Tenerife, Canary Islands
Playa de las Américas is a series of contiguous beaches in the towns of Arona and Adje on the south shore of Tenerife Island. Tenerife is the largest island in the Canary Island archipelago, which is part of Spain. The beach there is protected by an artificial reef and features an attractive yellow-grey sand and shallow water.
The nearest major international airport is Reina Sofía International. Most tourists arrive on flights from Madrid (2 hours.)
Buses make the 10-mile trip to Las Américas every hour. Car rentals are plentiful and their prices reflect ample competition.
Tenerife's tradewinds and proximity to the equator make the weather there remarkably stable -- visitors are attracted to the island year-round.
Temperatures range from 68F to 77F, and the water temperatures range from 66F to 72F. The island receives about 29 days of rain each year, although the South is far more arid than the North. The beaches are busiest at Christmas and Easter, when northern Europeans flock to the sun, and during August when the Mediterranean countries are on holiday. May and November are the slowest months.
The hotels start at the waterfront, and neither selection nor availability pose a problem. Las Américas has hotels, apartment complexes, and rental homes to suit virtually any taste or budget, and still the construction continues.
Canarian cuisine is known for featuring locally grown tropical fruits: banana, guava, mango and papaya. Fish specialties also figure prominently. Ask for sancochio canario, a blend of stewed salted fish, bananas and potato with a spicy sauce. Olive oil sauces are popular: try mojos verdes, (made with coriander), or mojos rojos, (made with paprika). Eat these with gofio, which is a roasted blend of wheat, corn and barley.
The southern shore is the most developed area in the Canaries, but also offers the most attractions and the best dining and nightlife. The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment so don't expect peace and quiet. Tenerife is a duty-free island, and you can find all types of products for less than the duty-free sections of airports in their countries of origin. Liquor, perfume, cosmetics, and cigarettes are least expensive in the large supermarkets. Cameras, watches and specialty crafts from Africa and elsewhere are readily available at low prices, especially if you haggle.
Although the local drinking water is safe, its mineral content is very high and bottled water is suggested.
Remember that the sun's rays are far stronger at these southern latitudes than in North America or Europe.
While you are there
Join a tour or drive to the National Park of the Teide volcano which, at an elevation of 12,200 feet, dominates the island.
Take the short hydrofoil ride to the lush neighboring island of La Gomera where Columbus last provisioned his ships in 1492.
Lighten your pockets at the Casino Playa de las Américas in the Hotel Gran Tenerife.
To fake that you've been there
Nonchalantly refer to the (typically European) topless nature of the beaches.
Linking for a better vacation
Budget Travel Tenerife contains contact information for tourism-related businesses such as hotels and cybercafes.
That's Tenerife provides a basic survey of the island.
Doug Holaday is the Mining Co. Guide for the 'France for Visitors' site and enjoys visiting beaches around the world.