The popular holiday resort of Los Cristianos lies in a sheltered bay in the southwest corner of the island of Tenerife, merging into the more glitzy purpose-built resort of Playa de las Americas. Los Cristianos has burgeoned into a modern package-tour resort from its origins as a sleepy Canarian fishing village, but has managed to retain some of its traditional feel, despite the plethora of modern hotels, shopping centres and apartment blocks. The focal point of the resort is its working harbour, fronted by a square surrounded with restaurants, and sandy beaches encircling a crescent-shaped bay backed by a long, wide promenade that stretches to neighbouring Playa de las Americas. The old town centre stretches from the port up to the main shopping street in a grid-like pattern of pedestrianised streets, still inhabited by many local people. The resort's best beach is man-made, the Playa de las Vistas, covered in sand imported from the Sahara. Being just a few minutes away by cheap taxi from las Americas resort allows holidaymakers in Los Cristianos to enjoy a more sedate stay, while still able to access the bright lights and entertainment facilities of the more boisterous neighbour, especially when it comes to nightlife.
One of the joys of holidaying in Tenerife is indulging in duty-free (or low-duty) shopping, and Los Cristianos and surrounds boasts a multitude of shops where it is easy to spend liberally on perfumes, tobacco, electrical goods, cameras and designer clothing. Handcrafts and cultured pearls are also popular buys for souvenir hunters, but these are best sought in reputable stores rather than from seafront hawkers. Local supermarkets stock familiar British brands, particularly those in the large San Eugene Centre. A tourist street market is held in Los Cristianos every Sunday near the Hotel Arona Gran, where most of the merchandise consists of cheap and cheerful Spanish tourist souvenirs, but there is fun to be had in haggling.
Los Cristianos has several top-rated eateries for holidaymakers, its trendiest being Piccolo, Bar El Cine, Plan B and Chill Out. Los Cristianos cannot be beaten for the quality and variety of eating establishments available throughout the day and night, from the ubiquitous English breakfast through midday fast-food snacks, to dinner from China, India, Mexico or anywhere else one cares to mention. There are also more traditional Spanish eateries and tapas bars.
Los Cristianos is very well supplied with fun pubs, some discos and a few nightclubs, but holidaymakers will notice that the nightlife here is nowhere near as wild and exciting as it is next door in Playa de las Americas. Taxis are plentiful and available round the clock, however, so there is no problem popping off to join in the unadulterated partying in nearby lively spots like Veronicas and The Patch, which are usually jumping and pumping until 6am or so. Those who prefer a more sedate evening will be happy to sit back and unwind at a waterfront bar in Los Cristianos, watching the world go by and perhaps enjoying some live music.
'Never a dull moment' could be a phrase coined to suit the southern holiday resort area of Tenerife island, where entertaining attractions and activities abound. The beaches of Los Cristianos are bristling with water sports opportunities, from jet skiing and windsurfing to scuba diving and banana boat rides. The busy little port is the embarkation point for ferry and hydrofoil trips to the nearby islands of La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro, as well as boat trips for dolphin and whale viewing. In the immediate vicinity of the resort there are waterparks, an 18-hole golf course and facilities for go-karting, bowling, bungee-jumping, horse and camel riding. Several excursions are on offer, like trips to the capital, Santa Cruz, the Mount Teide National Park or the Tenerife Zoo.
Older visitors might have problems walking up the steep hills.