The south of the island: from Candelaria to Costa Adeje

Another long route provides visitors with the chance to admire the tourism resorts on the south side of the island: Cost Adeje, Plays de las Americas, Playa de Los Cristianos, Puerto de los Cristianos and the Costa del Silencio, where the best holiday hotels and apartments blocks on the island are located. The route makes its way down from capital, stopping after just a few kilometres in Candelaria, the Marian heart of the Canary Island, calling at the intriguing Guimir pyramids, the charming towns in the medianias or midlands, and some of western beaches that are popular with the locals such as Medano, ideal for wind and water sports. On this route we will follow the TF-28 road through the medianias, occasionally turning off onto local roads that takes us down to the coast and the TF-1 highway.

At the heart of the town of La Candelaria stands the basilica where the Virgin is said to have appeard before Guanche shepherds before the arrival of Spanish conquerors. Behind the basilica are the solitary statues of the last Guanche menceyes or rulers, with their outstretched sceptres tracing the coastline. Today the blackened Gothic figure is an object of intense devotion for the residence of Canary Islands, who gather in a large square in early January and August each year. The huge modern basilica was built in the 1950s and is noted for its central tower, complete with balcony, rising up some 45 metres and commanding spectacular views of the ocean.

Next to the basilica is a fountain. Dedicated to Pilgrims, featuring a large mosaic of the Virgin. Nearby is the Cave of Achbinico, or San Blas, where the Guanches hid the Marian image that came from sea – which the natives call Chaxiraxi or Lady of the world – for safe keeping. From Candelaria the road takes us up to Arafo, a farming area based on ecological agriculture. The centre of this charming town is situated around the Church of San Juan Degollado and the nearby Town Hall. Not far from here is Guimar, famous for the Chacon pyramids, curious constructions made from volcanic stone forming large pyramid-shaped mounds lined up in a row. The object of great controversy, their purpose is unknown, although possible explanations range from Guanche burial sites to ancient astrological sites of worship. Next to the pyramids is a fascinating interpretations centre. The Church of San Pedro marks the centre of the town, presiding over a large square from which the traditional procession in honour of the Virgen del Socorro departs every year on 7 September.

On the coast we find El Puertido, a lively spot that has been recently restored, suitable for bathing and packed with bars and restaurants. To the north lie the arid Guimar Badlands, where amid the volcanic tube formations, we can catch a glimpse of several endemic species of flora and fauna. Heading towards Fasnia, the Herques Ravine is another fascinating spot. The natural harbour of Los Roques retains all its traditional charm, with traditional houses standing between the seashore and the coastal rock.

Making our way back to the main road running through the medianias, the TF-28, we now come to the municipality of Arico, made up or several villages that all share the same name. Particularly worthy of note is Arico Nuevo and its Church of Nuestra Senora de la Luz, surrounded by traditional Canary Island style dwellings. This essentially agricultural area is famed for its delicious goat`s milk cheese. El Poris is the name of the beach in this municipality, site of a lighthouse that vanishes into the distant horizon, almost as it has been swallowed up by the ocean. Granadilla is famous above all for its lunar landscape, the result of the volcanic erosion that has particularly affected the north of this area, on the road heading up towards Vilaflor in region known as Chasna. Particularly worthy of note is the Church of San Antonio de Papua, which overlooks a large square and number of the traditional Canary Island houses. On the other side of the town stands the former Convent of San Luis Obispo, today carefully restored and converted into a library, next to a pleasant landscaped square.

Close to Tenerife South-Reina Sofia Airport we find the spa, sailing and surfing centre El Medno. The landmark of this golden sandy beach is the ancient volcanic coastal cone known as the Red Mountain, rising up at one end of the nudist Tejita Beach, which is also suitable for surfing.

From this point the southern coastline is lined with large hotel comlplexes, resorts and apartment blocks, starting in the area known as Costa del Silencio and finishing in Costa Adeje, noted for its large and exclusive hotels. These centres of leisure and entertainment – Costa del Silencio – Playa de Las Galletas, Los Cristianos, Las Americas and Costa Adeje – boast countless facilities and services including superb restaurants and hotels and numerous nightspot, mainly between Las Americas and Los Cristianos. Slightly inland we find a number of magnificent golf courses and theme parks guaranteed to thrill and delight younger visitors to island, as well as two convention centres. One of the most outstanding features of Las Galletas is its delightful landscape promenade. Nearby, the Ten-Bel estate on the Costa del Silencio blends in perfectly with the surrounding landscape.

Los Cristianos forms part of the municipality of Arona. The semi-circular beach of fine golden sand is ideal for families, and the low rise apartment blocks and hotels are interspersed with lively terrace restaurants and bars. It has managed to preserve its long 0 standing fishing and commercial vocation, and is the principal point of connection with the neighbouring islands of La Gomera and El Hierro. Boat trips depart from Los Cristianos to observe whales and dolphins, a common sight in these waters. Following on from here is the vast Playa de Las Americas, which stretches out between the municipalities of Arona and Adeje, backed by the natural boundary of El Rey Ravine. The conurbation of Costa Adeje is quieter and impeccably well-kept, packed with resorts, including several luxury complexes such as the Gran Hotel del Duque. We can highly recommend a stroll along this magnificent coastline as far as La Caleta, taking us past beaches such as Las Torviscas, Fanabe and El Duque. La Caleta is traditional fishing village close to Adeje, situated a few kilometres inland is of little value in terms of its built heritage. The only sites of interest are the poorly-conserved Casa Fuerte, built by Pedro de Ponte, where it is claimed that the famous corsair John Hawkins once stayed, the interior of the Church of Santa Ursula, and the impressively large, recently-built square. A popular excursion from Adeje is to Hell`s Ravine, a natural reserve characterised by its dense vegetation and a water fall that stands out amongst the arid backdrop of these southern lands.

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