What to do in Los Gigantes
Where is Los Gigantes? Los Gigantes is situated near to the tiny village of Cueva del Polvo, the resort of Puerto de Santiago and the Blue-Flag beach of Playa de la Arena, which are all within a short distance of each other. These small and tranquil neighbours are to be found on Tenerife´s picturesque west coast. Situated in the municipality of Santiago del Teide, they are just south of the famous cliffs of Los Gigantes (The Giants), and about 20 miles (30 kilometres) north west of Los Cristianos. It is generally acknowledged that the year-round climate in this, the island´s most westerly region, is among the best in the Canaries. click here for weather data The town of Los Gigantes is named after, and lies at the foot of, the imposing cliffs of the same name which are best experienced up close from a boat, which you can book from the Marina. They loom over you and you can see the rocks in all their glory and distinguish the different colours and textures of the volcanic strata. Tenerife is the largest of seven islands that together form the Canary Island archipelago. Located some 80 miles off of the North-West coast of the African continent. These seven sun drenched islands are a favoured holiday destination to many millions of International tourists anually. From the dry volcanic scenery of the Teide National Park in the South to the lush tropical vegetation of the North the island with it´s year round sunny climate the island lives up to it´s reputation having been dubbed "The Island of Eternal Spring".
Chemist shops in Tenerife normally stock the range of items that you would expect to find in the U.K
Whats available in Los GigantesIn the Marina you will find an array of private craft moored next to the boats which take visitors out to see the local dolphin and whale colonies - some 27 differing species of Whale and Dolphin have been encountered in the waters off of Los Gigantes. After your trip just sit at one of the numerous pavement cafes and watch the world go by, or if you´re more energetic you can arrange scuba diving, sport-fishing expeditions and book a variety of water sports from here.
For visiting diver´s to this region the opportunity to take a trip below the waves is one not to be missed. With water temperatures that vary from 24°C in summer to a comfortable 20°C in winter and visibility that can, at times, reach 35 meters the surrounding waters offer a myriad of dive sites that cater to all levels of diver qualification. Somewhere in the region of 25 dive sites are regularly serviced by the local Dive Centre that operates in the region.
Lying at the foot of the cliffs and just next door to the marina, there is a small, clean, black sand beach which is rarely crowded,despite being suitable for children. Parking near the beach is limited however.
Los Gigantes is a very pretty resort. Great care has been taken over its design and construction. With the exception of a couple of multi-storey hotels, all of the resort´s central apartment complexes and residential areas are low-rise and blend in well with the surroundings. It is a small, tranquil place and has an air of exclusivity about it. There is not much danger of the resort losing this atmosphere and ambience by expanding in any direction either, closed in as it is on all sides, nestling between the area´s natural rocky confines and the Atlantic Ocean.
The roads in Los Gigantes are very narrow, with a one-way system operating throughout most of the town
Los Gigantes commercial centre is just inland (and therefore, uphill) from the marina. Although small, it hosts a variety of bars and restaurants, plus shopping for everything from fruit and veg to designer label clothes. In the central square (the Plaza) you´ll find a pedestrian zone based around the church. This also where the majority of events suchas the towns carnival (held the week after Ash Wednesday) take place.
Take a bus or drive out of the village (the walk up "Cardiac Hill" is not for the feint hearted) and at the top you will see the magnificent statue and fountains dedicated to the fisherwomen of times gone by, turn right here and you are at the entrance to the old fishing village of Puerto Santiago, which despite extensive development, still retains an unhurried, homely atmosphere. Puerto Santiago (the 'de' is usually left out) lies between Playa de la Arena and Los Gigantes. Its main thoroughfare, which links the other two towns, culminates in a narrow winding serpentine known to the ex-pat community as "Spanish-corner". There are frequent blockages here great fun if you happen to be on a bus at the time its negotiating the worst bend.
You can miss all the fun if you want, as It is possible to getfrom Los Gigantes to Playa de la Arena by going the 'long way round' - via the main road and passing the entrance to the Urbanisation San Francisco (just next to the county banner sculpture)
The San Francisco development includes a Transitos supermarket, well stocked and selling a large number of British products, who offer a delivery service to your door, with a restaurant and other shops above. There is also a Tennis and Sports Centre with two tennis courts, bowls, pool and bar and restaurant offering snacks and daily specials.
Just a little further along the main road is the tiny, original village of Cueva del Polvo
There are a couple of restaurants here worth a visit if you want something different. There is also a lovely story behind its name. literally "dusty cave" but with a real meaning a bit more like "lovers lane" as "polvo" is a colloquialism for "making out" and the village is on the site of the cave where local lovers met in days gone by.
In Puerto Santiago you´ll find a small fishing port but it is limited in terms of Beaches. There is a top, middle and bottom part to the town, making the area rather sprawling, a mixture of homes, hotels and apartments. As you would expect from a tourist resort, there is a huge assortment or bars, shops,restaurants, a post office, and nightlife, mainly in Santiago bajo. As there are a large number of locals resident in the area you´ll find some excellent Canarian food available in the traditional restaurants and Tapas bars. It´s Firework display in July is not to be missed!
Further south, and effectively joined on to Puerto Santiago, is the growing resort of Playa de la Arena. The unimaginatively named Playa de la Arena (or in English ..... Sandy Beach! is without a doubt the finest beach in this region and has repeatedly won the european blue flag award. Although smallish, it can confidently stand comparison with any other beach of similar size on the island.This is especially true when you consider that while many of Tenerife´s popular beaches are man-made using imported sand, the beach here is natural. Its black sand is a constant reminder of the island´s powerful volcanic origins. The beach is situated centrally along the main coastal thoroughfare, the Avenida Maritima, which has relatively easy (and free) parking facilities.If you get hungry or develop a thirst you will find yourself spoilt for choice by the many bars, restaurants and shops adjacent to and opposite the beach.)
Playa de la Arena beach offers a gentle gradient and often calm waters. Don´t forget though that as we are a small island and out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, we are sometimes subject to rough seas, especially in the winter months.On the occasions when weather conditions prohibit bathing, a red flag flies on the beach. Don´t ignore it!
The resort itself is somewhat elongated, being built up in a thin strip along the length of the Avenida Maritima (coast road), which cuts through the resort. It runs more or less parallel to the sea front for a couple of miles, with the beach at its heart. Here you´ll also find the beachfront promenade where you can have a stroll in the sunshine. Playa de la Arena is very much a modern resort and as such you will find some construction ongoing. There are new apartments and hotels in progress and you will notice constant 'cosmetic' work being carried out, such as planting of decorative palms. But the degree of ongoing building work is not likely to detract from the atmosphere of the resort or your overall enjoyment thereof.
For a relatively small resort, Playa de la Arena boasts a mind-boggling array of bars and restaurants of all shapes and sizes, although 'nightlife' in the sense of clubs and discos, while it undoubtedly exists, is on a much smaller scale than the larger resorts in the south. Playa de la Arena is also home to a Tourist Information office. Here you will find English-speaking staff who can give you on-the-spot help and information, plus there is always a multitude of leaflets and pamphlets freely available, which will give you further facts and figures about the region.
Further south towards the Reina Sofia airport and about a 30 minute car ride away, are the larger, more boisterous resorts of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos. Here you can see a world class show, stroll along busy boulevards or play a round of golf on tip top courses.
If you go northwards (inland and up!) from Los Gigantes you can explore some of the most picturesque parts of the island, passing through Tamaimo perhaps on your way to the Teide Volcano - the highest peak in Spain. The summit of mount Teide ( Taydee ) can be reached, at 3718m above sea level, either on foot (by prior appointment) or by cable car. The mountain, in fact an dormant volcano, is surrounded by a desolate volcanic landscape that is often likened to the surface of the moon. The best way to discover this area is to hire a Rental Car from one of the many car hire companies in the Los Gigantes area.
Or maybe you would like to visit the farmer´s market in the county town of Santiago del Teide about 40 minutes drive. This is held every Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 1pm and you can find fresh local produce and products on sale.
Whether you've spent the day exploring the countryside or just lying on the beach or by a pool the evenings in Los Gigantes can be as lively or as laid back as you wish- from an array of quiet relaxing bars and restaurants to the lively pace of cabaret bars or discos catering to all tastes.