Playa Las America or Los Cristianos in Tenerife: Which One?

Blessed with a mild climate year round Tenerife in the Canary Islands is a top destination for european vacationers who look for good fun under the sun in good beaches without spending over the head. With more beaches in the south than in the north, this is the biggest and most popular of the Canary Islands, and it is here that most vacationers head to due as well to the affluence of cheap flights to Tenerife .The north of the island has a steeper decline from the central volcanic plateau downwards, and in most places this translates into abrupt cliffs and rocky outcrops as the land reaches the ocean, with fewer places where beaches have formed. On the other hand, the south has a less acute, more gradual downward approach to the water and in many places levels off quite considerably as it reaches the coast, resulting in a greater number of beaches (many made larger artificially). A novelty for the first-time visitor to Tenerife is the sight of black volcanic sand – a bit disconcerting!

las americas tenerife

Within the southern tip of Tenerife beaches are concentrated in two larger areas: those to the east of Punta de La Rasca (the southern most tip of Tenerife) which include El Medano, Los Abrigos and Las Galletas, and those to the west which include Costa Adeje, Las Americas and Los Cristianos. Beaches within the eastern group are usually windier and wilder, and it is here where you should head to enjoy superb windsurfing and kitesurfing in Tenerife. On the other hand, the calmer and more easily reached group of beaches along the south west are where most vacationers concentrate.

Los Cristianos is 15 kilometres from Reina Sofia (Queen Sophie) airport and it is generally accepted that los Cristianos is still one of the most popular towns in the Canary Islands. Despite becomming number two to Las Americas during the 90´s today Los Cristianos still has a classical village style port but with new and renovated buildings, new boulevards and excellent squares. Centered around the church is the town center which can provide a relaxing shopping alternative to the more expensive stores in Las Americas and El Duque. The promenade created after the port that leads to the wide man made beaches is a delightful afternoon stroll, taking you all the way into Las Americas along the pristine coast line. Los Cristianos is home to two world-class beaches: the main beach (Playa de Los Cristianos) is a sandy beach sheltered by the harbour and boasts a number of facilities including watersports, beach volley ball, showers and a children’s play area. Las Vistas Beach is located in the next bay beyond the harbour and is man-made, and it also boasts a number of facilities including watersports, showers and a tourist information site. Just beyond Hotel Gran Arona you will find what is perhaps the most accessible nude beach in Tenerife, though it certainly isn’t the best- It’s a pebble beach. For these reasons Los Cristianos holidays are among the most sold by travel agencies who offer great value for money.

Los Cristianos beach

Los Cristianos beach by dardoeloy@Flickr

Heading just a bit north west you’ll reach what is perhaps the most famous of all beaches in Tenerife: Las Americas. Holidays in playa de las Americas are preferred by vacationers in the 18-35 age range who is looking for sun and party time. Established in the 1970’s, and beginning as just a handful of hotels around a beach of imported sand from the Sahara, Playa de las Americas is now the largest tourist development on the island, and a firm favourite of young holidaymakers, due to its’ all-night clubs and endless array of pubs and bars. During the day the main attraction of Playa de las Americas is the white sand beach, perfect for swimming and minimizing those tan lines (remember that all beaches in Spain are topless friendly), which offers a wide range of watersports including jet-skiing, wind-surfing and para-gliding. The beach can get quite crowded, and the resort is home to other typical black sandy beaches, with numerous smaller coves and bays for those in search of more solitude. Accommodation choices in Playa de las Americas are huge, catering to both families and groups, and the resort is the home of the famous Timeshare apartment industry. Playa de las Americas comes alive at night with a huge choice of restaurants serving anything from fast-food and pub-grub to traditional Spanish and Canarian specialties, and the Tenerife nightlife is second to none, having options for everyone. Most of the bars are found in an area known as The Patch, with live music, happy hours, and family entertainment in the form of impersonators, quiz nights and karaoke. The club action in Playa de las Americas is based in an area known as the Veronicas, and the Starcos’ Commercial Centre – close to the beach and with an exhausting array of all-night dance venues – and it is here that party-goers can keep going until the wee hours of the morning.

night club tenerife

Clubbing in Las Americas beach (buckysteel@Flickr)

So, which beach should you choose if you want cheap holidays in Tenerife? It really depends on what you’re looking for. If your trip to Tenerife is all about enjoying the beach during the day and partying like a rock star during the night then I recommend you head to Las Americas: most of the young crowds will be there and the bar scene is abundant. However, if you want to relax with your family and perhaps enjoy a somewhat milder side of Tenerife’s southern coast then head to Los Cristianos. After all both areas are very close and getting from one to the other is a matter of minutes. So pack your bag, book your holidays and enjoy the sun!

If you have visited Tenerife you have been in one of these beaches. Which did you like most? And if you haven’t, which would you choose? Share your thought and this post too if you think others might find it useful! 🙂

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