What is said about the reputation of Tenerife and tourism
July 6, 2009 Leave a comment
This following article was published by Mirror.co.uk on 22nd April 2006.
Whilst promoting 5* Tenerife tourism in the north of the Island it is, to say at the very least, very negative about the south of the Tenerife which is also promoting 5* tourism. Those of us who live in the south of Tenerife will know that class is something which is not exclusive to the north of the Island. Well done anyway for discovering how wonderful the north of the Island is, but be aware that the south of Tenerife now has a well deserved 5* reputation.
The beauty of this Island can be enjoyed from a base in the north or the south. The south has more to offer discerning tourists, especially golfers, sun worhsippers, people who enjoy mixed culture, or those that simply enjoy the exclusivity of being pampered in a 5* resort. The point here is that this Island is quite large and very diverse, even the Canarian’s from Santa Cruz travel down to enjoy the southern experience. The so called beer monsters will be rarely seen outside of the contained fun areas in Las Americas, so if you are thinking about coming to Tenerife, you should not be put off staying in the south of the Island. You will be very surprised how much the south of Tenerife has changed.
Tenerife is much more of an Island than two halves as suggested in the article. The island welcomes all types of tourists, which is why the cultural tapestry here is so diverse.
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A HIGH OLD TIME
By Katherine Derbyshire 22/04/2006
The real party’s going on up north in Tenerife (beer monsters not invited)
MY Spanish small-talk with the locals rarely strayed from: Buenos dias. Engleesh? they asked. Si, I would reply. Football? Barcelona? Gary Lineker? Bueno! they concluded.
Hardly life-changing, but to be fair, I never expected to need my halting Spanish in the British expat stronghold of Tenerife.
Far from the horrors of Guinness pubs and Sky Sports, I was astonished to find a historic, volcanic and botanical paradise full of real-life Spanish-speaking inhabitants. No, really.
Turns out it’s the south of the island which mainly caters for package tours and beer monsters.
Relatively few Canarians live there as this is where you’ll find the huge hotels, water parks and roast-beef dinners, not to mention the bar famously owned by Gary Lineker’s brother.
We flew instead to Tenerife North airport in La Laguna, which is the other side of the imposing live volcano, Mount Teide.
Visitors to the north generally head straight for Santa Cruz, the lively capital just 20 minutes from the airport.
A great base for a holiday, Santa Cruz is an Atlantic-facing port and is still the start point for many an ocean adventure. It has all the tree-lined avenues, shopping streets and nightlife you would expect from a city on the Spanish mainland.
It’s crowded and noisy but well worth exploring, especially the old-town district of La Noria, which is great for some late-night tapas and a carafe of house red.
I recommend the charming candlelit atmosphere of Los Reunidos with its pretty terrace – and extensive wine list.
If it’s peace and quiet you’re after, your best bet is to hire a car and get out of town.
There are many beautiful places to visit, but public transport is not flexible nor frequent enough. So it’s no surprise there are seven cars to every 10 Canarians.
The island’s circumference is just 250km but within a few minutes’ drive you can find yourself in a remote spot.
And you will definitely need a car to travel to the end of the world…
That’s what locals charmingly call Taganana, the northern-most village on the island, reached in about an hour by a single road which winds through the naga mountains.
Popular with surfers, the beach’s black volcanic sand is also beautiful and peculiar enough to keep children well entertained.
Here you can have an inexpensive fish dinner in one of the beachside cafes – we chose Restaurante Casa Africa – then sunbathe in relative peace.
Driving there through the evergreen “silver forest” of ash trees is likely to give you an urge to come back for a walking holiday. Very popular with Germans, I’m told, and many route maps are available from the tourist centre.
After a day at the end of the world, we visited the lunar landscape at the base of Mount Teide. Also about an hour in the car from Santa Cruz, the pumice rocks look other-worldly against the snow-capped peak.
In good weather you can take a cable-car to the top, but it is frequently closed due to strong winds. Frustratingly, you can’t tell until you get there – even if it’s 25C and calm in Santa Cruz. And don’t forget a jacket – the handy trade winds enjoyed by Christopher Columbus still cause quite a chill at 2,200m.
A popular activity is to hike three hours up the volcano and stay overnight at the basic refuge there. It then takes about an hour to reach the top early in the morning to watch the sunrise over the islands.
If you want to splash out, the five-star Parador is the only hotel in the Mount Teide National Park but offers 13 guided walks and night-time stargazing trips.
The professionals even come here to view the skies at the stellar observatory.
And if you’re worried about sudden eruptions, don’t be. The next one has been narrowed down to “sometime in the next 700 years”.
Another area worth visiting is La Orotava Valley, or The Garden of Tenerife.
The valley stretches from the skirts of the volcano down to the ocean and is a wonderful location for a romantic weekend.
The town of La Orotava itself is by far the most charming I visited, with its palaces, gardens and banana plantations.
Fans of architecture can admire the Portuguese-inspired balconies and dinky shopping streets while they sip a cafe con leche.
If you plan to push the boat out, about half an hour away in Garachico is the five-star Hotel San Roque, a boutique hotel in a restored 18th-century mansion.
But that’s enough relaxing. If you are going to take advantage of some winter sun just a four-hour flight away, you should definitely pick a very special February weekend.
Once a year is the Santa Cruz Carnaval, claiming to be the second-largest street party in the world after Rio.
Arrive the week before to experience the whirl of preparations and get ready for a Friday night to remember. Needless to say, it was still early when we ran out of steam by 4.30am.
For an island with such an almighty reputation for drunken English package tours, I was amazed at how rural, friendly and beautiful the north of Tenerife actually is.
I’m sure if Gary Lineker and his pundit chums were here, they’d describe it as an island of two halves.
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