lie in the sun until they’re the colour of a horse’s saddle, the Spanish sensibly take long breaks in the shade.
Sights to Look Out For...If You Dare
Apart from that there are plenty of other little quirks that act as a giveaway to whether your beach companions are British, German or Spanish:
The middle aged woman on the right has wrapped a humungous towel around her and is performing acrobatic contortions to change from her underwear to swimsuit to ensure nobody might catch a glimpse of her white bits – British
The man standing up in the middle of the beach has just whipped off his swimming trunks, exposing his meat and two veg to all and sundry, and stands surveying the beach with his hands on his hips for a few moments before pulling on his underpants – German
Two girls in their twenties with heads bent over are carefully plucking away at their pubes with a pair of tweezers – Spanish (this one always brings a gasp of horror from our female visitors)
The man in front of you has the perfect outline of a brilliantly white vest type T-shirt burnt onto his skin – British
The woman behind you changes her bikini every five minutes. She has one for swimming, one for going to the beach bar, one for lying on her front, one for lying on her back…etc – Spanish
And the worst of all…
The couple sunbathing on your left have both rolled down the bottoms of their swimming costume so that it creates a sort of crossroads effect half way down the crack of their backside – this is definitely German and quite the worst crime on the beach.
Our friend who lives in a predominantly German valley once did this when she was sunbathing beside us and was told in no uncertain terms to pull her bottoms up or move well away from us.
I used to find sunbathing terminally boring…not on the beaches of Tenerife.