With its year round sunshine, lush tropical scenery and laid back lifestyle, the north of Tenerife has long been a favourite with gay holiday makers, particularly men for whom the resort of Puerto de la Cruz
has for many years been something of a gay magnet. Much slower to emerge from the closet, the south of Tenerife is still burgeoning in gay terms but new venues are opening, and more are in the pipeline.
Gay North Tenerife – Puerto de la Cruz
Long time gay capital of Tenerife, to heterosexuals Puerto de la Cruz' gay scene is barely visible. Like the resort itself, the gay profile is more chill out than frenetic and the night life obeys strictly Spanish hours, refusing to get excited about anything much before the 2am chimes. But wander the streets of the old town and the wide boulevard of Avenida Generalisimo and you'll see bars, cafes, restaurants and shops proudly displaying the rainbow flag while fly posters advertising the saunas of Laurent and Babylon leave you in no doubt as to their gay credentials. Chilled, friendly and sophisticated, Puerto's gay vibe is a well kept secret, or at least, it was...
Gay Bars and Clubs in North Tenerife
Avenida Generalisimo is the place where you'll find most gay bars and clubs but don't expect to find much activity before 2am. The scene really hots up around 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. Look for O'Neill's, Mito 2, Mito 3, Incognito, Tabasco, Jim's Bar and Sabor Sabor. Alongside the Avenida, the well known Vampis Disco has been packing in disco pants-clad gays for years. Also frequented by some straights, it's one of Tenerife's top discos and has a brilliant drag show which begins at 2am.
Gay Beaches in North Tenerife
On the border of Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava you'll find the beautiful black sand coves of Playa Bollullo
. The first cove is frequented by locals but scrabble over the rocks to Playa Los Patos
and even further to Playa Del Pozo
and you'll find yourself amongst the naked buttocks of a lively gay beach scene. Incidentally, the coastal walk from the area of La Paz to Bollullo beach has a busy gay cruising scene known as The Mountain of Love but unless you want to do a George Michael, keep an eye open for the cruising (ahem) Policia Locale.
For a more stylish and sophisticated sun bathing venue, head into the ultra chic Lago Martiánez swimming pool complex, stay left to find the gay area and grab yourself a sun lounger on which to spend a couple of hours bronzing while eyeing up the local talent.
Gay Friendly Accommodation in North Tenerife
The lovely Los Principes Hotel right in the heart of the town describes itself as "straight friendly" which is rather nice. It's in a knock-out location which is central for everything, has a really cool restaurant/cafe scene going on and a fabulous rooftop swimming pool. Those who prefer more privacy and are happy to take a taxi to the night scene will find a chic hideaway at Villa Maspalmeras in the hills above Puerto between La Orotava and Santa Úrsula. Self catering accommodation in an apartment, villa or cottage are on offer alongside a gorgeous, clothing optional swimming pool.
Gay North Tenerife – La Laguna
Less well gay-established than its Puerto de la Cruz neighbour, the university city of La Laguna has, as you may expect, a more student oriented gay scene. Clubs to seek out are El Galeon, Nashville Pub, Barock (good lesbian gay scene), BB+, Que + Da (lesbian scene) and the Palladium (drag show and striptease at weekends).
With a UNESCO World Heritage Site old quarter, a lively student bars scene and narrow streets jam packed with history and character, it's also a great location from which to explore the north's countless cultural treasures.
Gay South Tenerife
Much better known for its headlining heterosexual night life in the eighties, the resort of Playa de Las Américas
is slowly developing a gay scene, much of which is centred around the Salytien Commercial Centre which actually falls into the resort of Costa Adeje, about a five minute walk from the famous Veronicas and Starcos area.
Gay Bars and Clubs in South Tenerife
Early evening is the time to check out the fabulous Playaflor terrace bar (opposite Veronicas) with its Moroccan style furnishings and its lively atmosphere or head along the coast to Los Cristianos where you'll find a welcome from the gay staff at the Agua de Coco Brazilian Bar in San Telmo.
Once the clock slides towards the midnight hour, head to the CC Salytien to find Butterfly Cabaret and dance bar which is a favourite for starting the night. From there, the scene moves onto the extremely popular Chaplin's where the action continues until the early hours, peaking at around 3am-4am. Incidentally, the beach area in front of Veronica's strip is known for its late night and early morning gay cruising.
Gay Beaches in South Tenerife
Walk to the furthest end of Los Cristianos
to where the neatly groomed beaches are replaced by the wilder and more natural sandy environment of Playa Las Callados to find a nude gay beach which is also a popular gay cruising venue late night.
Worth hiring a car or hopping onto a local bus to get to are the endless natural golden sand beaches of El Médano
. Here you'll find the gay beach scene of the south. Around the foot of the distinctive Montaña Roja mountain are the Bocinegro coves which are a favourite gay cruising spot. Further around Montaña Roja lies the stunning beach of La Tejita
with its nude, gay scene at the base of the mountain while at the other end of the resort is the popular gay beach venue of Playa de la Pelada where bronzed buttocks are de riguer.