Best known for its sandy beaches, great windsurfing and kite-surfing, the resort of El Medano
[Spanish for sand dune] is ideal for a relaxing holiday. It has retained its relaxed atmosphere although it has succumbed to tourism and a few hotels are now located in the resort - the most popular being the Medano Hotel
due to its unique location of jutting into the sea!
El Medano is located in the south of Tenerife - the largest of the Canary Islands - and is only 8km from Tenerife South airport.
When you are in the resort of El Medano, you cannot fail to notice Montana Roja [Red Mountain] a reddish sand volcanic cone which has nearly been flattened by continued sea erosion. Now, Montana Roja is a special nature reserve where over 100 species of birds have been seen. They breed at the foot of the mountain and feed in the sandy bays on both sides of the moutain.
From the top of Montana Roja, you have wonderful views of the beaches on both sides. Playa El Medano and Playa de la Tejita. Playa de la Tejita is the best beach for swimming and sunbathing and is also a recognised naturist beach. The other side of the mountain is Playa El Medano where you can also relax in the sun, swim and simply stroll up and down the long stretch of sand. Towards the end of the beach is an area where you will find people windsurfing and kite flying. You then come to the harbour and then on to El Cabezo beach which tends to have the stronger winds. Here is the venue for windsurfing competitions and championships and you will find a beach bar offering windsurf equipment for hire as well as the opportunity to pay for lessons. Recently, parasailing has become a popular activity here.
The focal point of El Medano is the Plaza Principe de Asturias which is located adjacent to the Medano Hotel and here is where everything happens! You will find a selection of restaurants, bars and cafes - ranging from fish, meat and international cuisine. However, don't expect a hectic nightlife - if "hectic" is what you are after at night then take a short taxi ride to nearby Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas.
A boardwalk will take you from the centre of El Medano along the length of the natural stretch of sand - lined with shops selling clothing and watersports equipment. Once a week, there is a market held in the centre where you will find a range of leather goods, jewellery, hats, shoes, souvenirs, etc on sale.
La Cueva del Hermano Pedro
El Medano is famous for La Cueva del Hermano Pedro [Brother Pedro's Cave]. Born in the nearby village of Vilaflor
in 1616, Hermano Pedro lived as a shepherd until the age of 24 and spent some of his time in a small cave in El Medano. He decided to make his way to Guatemala in South America to visit a relative and by the time he reached Havana in Cuba, he had completely run out of money and had to work in Havana to make some money. After a year he moved on and reach Guatamala where, again he was so poor he had to join the bread line. Very much wanting to become a priest he joined the local college with hopes of joining the priesthood. However, he soon realised that he could not master the teachings, and had to leave the school.
He then decided to become a tertiary in Guatemala [a lay person who is affiliated to a monastic order and who follows a slightly modified form of that order's rule]. He took on the name Peter of Saint Joseph [Pedro de San Jose] and he visited hospitals, the unemployed and young people. After 3 years, he opened a hospital for the poor - "Our Lady of Bethlehem" and soon after this a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor. He died in Guatemala in 1667 and although he waited 335 years, Pope John Paul II canonized him in 2002 - Pedro de San Jose de Betancur - and was announced as the first Guatemalan and Tenerifean saint.
Today, the cave is located at the edge of the runway of Tenerife South airport and is a shrine dedicted to the saint. It is known by locals that the local authorities want to move the cave to another location in order to be able to extend the airport, but the local people and totally opposed to this.