Introducing Playa Santiago
Playa Santiago is small ocean-side hamlet with calm waters, a drowsy town centre and no real beach to speak of; grey stones and pebbles line the shore. But the view, especially in the morning when a magnificent sunrise spreads glitter and sparkles over the water’s surface, just about makes up for the town’s lack of sandy beaches.
Until the 1960s this area was the busiest centre on the island, with factories, a shipyard and a port for exporting local bananas and tomatoes. But the farming crisis hit hard, and by the 1970s the town had all but shut down, its inhabitants having fled to Tenerife or South America. In recent years, tourism has brought new life to town. A huge luxury-hotel complex owned by Fred Olsen is doing more than its fair share to bring visitors this way, and the port has traded bananas for passengers and is now a stop for the Garajonay Exprés ferry boat.