On Tripadviser’s Tenerife forum there are two distinct camps those who vociferously proclaim that the north of the island, namely Puerto de la Cruz is a traditional resort and the only one to be seriously considered for anyone not looking for nightclubs or looking to experience Canarian culture. Then there are those who say that the south, particularly the area from Los Cristianos to Costa Adeje has everything that anyone could possibly need.
Now whether it is because I have been contributing to TA for such a long time, or perhaps it is because I can´t reply to anyone in just a couple of words but have to expand, I find that most days I receive a message asking if I can recommend which is the best resort /hotel /apartment for someone’s annual holiday. I rarely do this, because as the title of this blog says it is a very personal thing and we all have different opinions about what will and won’t suit our needs. I try to make unbiased comments about each of the resorts but naturally I do like some more than others.
I have in the past written about Los Cristianos and thought some may find it useful if I did an overview (or at least the way I see it) of each of the major resorts. Well it would be a way of filling 4 articles! So starting today I will cover Los Cristianos, then over time move on to Las Americas, Costa Adeje and finally Puerto de la Cruz. Who knows I could even get around to the west of the island and the Golf.
Los Cristianos is one of the major tourist centres in the south of Tenerife. It is located in the municipality of Arona which is where I live, so it would be fair to say I am a wee bit biased, as it is my closest town and has everything I personally look for. Like the other towns in the area, the average temperature throughout the year is about 25°C and there are many sunny days, another reason why I like it here.
In contrast to other southern resorts it is not purpose built. Its origins lie in a humble fishing village and whilst some say an attraction of Puerto de la Cruz is its traditional architecture, Los Cristianos has its own traditional architecture. This may not be in the form of merchants’ houses with balconies but then how many fishermen lived in those. Along the beach and through the old part of town you can see its roots and it still retains a small fishing activity, which is reflected in the fresh fish market at the port. Away from the seafront there is a real Canarian community living and working in the town and there are many small cafes and bars where the locals congregate.
The hotels and apartment complexes here are cheaper than in the nearby Playa de Las Americas and are focused on family holidays with a wide range of activities and entertainment for kids and adults rather than the teens and twenties. There are only a couple of high-rise buildings (a pet hate of mine) the rest nestle along the coast and cling to the hillside.
The ocean and the beaches are very clean and safe and it is sometimes difficult to tell where one beach begins and another ends. Starting by Montaña Guaza there is a pebble beach where you often see locals fishing. This isn´t ideal for sunbathing but just 5 minutes along the promenade is the town beach Playa de Los Cristianos. Golden sand, sheltered by the harbour and boasting a number of facilities including water sports, beach volley ball and showers. This beach is very popular with bathers all year round, mainly for its calm waters. Located in the next bay beyond the harbour is the man-made Playa de Las Vistas. It is one of the most popular beaches on the island with its rows of sun beds and sunshades and the iconic water fountain. It used to have world class facilities for the disabled and some of the best life-guards on the island, until the local council messed up, but that is a totally different story and would take a long time to explain.
The one thing Los Cristianos has in common with other resorts is that it offers a wide variety of fun as well as cultural activities. If you like theme parks there are two – Parque Las Aguilas commonly called The Jungle Park where you can enjoy a variety of exotic animals and the birds of prey show (being a cheapskate I watch these birds twice a day from my balcony as I live so close!) and still find them majestic and very exciting. I am not a fan of keeping animals in cages but I do like the Monkey Park where you can interact with the ‘inmates’ inside open enclosures. This gets better each year as the more people that visit the more they can afford to update the facilities. And for those seeking culture there is a superb Auditorio Infanta Leonor in the centre of town where for a few euros you can see top class shows such as the Russian ballet, soul or gospel concerts and classical music from international artists. There are also plenty of free concerts that can be found taking place in the plazas each month.
You can walk along the almost totally flat promenade for miles. View the nearby island of La Gomera or make a trip there as the ferries depart daily from the harbour and if you enjoy the sea, take a boat ride offering whale watching, or water sports, such as scuba diving or windsurfing.
If you are looking for tradition in a holiday resort then every week you will find displays of Canarian music and dancing by the old harbour this is called Canary Folk Fest and due to end in March, but like most years it no sooner ends than it restarts for a new season.
Los Cristianos isn´t known for its night life, there are plenty of restaurants and bars some with entertainment but very few clubs pumping out music until the early hours. If this is what you are looking for then you need to visit Las Americas but to get down with the locals you need to go to the the most iconic disco “Casablanca”, in San Telmo. For over twenty years it has attracted locals, tourists and international celebrities to the south of the island, but in order to fit in you will need to practice your Merengue and Salsa to Latino music rather than your best John Travolta moves to electro, new house or old skool mixes.
So that is my run down on my favourite resort. Next time I will look at Las Americas, is it really as bad as it is painted?