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Playa de las Americas - a manufactured tourist playground


Purpose built in the late 1960s, in between Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje, Playa de las Americas makes no concession to any of the traditional Canarian culture, history or values. It is geared solely to people enjoying themselves in a superb climate, without having to bother with any inconveniences like interacting with true Canarian natives, eating Canarian food or exploring mind-blowing scenery.


Las Americas long view
Photo: Wouter Hagens


Indeed, you'd be hard pushed to find anything Canarian in this sprawling, artificial metropolis. During the 40 years since its beginnings, it has gradually expanded and now consists of three distinct areas: Las Americas itself, San Eugenio and Torviscas.

It is a haven for those who don't like Spanish food (even if they haven't tried it). There are European or American fast food outlets all over the place, from Macdonalds and Burger King, to British fish and chip shops and pizza parlours.

For those tourists who wish to drink themselves silly for the duration of their holiday, but don't wish the nuisance of having to order their alcohol in Spanish, then numerous British bars jostle for position. (Remember though, if you stick to tourist bars, you'll pay a lot more!)


Las Americas beach
Photo: Wouter Hagens


Fortunately for those people whose daytime activities consist of sleeping off the excesses of the night before, Las Americas has a selection of fine beaches, all with golden sand imported from the Sahara. There, crowded amongst the many other holidaymakers, you can snooze away your hangover, whilst getting burnt to a crisp.




Nightlife

Las Americas night
Some older people not visiting Las Veronicas
Photo: Wouter Hagens

It is for nightlife that Las Americas comes into its own. The main reason young people holiday here is for the club scene on the Veronicas strip and in the Starco complex. Details of these can be found here.

A lot of clubs and bars have touts outside, trying to get you in with the promise of a free drink. These can be quite insistant and intrusive and some are not averse to picking your pocket while they're talking to you (it's happened to me). For more info on their pickpocketing technique, see my warnings and advice page.

Another area for bars, but geared more to older people and families, is The Patch. More details can be found here.


It is for nightlife that Las Americas comes into its own. The main reason young people holiday here is for the club scene on the Veronicas strip and in the Starco complex. Details of these can be found here.


Las Americas night
Some older people not visiting Las Veronicas
Photo: Wouter Hagens

A lot of clubs and bars have touts outside, trying to get you in with the promise of a free drink. These can be quite insistant and intrusive and some are not averse to picking your pocket while they're talking to you (it's happened to me). For more info on their pickpocketing technique, see my warnings and advice page.

Another area for bars, but geared more to older people and families, is The Patch. More details can be found here.




Las Americas is the home to some fine restaurants, including the famous El Molino Blanco, which has been visited by such celebrities as Mariah Carey and Rod Stewart.

Playa de las Americas is also convenient for many of the big attractions found in the south. You can refer to my attractions page for more details.




Shopping

As you can imagine, in such a blatantly commercial area, there are many, many shops, selling clothes and electrical goods at tempting, duty-free prices. I know, from reading the various forums on the web, that a lot of people feel they have been ripped off when buying from these shops, especially the ones dealing in electrical goods.

I have to say, we once bought a digital camera from one such shop in Los Cristianos and, when we got home, the lens jammed open. We found the card inside the box, detailing where to send it for repair, posted it off and it was returned a few days later, all fixed. We must have been one of the lucky ones.

Nevertheless, please beware when buying such items. There are many imitation brands about, being passed off as the real thing. The electronic store salesman can be quite insistant, so don't give in to buying something unless you're absolutely sure.



For certain types of holidaymakers, who don't mind a flight from the UK or Europe of just over four hours to get pretty much guaranteed sunshine, who want to continue eating their own cuisine, drinking their own beer, reading their own newspapers and watching their own sport on the TV, Playa de las Americas is the ideal place.

If I sound like I'm not all that keen on this town, it's because I'm not. It has no relevance to the true Tenerife and I think it's a shame that many people believe it does.


Looks quite nice from a distance, doesn't it?





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