The result of intense volcanic activity from aeons ago, the Canary Islands chain is one of the five situated in the Central Atlantic Ocean. Together with the Azores, Madeira, the Savage Islands and Cape Verde, they’re also known as Macaronesia (Greek for “islands of the fortunate”). Playa de la Arena sits gracefully on the western coast of Tenerife, one the world’s favourite resorts and best known for its pleasant sub-tropical climate, abundance of local micro-climates, and incredible beaches. The region is cooled by the Canary Current and north-eastern Trade Winds, the latter more consistent during the summer, and it’s situated on the same latitude as Orlando, Florida. Tenerife is only 300km from Western Sahara, and thus features a generally dry and hot summer, kept under control by the mountainous clusters peaking from the centre of the island.
This little corner of paradise is home to some fascinating effects, like the Rain Shadow Effect caused by mountains and keeping the south-west of the island very dry, and the Sea of Clouds Effect, where moist trade winds at sea level condense as they rise over the northern slope of Tenerife and then suddenly meet a layer of temperature inversion at about 1,700m altitude, causing the clouds to look like they’re “flowing” and “splashing” against the mountainsides. The island is also home to Spain’s largest mountain, Pico de Teide, measuring at 3,718m and with its peak often covered in snow during the winter. It’s no surprise to find yourself on a beach in Tenerife, basking in a glorious sun, and having the majestic Teide stand in the background, its tip an almost sparkling white.
Playa de la Arena is one of the three major resorts on the west coast, the most modern and more relaxed of its cluster, Puerto Santiago and Los Gigantes. Together they form the largest coastal development of the municipal district of Santiago Del Teide, but parts of Playa de la Arena have actually expanded into parts of the Guia de Isora district.
Its weather is pretty much close to perfect throughout the year, experiencing an overall average temperature of 20⁰C (68⁰F), and manifested into 4 not very differentiated seasons. The daily sunshine average ranges from 8 hours in November – January, to 11 hours in April – July, the latter sequence bearing the longest days of the year. Humidity is beautifully constant at 71-75% throughout the year, with extremely comfortable dew points and a generally dry air. Wind speeds are also constant at 12-13mph, and the ocean temperature holds a superb 20⁰C (72⁰F) overall, its cooler end between February and March at 18⁰C and its peak from August until October at 22⁰C. This part of the island is also quite dry, June, July and August experiencing anything between 0-3mm of rainfall, and often subject to dry and occasionally dusty south-eastern winds from Western Sahara. For a 14-day forecast, you can click here.
Lasting from March until May, spring in Tenerife is an absolute delight, with an average temperature of 18⁰C (64⁰F). Hotter days are expected in May, when the high average reaches 23⁰C, and the most rain will usually fall during the first weeks of March – by most we mean about 12mm as an average. Sunshine engulfs the entire island and the sea temperature goes up to a very pleasant 18-19⁰C, perfect for swimming and sailing, the latter ideal due to wind speeds of up to 13mph on average.
Occupying four months of the year, from June until September, the Canary summer maintains an average temperature of 23⁰C (73⁰F), with its hottest days in August, when the average high expected to exceed 28⁰C. There’s virtually no rain expected throughout most of the season, with June, July and August often measuring 0mm of rainfall altogether. The days experience up to 11 hours of glorious sunshine, and the Atlantic Ocean is warm and welcoming at an average temperature of 22⁰C (72⁰F), with southern tropical influences and quite strong undercurrents. This is, by far, the best time for visit Playa de la Arena, as all of the surrounding micro-climates are at a balanced accord of sub-tropical weather.
Well, autumn in Tenerife isn’t exactly the kind of autumn most of us may be used to. The average temperature is only one degree lower than summer at 22⁰C (72⁰F), with the hotter days ranging between 25-27⁰C and only a smidge of precipitation in November, at a 15mm average. The water temperature makes October still part of what could be extended summer, holding on to 22⁰C (72⁰F), and losing about 2-3 degrees into November, as the slightly wetter and cooler winter comes along. Ultimately, let’s just face it, you can still abuse the sun and beach even outside the summer season.
From December to February, winter in this part of Tenerife usually reaches a 17⁰C (63⁰F) average temperature, with the lower end unable to go below 14⁰C in January and February, both considered to be the coldest months of the year. December is the wettest month of the year, experiencing an average rainfall level of 27mm. Yes, that’s pretty much the most rain you’re going to get if you spend Christmas in Playa de la Arena, for example. Humidity doesn’t exceed 75% on average, and the ocean temperature maintains an average of 18-19⁰C, dominated by cooler and stronger undercurrents, making this resort perfect for a winter getaway.
With neighbours like Morocco and Western Sahara in the east and south-east, the sister island of La Gomera in the west, Portugal and Spain in the distant north-west and Senegal in the bottom south-west, the island of Tenerife has long been a favourite escape destination for millions of tourists from all corners of the world, and is a particular darling of the Europeans. Reaching Playa de la Arena requires quite a long transfer from the Reina Sofia International Airport on the south side of the island, and you can either take a taxi from outside the arrivals hall, or pre-book one before your flight. We recommend the latter – while it costs a little more, you can arrange for certain conditions during the long drive and save money by choosing a particular time of the day for the booking.
The name Playa de la Arena actually means “Beach of Sand”, and it’s known to have one of the very few natural beaches on this side of the island. The natural beaches are covered in volcanic black sand, making them look very particular and quirky. For those not used to black beaches, worry not, there are plenty of man-made strips made with white and golden sands collected off-shore. But do take note that the natural beaches have repeatedly been awarded with the much coveted international Blue Flag, for their excellent conditions, cleanliness, water quality and local amenity, since 1989. The beach resort of Playa de la Arena and its neighbours are all extremely well developed in terms of water safety as well, and you’ll find a wide variety of green, yellow and even some red flags along the shore. The latter can be found in distinct parts of the shoreline, where the undercurrents can be deceivingly strong, so we highly recommend that you stick to the green flags for safe swimming. The promenades are flanked by restaurants, terraces and charming bars and boutique shops, and the multitude of tours available here will keep you busy at any time of the year – most of them scuba diving and snorkelling packages, guided walks and boat trips, as well as guided visit to the surrounding natural resorts and marine parks.
While it isn’t as action-packed and loaded with trendy nightclubs and bars like its sister resorts, Playa de la Arena is a more relaxed and tranquil destination often chosen by couples of all ages and young families in search of a peaceful and serene holiday, or a romantic getaway during a weekend. It offers a natural and fascinating beauty, not found in the bigger and more popular resorts. There are so many activities and amazing places to see within walking distance or short drives of the resort, and the smooth black sands are certainly part of what makes Playa de la Arena so attractive and unique.
Given the huge biodiversity and presence of distinct micro-climates, this splendid corner of the world is also home to a fascinating array of endemic flora and fauna. The Canary Islands, in fact, have the fourth largest biodiversity in the world, and Tenerife alone holds about 500 of the 1,700 plant species of the island chain, thousands of invertebrates and about 100 vertebrates. Rare species of bats, a myriad of birds, lizards, insects and marine creatures populate Tenerife and its surrounding waters, thus making your sightseeing experiences truly unique, so please do not, under any circumstances, forget your cameras!