San Andrés is a coastal town with a rich history, albeit troubled by real estate corruption in the late 20th century.
- 1 Tourist Information Office (Oficina Atención e Información Ciudadana de San Andrés), Plaza Concejal Antonio Cova Domínguez 1, ☏ . M-F 08:30-13:30. Free.
The area of current San Andrés has been inhabited by the Guanches, the aborigines of the Canary Islands, for centuries before the islands were conquered by Spain in 1497. The aboriginal king of Anaga was said to reside in the San Andrés valley. In a cave on the outskirts of San Andrés, the famous Mummy of San Andrés was discovered, a mummified body belonging to the Guanche civilization.
After the conquest, the lands were given to Don Lope de Salazar in 1498. He founded modern San Andrés, which became one of the first Spanish settlements on Tenerife. Between 1505 and 1510, Don Lope initiated infrastructure construction, including a chapel on which the current church is based, and the castle which was built to defend the settlements against harassment by pirates. A fortress aided in the defence, but was destroyed by storms in 1740 and 1896.
In the 20th century, project developers dreamed to convert the fishing village of San Andrés into a posh tourist resort. Fortunes were spent on infrastructure, including the construction of Las Teresitas Beach, an effort to replace the thin strip of black volcanic sand and rocks with a white sand beach. 4 million bags of Saharan sand were imported in 1973 and dumped on the shoreline to create an artificial beach, and large patches of land were prepared for redevelopment. Streets were laid out, and the large scale construction of villas and hotels started. However it didn't take long until evidence of corruption was found, and by 1984 the Spanish Court ordered a complete stop of construction while a criminal investigation was ongoing. Construction has been suspended ever since.
As a result, San Andrés bears the scars of a failed development effort. There are numerous streets with perfectly landscaped green, but without houses or apartments. What was already built remained in a state of ruin, including a large shopping center with underground parking garage.
The ruins aside, San Andrés retained a lot of its authenticity, and the modern town lives on fishery and tourism.
|San Andrés (Tenerife)|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Nearly all rain falls during the winter months in San Andrés, with May to August being extremely dry. The best time of the year to visit are the early summer months May and June, when the rolling hills are still green and temperatures don't get too hot.
The 1 Tenerife North Airport (TFN IATA) is only 15 km away, although it may take considerable time to cover the distance by car since you'll need to pass through the urban areas of San Cristóbal de La Laguna and the capital city Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The airport serves mostly continental connections with the Spanish mainland. Iberia and Air Europa have daily services from Madrid, Air Europa and Vueling also offer connections from Barcelona, Malaga, Valencia, and Seville. In addition, a fleet of turboprop aircraft is operated by Binter Canarias to connect the different islands by air.
San Andrés can be easily reached from Santa Cruz in 15 min over the TF-11 highway which leads straight into the town. Finding a parking spot may be challenging on sunny days when Las Teresitas Beach is popular. There is a 3 free parking at the south-western side of the beach. Dodgy individuals roaming around the parking lot may claim a charge of €2 as parking fee, but they are harmless and can be ignored.
San Andrés can be best explored by foot, because of its many steep and narrow streets, which make cycling a challenging endeavour.
- 1 Las Teresitas Beach (Playa de Las Teresitas) (Bus 910). 24/7. An artificial beach created in 1973 when a total of 270 000 tons of white sand was shipped from the Spanish Sahara (now the Western Sahara) to create a white sand beach to replace the existing beach strip of rocks and black sand. A breakwater with a length of 1 km was constructed along with 2 piers to prevent waves from carrying the imported sand out to the sea. In 1998 another 2800 tons of sand were imported from the Sahara to replenish sand that was lost in the first 25 years of the existence of the beach. Infrastructure of the beach is fairly well maintained, and free showers are available. The free toilets are incredibly nasty and are best avoided. The breakwater kills most of the waves, so don't expect spectacular waves at this beach. As of Sep 2019, an ugly oil rig and tankers are waiting for service or repairs as St. Cruz is trying to gain a position in this market and somehow seems not to be concerned about beach life. Free.
- 2 Castle of San Andrés (Castillo de San Andrés). 24/7. The castle was built by Italian military engineer Leonardo Torriani, who was sent to Tenerife by Spanish King Philip II with the assignment to fortify the coast line and protect the most important settlements against attacks from the sea. It was built between 1697 and 1706, and considered necessary to defend against pirate attacks, which were known to raid coastal towns in the 17th century. It played an important role during the Battle of Santa Cruz in 1797 when it fired the shots that destroyed the masts of the Theseus, the ship of Admiral Horacio Nelson. The castle lost its strategic importance in the 19th century and partially collapsed due to floods, with only half of the tower still standing. It is a protected Spanish Historical Heritage site. Free.
- 3 Church of St. Andrew the Apostle (Iglesia de San Andrés Apóstol). One of the oldest churches on the Canary Islands, built between 1505 and 1510 shortly after the conquest of Tenerife by the Spanish armada. The church is dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, and originally known as Nuestra Señora de Salazar in 1520. St. Andrew is the patron saint of San Andrés. The church hosts numerous religious artworks, including a statue of Christ on an altar made of orange wood in 1882. The bell tower has 2 bells, the smallest of which is said to have belonged to the fleet of Admiral Horatio Nelson who failed at invading the island in 1797.
- Hike into the Anaga National Park.
- Swimming and snorkelling in the ocean.
- 1 Unide, Calle Guillén 4 (in a side street of the Plaza de la Iglesia de San Andrés). M-Sa 08:30-20:45, Su 08:30-14:00. Supermarket
The best place for fast food is the 1 Avenida Maritima de San Andrés which is lined with kebab, burger, and pizza vendors.
- 2 La Pandorga, Calle Bartolomé Belza 4, ☏ , email@example.com. 13:00-midnight daily. Spanish restaurant specialized in fish, although their paella is also worth a try. Fairly priced menu.
- 3 Rincon del Pescador, Calle Chana Cabrera Rodríguez 1, ☏ . Canarian seafood restaurant. Fantastic menu, but challenging if you don't speak Spanish. €10-20.
Remember to take lots of water with you when venturing into the Anaga National Park, since there will be no opportunities to stock up on food or drinks anywhere in the wilderness.
- 1 Brisas de Anaga, Pimentel Nº13 Barrio El Suculum, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A small hotel with basic amenities. €42.