Playa de las AmericasMade [in]famous by the 1999 British TV series, Tenerife Uncovered, Playa de las Americas has a reputation for garish nightlife and boozed-up Brits abroad. Since the time of the series, the local authorities have made an effort to clean-up the image of the resort by improving and pedestrianising public spaces. Nevertheless, if you are looking to have some fun in the sun and to party hard, then this is the place for you. The hedonous Veronicas Strip and neighbouring Starcos are a little quieter now than in the heyday of the TV series but still offer great late night fun for the younger crowd.
Fifty years ago, there was virtually nothing here apart from a small fishing settlement at Los Cristianos - the parched arid climate and relentless sunshine (over 300 days per year) made it very unattractive when compared to the verdant north of Tenerife. For that reason, there are no historic buildings or any other architectural heritage here (there is plenty in the north of the island).
While some more adventurous tourists began to visit the area in the 1950s, it was really in the 1980s that the area really took off, thanks to the opening of the nearby Reina Sofia Airport (Tenerife South) and also in part to the juggernaut Timeshare industry.
Distance from Tenerife South Airport: 16.5km
Distance from Tenerife North Airport: 79km
The neighbouring area of Costa Adeje with its luxury Hotels and marina has made an effort to differentiate itself from Playa de las Americas, though really it is difficult to know where Playa de las Americas finishes and Costa Adeje begins. The main differences are that Costa Adeje lies within a separate Municipality and offers more upmarket accommodation.
Playa de las Americas merges into Los Cristianos at its southern end. This area attracts a slightly older crowd and is full of small bars and restaurants. The ferries to the neighbouring islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma all sail from here meaning that Los Cristianos maintains a sense of purpose other than to sell English breakfasts and beer to foreign tourists.
This huge Thai-themed water park opened in 2008 and claims to be the most spectacular water park in Europe. The rides are indeed very impressive making it a must for any family visiting the island (and for big kids too!).
This 75,000m² Zoo is located 3km outside Playa de las Americas and features a collection of big cats (White Lions, Leopards, Tigers, Jaguars and Pumas), primates (Chimps, Orang-utans etc), Hippos and Crocodiles. There are also some fun attractions for the kids.