Southern Tenerife seems for many adventure seekers a ‘no-go’ because of the big tourism developments and touristic crowd. Don’t let this hold you back from visiting the south coast. Costa del Silencio in particular: the south-east coast. The old fishing town of El Medano (meaning Sand dune) is the place to be, especially for wind and kitesurfers looking to extent the European summer. El Medano is the kitesurf town of Tenerife. Here’s a little El Medano adventure travel guide that helps you plan and get settled when thinking to go adventuring and/or kitesurfing in El Medano, Tenerife.
El Medano: a sense of place
La Montaña Roja is the landmark, a 171 high volcanic ‘red mountain’ and protected natural reserve, where you can climb, hike and cycle. The area around the ‘mountain’ is the playground for the waterlusted adventure seekers. El Medano is a chilled-out laid-back town that hasn’t been conquered by invasions of northern European beach people. As opposed to other parts of Tenerife here the Spanish vibe is definitely present. Fisherman are catching the tapa of the day, elderly people are chitchatting on the boulevard benches, and locals and adventure seekers are having una caña (draft beer) somewhere at the plaza or wooden board walk in the no-traffic zone. It’s one of these sticky places where you could end up hanging out wayyy longer than planned.
Kitesurfing in El Medano
El Medano is the kitesurf and windsurf spot in Tenerife. Thanks to the volcanic landscape on Tenerife, North East winds accelerate, and have made El Medano a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing in Tenerife. Where in the rest of Europe wind- and kitesurfers squeeze themselves already into 5 mm wetsuits in november, El Medano is still ok in board shorts (not for shivery types like me though). Statistical July – August – September have the most windy days. As August is super crowded is places like Tarifa, El Medano could be a nice alternative. Windy days range from 15 up to 35 knots. It has made the place a windsurf world cup spot. When the Calima (strong hot dusty Sahara wind) is on, wind can go up to 35 knots. The bay at Playa los Balos has flat water or little swell. The spot is beginner friendly and there are many schools to choose from. The spot more upwind at playa El Cabezo is for the more advanced riders, where you can surf some sideshore waves. The wind usually picks up around noon and often lasts long enough for some sweet sunset sessions. Wind direction is side onshore. In the rare event of wind coming from the west you can kitesurf at Tejita Playa on the other side of Montaña Roja.
Cycle the Costa del Silencio! There’s nice coastal trail going from El Medano to San Miguel. The volcanic formations and erosions have created a super stunning coastline. Most beaches have an info point where you can learn more about the characteristics of the ecosystem. This is an easy peasy bicycle route. Inland there is more hardcore road and mountain-biking to ride. After all Tenerife has the highest peak of Spain! You can rent a good Mountainbike at BikepointTenerife. Hostel Los Amigos has budget bicycles which will get you along the coastline for 2 euro/day only.
Birdwatching in El Medano
The Montana Rojo is a special nature reserve with sand- and mud-based ecosystems. The area of Montana Roja has become a Special Natural Reserve and with more than 100 bird species it has been declared a Bird Area of International Importance. The Klentish plover is an endangered specie that can be spotted here.
Go Surfing in El Medano
El Medano and around has many surf breaks and board rental shops.
Snorkeling & Chilling
Chillax, have a picknick, go for a snorkel session and watch a sunset at La tejita Blue flag beach. There is a beach bar and beachwear is optional;)
Salt water pools of Tenerife
Go dipping in the saltwater pools that can be found along the coast of the Montana Rojo nature reserve. With high tide they are filled up and filtered by the volcanic rocks. in a number of locations within the reserve, fed by seawater filtered through the sand at high tide.
Hike up Montaña Rojo
It’s only a half an hour hike and the views are priceless.
Best time to go to El Medano?
All year round! It’s the place where summer continues in European winter. October-January is peak season and you need to book in advance, unless you go camping.
Where to stay in El Medano Tenerife?
Budget places to stay El Medano
Los Amigos Backpackers. 15 euro’s per night. This hostel is located few kilometers outside of El Medano. It’s a hostel run by backpackers for backpackers. For 2 euro you can rent a bike. If you leave before noon it’s no problem to take your kitesurf gear on the bike (poco viento). The staff is very active in organising daily excursions and dinner gatherings. Breakfast (cereals, bread, fruit & veggies) and towels are included. The wifi is good. The crowd is multi-national. It lacks Spanish ambience if that’s what you’re after. For people who specifically come to kitesurf in El Medano, you may want to stay right in El Medano town.
In the small alleys on the eastern side of the bay you find more nice coffee bars, wifi-bars, an eco food shop and discodancing options.
Local food of the Canary Islands?
Forget about your usual food. These are must tries when in the Canary Islands:
Papa arrugadas: Canary Island style salty potatoes which come with a delicious salsa (sauce) Mojo rojo (red) y verde (green). I cannot get enough of this, and of the Mojo especially!
Rancho Canario: a tasty local chickpeas soup. Very nutritional!
Queso Rojo: the local cheese!
Mango’s, papayas, kaki fruit and a lot of them!
How to get to El Medano?
El Medano is super close the airport. A taxi ride costs about 10 euro’s. In 15 minutes you can be with your feet in the sand. You can also take a guagua (bus). The Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife linea 470 bus route passes through the town on its way to tourist town of Playa de las Americas. There are also buses from Santa Cruz.
Or rent a car a so you can do some more Tenerife exploration. +/- 35 euro/day.
Beyond El Medano
There is more in Tenerife than kitesurfing in El Medano. Climb, hike or cycle El Teide, Spain’s highest peak! Further, if time allows, consider going to La Gomera, a green tranquillo (quiet) hiking and biking nature islands south of Tenerife. It’s one hour by ferry or go hitch-sailing. Don’t go there for just a day.
Disclaimer: All recommendations in this El Medano Kitesurf & Adventure guide are my own. Some links are affiliate links, some are not. If you book through my site I get a few pesos to put into the adventure fund. Thank you! If you would like to know more about this cool coastal town, leave a comment below. Happy to help.
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Salud! From the Chiringuito (beachbar), my amigos and I cheers with a Tinto de Verano (ice cold lemon summer wine) on another classic kitesurfing day. We’re watching some last colourful kites playing in the ocean and admire the sunset spectacle of today. This is ‘Tarifeando‘, the verb used for spending good times in the outdoor playground of Europe: Tarifa!