Los Cristianos lies in a sheltered bay in the 'sunny side' of south Tenerife only a 30 minute drive, or a 20 minute hair raising ride by taxi from the airport. The only time in a hire car that you will overtake a taxi is when it's parked at the side of the road! Like most seafront towns Los Cristianos began life as a fishing village, and happily it still retains much of that same character with the fleet bringing in their catch during the early hours of each morning. The harbour is still the focal point with ferries and high speed catermerans leaving daily to the neighbouring islands of La Gomera and El Hierro. Also there are numerous half and full day fishing/sightseeing and whale watching trips that leave from the quayside. (see the comments later though). The town itself has a quaint 'village feel' with a delightful square built around the old church (and Barclay's Bank) where the locals sit and while away the hours. A great benefit is that practically the whole of the town is now traffic free, so no more watching for the children looking the 'wrong way' when crossing the roads. The seafront promenade allows a leisurely stroll beginning at the far end by the Arona Gran hotel all the way to the Playa las Vistas taking in fine views of the harbour and allowing opportunities for shopping in the small tourist friendly boutiques and eating and drinking in many of the speciality restaurants that back onto the walk. Taking your time , it's a good morning well spent in the sunshine. There are two main beaches, the 'town beach' is the central one which reaches down from the shopping area to the harbour. It's a natural beach with parasols and sunbeds for hire, but carry on walking for about 10 minutes and you will come to the best beach on the whole island. This is the Playa Las Vistas. It is man made where the sands have been imported (some say from the Sahara Desert) and stretches for around 800 metres. It is glorious with golden sand, lovely and wide and very child friendly. Again sunbeds and umbrellas for hire with beach bars for snacks and drinks. During the evening it is an abundance of ex-pat owned bars which all back onto the beach where you can enjoy Carling whilst watching all of the UK football games.
Leather goods like belts, luggage and handbags are fantastic buys. Be prepared to barter....don't be afraid to get the best deal. For costume jewellery try Brigitte Bijou in the town centre. Other shops sell beachwear and the like.
The centre of the town has a fantastic variety of restaurants to suite everyone. For the best pizzas and steaks try anyone of the 'Little Italy' restaurants. They are superb value. One of the best/restaurants is the El Cine. It is situated at the rear of the main bar on the seafront. Really it is a collection of a few tables with paper tablecloths and nothing else. The food comes from what seems to be a hole in the wall BUT go at lunchtime. Get there for 11.30am at the latest or there will be a queue, sit down, have a cold drink then choose from the menu. Go for chicken wings, mixed salad, squid and fish of the day (it's only 100 metres from the harbour). Soak up the atmosphere and when you next look at the time it will be late afternoon. On the Playa las Vistas, next to the Vista Sur Apartments is a little Canarian restaurant with blue and white awnings called Raymonds 2. Any time of the day is fine, nothing pretentious just true Canarian food. Again go for the catch of the day. In the middle of the town , by where the taxis pull in, is the original Raymonds, a great favourite with the locals. Go Saturday lunchtime for the tapas and shrimps but be prepared to shout to be heard above the noise of the locals and the national TV 'blaring'.
A multitude to choose from, all will offer 'all you can eat buffet' from around 9 euro per person with children eating half price. One of the best is next door to the Oasis Moreque hotel.
Anywhere really, but if you enjoy good company and 'John Smiths', 'Strongbow' and the like drop into the Miners Retreat , just off the town beach. They do traditional Sunday Lunches next door too.
All offer 'commission free' but be careful and make sure you know how much to expect for your undervalued pound. There is an exchange in the town (opposite McDonald's, count your money carefully). The best one is in a travel agents next to the Chinese, which in turn is next to the Oasis Moreque Hotel. Best rates, honest people. Always ask for a receipt wherever you change your cash.
There is a Sunday market, at the far end of the promenade going towards the Arona Gran Hotel. It starts around 10.00am and goes on until about 3.00pm. Leather goods are again great value here. Don't expect to test your Spanish though, most of the stall holders are from the UK or Africa. Tips...ladies watch your handbags....guys...just don't go, it's heaving with pushing and shoving and bound to end in an argument. BUT if you do go there is a stall half way down on the left as you go in. It is a charity for the Tenerife Animal Welfare...Take the books you've read during your stay or just go and buy something. They ( a British couple getting on in years ) do a great job.
There are about a dozen stalls on the quayside selling trips by the hour with half and full day excursions also available. They are all much alike in cost but just have a look at the boats before deciding on which is best for you. Some, for example have larger sun decks than others. There is a fabulous full day boat journey to the cliffs of Los Gigantes. It leaves around 10.00am and gets you back for about 4.00pm. During the day you could see dolphins, porpoise and possibly whales depending on the time of year. The scenery is magnificent and plenty of time is allowed for swimming. Make sure lunch and drinks are included in the cost.
Full day Mount Teide, a lot of driving on the mountain roads and take a jumper, it's chilly up there. Full Day island visit (takes in shopping in the island's capital, Santa Cruz) Loro Parque to see the sea life and exotic animals. But, take our advice and book these through a UK tour operator in the hotel. The reason is that the coach company will be fully insured and that you will be in the company of UK nationals. Nothing against other nationalities whatsoever but any commentaries explaining places of interest and the like will be only in English and easy to understand.