White sand perfection with a submarine conscience


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As the northern hemisphere plunges toward winter each year, there’s a corner of Spain that refuses to relinquish its grip on summer. The Canary Islands, west of Morocco, bask in year-round warmth that by November is just about perfect. On Lanzarote, the main northernmost isle, it’s even more perfect.

Why? Not just because Lanzarote has one of the best beaches found across the archipelago -- the shell-shaped Papagayo. Nor because Papagayo is the gateway to an astonishing series of increasingly deserted stretches of gorgeous white sand coastline. It’s because Papagayo now overlooks something quite remarkable.

The waters beneath Coloradas Bay, fringed by Papagayo, have since early 2017 been home to Europe’s first underwater museum, the Museo Atlantico. Accessible to divers, snorkelers and glass-bottomed boats, its eerie human sculptures make bold statements about the woes of climate change and migration -- two issues that have washed dramatically ashore on beaches across Europe and elsewhere in recent years.

The poignant sculptures by Daniel Jason deCaires Taylor are a reminder, as we bathe in the good fortune of being able to vacation in such beauty spots, that even perfect sandscapes can become the backdrops to life and death struggles. It’s a worthy message to absorb along with the sunscreen while lying back and enjoying a genuine piece of paradise.

Photos: znm/Getty Images, Jason deCaires Taylor - CACT Lanzarote, Jason deCaires Taylor - CACT Lanzarote, Joana Kruse / Alamy Stock Photo

Did you know?

Papagayo beach is part of the Los Ajaches natural park, its waters ripe for snorkeling and diving as well as swimming.


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