Guia de Isora is the name of a municipality in the south west of Tenerife which incorporates the smaller resorts of Playa de San Juan and Alcala. The capital of the region is also called Guia de Isora, a small town set on an inland hill. Expect a more traditional Tenerife when you venture to the coast. There are markets, banana farms and fishing boats bobbing in the bays. Guia de Isora is a far cry from tourist-centric Costa Adeje or Los Gigantes.
In Guia de Isora itself, you’ll find a resplendent historic quarter which harks back to the age before tourism on Tenerife. Marked as an area of Asset of Cultural Interest in 2009, there are winding streets, small alleyways and a myriad of pastel-coloured Spanish-style houses and shops. Once you’ve had a look at the history, try one of the many hiking routes dotted around the Guia de Isora region, crisscrossing the Montaña de Tejina and the seemingly endless vineyards.
If the coastline is more your thing, a walk along the promenade on the Playa de San Juan is a gorgeous way to spend an afternoon. From there towards Alcala, you’ll pass bays with black sands and natural rock pools.
There is a host of delicious restaurants all over the Guia de Isora region. From the seafront eateries in Alcala and Playa de San Juan to the fresh produce in the weekly markets to the roadside restaurants high in the Guia hills affording stunning views towards La Gomera and Canarian sunsets, there’s absolutely no shortage of gastronomic pleasure.
This laidback resort and its coastal satellites have just the right atmosphere for a family holiday. Guia de Isora has a number of hotels dotted around that offer all-inclusive services, but there are also a few more casual hotels where you can come and go at your own pace. The beach down in San Juan is a small cove and safe for children to swim in.
Diving and other water-based activities are popular on this coastline. The long sandy beach at San Juan has clear waters and from there to Alcala are a number of rock pools which are great for snorkelling, or from above water, amateur bird-watching. Hiking is also a big deal and there are many routes ranging from beginner to advanced across the hills that surround Guia.
Playa de San Juan is a charming resort with a growing affinity for an upmarket style, but with a reasonable price tag. It’s also one of the few remaining functioning fishing villages left on Tenerife. There are two beaches in Playa de San Juan, one a small cove ideal for frolicking little ones and then a long sandy beach undergoing developments. Along the wooden walkway in San Juan you’ll find a number of restaurants and bars, but no messy nightlife like other parts of the island.
Guia de Isora and its coastline aren’t where you should visit on Tenerife if you’re after nightlife. Light-years from the bustling evenings in Playa de las Americas or Costa Adeje, Guia de Isora is all about a slow-paced holiday. There are still bars to enjoy a beer, or classy restaurants where you can have a cocktail or two, but no hedonistic madness.
The same sort of rules applies for a couples holiday as they do a family holiday. You want moments of peace but would prefer plenty of facilities and restaurants. You’re not sure whether you’d like a self-catering apartment or a fully-fledged all-inclusive hotel. There are a few things on both your agendas: one would like to have a hike and an explore the hills whereas the other is keen on beaches. Guia de Isora is the best of both worlds. Remember, if you’re both after a bit more action, Puerto de Santiago isn’t far away.
Guia de Isora’s historic district is pretty charming. Narrow, twisting streets will remind you that you are, in fact, on an island with a rich and diverse history. Something that sometimes missed if you stick to the big resorts. Likewise, down on the coast, the small village of Acala hosts a twice-weekly local market and you can purchase seafood from the traditional fishermen. If you’re looking for a different side of Tenerife, staying or visiting Guia de Isora is a great idea.