Playa de la Arena is located on the west coast of Tenerife, just south of the nearby resorts of Los Gigantes and Puerto de Santiago. Staying in Playa de la Arena gives visitors the chance to explore all three local resorts, as well as the surrounding area.
The island of La Gomera can be seen from the black sand beach, which is one of Tenerife’s best. Travellers come from all over the world to see its volcanic black sand, swim in the sea and soak up the Canarian sunshine.
As the quietest of the three resorts, Playa de la Arena has a more laid-back atmosphere than Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes. It’s a great place for keen walkers as well as beach lovers to stay, as there is easy access to the coastal path.
Playa de la Arena has a pretty, palm-lined promenade overlooking the clean, Blue Flag beach, and there are plenty of relaxed cafes, bars and restaurants here to sample. The sights and sounds of people partying all night will not disturb your holiday here.
If the idea of staying in a peaceful resort with easy access to both neighbouring towns as well as other island attractions, Playa de la Arena could make the perfect base for your Canary Islands stay.
Things to Do in Playa de la Arena
Enjoy One of Tenerife’s Finest Black Sand Beaches
The beach in Playa de la Arena is one of the best beaches on the island of Tenerife, and as such it’s popular with both locals and tourists. Featuring natural black volcanic sand, it has been awarded Blue Flag status for safety and cleanliness. There is generally plenty of space here, although it can become crowded during peak season weekends.
Playa de la Arena beach is simple to access on foot or by bus, hire car or taxi. There is a bus stop and taxi rank very close by as well as a car park. Other amenities at the beach include toilets, showers and lifeguard services, and there are sun loungers and parasols available for rent.
In addition to sunbathing and swimming, visitors can enjoy exploring the underwater world of this area by snorkelling or scuba diving. There are also magnificent views over La Gomera island from the sands and palm-lined promenade.
Enjoying a meal at one of the promenade’s best restaurants is also an absolute must. See below for our recommendations.
For a change of scenery, holidaymakers can also sample the beaches, cafes, shops, bars and restaurants in neighbouring Puerto de Santiago – which lies immediately north – and Los Gigantes, a little further on.
Tickle Your Tastebuds at the Best Local Eateries
This lovely cafe is located close to the coast and where Playa de la Arena meets Puerto de Santiago. Specialising in Mediterranean and European cuisine, past guests call it a ‘hidden gem’ that very much deserves its rave reviews. The meat, fish and vegetarian dishes come highly recommended, as does Sunday lunch and the desserts.
Located right by Playa de la Arena’s black sand beach is Domingo restaurant and terrace. This place serves up Spanish food as well as fish dishes, steak and chips and other Mediterranean and European fare. It’s one of the best spots in the area in which to sample delicious food with a sea view.
Also close to the beach, Casa Pepe offers local, Spanish, European and Mediterranean fare. Visitors praise the attentive service from Pepe and his team just as much as the fabulous food. Dishes offer great value for money and highlights include paella, seafood pasta, lamb, chicken and Canarian potatoes as well as the tapas.
Pepi Vintage Room Tenerife is also positioned near the beach and is the local go-to for authentic Italian food. The ‘awesome’ Neapolitan style pizza is a favourite, while the pasta, meat and fish dishes are also superb. Great local beers and tasty, colourful cocktails are also highly praised, as are the pleasing ocean views.
Enjoy a Walk Along the Coastal Path
The well-trodden coastal path connects Playa de la Arena with Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes, both of which can be reached by heading north. To the south there is the local village of Alcala, which has a busy market on Mondays between 9am and 2pm. Those who wander further south can also visit Playa San Juan, which lies beyond Alcala.
Spend the Day in Los Gigantes or Puerto de Santiago
One of the highlights of staying in Playa de la Arena is that it gives the opportunity of discovering the two nearby resorts as well as the one you’re based in. Both have delightful attractions of their own, including the natural saltwater swimming pool, Piscina Natural Acantilado De Los Gigantes, which is positioned where Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes meet. This provides a stunning setting for a swim, although it can be dangerous during stormy weather. If you plan to take a dip, do wear beach shoes to protect you from the rocky bottom.
In Los Gigantes, there is the Mirador Archipenque viewpoint (location), which has a cafe and offers panoramic views over the Los Gigantes cliffs and ocean. This can be reached by heading uphill from the town centre. The harbour, packed with boats, is also a popular spot, and there are lots of places to eat and drink there. Whale and dolphin spotting cruises can also be taken, and these depart from Los Gigantes harbour.
Puerto de Santiago
Round off the perfect day in Los Gigantes by booking a table at The Fisherman’s Inn. This restaurant offers diners superb, sweeping views over the ocean as they dine on food that’s both flavourful and beautifully presented. Seafood and Mediterranean cuisine is offered alongside a range of international dishes, and this is a truly memorable spot from which to watch the sunset.
Take a Day Trip Further Afield
For those wishing to discover those parts of Tenerife that lie beyond the three resorts, there are several easy day trip options to consider. You can find out more about the options and how to get there by visiting the tourist office opposite the beach at Calle la Iglesia, 64, 38690 Santiago del Teide.
The village of Masca is a magical place, set among a magnificent mountainous natural landscape featuring forest and waterfalls as well as local flora and fauna.
Vilaflor is a popular stop en route with hikers heading to Teide National Park. As the highest Spanish town, this Alpine-like spot is surrounded by fir forest.
Teide National Park
Perennially popular with walkers and trekkers, Teide National Park is packed with pretty wildflowers, volcanic scenery and more pine forests.
La Orotava is around an hour and 10 minutes away, and is one for fans of history and architecture. It features some lovely old churches and convents as well as majestic Renaissance mansions.
Around 30 minutes beyond La Oratava is Tenerife’s capital, the port city of Santa Cruz. This is a must for fans of retail therapy, and also features attractive plazas plus baroque, colonial and neoclassical architecture and interesting museums.
This Thai-themed water park is located in Costa Adeje, and is particularly popular with families. It claims to be the world’s best water park, making it a place well worth visiting.
Best Places to Stay
This site features an entire article devoted to the best accommodation options in the Los Gigantes region, but we’ve also detailed some of Playa de la Arena’s best options here.
BEST – Landmar Playa La Arena
With panoramic views over the coastline, the four star Landmar is a beachfront property offering guests a range of impressive facilities. This sunny, light-filled hotel is just 50 yards from the beach, and standard or deluxe rooms and suites feature private balconies, air-con and satellite TV. As well as the pool complex, there is a tennis court and mini golf, and there is also an airy restaurant and bar overlooking the ocean.
MID-RANGE – Allegro Isora
Offering three outdoor pools, a water slide and a kids’ club, the Allegro Isora is ideal for families. Grown-ups, meanwhile, will love the fitness centre and spa with a sauna and treatment rooms. The range of air-conditioned accommodation includes rooms sleeping between one and four guests. Each has an outdoor terrace or balcony, satellite TV and a lounge area with seating. The complex also has a restaurant, snack bar, tennis court, lounge bar and entertainment programme.
BUDGET – Arena Nest Hostel
The Arena Nest Hostel is a great pick for budget travellers who holiday solo or as a couple or group. Shared facilities include a kitchen, lounge and shower rooms, and accommodation is in doubles or dorms. Hairdryers and free WiFi throughout are provided. The property is positioned close to Playa de la Arena beach as well as the resort of Puerto de Santiago. Help with booking day trips or onward travel can be provided via the tour desk.
SELF-CATERING – “Atis”
If you travel as a family or group who want to self-cater, we highly recommend booking Atis. It’s a contemporary, luxuriously appointed holiday home with three outdoor seating areas – one of which boasts a sea view. There is also a barbecue provided. Inside you’ll find three bedrooms and three bathrooms, plus a dishwasher, washing machine and flatscreen TV. For when no-one feels like cooking, there is also a restaurant on site.
The Canary islands enjoy a sunny climate all year round, which is why Tenerife is among the most popular winter sun destinations. Even during winter, some sunshine and mild temperatures can be expected.
Playa de la Arena’s weather ranges between warm and hot, and is mostly dry. There are occasional windy spells. Summer highs during June, July, August and September range between 28 and 31°C and winter lows are generally around 14-16°C.
Playa de la Arena Nightlife
The Blarney Stone is popular with those who do wish to sample some low-key nightlife while staying in the resort. Brits in particular are fond of this Irish style pub that serves a great Sunday roast complete with Yorkshire pudding. It serves a good range of beers, cocktails and other beverages, and is the ideal place to watch your footballing favourites in action.
Getting around Playa de la Arena and the surrounding area is easy, as there is a bus stop right above the beach. Routes 473 and 477 are the most frequent services, and will transport you northwards to Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes or south towards Playa Las Americas. The 477 terminates at Costa Adeje.
Other local bus routes include the 325, 461, 462, 493, and 494. These are less frequent, but they can take you to other places on the island. You can find out more about their routes here.
Playa de la Arena to Playa de las Americas
The 473 will take you to Playa de las Americas, and the Zentral Center bus stop there is the best place to get off. You could also travel to this large resort by taxi, at a cost of around 35-40 Euros.
Playa de la Arena to Siam Park
You can also travel to Siam park by taxi or bus. The taxi trip each way costs about 35-40 Euros. Bus numbers 473 and 477 will also take you to Costa Adeje bus station from which you can reach the park in about 10 minutes on foot. The 477 is faster than the 473, and as Costa Adeje station is its final destination, this is the best choice.
To explore Tenerife to the fullest and at your own pace, we highly recommend renting a car. Our favourite place for car rental is the RentalCars website. It allows you to compare different providers and pick the best deal. You also get the best protection and flexibility for booking terms.
We also recommend taking at least one guided tour. Our favourite place for booking tours in Tenerife is GetYourGuide.
Top 3 excursions on the island:
- A whale and dolphin watching (pick by location: Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes).
- Stargazing in Teide National Park
- Kayaking and Snorkeling with Turtles
The best hotels for families with kids (in our opinion):
Luxury: GF Victoria (Costa Adeje) or Bahia Principe Fantasia (Golf del Sur)
Mid-Range: Spring Hotel Bitácora (Playa de las Americas) or Iberostar Bouganville Playa (Costa Adeje)
Budget: GF Isabel (Costa Adeje) or Paradise Park Fun Lifestyle Hotel (Los Cristianos)
The best adults-only hotels:
Luxury: Iberostar Grand El Mirador (Costa Adeje) or Gran Melia Palacio de Isora (Alcalá)
Mid-Range: Tigotan Lovers & Friends (Playa de las Americas) or Iberostar Selection Sábila (Costa Adeje)
Budget: Barceló Santiago (Puerto de Santiago)
Top hotels for everyone:
Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton, Abama or Bahia del Duque (Costa Adeje)
Mid-Range: Hard Rock Hotel (Playa Paraiso) or Dreams Jardin Tropical Resort & Spa (Costa Adeje)
Budget: Alexandre Hotel Gala or Olé Tropical Tenerife (both Playa de las Americas)