If you think that Tenerife on Spain’s Canary Islands is just about sea and sun, then you obviously haven’t visited Los Cristianos with kids. From beautiful, family-friendly beaches to diving, hiking and a range of high-octane water sports, there’s loads here for families who are looking for a more adventurous getaway.
I must confess that my perfect holiday is a week of lying in the sun with the occasional dip in the sea. But when I travel with my kids, I have to remember that lying still for any length of time is their idea of hell! So, as a compromise, last summer I booked a holiday to Los Cristianos, where I knew there would be plenty to keep the girls busy.
I wasn’t disappointed. When I’d researched the town online, I’d seen that there was a water park and a tree-climbing adventure park nearby, as well as horse riding in the resort. Although I already thought that these activities would be good enough, I found that there was so much more on offer for adventurous and athletic children when I arrived. And I have to admit that while I participated in the activities for them, I think that my husband and I might have enjoyed them just as much (if not more)!
Here’s my rundown of what’s available for active families in Los Cristianos.
There are three beaches in the resort, two of which have beautiful golden sand and one of which boasts the dramatic black sand Tenerife is famous for. The two golden beaches, Playa de los Cristianos and Playa de las Vistas, are where you’ll find most of the water sport action. The black sand beach is a nudist beach, so it’s probably best avoided if your kids have a sensitive disposition!
Playa de los Cristianos
At 975 metres in length, this is the resort’s longest beach. The golden sand stretches out beside a promenade lined by beach bars, restaurants, cafes and kiosks. Located in a natural bay, the waters here are usually very calm, making it the ideal place for you and the family to try out some of the wide range of water sports on offer.
Everything from jet skiing, windsurfing, paddle-boarding and a number of high-speed inflatable rides are available to try here. Whether you want to go fast or slow on the water, you’ll be hard pressed to try everything on offer over the course of just one holiday.
Playa de las Vistas
The second family beach in the resort is Playa de las Vistas, a 850-meter stretch of golden sand just a short distance away from Playa de los Cristianos. Again, the calm waters here make it ideal for swimming, and there’s a full range of water sports on offer. If you’re feeling up to it, you can also challenge your kids to a game of beach volleyball on the sand here.
One of the most memorable activities that my family tried while in Los Cristianos was sea kayaking.
After setting off from Playa de los Cristianos, a guide took us out to the marine life reserve of Palm Mar, where you can actually kayak alongside a colony of wild dolphins.
The guide then took us past the dramatic cliffs of Montaña de Guaza before reaching the famous Playa de las Americas, where we stopped off for a swim before heading back to the resort.
Hiking Along the Stunning Coastline
As a family we love to walk, and it’s a great way to explore a new destination. While we were in Tenerife, we discovered a perfect morning’s hike (around 9km) along the coast to Las Galletas, which takes you through two nature reserves.
Head out of town along the promenade, and you’ll find a hiking trail which takes you towards Montaña de Guaza and heads up towards the cliffs (the views from here are simply stunning).
When you get to the top, there’s a beautiful plateau to explore (which is part of the nature reserve) before you descend into the village of Palm Mar. This is a great place to stop for a cold drink before heading out of the village and along the coastal track. Soon enough, you’ll reach the second nature reserve, the Malpais de la Rasca, which is known for its amazing lava landscape.
If you work your way toward the lighthouse and beyond, you’ll find a beautiful and secluded beach that’s perfect for stopping for a swim before heading into Las Galletas.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to walk back home – there’s a good bus service along the coast that you can take.
If the kayaking excursion left you hungry to see more of the beautiful Palm Mar marine reserve, then trying scuba diving could be an ideal family activity.
There are plenty of dive centres along the coast here, offering excellent beginner training for kids from eight years old.
The warm conditions, limited rainfall and excellent visibility make Tenerife a Mecca for scuba divers from around the world, and there are at least five really good dive sites around Los Cristianos that are suitable for all levels. There’s a wonderful range of marine life to see, including angel sharks, rays, parrot fish, Canarian lobsters, octopus and, of course, sardines.
How to Get to Los Cristianos
Getting your family to the resort couldn’t be easier, as regular flights leave the UK and fly into the nearby Tenerife South Airport. Flight times are around four hours, and are offered by a range of airlines, such as Thomson, Ryanair and British Airways.
Before you jet off, book yourself a 20-minute airport transfer with Shuttle Direct, and you and your family will be at the resort before you know it.
Where to Stay
Aparthotel Oasis Mango Resort – Enjoy the friendly atmosphere and outdoor pool at the Aparthotel Oasis Mango Resort. Just 1.4 miles from Playa de las Americas, the resort has free Wi-Fi throughout and apartments with their own private terraces.
The Suites at Beverly Hills – If you’re looking for an authentically Spanish style, try The Suites at Beverly Hills. Active families will enjoy the outdoor pool, fitness centre and tennis courts, and there is free Wi-Fi throughout.
Apartment Sur Sunrises – Just a short walk from the beach, the Apartment Sur Sunrises offer beautiful sea views. There’s a great pool and sun terrace downstairs and free Wi-Fi everywhere.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of airport transfers across Europe and North Africa. It offers a great range of transport solutions for families in search of a quick and seamless ride from the airport directly to their resort accommodation.