Where to Find the Real Tenerife in the South of the Island

Mon, January 30th, 2012 - By Jack Montgomery

I’ve just read a blog about Tenerife that was positive about the island as well as being engaging and a good read. But it made the same mistake that a lot of people make. It dismissed the south of Tenerife as being more or less a concrete jungle full of Brit bars and restaurants where holidaymakers would find very little evidence that they were in a Spanish province.

It’s easy to dismiss the south of Tenerife as being one big tourist resort aimed at British visitors…and it’s simply not true.



There are resorts that have been created solely to meet the needs of tourists of all nationalities and give them the sort of fun in the sun that bring them back to Tenerife’s shores again and again. Playa de las Américas, Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes, Playa de la Arena, Costa del Silencio, Golf del Sur, Playa Paraiso and Callao Salvaje all fall under this umbrella. But those only make up a part (Las Américas and Costa Adeje a significant one admittedly) of what the south of Tenerife consists of. Anyone looking for a serving of local culture with their good weather doesn’t have to look very far.

First of all where is the south of Tenerife?

Ask different people and you get different answers. Most non-Canarios will probably picture the likes of resorts like Playa de las Américas. However, Spanish language newspapers on Tenerife have a very different view. To them the south of Tenerife is nearly everything that lies south of the capital Santa Cruz. Güímar and Candelaria fall into that category.

Visitors will be hard pushed to find a Brit bar in either. These are Canarian through and through with Güímar exhibiting its Guanche heritage thanks to the mysterious and controversial Pyramids and Candelaria being the destination for 100,000 pilgrims each August; you’ll be hard pressed to find a footie shirt amongst them (except for Barça and Real Madrid ones).



The route south is littered with lots of small fishing hamlets where visitors rarely venture. Bigger coastal towns such as El Médano, Las Galletas, Playa San Juan and Alcalá are Spanish speaking enclaves where the restaurants are more likely to serve local fish and rabbit than steak and kidney pie and roast beef dinners. Even the tourist hot spot of Los Cristianos still has a strong Canarian personality for anyone seeking a blend of tourist resort and Canarian town.

Head away from the coast and it won’t be long before you realise you’re in a very foreign land where not everyone does actually speak English; in fact some of it doesn’t even sound Spanish.


Before tourism, Adeje, Arona, Granadilla de Abona and San Miguel de Abona were the main centres; they’re still the administrative centres for the southern resorts. Not being on the coast, they’re largely ignored by most visitors so life, community spirit and traditions remain much the same as they have for decades. Visit a romería in any and you’ll soon see what I mean.

The reality is that the authentic Tenerife is within touching distance no matter where you stay on the island.

Of course, for anyone who prefers John Smith’s, roast beef and Yorkshire puddings…

Posted : Monday, January 30th, 2012 at 1:10 pm
Category : about tenerife
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