A small, coastal town on the north side of the gorgeous isle of Tenerife, San Juan de la Rambla is a little different from the other beach towns on Spain's scenic Canary Islands. Founded five centuries ago by the Portuguese colonist Martín Rondríguez, San Juan de la Rambla is less beach resort than a quiet, authentic villa surrounded by beautiful coastal and mountainous scenery.
While you'll have all the necessities in the form of grocery stores, a post office, and more, San Juan de la Rambla doesn't have much in the way of shopping opportunities. Instead, the town provides an utterly unique glimpse at the past through its lovely architecture. Visiting buildings like the Casa de los Alonso del Castillo and the Corn Exchange are a must, as is a tour to visit the traditional, preserved buildings of the district of Los Quevedos.
San Juan de la Rambla also boasts a municipal swimming pool at the eastern part of town, perfect for families. The pool has a shallow and deep end that makes it a great place for the kids, while parents can enjoy the on-site restaurant and bar, which offers everything from pizza and burgers to authentic Spanish paella. All the while, you can sit back, relax, and take in incredible views of the rocky coastline all the way to Puerto de la Cruz.
Named for a nearby town, Playa de las Aguas is San Juan de la Rambla's main beach, with a long shoreline of volcanic rock formations and dark pebbles. You won't be able to make any sandcastles here - and if that's what you're looking for, the beaches of Palm-Mar might be more your speed, but Playa de las Aguas is great for sunbathing, as well as opportunities for exploration on the many flat, rocky surfaces nearby.
Of course, any trip to the area wouldn't be complete without a visit to Laja Pool, a stunning natural saltwater pool formed when the tide recedes from an eight-foot deep recession in the jagged coastline. Take a swim in the pool and enjoy watching waves crash against the nearby rocks, then step out and take in the gorgeous contrast between the pool's tranquil waters.
The nearby town of Puerto de la Cruz - just 13 miles to the east - offers plenty of fun activities for visitors to experience before returning to their vacation rentals. Enjoy the gentle waves and soft, black sands of Playa Jardin, go shopping downtown, or watch the gorillas, tigers, and penguins at Loro Park. Nine miles eastward you'll find the exciting port town of Los Realejos, with more shopping and dining opportunities, as well as plenty of nearby hikes throughout beautiful coastal scenery. The nearby Playa del Socorro provides great opportunities for surfing, diving, paragliding, and more!
Between its quaint, relaxing atmosphere and gorgeous natural surroundings, San Juan de la Rambla is perfect for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of cities and resort towns to relax and take in the unique natural beauty of the Canary Islands. The southern towns have their charms, like the rolling hills of Fasnia, or the bustling harbor of Los Cristianos, but nothing can match the incredible view from the Laja Pool.
Photo Credit: Marcus Bleil via Flickr