The beach resort of Playa de la Arena is in the popular south-west of Tenerife, and offers year-round sunshine, a family-friendly, dark-sand beach and a more relaxing vibe than the brasher southern resorts of Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos.
La Arena cosies up to the larger resorts of Puerto Santiago and Los Gigantes, from where you can take boat trips to admire the breathtaking Gigantes cliffs and see plenty of dolphins and whales.
There’s a varied selection of bars and restaurants in La Arena, while a short taxi ride takes you to Los Gigantes which has a much wider choice. Playa de la Arena is an ideal resort for families and couples looking for a laid-back holiday experience.
Getting there/around Playa de la Arena
La Arena is a 40 minute drive from international Reina Sofia airport. Once there, getting around is hassle-free as it’s a compact resort that can be easily explored on foot. A taxi to Los Gigantes costs around £2 and buses run around the coast to resorts like Playa de las Americas.
If you want to explore more of the island independently, then hiring a car is a good option, otherwise, there are plenty of guided tours to top sights like Mount Teide and historic La Laguna.
Playa de la Arena beaches
Playa de la Arena is a small beach of natural, volcanic sand. Don’t think the sand is dirty though, this beach has won a Blue Flag award for its cleanliness and excellent facilities every year for nearly a decade. The waves are gentle and life-guards are on duty year-round for safe bathing.
There are also a number of cafes and bars lining the beach for lunch snacks, plus toilets and changing facilities.
Playa de la Arena sightseeing
There is nothing of note in La Arena so you’ll need to head further afield to enjoy Tenerife’s natural diversity and man-made fun. The most obvious sightseeing opportunity is a boat trip around the dramatic Gigantes cliffs, where sheer granite rock drops vertically into the sea from an impressive 500m height.
Most boat trips also incorporate whale or dolphin watching too. Trips leave from the small port at Los Gigantes.
Further afield is the Canadas National Park where you can see the world’s third largest volcano, Mount Teide, a spectacular dormant peak which often has a dusting of snow in winter months. The desolate surrounding landscapes are likened to moonscapes and have been used as a backdrop for many sci-fi and wild west films.
Historic former capital, La Laguna, is bursting with picturesque architecture incorporating traditional Canarian Pine balconies and woodwork. Being the island’s only university town ensures a lively atmosphere in the town’s numerous bars and restaurants.
Playa de la Arena family attractions
You won’t find any particular attractions in La Arena, but there are a number of theme parks in the Playa de las Americas area. Visit the water park Aqualand in Costa Adeje, or Las Aguilas in Los Cristianos.
Further afield, but worth the journey is Loro Parque, Tenerife’s biggest tourist attraction. Orca whales and dolphins jump on command and there are over 350 species of parrot to chat to.
Playa de la Arena day trips
The picturesque village of Masca is the place to go for dramatic mountain scenery. On the island’s east coast lies the mysterious Guimar Pyramids – ancient ruins dating back many centuries, but whose existence is shrouded in mystery.
Explore the verdant Oratava Valley and visit the El Guanche Banana Plantation. Walk the Masca Gorge to enjoy some of Tenerife’s fabulous scenery
Playa de la Arena eating
Whether you fancy a traditional English roast with all the trimmings, a spicy Thai stir-fry or something a bit more local, Playa de la Arena has a number of restaurants to choose from.
Local specialities include the tasty Papas Arrugadas, salt boiled potatoes served with green and red ‘mojos’ – sauces flavoured with coriander, garlic and chilli. Other island specialities like gofio (toasted maize) and chickpea stew might not be to everyone’s taste.
Playa de la Arena nightlife
If you’ve chosen Playa de la Arena over Playa de las Americas, you have probably not come to party the night away. La Arena certainly has a choice of bars where you can enjoy a drink and a chat, but the music is less likely to vibrate through the floor than in livelier resorts. Head to nearby Los Gigantes if you want a late night.
Playa de la Arena shopping
The local farmer’s market in nearby Playa de San Juan gives you a taste of untouristy shopping. Farmers markets were set up a few years ago by the government to offer local farm produce at bargain prices so you’ll see plenty of locals stocking up on fish and fruit and veg that is grown in adundance on the isle.
For great clothes, capital Santa Cruz cannot be beaten. Head down Calle de la Castilla for cut-price Zara, Mango, Quiksilver and Massimo Dutti, or head to classy department store El Corte Ingles on El Pilar. If you don’t fancy visiting the capital, Costa Adeje and Playa de las Americas also have some upmarket shopping malls.