FUERTEVENTURA – When you think of a beach, images of turquoise water, fine white sand and beautiful bays come to mind. There are quite a few beaches like this on Spain’s long coastline, including those around all the islands. And, they come in all shapes and sizes.
So something for everyone in that regard. Long, wide beaches, small, sheltered coves, beaches with very fine and white sand, beaches with pebbles, but there are also very unique beaches. An example of such a unique beach is located in the Canary Islands. In the north of Fuerteventura, you will find Playa del Bajo de la Burra in Punta Elena, Corralejo. Literally translated it is called ‘the beach from under the donkey’, but that strange name is not the reason that it is now better known as the ‘popcorn’ beach.
The beach owes its name to the ‘popcorn’-shaped structures that cover it. Of course, you’re not actually spreading your towel on a layer of popcorn here. These are rhodolites – calcareous algae that have been brought to the coast by the sea. Over time, these algae die and are transformed by erosion into tiny white corals, a process that can take centuries.
Forbidden to take
Difficult for the authorities is that the special ‘sand’ on this beach attracts many visitors who want to take some ‘popcorn’ with them as a souvenir. However, this is strictly prohibited due to the high ecological value of the coral granules. Francisco Otero, a biologist at the Ecoaqua Institute at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, explained to Infobae that these rhodolites absorb CO2 from the sea. As a result, they contribute to combating climate change.
In addition, eggs of various marine animals are deposited in the cavities of the coral. Over time, they erode and become beach sand. That is why it is essential that visitors respect their environment and that everything is where it belongs.
Discovery through social media
Social media has brought Popcorn Beach fame. In 2015, a tourist tagged a photo of the beach with the hashtag #popcornbeach. This is how the fame of the beach began, where more and more travellers flock to in search of that photogenic popcorn.
The special beach is secluded, ideal for relaxation. However, it does take some effort and a bit of walking to get there. At low tide, small natural pools are created, safe for children to play in. Although the beach has no facilities, it is popular with water sports enthusiasts, such as surfers and windsurfers. Scuba diving is also allowed, although care must be taken due to the currents and tides.
To reach the beach, it is about a 40-minute drive from Puerto del Rosario via the FV-1 road. From Corralejo it is about 15 minutes via Avenida Rey Juan Carlos I.
Also read: Twelve of the best Spanish autumn beaches