Overview of Los Gigantes

Los Gigantes literally translates into 'The Giants' and is in reference to the cliffs which dominate much of the town's skyline, and are perhaps the town's biggest attraction. Many see the west of Tenerife, and particularly Los Gigantes, as a compromise between the south and the north. Whilst not as loud and energetic as the south, there isn't as much of a culture shock as the north.

Los Gigantes has become one of the island's most popular tourist resorts of recent years. The growth of the town has led many tourists to find it difficult to distinguish between Los Gigantes and the nearby Puerto Santiago. Visitors tend to move between the two towns given each have its own merits. Los Gigantes may not have an idyllic beach, but caters much more to English speaking tourists, evidenced by the town's growing numbers of British expatriates. If it is a beach holiday you are after, it is worth making a short trip to Playa de la Arena in Puerto Santiago.

Los Gigantes is not mountainous but it isn't flat either. Those with mobility problems or pushchairs will find the hills which this town is built on rather hard to negotiate. The good all year round climate makes for pleasant winters and sweltering summers. Temperatures of 30°C are common place, and rain is almost non-existent in the summer months.

If the cliffs are Los Gigantes' crown, the marina is the jewel in it. It offers various water-sports, dolphin and whale watching, and world class diving lessons, not to mention the superb facilities for those wishing to keep a boat there.

 

History

Very little of the town's history suggests that Los Gigantes would one day be the popular holiday destination it is now. After the death of Tinerfe el Grande, king of the Guanches people, his nine children split the island between them. Los Gigantes was situated in the municipality then known as Duate. The Guanches had no interest in fishing or sailing, and so there would be no use for today's marina.

In April 1494, Alonso Fernández de Lugo began his conquest of the islands, but not everyone allowed him to conquer freely. Five municipalities joined together to fight off the Spanish, and Duate was one of them. Known as the side of war, the resistance did little but delay the Spanish conquest and by the end of the year the Guanches were forced to surrender.

Many of the natives were enslaved, particularly those in Duate where the Guaches fought hardest for freedom. The Spanish forced their culture upon the area, converting the locals to Christianity and changing the livelihoods of many.

The Acantilados de Los Gigantes, or Cliffs of the Giants, that tower over Los Gigantes were historically very important for the safety of the entire island. Throughout the end of the 18th century many invasion attempts were stopped in Los Gigantes. The locals, wishing to defend their town, climbed to the top of the cliff and pelted invaders with rocks. Thankfully nowadays visitors are much more welcome.

However, it was not until the 1960's that the area was seen as a potential tourist attraction. Tourists had been visiting the rest of the island for a while now, but not Los Gigantes. A man by the name of Juan Manuel Capdevielle who saw tourism potential in Los Gigantes sought to change that. He oversaw the construction of roads, plaza, and Hotel Los Gigantes which still exists today.

Since the tourism boom the population has trebled in size and now stands at almost 10,000 inhabitants. However, even with the area's surge in popularity, Los Gigantes has expanded gracefully, with many tourists coming and going to the nearby Puerto Santiago and Playa de la Arena resorts.

 

Culture

The majority of people who make Los Gigantes their home are older British expatriates who, over the years, have seen the area as an ideal place to retire. English is spoken throughout the town, with even Spanish workers greeting shoppers in the language. Most signposts and shop signs are written in English, and a British community bulletin board can be found in the Plaza Bouganvilla. A small church has been built in the same square by British expatriates for group events and religious worship, with even the Reverend being an expatriate himself.

Los Gigantes is visited mainly by British tourists, for a slightly more authentic Spanish experience it is advisable to travel into nearby Puerto Santiago. A larger majority of the population are Spanish and the tourists who visit the town are from a wider variety of nations.

 

How to get there

By Bus:

TITSA run buses from several towns to Los Gigantes. The 325 route leaves from Puerto de la Cruz six times a day, but the journey can take up to two hours long. The best route from Los Cristianos is the 477 bus going directly to Los Gigantes every hour, taking a little over an hour to arrive. From Guía de Isora, the 493 arrives in Los Gigantes in around an hour, with a bus departing every two hours.

By Car:

If travelling from the south by car, connect to the TF-47 and it will take you to Puerto Santiago. If driving from the north, take TF-5 followed by TF-82.