On top of the world in Los Cristianos
Whilst I usually write specifically about my walking experiences in the beautiful forests and mountains of Tenerife, it suddenly occurred to me the other day strolling along the promenade to work that having lived in Los Cristianos for 27 years, I didn’t actually know much about the town’s history, so I set about a little research and thought that I would share this with you.
Los Cristianos began its life with very humble beginnings, first being documented in the C16. It was described as a hamlet in 1860 as having only three one-storey houses, one two-storey house and a hut, but by 1888 it had 29 houses and a cave. (This amused me somewhat and I couldn’t help a little smile regarding the hut and the cave). Documented sources state that Los Cristianos was troubled by pirate action until the late C19 but it wasn’t a large enough harbour to warrant a fort. The first quay was built in 1909 to ship the produce of a local distillery, which, with its natural harbour was perfect for trade as the threat from pirates and privateers was now a mere memory. By the turn of the century, the town was thriving due to the distillery, salt mines and a fish salting factory.
Agriculture did not feature in the town’s economy until 1914 when a water pipe was run from Vilaflor to the town. This fuelled further economic expansion with the planting of tomato and banana crops which required new labour to work the plantations.
In 1934, a larger port was constructed in the bay which allowed the development of today’s fishing industry and in 1975 a larger port was built which facilitated the daily ferry service between Los Cristianos and La Gomera, further fuelling the town’s growing economy.
It is said that tourism began in the town in the mid-1950s when a Swedish man came here who suffered with multiple sclerosis, and having recovered significantly due to the warm sunny conditions, many others soon followed. The sand on the old beach of Los Cristianos is world famous for its healing properties; it contains grains of radioactive minerals, which are particularly efficacious in the prevention and cure of rheumatism and arthritis. Now, the once small fishing village has become a town and 1000s of holiday makers flock here each year to enjoy the clement weather, beautiful beaches and the atmosphere of the old village it still retains.
For those of you who enjoy walking as do I, there are two fantastic places to get a bird’s eye view of the town, either from the top of Montaña Guaza, or Montaña Chayofita. Montaña Guaza is quite a strenuous climb, but Montaña Chayofita is quite an easy ascent, only taking about 30 minutes to reach the top and once there, the view is amazing. You can see the whole of the town and the surrounding countryside from Adeje to La Escalona and beyond. It amazed me just how small everything looks from this vantage point – even the ferries look like children’s toy boats! It was an exhilarating feeling and I felt a great sense of achievement having climbed it. It feels like you are on top of the world up there and an experience I thoroughly recommend.
For further information regarding Tenerife’s great outdoors, please see: www.tenerife-guided-walks.com