Although Los Gigantes is the best known of Tenerife’s west coast resorts, the roughly 10 kilometre stretch of coast between there and Playa San Juan is growing in popularity with those seeking a less developed and quieter Tenerife experience. For that reason I have featured here the triplet resorts of Los Gigantes, Puerto Santiago and Playa de la Arena and have moved down the coast a tad to include Alcalá and the up-and-coming resort of Playa San Juan.
West is best
Despite the main tourist developments of Tenerife straddling the south coast, in fact the best tourism weather on the island is to be found along the west coast. This coast has the highest sunshine hours and lowest rainfall without the east coast wind.
When the aftersun has been applied and it’s time to uncork the wine, the setting sun obliges with a dazzling performance as it bows out behind the neighbouring island of La Gomera. The ‘giants’ of Los Gigantes reflect the sky in a crimson blaze and if you can tear your eyes away from the horizon, turn around and witness the peak of Mount Teide taking on its nightly mantle of ‘fire mountain’.
Sights to sea
Los Gigantes is the place to catch sight of the bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales that inhabit the warm waters between the west coast and La Gomera. There are 28 species of whales and dolphins that either live near or pass through these waters on their migratory journeys so you’re almost guaranteed sightings on every trip.
If diving’s your thing, the undersea basaltic columns of the west coast are teeming with tropical life; you’ll find dive schools in Los Gigantes and all along the coast. For those of us who prefer not to carry our air supply on our back, life above the waves can be just as exciting. Deep sea fishing trips depart from the Los Gigantes marina and you can try your hand at landing a barracuda, marlin or shark…or you can just net a few mackerel for dinner.
From the chic and up-and-coming resort of Playa San Juan with its colourful marina; through little Alcalá whose life centres around its restaurant-lined plaza, the Blue Flag beach of Playa de la Arena and the seafood restaurants of Puerto Santiago; to the cliffs of Los Gigantes, banana and tropical fruit fincas line the seafront. The coastal strip from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes is only a 10 to 15-minute drive but in that distance you’ll find a whole coast of differences.