The Top Things to See and Do in Costa Adeje

Costa Adeje at dusk | © TimOve/Flickr
Costa Adeje at dusk | © TimOve/Flickr
Photo of Mark Nayler
2 August 2021

Tourists have been flocking to the resort of Costa Adeje for as long as Tenerife has been a holiday destination – and it’s easy to see why. It has some of the island’s best beaches, a wide selection of activities and plenty of family-friendly fun – but there’s more to this lively beach resort than boozy bars and Playa de las Américas. You can climb the towering Mount Teide, swim with sea turtles at Playa del Puertito and float along the world’s longest lazy river at Siam Water Park. Here’s a rundown of the most entertaining ways to spend your time in this popular resort.

Ascend Mount Teide

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Walker heading toward Montana de Guajara the highest peak on the caldera rim of active volcano El Teide on Tenerife in the Canary Islands
© Steve Taylor ARPS / Alamy Stock Photo
There are two main routes to the top of Spain’s highest peak, the 3,715 metre-high Teide volcano. Either take the cable car from the Base Station to the Upper Station – an eight-minute cruise over Tenerife’s spiky volcanic landscapes – and walk the remaining 614 metres. Alternatively, for more of a challenge you can hike all the way from Montaña Blanca to the top of the crater, a total distance of 8.3km (5.2mi). Either way, you’ll need a free permit from the National Park authorities.

Shop at Plaza del Duque

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Plaza del Duque is Tenerife’s premier shopping centre, a shiny, circular complex of clothing and accessory outlets, cafes and restaurants, set just back from the beach of the same name. As well as brands including Hackett, Boss and Desigual, there’s a supermarket selling freshly baked bread and pastries, and a kiosk-sized establishment specialising in tobacco and liquor. When you’re done, head to Creperia for an omelette, or to Premium Cafe and Lounge for a cocktail or glass of wine.

Swim with sea turtles at Playa del Puertito

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Swimming with a green turtle,Costa Adeje, Tenerife
© Andrew Pearson / Alamy Stock Photo
If you’re fed up with the crowds, explore the unspoilt cove of Playa del Puertito, where it’ll be just you and the turtles – and possibly a few locals, who like to camp here overnight in the summer. Swim out past the fishing boats to the clear waters beyond, where you’ll find a resident group of these friendly creatures, who won’t mind your presence or being photographed. Other marine wildlife to admire while you’re swimming includes bull rays, butterfly rays, trumpet fish and crabs.

Tuck into seafood at La Masia del Mar

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For some of the best seafood in Tenerife, book a table at La Caleta’s family-run La Masia del Mar. From a terrace overlooking the bay and its bobbing boats, sample the restaurant’s speciality dishes, which include zarzuela (a crowded seafood casserole made with squid, mussels, prawns, cod and monkfish) and grilled lobster – choose a live one from the tank. Equally delicious are their homemade desserts, especially the Canarian quesillo, one of the islands’ most traditional sweets.

Spot constellations in Teide National Park

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© Reinhard Dirscherl / Alamy Stock Photo
Tenerife is one of the world’s top three spots for stargazing, along with Hawaii and Chile. Its Teide National Park operators run several tours focusing on the island’s teeming night skies, including after-dark cable car excursions led by astronomers and sunset expeditions to Pico Viejo, the 800 metre-diameter crater just beneath Teide. Best of all, though, are the trips to the Tenerife Observatory – the largest solar observatory in the world, where you’ll watch solar flares and step inside massive nocturnal telescopes.

Go whale watching

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Over 20 species of whale – including the pilot, sperm, orca and minke varieties – regularly visit Tenerife’s waters, and some are spottable off the Costa Adeje all year round. Whale-watching boat tours depart from Puerto Colon, offering commentary by expert guides, snorkels for off-board jaunts and underwater microphones so you can listen to the mammals communicating with each other. If you’re setting sail with kids, book yourself on one of the Viking-themed outings.

Hike through Hell’s Canyon

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Grab your camera, set off early and head to Barranco del Infierno (Hell’s Canyon). This walk is hellish in name only, as this perfectly civilised, three-hour hike isn’t too challenging and offers spectacular views. Only 300 people per day are allowed to enter to protect the area, so booking is advised – as is bringing plenty of water. If you’re lucky, you might spot a booted eagle, but if not, you can take a selfie in the hard hat that comes with your entry fee. Guided tours are also available.

Take a Tuk Tuk Tour

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One of the best ways to explore the Costa Adeje is in a tuk tuk, a three-wheel, open-air motorbike driven by a local guide. Itineraries normally begin and finish in Puerto Colon and take in key sights such as Plaza and Playa del Duque, Duque Castle and Playa de la Enramada as well as the village of La Caleta and its 16th-century San Sebastian church – one of the oldest religious buildings on Tenerife. While zipping around Colon harbour, ask your guide to point out their favourite restaurants.

Splash about at Siam Water Park

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Siam Park water park near Playa de Las Americas on Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
© Islandstock / Alamy Stock Photo
Prepare to hold onto your swimsuit at Siam Water Park, one of the world’s best waterparks. Boasting the world’s largest man-made waves – reaching 3m (10 feet) – and the world’s longest and highest lazy river, there’s plenty to wear you out at this Thai-themed water park. Suspend your disbelief for a moment and pretend you’re in Thailand for the day: indulge in Thai food from the restaurants and shop at the floating Thai market. You may need to build up your courage before hurling yourself down the Tower of Power, an almost vertical slide that shoots you through a shark tank.

Leon Beckenham contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on August 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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