I think I can safely say that all Tenerife blogs will have suggested places that if you are on holiday in Los Cristianos you should try to visit. These will include Las Vistas beach, the Sunday market and the seafront walkway or to give it it’s posh name the esplanade. However, what about the areas that are important or ‘must haves‘ for those of us who live here.
Not many tourists visit, or even know where the Cultural Centre is, yet for many locals it’s the hub of the town. It is a meeting point for both cultural and leisure activities. There are painting and photography exhibitions by well-known as well as local artists. It is where discussions take place and feelings are aired. Tourists as well as residents can use the library that not only has a good selection of books but you can also pop in and catch up with the daily news. To the side of the building is where the police keep all the lost property that has been handed in. I sometimes wonder if holiday-makers realise they should look here before assuming items have been stolen.
Behind the culture centre is perhaps one of my favourite places, the auditorium. It is large, modern, with a first class sound system and above all the seats are very comfortable. Every week there are performances. Whether you are looking for variety shows, jazz, gospel dance or rock n roll you will find it at the Auditorio Infanta Leonor, alongside Canarian folk and music from different parts of the world. Tickets are always reasonably prices; you can see a top notch show often for under €20.
The Parish Church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen is in the middle of town in Plaza de Los Cristianos. I’m not religious but I do like to visit this church especially when there is a fiesta as most involve a religious figure so the church will feature usually at the beginning of such an event. I also probably feel an affinity to it as it was blessed on my birthday, 23rd December. And of course whenever we are on the island on New Year’s Eve this is where we swig our cava and munch our grapes before heading off to watch the firework displays.
As well as the “El Puerto Viejo” (Old Quay) that was built in 1909 and where today stages are erected for outdoor events, there is the new harbour from where the ferries run to the other islands. I like this area as you can still see the original Los Cristianos before tourism crept in.
There are two beaches. The first is next to the harbour and this is really a ‘locals’ beach. It is here you will find the crowds gather on the feast of San Juan to build their fires and burn their wishes. This is where you will find the games of volleyball and gymnastics for the elderly, while the more famous Playa de Las Vistas, is left for the visitors to enjoy.
Everyone who visits Playa de los Cristianos recognises the beautiful esplanade, and many will have noticed the sculpture “La Pescadera”, in honour of all those women who in the old days lived off the fish they sold at the market. Another representative element to the sea-faring locals are the ‘Los Cetáceos’ – sculptures of the mammals found off our coastline. There is also one hidden sculpture, 40m under the sea, a statue of the Virgen del Carmen. She is there to keep those who pass over her safe. The only indication of this is a small replica on the esplanade to the side of the old pier.
The last image above is from my good friend Dermot O’Kelly who brings his family to the island for their holidays.
And of course the boat located by the harbour is a symbol of the sea-faring settlement that Los Cristianos was, and still is.
There is one place I haven’t been and will hopefully never have to visit that is Juzgados de Arona, the law courts a modern building in Los Cristianos. They say for every good there is a bad but compared to all the good in Los Cristianos, one no so good isn’t half bad.