Even before we moved to Tenerife the propaganda had subliminally seeped into my sub-conscious after hearing work colleagues regularly proclaim – ‘I’m going to Tenerife…but not tacky Playa de las Américas, I’m staying in the upmarket area at Costa Adeje.’
For the first couple of years after moving to Tenerife we bought into the whole Costa Adeje = upmarket, Playa de las Américas = cheap, cheerful & depressingly tacky image that was being projected in all sorts of mediums. It still is in fact; this is from a recent travel article about Tenerife in the Daily Mail:
“Did we have a secret penchant for hanging out in EastEnders-style caffs to indulge in all-day full English breakfasts – polishing off our fried slice and baked beans before racing down to the foam party and downing rows of ferocious shots in rapid succession?”
They don’t mention Playa de las Américas by name but you know that’s where they’re referring to. It’s the image conjured up by many people when Playa de las Américas is mentioned.
And we were no different… until we had to thoroughly research the Costa Adeje/Playa de Las Américas area for a writing project a few years ago. We’ve stayed in hotels in both, eaten in restaurants, partied in bars and walked the length and breadth of Tenerife south’s best known resorts from La Caleta to Los Cristianos.
The idea of Costa Adeje being upmarket, Las Amèricas being on the wrong side of the tracks so to speak is in many ways a complete myth.
When people talk of the holiday horrors of the idea of staying in Playa de las Américas, they are invariably talking of Veronica’s, the party central of south Tenerife and the subject of Tenerife Uncovered, the TV series that was in many ways responsible for forming our long-lasting impressions of Playa de las Américas and Tenerife.
Veronica’s, ironically enough, actually lies almost right on the border with Costa Adeje. It is what many people would consider a holiday nightmare destination. It is also, lest it be forgotten, what attracts many younger visitors.
Head to the other side of the resort at the border with Los Cristianos and you discover a very different Playa de las Amèricas. This one has Las Vegas style hotels (good enough for Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez), chic modern restaurants, the best beaches in the area (sorry Del Duque, you look mighty attractive, but your sand is odd), a surf scene, a great coastal walk that includes modern sculptures, designer shops and the wonderfully flamboyant Carmen Mota show at the so-kitsch-it’s-fab Pirámide de Arona.
Last year Andy had to argue the case to include Playa de las Américas on the travel website Simonseeks. The site was supposed to feature the best hotels on Tenerife, but the editor completely dismissed Las Américas as being too tacky. The last time he’d visited, the area we’re referring to hadn’t been fully developed. He wanted Costa Adeje (which he got) but not a mention of Las Américas. Andy convinced him that his views were maybe a bit out of date.
Playa de las Américas is not our idea of an ideal holiday destination (we prefer more traditional destinations) but if anyone asks what’s the most cosmopolitan part of the south of Tenerife our answer wouldn’t be Costa Adeje, despite it boasting a host of luxurious hotels. It would be Playa de las Américas. Both have resort areas that appeal to different markets including those seeking upmarket and budget destinations (Costa Adeje has its cheap & cheerful side too). But for me the ingredients for a fully rounded ‘upmarket’ holiday package on offer around the southern end of Playa de las Américas is simply more complete than Costa Adeje’s at the moment.
Of course nobody except those that know that area of Las Américas will believe me.