Located on almost the westerly point of Tenerife, the small resort of Los Gigantes has one of the most stunning backdrops of any town on Tenerife, the ancient and dramatic mountain range which rises from the sea beside the resort and after which it’s named – ‘The Giants’
The Los Gigantes cliffs serve a purpose beyond a scenic backdrop for postcards as they protect the town from the trade winds, ensuring that Los Gigantes and the west of Tenerife enjoy possibly the best climate on Tenerife with the most hours of sunshine.
Since its development in the 60s and 70s, Los Gigantes has become a popular choice with mainly British holidaymakers and ex-patriots, who prefer a quieter pace of life and less frenetic nightlife than is found in some of the resorts farther south.
It’s also an excellent base for exploring other parts of Tenerife and many visitors spend their time between enjoying its terrific climate and heading into the valley above the resort where, within forty minutes, they can reach the rural idyll of Masca, or one of the oldest living trees on the planet, the Millennium Drago Tree in Icod de los Vinos.
Scenery, sunshine and the sea are Los Gigantes main selling points.
The dominant cliff face of the seven million year old Teno Mountains is visible from almost anywhere you stroll around town and it’s impossible to ignore their breathtaking beauty. However, the best spot to enjoy their imposing features is at the Mirador Archipenque on the approach road to the town.
The views are a photographer’s dream, especially at sunset when the setting sun’s rays bathe the cliffs in a golden glow and fill the skies above the neighbouring island of La Gomera, with a myriad of spectacular colours.
Marina’s are always easy on the eye and popular spots for a stroll. The Los Gigantes marina with 368 moorings iss filed with mainly small yachts, speedboats and pleasure craft. Its mirror-like aquamarine waters teaming with fish.
Because the town nestles under the iconic Los Gigantes cliffs, it isn’t blessed with good beaches.
There’s a small. Black sand beach beside the harbour with a handful of sun-loungers and toilets. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in views.
A less well known spot is the open air rock pool at Crab Island on the southern edge of the resort; a secluded little spot for sunbathing and soaking up the views of La Gomera on the horizon.
For those who like their sunbathing areas to be a tad more orderly, the César Manrique designed complex of El Laguillo, just before the harbour, might not be as impressive as its big brother, Lago Martiánez, in Puerto de la Cruz, however it’s still a pleasant spot with great views and cooling pools to soak up some rays.
Club Oasis on the coast, at the end of Avenida Maritima, also has pools and a range of leisurely activities, e.g. crown green bowls, which might suit those who don’t want to expend too much energy.
Forget the car park by the plaza, you’ll get blocked in. The marina can be a nightmare. Apart from being very lucky and finding a spot in the centre, best bet is to look out for any spaces on the one-way road in.
This is the place to stay for anyone who wants to see whales and dolphins in their natural environment. With over 28 species either residing, or passing through the waters around Los Gigantes, nearly a third of all whale and dolphin species, sightings are all but guaranteed.
Most common sightings are dolphins and pilot whales, but minke, sperm and even killer whales sometimes put in an appearance to ‘WOW’ passengers.
If you’re worried about the environmental effect of these ‘sea safaris’ don’t be. The following vessels, the Katrin; Nashira Uno, Son Caliu and the Ocean explorer, departing daily from Los Gigantes marina, work hand in hand with the Atlantic Whale Foundation to ensure that we can enjoy these wonders of the deep at play without disrupting them unnecessarily:
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but fishing enthusiasts will enjoy taking to the high seas with experienced operators like the Punta Umbria V and attempting to land some seriously big fish like tuna and barracuda.
The land below the waves is said to be dramatic as that above; Atlantis like basaltic rock formations, rays and all kinds of weird and wonderful fish are waiting to be discovered by adventurous visitors who are keen to experience Los Gigantes’ underwater landscapes. Los Gigantes Diving Centre at the harbour can open up Tenerife’s undersea world to novices as well as experienced divers.
On the whole, Los Gigantes is very much a British community and bars, restaurants and shops pretty much reflect this fact. Its familiarity is one of the reasons it attracts so many return visitors.
Many restaurants offer familiar home-cooking ‘English’ menus to suit visitors looking for a home from home; however, the standard and diversity of menus is of a much better quality than the micro-waved meal/pub grub circa 1980 that’s served up to less discerning visitors in some other areas, and authentic local places also do exist.
It’s probably fair to say that visitors don’t choose Los Gigantes for its nightlife. There are plenty of relaxing bars around the town; especially those harbour side. Who wouldn’t enjoy sinking a cool beer beside beautiful clear harbour waters under those wonderful cliffs?
A few bars, mostly centred around the town’s centre, offer live entertainment which includes the usual array of tribute acts, comedians, quiz nights etc.
By midnight everywhere winds down; not the choice for those seeking to trip the light fantastic.
Considering that the village was developed as a tourist resort, hotels are remarkably thin on the ground, with most being found in the neighbouring resorts of Puerto Santiago and Playa de la Arena.
The one hotel in the centre of town, the Hotel Los Gigantes, is exclusively for Thomson Holidays, so although it’s possible to book a room through the website www.hotellosgigantes.com, the spontaneous traveller, who turns up and books a room might find that they’re treated a bit like Mary and Joseph.
There are plenty of apartments to rent, but for short stays, visitors' best options in the centre of the village are Poblado Marinero right behind the marina with plenty of floor space, traditional balconies and free access to the El Laguillo swimming pool complex, or the El Hotelito at the harbour (www.elhotelito.com), basic and a bit weather beaten looking, but in a fantastic location, or Apartamentos El Sombrero (www.el-sombrero.com) whose spacious and spotlessly clean apartments are situated opposite the bus station.
There are a number of boats to choose from to go dolphin and whale watching from Los Gigantes harbour, but the vessel with the most character has to be the Katrin. This oak built craft started life back in 1940 when it was used for catching crabs. Nowadays, the seas she sails around Los Gigantes are much calmer than the North Sea where she began her working life. She’s a beautiful little boat from which to enjoy the stunning coastline and the equally stunning creatures which inhabit the waters below it. You can find her offices on the road to the harbour. www.rmc-international.com
We’re very fortunate in Tenerife to have a conservation group, the Atlantic Whale Foundation, whose aim is to ensure that Tenerife’s whale watching industry sets an example of good practice which stands out globally. The Arona based charity champions good causes around the world. Have a look at their website and find out how you can support them. www.whalenation.org.
There are a couple of small supermarkets in the centre of the resort which can supply the basics for anyone self catering. The biggest supermarket is at Playa la Arena, a few minutes bus ride away where there’s a good selection of food and household goods, fresh meats, vegetables, cheese and fish. Much of the rest of the shops stock the usual range of tourist items, post cards, beach toys, Tenerife trinkets etc. For visitors missing their pastry fix, there’s a pie shop near the bus station.
As well as being blessed with being in a stunning location, Los Gigantes also enjoys one of the best sunsets that you can see on Tenerife. As the sun descends behind the small island of La Gomera on the horizon, the best thing to do is to find a bar with a good view and order a long, cool G&T, or a pint of dorada (depending on your personal preference), sigh, sit back and enjoy the show.
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