Arona is one of the most important municipalities in terms of tourism both in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the rest of the Archipelago. The area is internationally known as a haven for resting and relaxing in the island, where the weather is always benign and the sun shines all year round. It is mostly popular thanks to the local beaches, the youthful atmosphere and the wide offer of leisure activities.
Located on the southern tip of the island, it is characterized by its mild temperatures and the prominent dryness of the landscape, showing fauna and flora typical in these kind of climates. Arona shows a combination of several lava flows with big expansions of land covered in the light-coloured rocks characteristic of the south of the island. This landscape holds a great geological significance. The coastal areas of the municipality can be classified into three:
Las Américas Beach: A place to relax and enjoy the seaside and the sunshine that offers a wide range of water sports. This area spreads within the Barranco del Rey ravine, which divides Las Américas into two. It is an area without peaks that gently slopes down to the coast which features small cliffs and a low rocky coastline with black sand beaches.
Los Cristianos: It can be described as a former fishing village which developed into a seaside resort area, made popular due to its nice weather and soon becoming one of the most sought after vacation spots on the island. It is the starting point for numerous boat connections to other nearby islands such as La Gomera. As a curiosity, this magical place is home to the world’s biggest mural, with 4800m2, as registered in the Guinness Book of Records. It reads a very straight forward message: “Los Cristianos-Puerta de la Naturaleza”, a.k.a. “Los Cristianos-A Gate to Nature”.
Costa del Silencio/Las Galletas: This unique area is known for its quiet retreats, coves, and sea beds as well as for being home to two highly important protected spaces: Punta de Rasca and Malpaís de La Rasca. Las Galletas is a small fishing village that still maintains its customs and its seafaring soul, resulting in a charming atmosphere that can only be found in places like this.
Venturing into the interior of the municipality we will find the most rural Arona, an area where many rural towns of great interest come together, and that boasts a large network of walking trails and endless possibilities for practising outdoor sports.
Arona is also home to unique protected spaces that have been declared as Site of Cultural Interest.
- Natural Monument of the Montaña de Guaza mountain: It is a Natural Landscape of National Interest since 1987 and a Natural Monument since 1994. Highly valuable pre-Hispanic remains, such as caves, huts and burial sites, have been found in the area. It is also the perfect spot for birds such as the yellow-legged seagull and reptiles such as the famous giant lizard of Tenerife to nest. Fossils of the currently extinct giant rat have also been found in the area.
- Special Nature Reserve of the Malpais de La Rasca: This space is reserved for the various flora and fauna communities to sprawl, with a geological environment consisting of volcanic cones in the shape of a horseshoe. It is one of the major archaeological jewels of Tenerife since it is home to numerous remains of huts, ceramic tools, salt mines, cisterns, etc. In addition, it also boasts the lighthouse Faro Punta de Rasca, which was declared Site of Cultural Interest in 1898.
Both places are included in the Red Natura 2000 network as Special Areas of Preservation and Special Protection Areas for birds.
In recent years this small area of the island has undergone an incredible transformation, caused by the increasing flow of tourists and the rise of service industry, so important in the south of Tenerife. Until a few decades ago, Arona was a small town dedicated to agriculture and local trade, and it comprised a small coastal village in Los Cristianos. Nobody could imagine that years later the population of Arona would multiply by nine thanks to the good reception of tourists travelling from colder climates looking for a promise of eternal spring. The service industry has become the main economic driver of this municipality, while agriculture stayed in the background, mostly concentrated in Valle de San Lorenzo. Bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers and flowers are the main produce of the area.
Finally, and from an architectural point of view, buildings such as the Palacio de Congresos de Pirámide de Arona -one of the largest auditoriums in Europe and the main modernist building of the island-, and especially the beautiful houses of the old town are worth mentioning and visiting to enjoy its quiet streets and take the opportunity to try the local cuisine.