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Tenerife's Cities and Resorts

Tenerife has two fairly distinct climatic zones. The North which includes Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital city of the island, La Laguna, La Orotava and Puerto de La Cruz and the South which includes the areas of El Médano, Golf del Sur, Palm Mar, Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Americas, Costa Adeje, Callao Salvaje, Playa San Juan and Los Gigantes.

It is fair to say that the drier and warmer southern areas are now the most popular tourist destinations, although this was not always the case, with Puerto de La Cruz and Santa Cruz being the original destinations of choice for visitors to the island.

In fact, the south was very much unspoiled and undeveloped until the early 1970's when one of the first hotels appeared in the then tiny and sleepy fishing village of Los Cristianos.That Hotel, the Hotel Reveron Plaza still stands and remains a popular base for many visitors due to it's location on the church square at the heart of Los Cristianos.

You can see some interesting photos HERE of how Tenerife has developed and changed over the years.

Over the last 10 or 15 years, Los Cristianos has gradually expanded to join with the neighbouring Playa de Las Americas, thought to be so named as it was a stop off point for ships travelling to the Americas in centuries past. In turn, Playa de Las Americas has spread ever westwards along the coast, with new coastal resorts appearing over the years. Torviscas, Fañabe, Puerto Colon, Playa del Duque to name but a few of the new areas to be generated for the holiday sector over the years.

 

Moving further westwards the towns of Playa Paraiso and Callao Salvaje remain relatively unchanged over recent years. Playa San Juan has seen large scale development but the final town of the west coast, Los Gigantes has remained relatively stable, mainly due though to the lack of any remaining building plots in the confines of the town.

In the North, Santa Cruz is a bustling capital city, with a great mix of modern and historical architecture. Wonder a little off the beaten track and discover streets of houses with a faintly Cuban feel, brightly pained with colourful shutters. Santa Cruz also has great shopping opportunities and some wonderful bars and restaurants where you can while away the siesta hours as Santa Cruz is still very traditional in it's style and observes the traditional siesta break in the afternoon, with the shops closing around 1:30pm and re-opening at around 4:30pm. Similarly, shops close for the day at around 1:30pm on Saturdays and do not open on Sundays. The only exception to this being in the large shopping centres where the shops remain open throughout the day, Monday to Saturday.

The new tram system (Tranvia) in Santa Cruz gives excellent links to areas of the city and also provides great access to the town on La Laguna which is a 30 minute tram ride away. Again, La Laguna offers great shopping and architecture, featuring some beautiful traditional buildings.

Puerto de La Cruz is a popular holiday destination, it has some stunning natural black sand beaches, man made pools and plenty of bars and restaurants. However, in the winter months, the area can see more cloud and rainfall than the southern areas of the island. Puerto de La Cruz is also the home of the world famous Loro Parque.

Other areas of note in the North and the town of Icod, famous for the Drago Tree, thought to be around 1000 years old. Icod is a great spot to take a bite to eat in one of the many traditional restaurants.

A few kilometers further along the coast is the fishing village of Garachico.

Garachico is officially one of the unluckiest towns on the planet. In its short history Garachico has endured Bubonic plague, floods, storms, fires, plagues of locusts and volcanic eruptions, the worst of which in 1706 destroyed a large part of the town and the source of its wealth; the harbour.

What remains is one of Tenerife’s prettiest destinations with cobbled streets, beautifully restored churches, two fabulous hotels, coastal sea water swimming pools hewn from volcanic rock and a steadfastly traditional Canarian character.