Archive for April 10th, 2009
All busy on the western front

It was so nice to see Los Gigantes and Puerto Santiago brimming with tourists, both have been eerily quiet on my previous visits. Semana Santa (Easter week) is not only a big religious time, but also a big family holiday when Spanish flock from the mainland to Tenerife, encouraged lately by cut price hotel deals. On the 473 bus journey from Los Cristianos, I noticed large numbers of camper vans parked up in Playa Paraiso and on Punta Blanca between Alcala and Playa de la Arena. Camping on the beaches is illegal, and although the police have cut it down in recent years, they will never stop it all.

Back in Los Gigantes, the afternoon sun punched its way through the clouds, luring a few more onto the small dark beach and bars and restaurants were doing a steady trade. I poked my nose in at La Laquillo, the large outdoor swimming pool complex, that became a regular haunt of mine during my 4 years living up in Puerto Santiago, and based at The Western Sun newspaper office just behind the church plaza.

With the pocket sized beach easily filled, La Laquillo is a popular alternative at 4.50 euros a day (adult) including a sunbed. They also have a nice restaurant and life guards on duty, so it’s a good choice for families. On the down side, I recall the water always being cold, but that was offset for me by the lovely young Canarian lady with stunning thighs, who usually let me in free to swim my laps.

Leaving “The Village” as Los Gigantes is known (always makes me think of The Prisoner) I decided to forsake cardiac hill, and take the scenic route via Crab Island. This is a lovely settlement that hugs the coast and features the rock pool, a popular venue for late night skinny dipping. The wonderful setting also encourages tourists to sit on the edge and pose for photos, even when the sea is alarmingly rough. It was calm for my visit, but I always think of my first front page story for The Western Sun, when a man was swept out of the pool by a freak wave and with the help of a heroic holiday maker, was lifted out by helicopter.

 Moving on up, I passed quite a line of people coming down from the viewing terrace above the rocks, the outlook was beautiful as always, although the waft of sewage from the nearby pipeline still tweaks the nostrils. Left with just half a hill to climb, I stopped off in Puerto Santiago to re-aquaint myself with one of my favourite bars before taking the main road above the sea. The even smaller Santiago beach had its fair share of visitors, but the sea air spurred me on and down through the tight hairpin corner, so expertly manouvered by coach and bus drivers, to the plaza. Well I couldn’t hop on my bus without having a meal at the excellent Plaza Restaurante. It was nice to see the same friendly staff there (they used to reserve me pole position in front of the TV for CD Tenerife away games) and the old men still engrossed in their endless games of chess. With a belly full of tuna, the hour long bus trip back to the south soon snoozed by.