The famous family resort of the north, Puerto de la Cruz, is home to a few sandy beaches. Although limited, these are legitimately good ones. The foremost on this short list is the ravishing Playa Jardín, the famous beach garden of Tenerife. It may be artificial, but it has been developed to paradisiacal status. And, it’s one of the most relaxing coastal getaways anywhere in the Canaries, exactly how it was designed to be.
The Not-So-Distant Past
Before it became the beach garden we know today, it was a shoreline of rocks, a little sand, and more rocks. Simply put, it was an oceanfront people avoided. In the 90s, however, it got the ultimate facelift from the late famed artist and architect, César Manrique. It was a diamond in the rough that required more work than usual, but it was well worth the effort.
Gone are the days it was a craggy seaside with palm trees. From the town of Punta Brava to Castillo de San Felipe in the west, he covered it with extracted sand from the seabed. Then, the black volcanic sand expanse was landscaped to include colorful botanical gardens. And, voilà! Tenerife’s beach destination in the North was born.
Why Visit Playa Jardín
Playa Jardín, although true to its name, doesn’t do this exalted beach garden justice. Without the word ‘paraíso’ affixed to it, the appellation will forever be lacking.
What would a paradise on Earth look like and what would be in it? The first thing that comes to mind is a vast field of vibrant flowers and plants. There should also be a mountain and the blue sea. Playing in the background is the music of crashing waves and a choir of chirping birds. And, laughter. A lot of it. After all, it’s not much of a paradise if people aren’t happy to be there.
The paradise described sounds almost like Playa Jardín. Only, this northern beach is a better version of it. Instead of just any plants, its gardens only have native ones in different pleasant hues. Aside from the vast azure Atlantic, there are many terraced waterfalls as well. And, there’s a mountain, but not just any mountain. It’s none other than the mind-blowing snow-capped Mount Teide. This coastal wonder is so nice, it might not even come as a shock if someone said there’s also a unicorn around.
The Three Playas
The 1,000-meter-long Playa Jardín consists of three fabulous black volcanic sand beaches. Playa de Punta Brava on the west and Playa San Felipe del Castillo on the east are the two large bays. In between the two is the smaller Playa del Charco.
The western cove is sheltered from harsh waves by a breakwater. Thus, its calm waters are perfect for swimming. The eastern shoreline, though, is quite the opposite with its large, powerful waves. Needless to say, this is the beach favored by surfers. The bay in the center is very much like a middle child with its moderate currents. Also, the park in this section is the greenest and the widest.
To say that César Manrique did a great job with the gardens is an understatement. Because of his phenomenal work of art, the creation of the oasis by the beach made Playa Jardín a world-class destination.
Cesar envisioned peace and tranquility in creating his masterpiece, and that is the experience that visitors get. The promenade and pathways showcase the splendid beaches and sublime gardens. Every few steps, there is always something beautiful or exciting to stop people in their tracks.
The tall eye-catching waterfalls match well with the humongous rocks that surround them. And, the small charming ones sit perfectly with the stone walls and stairs from which they flow. A garden can’t be without any floras. So, naturally, the man-made haven has plenty of those, and they are all native to the island. It also has facilities like children’s playgrounds, cafes, and a stage for concerts. These amenities ensure that tourists will have countless things to do when in the area.
Other Points of Interests Nearby
Walking around Playa Jardín to explore and discover new things is something that tourists do. It’s not only for their amusement but also to feel that their time and money were well spent. Nearby, there are two other fascinating tourist spots.
Castillo de San Felipe
The little rock fortress of Castillo de San Felipe stands proudly on the east end of the beach. It’s an intriguing small building rich with local history. Housed inside are captivating drawings and paintings that casual and art lovers will find fascinating. What’s more, entry to this minuscule fort turned museum is free.
Inevitably, guests cannot miss the unique rock display at the back of the building. The complex formation of little stone towers is there for visitors to marvel at even as it looks out to the vast Atlantic Ocean.
The most popular attraction nearby is Loro Parque. Housed in this 135,000 m2 complex is a massive number of different animals and plants. Over 4,000 parrots live in this sanctuary. There are various shows featuring dolphins, sea lions, orca, and of course, the parrots. It also has the world’s largest indoor penguin exhibition and Europe’s longest shark tunnel.
Please wear beach shoes when walking on the stone formations. They may look breathtaking, but stepping on them can be excruciating.
Because Playa Jardín is a well-loved and a popular destination, hence it’s busy all year round. It is most crowded during summers, Christmas, and Easter. The good news is that sun-lounger rental price remains reasonable. On the downside, a quiet vacation on those seasons is quite impossible.
Another remarkable thing about Playa Jardín is its proximity to heaps of restaurants. The plethora of cuisines available is mouthwatering.
With such fantastic weather and incredible vistas, who wouldn’t want to dine outdoors? Even better, why not try tent restaurants? Love the food, get the view, all under a bit of shade.
Tasca Los Lobos specializes on European cuisine and grilled dishes. Their best-sellers are Espaguetis al pesto con gambas al ajillo, Filete de Salmon, Pizza Jamön cocido y piña tropical, Pizza de Jamón Serrano y Rucula, Pollo al Curry, Parrillada de pescado y marisco, Pechuga de Pollo, Solomillo, and Tabla de Queso. For their dessert, go for Platano flambeado.
Also serving European dishes with Mediterranean influence is Andana Beach Club. This elegant tent restaurant is very close to the beach and serves one the best sangria in town. Their must-trys include Mille feuilles de cabillaud, Poulet libanais croustillant mayonnaise, Rouleau fromage chèvre with foie gras and confiture de figues, and Tataki de thon.
Indoor with Character
Puerto de la Cruz is outfitted with many posh cosmopolitan restaurants. Some of those are in or near Playa Jardín. At the same time, there are plenty of those who want the traditional Canarian dishes too. Aside from the food, vacationers also want an atmosphere or a setting that they won’t find at home. They also rave about the warm and friendly vibe of ‘authentic’ Canarian restaurants.
Rincon del Mar looks traditional yet original. Kudos to the ingenious idea of hanging mugs on the ceiling. It gives the restaurant a peculiar personality while maintaining a homey feel. When in this establishment, please do try their Dorada Espalda, Grilled Fish, Paella, Papas Arrugadas con Mojo, and Seafood Platter.
The straightforward El Caldoso may not look as unique, but it is sophisticated. They also have a terrace for outdoor seating that overlooks the coastal town and the sea. Don’t leave without trying their Arroz caldoso, Pescado Fresco, Mariscada con bogavante, and Salmon marinado con salsa de eneldo.
How to Get to the Playa Jardín
From Santa Cruz de Tenerife, bus line 103 takes visitors to Puerto de la Cruz in around 30 to 40 minutes. It also goes through four other stops – Jardin Botanico, La Paz, Tucán, and El Risco. From the Puerto de la Cruz bus station, it takes only a few minutes to walk to Playa Jardín.
Why Visit the Beach Garden Next
The north of Tenerife is notorious for having strong winds, rough waves, and rugged shores. It is the last place in Tenerife anyone would expect a coastal paradise. The first tourists who got to see César Manrique’s famed brainchild must have been shocked.
So, why visit Playa Jardín next? If other beaches have but one bay to offer, this beauty has three uniquely different bays. With only a couple of steps, one could go from swimming to surfing. It also has spectacular gardens of endemic plants, waterfalls, and natural-looking stone walls. Not only is the playa a stunner, but it is also equipped with excellent amenities for people of all ages. There’s a playground for kids. Adults can certainly appreciate the concerts. Cafes and restaurants are everywhere too.
Tenerife, as well as the rest of the Canaries, is blessed with tourist resorts. Where many start to resemble each other, Playa Jardín retains its own uniqueness and distinct attractions.