Playa San Juan is a small charming town with an authentic Canarian feel located on the west coast of Tenerife. Despite development in recent times, Playa San Juan remains a working fishing port, with an attractive harbour.
Playa San Juan lies around 5 miles south of Los Gigantes. The neighbouring resorts of Puerto de Santiago, Playa de la Arena and Alcala can be found when heading north, and all of these are located between Playa San Juan and Los Gigantes.
If you like low-key resorts, this could be the one for you. Playa San Juan has an attractive promenade and a good range of nice restaurants and cafés, as well as a tourist office on Avenida Juan Carlos, close to the seafront.
Playa San Juan is also close to Abama beach, and in fact many say this is the finest on the island. Interestingly, the sands were created by the Ritz-Carlton group for guests, and are still accessed via the hotel grounds. As all beaches are public in Tenerife, however, anyone is permitted to cross the Ritz-Carlton’s gardens to visit it.
If you enjoy a peaceful holiday by the sea, with plenty of places to visit nearby, Playa San Juan may well be your ideal destination. Although hotel accommodation is limited, there are plenty of self-catering apartments available. The town itself also has a decent black sand beach, in addition to Playa Abama with its imported golden sands.
Things to Do in Playa San Juan
The best things to do in Playa San Juan include enjoying the beautiful beaches of the area, visiting the pumping station or old lime kiln, picking up a bargain at the weekly market or strolling along the pretty promenade.
Bathe or Get Bronzed at the Town Beach
The town beach in Playa San Juan is a great place for sunbathing and swimming. Because the fishing harbour and breakwater protect it from both the wind and big waves, it’s ideal for families with children. All the amenities you could possibly need are provided, including toilets, showers, changing rooms and waste bins. There is also a lifeguard service and good disabled access.
Entering the water involves crossing rocky ground, though, so do bear that in mind and bring beach shoes if you have them. At the time of writing, hiring two sunbeds plus a parasol on the beach cost just 7.5 Euros. As there are no hotels in Playa de San Juan itself, this is truly a locals’ beach.
Saunter Along or Seek Shade on the Promenade
Playa San Juan’s promenade is a lovely place to sit and chill out, people-watching or observing the ocean. There are plenty of shady benches where you can sit and relax for a while. Close to the harbour there is also a great kids’ play park.
Bag a Bargain at the Weekly Market
Playa San Juan’s weekly market is held on a Wednesday between 8am and 1pm. It takes place in the Plaza Eulogia González Taima, a square in the centre of the resort. The market is ideal for picking up locally grown produce as well as handmade and artisanal products, some of which make perfect gifts or souvenirs.
Savour the Golden Sands of Playa Abama
As touched on earlier, Playa Abama is a beautiful, golden sandy beach, and takes only 10 minutes by car to get to. You can find more information about it in this detailed guide.
Learn About Limestone at the Old Lime Kiln
When in Playa San Juan, it’s easy to reach a local wonder by wandering past the end of the promenade. Heading away from the harbour, you can stroll along the path beneath the cliff to see the old lime kiln, which dates from 1950. While it is no longer used, this historic building was recently restored.
By 1951, the kiln was receiving regular deliveries of limestone, which was imported by boat from Fuerteventura. With the help of the furnace, this was then turned into materials that were used for waterproofing ponds and reservoirs, whitewashing, building, and even as a water purifier and disinfectant.
Discover the Ruins of the Old Pumping Station
Antigua Casa Embarcadero, is well worth a visit when staying on the southern side of Tenerife – it’s a great alternative to the popular Casa Hamilton in the north. This old pumping station was used to transport much-needed fresh water to the area’s agricultural land for growing crops and raising livestock.
The old building can be reached by heading along Playa San Juan’s promenade, again heading in the opposite direction of the harbour. This coastal path is in great condition – however the steps that lead down to the station are not, so proceed with caution. It’s worth the effort, though, as just a few steps further will take you to a small pebbly cove that is very tranquil and completely unspoiled.
Best Places to Stay
Playa San Juan has two main options when it comes to accommodation. Guests can stay at the upmarket Ritz-Carlton hotel by Abama beach, or book an apartment in the main resort. There are no other hotels in the town.
BEST – The Ritz-Carlton, Abama Beach
This distinctive property was in fact responsible for creating Abama beach, which unusually for Tenerife, has golden sands. Sand was in fact imported here when the hotel was built. The building itself also stands out, being constructed in a Moorish style, and from a material that is somewhere between pink, peach and terracotta in colour. With the coastal backdrop, it’s a stunning sight, especially when lit up by the sunset.
A five star, beachfront resort, the Ritz-Carlton is about 10 minutes’ drive from central Playa San Juan. Its facilities include a sizable spa, 2 kids’ zones, 7 outdoor pools and 8 restaurants. 2 of these are Michelin-starred. A resort train is provided from the landscaped, tropical-style clifftop site to Abama beach. The range of rooms and suites includes some adult-only accommodation, and all accommodation has interactive TVs and marble bathrooms.
The Ritz-Carlton near Playa San Juan is a sumptuous and luxurious place to stay, with many amenities and direct access to the best beach in Tenerife.
There are several recommended self-catering options in Playa San Juan, as follows. Apartments like these are the only alternatives to staying at the Ritz-Carlton.
Around two-thirds of a mile from the beach in Playa San Juan is the Eurosant Playas complex. This offers a selection of apartments sleeping up to six guests, which come with a terrace or balcony. Some are penthouses, and all feature dedicated living and dining areas with seating. Flatscreen satellite TVs and a fully equipped kitchen are also provided in each unit. Guests praise the helpful hosts, location and cleanliness of Eurosant Playas.
On Calle Mar en Calma in Playa San Juan is the Mi Posadita – Los Roques apartment. This 2-bedroom property can accommodate up to 4 guests, and thus is ideal for a family. The apartment has free WiFi, private parking and a balcony. It also has a fully equipped kitchen, washing machine, flatscreen TV and a shower room. The building is conveniently located, being just over half a mile from the town beach.
Our Favorite Playa San Juan Restaurants
The best places to eat in Playa San Juan include Tenerife’s best bakery, a fabulous pizzeria, a fine dining style restaurant and an eatery specialising in fresh seafood.
Anyone who adores bakeries as much as we do is truly in for a treat in Playa de San Juan. This is because the best bakery on the entire island is located here. The pretty display of dessert pastries is well worth waiting for, and visitors also rave about the coffee, croissants, bread and burgers. 100% Pan y Pasteleria can be found on Calle la Graciosa in central Playa San Juan.
One past guest has called the food served here “worthy of a Michelin star”, so the bar is set high. Dishing up a range of Spanish and Mediterreanean specialities with flair and the utmost care, Lupolo Esencia is a great place for tapas or a full-on meal. As well as the food, the restaurant serves Cava and local wines. Close to the seafront, this is a firm favourite with Tenerife regulars.
If you feel like living La Dolce Vita while on holiday in the Canary Islands, head to Plazale Pizzeria in Playa San Juan. It was listed as the number 1 choice – of 37 – in the resort when we researched this article. People praise this “little gem” of an Italian restaurant that serves the best pizza in the area. The eatery is located close to the town square, and is the place to go for fabulous pasta as well as freshly baked pizza.
Seafood, fish and yet more seafood are the stars of the show at Taberna Marinera Agua y Sal. Here, diners can select their own shellfish, fish or other seafood from the chiller. It is then cooked to order, to each customer’s exacting specifications. It can be fried, grilled or even served with pasta. Even those who are not huge fans of seafood tend to be bowled over by the food and service at this Playa San Juan restaurant.
For those visiting Playa San Juan by car, there is a public car park right by the beach.
In terms of public transport, the resort has several bus stops. The easiest to reach is the “Playa de San Juan” stop, which is located just a few hundred metres from the beach.
The best local bus routes are the 477 and 473, which run regularly between Los Gigantes, Puerto de Santiago, Playa de la Arena, Alcalá and Playa de San Juan – all of which are positioned to the north.
Playa Las Americas can also be reached via the 473 route, or you can travel to Costa Adeje on the 477.
Weather in Playa San Juan
As is usual in the Southern part of Tenerife, visitors can reasonably expect year-round sunshine in Playa San Juan. Even during the winter season, when the weather resembles that experienced by many Europeans during spring and summer in their home countries.
Playa San Juan’s weather is usually dry, and warm to hot temperatures can be expected. Because of the seaside location, there can sometimes be windy weather. Between June and September, highs will normally be between 28 and 31°C and during winter the temperature also rarely drops below 20° during the day.
You will be totally comfortable wearing short sleeves most of the winter days. We recommend having a jacket for the winter evenings, though.