- Accommodation & Hotels
- Festivals and events
- Things to see
- Things to do
- Money & Shopping
- Stay safe
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and is a great place to travel. British and German tourists come in their tens of thousands every year to visit its spectacular beaches and lively nightlife. It is also very popular among holidaymakers from the Spanish peninsula, especially during Easter time. It offers lush forests, exotic fauna and flora, deserts, mountains, volcanoes, incredibly beautiful coastlines and spectacular beaches.
A poor, banana-growing region in past decades, Tenerife has been brought up to European living standards since the arrival of mass air travel in the 1960s, which brought industry and millions of tourists each year. Over the decades this has led to many complexes and houses being built, making parts of the island highly urbanized. While part of the EU for political purposes, the island remains outside its customs and VAT area, making high tax goods such as tobacco and alcohol cheaper than elsewhere in Europe.
Many of the young tourists hang out on the south of the island with older and family tourists choosing Puerto de La Cruz and its environs. On the south side there is consistent summer, little to no wind, and pretty much perfect beach-weather for much of the year though there have been rare instances of cool to cold weather in the Jan-Feb period. Also expect some very wet days for that time of year though most days will still be sunny. There are plenty of hotels, activities and British food and drink.
On the north side of the island you will find more green and vibrant local culture. There is a more Spanish year-round springtime feel. The weather fluctuates a bit more here, but is also mostly pleasant though not as hot as the south.
In between the north and south of the island sits Spain's tallest peak, the barely dormant volcano El Teide (3718m above sea level). Tours previously allowed people into the crater, but tourists are no longer allowed into the crater for safety reasons.
The local currency is the Euro and most places accept credit or debit cards, which require a chip and PIN. There are many exchange bureaus in the main tourist resorts but not in the Spanish places like Santa Cruz.
The native language is Spanish. In the south English is spoken by everyone with German and Italian common too, but in the north English is spoken by fewer. No big problem should be anticipated regarding communication, though. In the local dialect a soft 'c' is pronounced as 's' rather than as 'th' on the Spanish mainland, so cinco (five) is 'sinko', not 'thinko'.
Tourism is the most prominent industry in the Canaries, which are one of the major tourist destinations in the world.
In 2014, 11,473,600 tourists (excluding those from other parts of Spain) came to the Canary Islands. Tenerife had 4,171,384 arrivals that year, excluding the numbers for Spanish tourists which make up an additional 30 percent of total arrivals. According to last year's Canarian Statistics Centre's (ISTAC) Report on Tourism the greatest number of tourists from any one country come from the United Kingdom, with more than 3,980,000 tourists in 2014. In second place comes Germany followed by Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, Russia and Austria.
Tourism is more prevalent in the south of the island, which is hotter and drier and has many well developed resorts such as Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos. More recently coastal development has spread northwards from Playa de las Americas and now encompasses the former small enclave of La Caleta (a favoured place for naturist tourists). After the Moratoria act passed by the Canarian Parliament in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, no more hotels should be built on the island unless they are classified as 5 star-quality and comprise different services such as golf courses or convention facilities. This act was passed with the goal of improving the standard of tourism service and promoting environmentally conscious development.
The area known as Costa Adeje (Las Américas-Los Cristianos) has many world-class facilities and leisure opportunities besides sea and sand, such as quality shopping centres, golf courses, restaurants, water parks (the most well-known being Siam Park (Tenerife)), animal parks, and a theatre suitable for musicals or a convention centre.
In the more lush and green north of the island the main development for tourism has been in the town of Puerto de la Cruz. The town itself has kept some of its old-harbour town charm mixed with northern European influences. Still, the tourist boom in the 1960s changed the outlook of the town, making it cosy and cosmopolitan at the same time, and a favourite for the more mature traveller (notably the German and Spanish tourist).
In the 19th and most of the 20th century large numbers of foreign tourists came, especially British, showing interest in the agriculture of the islands. With the world wars, this sector weakened, but the start of the second half of the century brought new forms of tourism. Due to its warm climate, the first emphasis was on Puerto de la Cruz, and for all the attractions that the Valle de la Orotava offered, and following the promotion sun and beaches, around 1980 the tourist boom was born in south Tenerife. The emphasis was on cities like Arona or Adeje, shifting to tourist centres like Los Cristianos or Playa de Las Americas, which now house 65 percent of the hotels on the island. Tenerife receives more than 5 million tourists every year; of the Сanary islands Tenerife is the most popular. However, this data also reflects the large quality of resources that tourism consumes (space, energy, water etc.)
According to INE data of 1 January 2011, Tenerife has the largest population of the seven Canary Islands and the most populated island of Spain with 908,555 registered inhabitants, of whom about 25 percent (220,902) live in the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and nearly 50 percent (424,200) in the metropolitan area of Santa Cruz–La Laguna. Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna are physically one urban area, so that together they have a population of over 382,331 inhabitants.
After the city of Santa Cruz the major towns and municipalities are San Cristóbal de La Laguna (144,347), Arona (72,328), La Orotava (40,644), Adeje (38,245), Los Realejos (37,224), Granadilla de Abona (36,224), and Puerto de la Cruz (31,131). All other municipalities have fewer than 30,000 inhabitants, the smallest municipality being Vilaflor with a population of 1,900. In addition to the registered population, there are numerous non-registered residents, primarily tourists.
Recently Tenerife has experienced population growth significantly higher than the national average. In 1990, there were 663,306 registered inhabitants, which increased to 709,365 in 2000, an increase of 46,059 or an annual growth of 0.69 percent. However, between 2000 and 2007, the population rose by 155,705 to 865,070, an annual increase of 3.14 percent.
These results reflect the general trend in Spain where since 2000 immigration has reversed the general slow down in population growth, following the collapse in the birth rate from 1976. However, since 2001 the overall growth rate in Spain has around 1.7 percent per year, compared with 3.14 percent on Tenerife, one of the largest increases in the country.
The oldest mountain ranges in Tenerife rose from the Atlantic Ocean by volcanic eruption which gave birth to the island around twelve million years ago. The island as it is today was formed three million years ago by the fusion of three islands made up of the mountain ranges of Anaga, Teno and Valle de San Lorenzo, due to volcanic activity from Teide. The volcano is visible from most parts of the island today, and the crater is 17 kilometres (11 miles) long at some points. Tenerife is the largest island of the Canary Islands and the Macaronesia region.
The coasts of Tenerife are typically rugged and steep, particularly on the north of the island. However, the island has 67.14 kilometres (41.72 miles) of beaches, such as the one at El Médano, surpassed only in this respect by the island of Fuerteventura. There are many black sand pebble beaches on the northern coast, while on the south and south-west coast of the island, the beaches have typically much finer and clearer sand with lighter tones.
Flora and fauna
The island of Tenerife has a remarkable ecological diversity in spite of its small surface area, which is a consequence of the special environmental conditions on the island, where its distinct orography modifies the general climatic conditions at a local level, producing a significant variety of microclimates. This diversity of natural microclimates and, therefore, habitats, means that a rich and diverse flora (1400 species of plants) exists on the island, with well over a hundred entirely endemic to Tenerife. Endemic species include Viper's bugloss, Teide white broom, Teide violet etc. The fauna of the island has many endemic invertebrates and unique reptile, bird and mammal species. The fauna of Tenerife includes some 400 species of fish, 56 birds, five reptiles, two amphibians, 13 land mammals and several thousand invertebrates, along with several species of sea turtles, whales and dolphins.
The vegetation of Tenerife can be divided into six major zones that are directly related to altitude and the direction in which they face.
- Lower xerophytic zone: 0–700 metres (0–2,297 feet). Xerophytic shrubs that are well adapted to long dry spells, intense sunshine and strong winds. Many endemic species: spurges, cactus spurge (Euphorbia canariensis), wax plants (Ceropegia spp.), etc.
- Thermophile forest: 200–600 metres (660–1,970 feet). Transition zone with moderate temperatures and rainfall, but the area has been deteriorated by human activity. Many endemic species: juniper (Juniperus cedrus), dragon trees (Dracaena draco), palm trees (Phoenix canariensis), etc.
- Laurel forest: 500–1,000 metres (1,600–3,300 feet). Dense forest of large trees, descendants of tertiary age flora, situated in a zone of frequent rainfall and mists. A wide variety of species with abundant undergrowth of bushes, herbaceous plants, and ferns. Laurels, holly (Ilex canariensis), ebony (Persea indica), mahogany (Apollonias barbujana), etc.
- Wax myrtle: 1,000–1,500 metres (3,300–4,900 feet). A dryer vegetation, poorer in species. It replaces the degraded laurel forest. Of great forestry importance. Wax myrtles (Myrica faya), tree heath (Erica arborea), holly, etc.
- Pine forest: 800–2,000 metres (2,600–6,600 feet). Open pine forest, with thin and unvaried undergrowth. Canary Island pine (Pinus canariensis), broom (Genista canariensis), rock rose (Cistus spp.), etc.
- High mountain: over 2,000 metres (6,600 feet). Dry climate, intense solar radiation and extreme temperatures. Flora well adapted to the conditions.
Tenerife is known internationally as the "Island of Eternal Spring" (Isla de la Eterna Primavera). The island, which lies at the same latitude as the Sahara Desert, enjoys a warm tropical climate with an average of 18–24 °C (64–75 °F) in the winter and 24–28 °C (75–82 °F) in the summer. It has a high annual total of days of sunshine, and low precipitation in all but the mountain areas. The moderate climate of Tenerife is controlled to a great extent by the tradewinds, whose humidity is condensed principally over the north and northeast of the island, creating cloud banks that range between 600 and 1,800 metres (2,000 and 5,900 feet) in height. The cold sea currents of the Canary Islands also have a cooling effect on the coasts and its beaches, while the topography of the landscape plays a role in climatic differences on the island with its many valleys. The moderating effect of the marine air makes extreme heat a rare occurrence and frost an impossibility at sea level. The lowest recorded temperature in downtown Santa Cruz is 8.1 °C (46.6 °F), the coldest month on record still had a relatively mild average temperature of 15.8 °C (60.4 °F). Summer temperatures are highest in August, with an average high of 29 °C (84 °F) in Santa Cruz, similar to those of places as far north as Barcelona and Majorca, because of the greater maritime influence. At a higher elevation in La Laguna, the climate transitions to a Mediterranean climate with higher precipitation amounts and lower temperatures year round. The climate of Santa Cruz is very typical of the Canaries, albeit only slightly warmer than the climate of Las Palmas.
Major climatic contrasts on the island are evident, especially during the winter months when it is possible to enjoy the warm sunshine on the coast and experience snow within miles, 3,000 metres (9,843 feet) above sea level on Teide. There are also major contrasts at low altitude, where the climate ranges from arid (Köppen BWh) on the southeastern side represented by Santa Cruz de Tenerife to Mediterranean (Csa/Csb) on the northwestern side in Buena Vista del Norte and La Orotava.
The north and south of Tenerife similarly have different climatic characteristics. The windward northwestern side of the island receives 73 percent of all precipitation on the island, and the relative humidity of the air is superior and the insolation inferior. The pluviometric maximums are registered on the windward side at an average altitude of between 1,000 and 1,200 metres (3,300 and 3,900 feet), almost exclusively in the La Orotava mountain range. However, although climatic differences in rainfall and sunshine on the island exist, overall annual precipitation is low and the summer months from May to September are normally completely dry. Rainfall, similarly to that of Southern California, can also be extremely erratic from one year to another.
Climate data for Santa Cruz
|Record high °C (°F)||28.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||21.0|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||18.2|
|Average low °C (°F)||15.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||9.4|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||31.5|
|Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||8.0||7.2||6.9||5.5||2.9||0.9||0.2||0.8||2.7||6.1||8.8||9.4||59.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||178||186||221||237||282||306||337||319||253||222||178||168||2,887|
|Source #1: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
Tenerife is the economic capital of the Canary Islands. At present, Tenerife is the island with the highest GDP in the Canary Islands. Even though Tenerife's economy is highly specialized in the service sector, which makes 78 percent of its total production capacity, the importance of the rest of the economic sectors is key to its production development. In this sense, the primary sector, which only represents 1.98 percent of the total product, groups activities that are important to the sustainable development of the island's economy. The energy sector which contributes 2.85 percent has a primary role in the development of renewable energy sources. The industrial sector which shares in 5.80 percent is a growing activity in the island, vis-a-vis the new possibilities created by technological advances. Finally, the construction sector with 11.29 percent of the total production has a strategic priority, because it is a sector with relative stability which permits multiple possibilities of development and employment opportunities.
Agriculture and fishing
Since tourism dominates the Tenerifian economy, the service sector is the largest. Industry and commerce contribute 40 percent of the non-tourist economy. The primary sector has lost its traditional importance on the island to the industrial and service sectors. Agriculture contributes less than 10 percent of the island's GDP, but its contribution is vital, as it also generates indirect benefits, by maintaining the rural appearance, and supporting Tenerifian cultural values.
Agriculture is centred on the northern slopes, and is also determined by the altitude as well as orientation: in the coastal zone, tomatoes and bananas are cultivated, usually in plastic enclosures, these high yield products are for export to mainland Spain and the rest of Europe; in the drier intermediate zone, potatoes, tobacco and maize are grown, whilst in the south, onions are important.
Bananas are a particularly important crop, as Tenerife grows more bananas than the other Canary Islands, with a current annual production of about 150,000 tons, down from the peak production of 200,000 tons in 1986. More than 90 percent of the total is destined for the international market, and banana growing occupies about 4200 hectares. After the banana the most important crops are, in order of importance, tomatoes, grapes, potatoes and flowers. Fishing is also a major contributor to the Tenerifian economy, as the Canaries are Spain's second most important fishing grounds.
Industry and commerce
Commerce in Tenerife plays a significant role in the economy which is enhanced by tourism, representing almost 20 percent of the GDP, with the commercial center Santa Cruz de Tenerife generating most of the earnings. Although there are a diversity of industrial estates that exist on the island, the most important industrial activity is petroleum, representing 10 percent of the island's GDP, again largely due to the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife with its refinery. It provides petroliferous products not only to the Canaries archipelago but is also an active in the markets of the Iberian Peninsula, Africa and South America.
Transportation - Get In
As an island the usual way to arrive is by air. There are two airports, Tenerife South (Reina Sofia) near Los Cristianos and Tenerife North (Los Rodeos) by La Laguna. Titsa buses run from both airports to other towns, though you may have to change routes. They stop around midnight and start again around 05:00-06:00.
- Tenerife Norte (Los Rodeos). Most services into this airport are from the mainland of Spain. Iberia offer several flights a day from Madrid (although normally quite expensive), Air Europa also flies from Madrid; Air Europa and Vueling offer flights from Barcelona, Malaga, Valencia and Seville to Tenerife North. In addition to these flights, Binter Canarias operate a fleet of turboprop aircraft flying to the neighbouring Canary islands. There are international flights to/from London (LHR), Helsinki, Rome, Agadir, Casablanca and Funchal.
- Tenerife Sur (Reina Sofia). Named after the current Queen of Spain this is by far the busier of the two airports. Flights from various UK airports are available through EasyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook. Flights from the Spanish mainland are offered by Iberia, Air Europa, and Vueling. There are also flights from Germany offered by Ryanair, Air Berlin, Eurowings and Condor among others. There are many other destinations apart from those mentioned here.
Trasmediterranea run a weekly ferry from Cadiz in Spain which takes two days.
There are also ferries to the other Canary Islands, going to Gran Canaria from Santa Cruz de Tenerife (about €80 return) and La Gomera from Los Cristianos.
Transportation - Get Around
A hire car is the best option for discovering the remote regions. There is a wide selection of companies, ranging from budget to premium. When choosing one of the cheapest companies (like Goldcar), make sure to understand the terms & conditions, since there may be hidden fees or tricks. Such as petrol refill fee at the time of return, or mandatory insurance to be paid at pickup.
If you only own a debit card (not credit card), for example autoreisen allows rent without deposit - because the car is almost fully insured (and thus a bit more expensive). The car return is then as simple as dropping the keys at the office.
TITSA buses cover most of the island and the buses are fairly frequent. A BONO travel card is a good idea if you intend to spend some time travelling on the buses as they can save 50-70% on journey costs. Only one card is needed by any number in a group and can be bought at bus stations as well as some tobacconists. A tram line operates between Santa Cruz and La Laguna; the BONO card is valid there.
Driving the roads
The roads are in good shape, also the ones in the mountains - but esp. on roads carved into mountain there may be rocks fallen on the road. The highways around the island are toll-free, but (mostly?) limited to 110 km/h. Regular roads range from normal to twisty and narrow roads in Anaga, or around Santiago del Teide.
Tenerife is building many new roads including some major routes. While not very accurate in the past, as of 2013, TomTom maps now cover the majority of the island and have many points of interest. Garmin used to be not accurate as well, current status unknown. Openstreetmap project provides fairly complete maps of the islands roads, hiking trails and other points of interest.
The island can be divided into two regions.
Due to the influence of the northeastern tradewinds, the northern coast tends to be cooler, with somewhat unstable, springlike weather. The largest metropolitan areas of the island are in the northeast.
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife - the capital
- San Cristóbal de La Laguna – a UNESCO World Heritage city
- Puerto de la Cruz – a laid-back, more family-friendly resort with the Loro Parque Zoo
- La Orotava – a stately, beautiful city
- Icod de los Vinos - famous for its millenary Drago tree, local wines, and the largest volcanic cave in Europe
- Garachico – a harbour city, partially destroyed and rebuilt after a volcanic eruption in the 18th century
The southwestern coast receives the most tourists – here there are many beautiful beaches, and it is warmer and sunnier than other parts of the island.
- Las Americas – with Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje, a city built for tourists
- Los Cristianos
- Costa Adeje
- Los Gigantes – popular with tourists and locals
- El Medáno – a laid back, alternative haven, and one of the windsurfing capitals of the world
- Teide National Park
- Anaga National Park
Accommodation & Hotels
Playa de las Teresitas
The jewel in the crown of Tenerife’s beaches and without doubt the most spectacular. It’s many people’s idea of what a tropical beach should look like. A crescent shaped, lagoon-like bay with golden sand lapped by aquamarine waters teeming with tropical fish. Add palm trees and a dramatic mountain backdrop and you’ve got a perfect setting. There are changing rooms, toilets, bar restaurants and a large car park discreetly hidden behind the line of palms at the back of the beach. The man made reef makes the enclosed calm water ideal for families with young children. The only downside is that, being the east coast, it can be a tad breezy sometimes. Okay it’s a man made beach, but it looks great.
Playa del Duque
Another man made affair which has been developed with panache and imagination. If a beach could feel upmarket, it’s this one. Small enough to feel intimate, it’s striped beach huts and palm frond umbrellas give it an air of St Tropez meets the Caribbean. The large volcanic rock which borders the beach’s southern side blocks out the concrete vista beyond.
A rarity for a beach on Tenerife, a golden(ish) beach which isn’t man made. One of the longest beaches on Tenerife, book ended on one side by El Médano and Montaña Roja on the other. A bleached wooden boardwalk runs almost the length of the beach passing surreal pumice rock formations and scores of rainbow bright windsurfers and kite-boarders. The presence of these ‘surf dudes’ should warn you that the wind is a constant companion here. It might make pretty patterns in the sand, but it isn’t always ideal for sunbathing. One of the most interesting beaches on Tenerife.
Nestling between the resorts on the south and south west coasts, the bay at El Puertito is probably what Tenerife’s southern fishing hamlets looked like before the property developers moved in. Whitewashed buildings, a fish restaurant, aquamarine water, brightly coloured fishing boats and pale gold sand make you feel as though you’re on an island that hasn’t been discovered yet. It’s also popular with ‘unofficial’ campers during summer months. A simple, but picturesque spot to wiggle your toes in the sand; it’s close to resorts in geographical terms only.
Playa de los Abriguitos
The road to this beach leads through a new housing development which looks completely out of place in the barren pumice landscape. Fear not, a series of pale golden sand coves lapped by turquoise waters too tempting to resist dotted along the coast at Los Abades make for a heavenly spot to top up the tan and frolic in the surf.
The nearby wind farm might suggest that Playa Grande at Punta de Abona might not be the most comfortable spot to go for that golden glow, but the quiet cream coloured sloping beach is protected by the headland which curves into the sea around the beach, keeping the water and the wind relatively calm. Paths lead to the fishing hamlet above the beach, the Abona lighthouse and a small jetty with an unusual fish sculpture.
Medium sized beach of black volcanic sand, typical of many of the beaches in the north of the island, located on one of the most picturesque stretches of Tenerife’s coastline. The approach road winds through banana plantations and charming old haciendas to this very popular beach. On Sundays, during summer, you’ll struggle to find a space to park as cars line roadside for the kilometre or so up to the main road. The beach shelves gently into the rolling waves; perfect for people who like to keep their feet on the ground, but be warned this is a surfer’s beach, the waves here pack a punch. There’s a good little beach bar restaurant overlooking the beach.
Playa de las Arenas
An attractively laid out beach with plenty of parking and a unique looking restaurant, El Burgado. A pleasant coastal walk leads to a series of black sand and pebble beaches, rock pools and coves which lie below the Mirador de la Monja and the dramatic Teno Cliffs.
The black sand beach here is definitely for people who want to travel far from the madding crowd. Situated beside the tiny fishing hamlet of Roque Bermejo, you might struggle to find this one as there’s no road leading to the village. The only way in or out is by boat; alternatively, a two hour walk from Chamorga at the end of the TF123 will bring you to this beach at the eastern tip of Tenerife’s world.
Playa de el Pozo and Playa de los Patos: These three coves cut into the cliffs are accessed via a single track road, which can make manoeuvring past oncoming cars quite hairy. Persevere, it’s worth the effort. The reward is a beautiful black sand beach with tsunami sized waves and a great little beach bar overlooking the bay where time can disappear very easily, especially if you’ve got an ice cold cerveza in your hand. The more adventurous can follow the path along the coast to Playa Pozo and Playa de los Patos, nudist beaches popular with surfers and people who literally want to let it all hang out; unfortunately I’ve never seen anyone do both at the same time; now that would make a good photo.
Playa Las Gaviotas
Playa Las Gaviotas is almost always overshadowed by its sexier, tropical paradise neighbour; Las Teresitas. Las Teresitas might be man made with Saharan sand, but it’s probably the most stunning beach on the island; magnificent backdrop, golden sand, palms and calm crystal clear lagoon-like waters. However, if you prefer a more intimate setting where the only entry requirements are that you get your kit off, then bypass Las Teresitas and follow the road east to this small black sand nudist beach at the foot of the Anaga Massif.
Playa de la Arena
Look at any decent map and you might find up to four ‘Playa de la Arenas’ around Tenerife’s coastline. It simply means ‘sandy beach’. The best one is found at the resort of the same name. A small, blue flag beach which is considered to be set in one of the nicest coves on Tenerife. With the most sunshine hours on the island, great views to the island of La Gomera and stunning sunsets, this is a sun worshipper’s dream.
This ‘garden beach’ is a play area for visitors and locals alike. A kilometre of black sand backed by landscaped gardens runs from the San Felipe Castle to the Punta Brava. The waves here are big and bold, which is great fun for confident youngsters, but can take the legs away from unsuspecting, more mature paddlers. The beach shelves sharply into the sea at the Puerto de la Cruz end, less so at the Punta Brava end. In between there's a small area exclusively for surfers. The beach with the best view of Teide.
Festivals and events
Carnival of Santa Cruz
Perhaps the most important festival of Tenerife, popular both on a national and international level, is the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which has been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest (Fiesta de Interés Turístico Internacional). The carnival is celebrated in many locations in the north and south of the island, but is largest in scope in the city of Santa Cruz. Contests are celebrated, and the carnival includes bands of street musicians (murgas), groups of minstrels (rondallas de Tenerife), masquerades (comparsas), and various associations (agrupaciones). Once the Queen of the festival is elected, the first part of the carnival ends, and thereafter begins the actual street carnival, in which large numbers of people gather in the centre of Santa Cruz, with the carnival lasting ten days.
The most traditional and widespread religious festivals on the islands are the pilgrimages or romerías.These events, which incorporate Christian and non-Christian elements, are celebrated by various means: with wagons and floats, plowing teams and livestock, in honor of the patron saint of a particular place. The processions are accompanied by local dances, local dishes, folkloric activities, local arts and crafts, local sports, and the wearing of traditional dress of Tenerife (trajes de mago).
The origins of these events can be attributed to the parties and celebrations held by the richest classes of the island, who would gather to venerate their patron saints, to which they attributed good harvests, fertile lands, plentiful rainfall, the curing of sicknesses and ending of epidemics, etc. They would thus give homage to these saints by consuming and sharing the fruits of their harvest, which included the locally cultivated wines. These have developed into processions to mark festivals dedicated to Saint Mark in Tegueste, where the wagons are decorated with the fruits of the earth (seeds, cereals, flowers, etc.); to Saint Isidore the Laborer in Los Realejos; to Saint Isidore the Laborer and Maria Torribia (Saint Mary of the Head) in La Orotava; the Romería Regional de San Benito Abad in La Laguna; Virgin of Candelaria in Candelaria; Saint Roch in Garachico; Saint Augustine in Arafo; and the Romería del Socorro in Güímar.
Holiday of the Virgin of Candelaria
The Virgin of Candelaria is the patron of the Canary Islands; a feast is held in her honor two times a year, in February and August. The Pilgrimage-Offering to the Virgin of Candelaria is celebrated every 14 August in this event is a tradition that representations of all municipalities of the island and also of all the Canary archipelago come to make offerings to their patron. Another significant act of the feast of the Virgin of Candelaria is called "Walk to Candelaria" held on the night of 14 to 15 August in which the faithful make pilgrimage on foot from various parts of the island, even coming from other islands to arrive at Villa Mariana de Candelaria.
On 2 February we celebrate the feast of the Candelaria. Also on this day come to town many members of the Virgin.
Holiday of the Cristo de La Laguna
It is celebrated every 14 September in honor of a much venerated image of Christ in the Archipelago, the Cristo de La Laguna, is held in the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna.
The religious festival of Corpus Christi is particularly important, and is traditionally celebrated with floral carpets laid in the streets. Particularly noteworthy are the celebrations in La Orotava where a very large carpet, or tapestry, of different coloured volcanic soils, covers the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (town square). These soils are taken from the Parque Nacional del Teide, and after the celebration, are returned, to preserve the National Park. The celebration of Corpus Christi in Orotava has been declared of Important Cultural Interest among the official Traditional Activities of the Island.
Among the numerous other celebrations that define Tenerifian culture, Easter remains the most important. This is celebrated across the island, but is particularly notable in the municipalities of La Laguna, La Orotava and Los Realejos, where elaborate processions take place on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day, or "Resurrection Sunday". Holy Week in the city of San Cristobal de la Laguna is the largest of the Canary Islands.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Antonio de Viana, a native of La Laguna, composed the epic poem Antigüedades de las Islas Afortunadas (Antiquities of the Fortunate Isles), a work of value to anthropologists, since it sheds light on Canarian life of the time. The Enlightenment reached Tenerife, and literary and artistic figures of this era include José Viera y Clavijo, Tomás de Iriarte y Oropesa, Ángel Guimerá y Jorge, Mercedes Pinto and Domingo Pérez Minik, amongst others.
During the course of the 16th century, several painters flourished in La Laguna, as well as in other places on the island, including Garachico, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz. Cristóbal Hernández de Quintana and Gaspar de Quevedo, considered the best Canarian painters of the 17th century, were natives of La Orotava, and their art can be found in churches on Tenerife.
The work of Luis de la Cruz y Ríos can be found in the church of Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia, in Puerto de la Cruz. Born in 1775, he became court painter to Ferdinand VII of Spain and was also a miniaturist, and achieved a favorable position in the royal court. He was known there by the nickname of "El Canario."
The landscape painter Valentín Sanz (born 1849) was a native of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes de Santa Cruz displays many of his works. This museum also contains the works of Juan Rodríguez Botas (1880–1917), considered the first Canarian impressionist.
Frescoes by the expressionist Mariano de Cossío can be found in the church of Santo Domingo, in La Laguna. The watercolorist Francisco Bonnín Guerín (born 1874) was a native of Santa Cruz, and founded a school to encourage the arts. Óscar Domínguez was born in La Laguna in 1906 and is famed for his versatility. He belonged to the surrealist school, and invented the technique known as decalcomania.
The arrival from Seville of Martín de Andújar Cantos, an architect and sculptor brought new sculpting techniques of the Seville school, which were passed down to his students, including Blas García Ravelo, a native of Garachico. He had been trained by the master sculptor Juan Martínez Montañés.
Other notable sculptors from the 17th and 18th centuries include Sebastián Fernández Méndez, Lázaro González de Ocampo, José Rodríguez de la Oliva, and most importantly, Fernando Estévez, a native of La Orotava and a student of Luján Pérez. Estévez contributed an extensive collection of religious images and woodcarvings, found in numerous churches of Tenerife, such as the Principal Parish of Saint James the Great (Parroquia Matriz del Apóstol Santiago), in Los Realejos; in the Cathedral of La Laguna; the Iglesia de la Concepción in La Laguna; the basilica of Candelaria, and various churches in La Orotava.
An important musician from Tenerife is Teobaldo Power y Lugo Viña, a native of Santa Cruz and a pianist and composer, and author of the Cantos Canarios. The Hymn of the Canary Islands takes its melody from the Arrorró, or Lullaby, from Power y Lugo Viña's Cantos Canarios.
Folkloric music has also flourished on the island, and, as in the rest of the islands, is characterized by the use of the Canarian Timple, the guitar, bandurria, laúd, and various percussion instruments. Local folkloric groups such as Los Sabandeños work to save Tenerife's musical forms in the face of increasing cultural pressure from the mainland.
Tenerife is the home to the types of songs called the isa, folía, tajaraste, and malagueña, which are a cross of ancient Guanche songs and those of Andalusia and Latin America.
Tenerife is characterized by an architecture whose best representatives are the local manor houses and also the most humble and common dwellings. This style, while influenced by those of Andalusia and Portugal, nevertheless had a very particular and native character.
Of the manor houses, the best examples can be found in La Orotava and in La Laguna, characterized by their balconies and by the existence of interior patios and the widespread use of the wood known as pino tea ("pitch pine"). These houses are characterized by simple façades and wooden lattices with little ornamentation.There are sash windows and it is customary for the chairs inside the house to rest back-to-back to the windows. The interior patios function like real gardens that serve to give extra light to the rooms, which are connected via the patio by galleries frequently crowned by wood and stone.
Gadgets like stills, water pumps, benches and counters, are elements that frequently form part of these patios.
Traditional houses generally have two storeys, with rough walls of variegated colours. Sometimes the continuity of these walls is interrupted by the presence of stone blocks that are used for ornamental purposes.
The government buildings and religious structures were built according to the changing styles of each century. The urban nuclei of La Orotava and La Laguna have been declared national historical-artistic monuments.
In recent years, various governments have spearheaded the concept of developing architectural projects, sometimes ostentatious ones, designed by renowned architects–for example, the remodeling of the Plaza de España in Santa Cruz de Tenerife by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Other examples include the Playa de Las Teresitas project by the Frenchman Dominique Perrault; the center known as Magma Arte & Congresos; the Torres de Santa Cruz; and the Auditorio de Tenerife ("Auditorium of Tenerife"). The latter, by the Spaniard Santiago Calatrava, lies to the east of the Parque Marítimo ("Maritime Park"), in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and is characterized by its sail-like structure, which evokes a boat, and has become a symbol for the city and island, which makes Santa Cruz de Tenerife one of the Spanish cities with the most futuristic buildings.
Distinctive representatives of craftsmanship on the island are Tenerife Lace (calado canario), which is drawn work embroidery, and the intricate doilies known as rosetas, or rosette embroidery, particularly from Vilaflor. The lace, often made for table linen, is produced by the intricate and slow embroidering of a stretched piece of cloth, which is rigidly attached to a wooden frame and is finished with illustrations or patterns using threads that are crossed over and wound around the fijadores, or pins stuck in a small support made of cloth.These decorated, small pieces are afterwards joined, to produce distinct designs and pieces of cloth.
Another Tenerife-based industry is cabinetwork. The north of the island produced various master craftsman who created distinctive balconies, celosias, doors, and windows, as well as furniture consisting of pieces made in fine wood. Basketmaking using palm-leaves was also an important industry. Other materials are chestnut tree branches stripped of their leaves and banana tree fibre (known locally as la badana).
Pottery has a long history harking back to the production of ceramics by the Guanches. The Guanches were unfamiliar with the potter's wheel, and used hand-worked clay, which gave their pottery a distinctive look. Pottery was used to produce domestic objects such as pots and grills, or ornamental pieces such as bead collars or the objects known as pintaderas, which were pieces of pottery used to decorate other vessels.
The earliest known human settlement in the islands date to around 200 BC, by indigenous people known as the Guanches.
Territorial organisation before the conquest (The Guanches)
About one hundred years before the conquest by king Juba II, the title of mencey was given to the monarch or king of the Guanches of Tenerife, who governed a menceyato or kingdom. This role was later referred to as a "captainship" by the conquerors. Tinerfe el Grande, son of the mencey Sunta, governed the island from Adeje in the south. However, upon his death, his nine children rebelled and argued bitterly about how to divide the island.
Two independent achimenceyatos were created on the island, and the island was divided into nine menceyatos. The menceyes within them formed what would be similar to municipalities today. The menceyatos and their menceyes (ordered by the names of descendants of Tinerfe who ruled them) were the following:
- Taoro. Menceyes: Bentinerfe, Inmobach, Bencomo and Bentor. Today it includes Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava, La Victoria de Acentejo, La Matanza de Acentejo, Los Realejos and Santa Úrsula.
- Güímar. Menceyes: Acaymo, Añaterve y Guetón. Today this territory is made up of El Rosario, Candelaria, Arafo and Güímar
- Abona. Menceyes: Atguaxoña and Adxoña (Adjona). Today it includes Fasnia, Arico, Granadilla de Abona, San Miguel de Abona and Arona.
- Anaga. Menceyes: Beneharo and Beneharo II. Today this territory spans the municipalities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna.
- Tegueste. Menceyes: Tegueste, Tegueste II y Teguaco. Today this territory is made up of Tegueste, part of the coastal zone of La Laguna.
- Tacoronte: Menceyes: Rumén and Acaymo. Today this territory is made up of Tacoronte and El Sauzal
- Icode. Menceyes: Chincanayro and Pelicar. Today this territory is made up of San Juan de la Rambla, La Guancha, Garachico and Icod de los Vinos.
- Daute. Menceyes: Cocanaymo and Romén. Today this territory is occupied by El Tanque, Los Silos, Buenavista del Norte and Santiago del Teide.
- Adeje. Menceyes. Atbitocazpe, Pelinor, and Ichasagua. It included what today are the municipalities of Guía de Isora, Adeje and Vilaflor
The achimenceyato of Punta del Hidalgo was governed by Aguahuco, a "poor noble" who was an illegitimate son of Tinerfe and Zebenzui.
Tenerife was the last island of Canaries to be conquered and the one that took the longest time to submit to the Castilian troops. Although the traditional dates of conquest of Tenerife are established between 1494 (landing of Alonso Fernández de Lugo) and 1496 (conquest of the island), it must be taken into account that the attempts to annex the island of Tenerife to the Crown of Castile date back at least to 1464. For this reason, from the first attempt to conquer the island in 1464, until it is finally conquered in 1496, 32 years pass.
In 1464, Diego Garcia de Herrera, Lord of the Canary Islands, took symbolic possession of the island in the Barranco del Bufadero (Ravine of the Bufadero), signing a peace treaty with the Guanche chiefs (menceyes) which allowed the mencey Anaga to build a fortified tower on Guanche land, where the Guanches and the Spanish held periodic treaty talks until the Guanches demolished it around 1472.
In 1492 the governor of Gran Canaria Francisco Maldonado organized a raid that ended in disaster for the Spaniards when they were defeated by Anaga's warriors. In December 1493, the Catholic monarchs, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, granted Alonso Fernández de Lugo the right to conquer Tenerife. Coming from Gran Canaria in April 1494, the conqueror landed on the coast of present-day Santa Cruz de Tenerife in May, and disembarked with about 2,000 men on foot and 200 on horseback. After taking the fort, the army prepared to move inland, later capturing the native kings of Tenerife and presenting them to Isabella and Ferdinand.
The menceyes of Tenerife had differing responses to the conquest. They divided into the side of peace (Spanish: bando de paz) and the side of war (Spanish: bando de guerra). The first included the menceyatos of Anaga, Güímar, Abona and Adeje. The second group consisted of the people of Tegueste, Tacoronte, Taoro, Icoden and Daute. Those opposed to the conquest fought the invaders tenaciously, resisting their rule for two years. Castillian forces under the Adelantado ("military governor") de Lugo suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Guanches in the First Battle of Acentejo on 31 May 1494, but defeated them at the Second Battle of Acentejo on 25 December 1494. The Guanches were eventually overcome by superior technology and the arms of the invaders, and surrendered to the Crown of Castile in 1496.
Slavery and plantations
As in the rest of the islands, the Spanish enslaved many of the natives, especially those who had resisted them. Many of the natives died from new infectious diseases, such as influenza and probably smallpox, to which they lacked resistance or acquired immunity. For a century after the conquest, many new colonists settled on the island, including immigrants from the diverse territories of the growing Spanish Empire, such as Flanders, Italy, and Germany.
As the population grew, it cleared Tenerife's pine forests for fuel and to make fields for agriculture for crops both for local consumption and for export. Sugar cane was introduced in the 1520s as a commodity crop on major plantations; it was a labor-intensive crop in all phases of cultivation and processing. In the following centuries, planters cultivated wine grapes, cochineal for making dyes, and plantains for use and export.
Emigration to the Americas
Tenerife, like the other islands, has maintained a close relationship with Latin America, as both were part of the Spanish Empire. From the start of the colonization of the New World, many Spanish expeditions stopped at the island for supplies on their way to the Americas. They also recruited many tinerfeños for their crews, who formed an integral part of the conquest expeditions. Others joined ships in search of better prospects. It is also important to note the exchange in plant and animal species that made those voyages.
After a century and a half of relative growth, based on the grape growing sector, numerous families emigrated, especially to Venezuela and Cuba. The Crown wanted to encourage population of underdeveloped zones in the Americas to pre-empt the occupation by foreign forces, as had happened with the English in Jamaica and the French in the Guianas and western Hispaniola (which the French renamed as Saint-Domingue). Canary Islanders, including many tinerfeños, left for the New World.
The success in cultivation of new crops of the Americas, such as cocoa in Venezuela and tobacco in Cuba, contributed to the population exodus from towns such as Buenavista del Norte, Vilaflor, or El Sauzal in the late 17th century. The village of San Carlos de Tenerife was founded in 1684 by Canary Islanders on Santo Domingo. The people from Tenerife were recruited for settlement to build up the town from encroachment by French colonists established in the western side of Hispaniola. Between 1720 and 1730, the Crown moved 176 families, including many tinerfeños, to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. In 1726, about 25 island families migrated to the Americas to collaborate on the foundation of Montevideo. Four years later, in 1730, another group left that founded San Antonio the following year in what became Texas. Between 1777 and 1783, More islanders emigrated from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to settle in what became St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, during the period when Spain ruled this former French territory west of the Mississippi River. Some groups went to Western or Spanish Florida.
Emigration to the Americas (mainly Cuba and Venezuela) continued during the 19th and early 20th century, due to the lack of economic opportunity and the relative isolation of the Canary Islands. Since the late 20th century, island protectionist economic laws and a strong development in the tourism industry have strengthened the economy and attracted new migrants. Tenerife has received numerous new residents, including the "return" of many descendants of some islanders who had departed five centuries before.
The most notable conflict was the British invasion of Tenerife in 1797. On 25 July 1797, Admiral Horatio Nelson launched an attack at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, now the capital of the island. After a ferocious fight which resulted in many casualties, General Antonio Gutiérrez de Otero y Santayana organized a defense to repel the invaders. Nelson lost his right arm from cannon fire. Legend tells that he was wounded by the Spanish cannon Tiger (Spanish: Tigre) as he was trying to disembark on the Paso Alto coast.
On 5 September 1797, the British attempted another attack in the Puerto Santiago region, which was repelled by the inhabitants of Santiago del Teide. Some threw rocks at the British from the heights of the cliffs of Los Gigantes.
The island was also attacked by British commanders Robert Blake, Walter Raleigh, John Hawkins, Woodes Rogers.
Between 1833 and 1927, Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands. In 1927 the government ordered that the capital be shared with Las Palmas, as it remains at present. This change in status has encouraged development in Las Palmas.
Tourists began visiting Tenerife from Spain, the United Kingdom, and northern Europe in large numbers in the 1890s. They especially were attracted to the destinations of the northern towns of Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Independent shipping business, such as the Yeoward Brothers Shipping Line, helped boost the tourist industry during this time, adding to ships that carried passengers. The naturalist Alexander von Humboldt ascended the peak of Mount Teide and remarked on the beauty of the island.
Before his rise to power, Francisco Franco was posted to Tenerife in March 1936 by a Republican government wary of his influence and political leanings. However, Franco received information and in Gran Canaria agreed to collaborate in the military coup that would result in the Spanish Civil War; the Canaries fell to the Nationalists in July 1936. In the 1950s, the misery of the post-war years caused thousands of the island's inhabitants to emigrate to Cuba and other parts of Latin America.
Tenerife was the site of the worst accident ever in commercial aviation. Known as the "Tenerife airport disaster", in which 583 people were killed, the airliner collision took place on 27 March 1977, at Los Rodeos airport in the north of the island when two Boeing 747 airplanes collided.
Things to see
Located in the middle of the island, at 3,718 m, Teide is the highest mountain not just in the Canary Islands but in all Spain. The cable car goes up almost to the summit (and the summit itself just an hour of hiking away), and there are fantastic views from up there provided there are no clouds. Do get informed on the Teide article if you plan to visit (permissions, etc.).
Parque Rural de Anaga
Fantastic place to go hiking. There are some routes that you can do. In Cruz del Carmen you can find the visitor's center where you can get information about the park. Don't forget go to the Pico del Inglés viewpoint where you can see a beautiful view of the island (if the weather is good). From La Laguna you only need fifteen minutes in car to arrive. Other places are Taganana, Roque las Bodegas, Almáciga (black sand beaches).
There are some wonderful drives all around the island. There are long winding mountain roads with breathtaking scenery but they might be challenging for less skilled drivers. Popular destination is Masca village located about 1 hour drive north of Los Gigantes (parking spaces are very limited). For those who do not rent/own a car in most resorts there are companies organizing coach trips there.
- Cueva del Viento (Accessible from Icod de los Vinos.). One of the biggest lava cave systems in the world.
- Teide Observatory. One of the best spots in the world to observe sky provides guided visits.
Santa Cruz has a number of museums and an art gallery. Also a space museum and planetarium on a small scale near La Laguna.
In February there is a huge fancy dress parade by locals which is said to be third in size after Rio and Notting Hill carnivals.
Visit the beautiful old towns of La Orotava and La Laguna, the latter being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Botanical garden. A world class botanical garden just above Puerto de la Cruz.
Things to do
Tenerife is a favoured destination for scuba divers, with numerous dive operations of all qualities and nationalities. The waters round the island are diveable throughout the year, with the temperature varying between 18 degrees in January to around 25-26 degrees in August. Go around the harbour wall in Puerto de la Cruz for fantastic volcanic rock formations, or feed the stringrays at Las Galletas for something a bit different.
Water sports are available in the south including surfing, wind surfing, speed boat parashooting and jet-ski. Nowhere seems to rent canoes.
Of course many visitors just want to spend their time on a beach or by the hotel swimming pool. Playa Americas beach is black volcanic sand but Los Cristianos is yellow imported sand. The black sand feels the same as the yellow but is not as pleasing to look at to many. Beaches often have sun-loungers with parasols available to hire for the day, but if you are doing this for a few days it is probably better to just buy a parasol and some beach mats.
Tenerife is an excellent destination for hiking. There are routes for anyone, from leisurely one hour strolls to extremely strenuous full day hikes in demanding terrain with either a huge ascent, descent or both. There are several books describing hiking routes, such as two Landscapes of Tenerife books from Sunflower Books, one covering the northern side and the other covering the southern side. It's a good idea to get a guide book before you go to Tenerife, as they might be difficult to find there. Another option is using openstreetmap/wikiloc as guide.
These are the most interesting hikes:
- El Teide. / Pico Viejo. A demanding hike up to the summit is possible. More information is available on Teide.
- Masca valley. Probably the most popular (and somewhat crowded, compared to other Tenerife treks) path. Starting at Masca valley, going down all the way to a beach, inbetween massive cliffs. Check Los Gigantes for access info. Taking the hike uphill requires at least water supplies, in case of high temperatures.
- Barranco del Infierno (Hell's Ravine). Close to Adeje popular with hikers, you need to book to go on the walk. There is little to see but vegetation on this walk and a tiny waterfall at its end.
- Punta de Teno (There are some hike paths available from roads towards El Palmar). The most western point with excellent views. Also accessible by car - however as of January/2017, the road is closed during weekends, 10:00-17:00.
- Roque del Conde. One of the most prominent mountains on the south coast. A few hours hike from the nearby Arona village goes through a relatively big canyon of Barranco del Rey and at top provides good views to all sides (unless mist builds up)
- Anaga. Provides wide variety of hikes. While the park itself is relatively small, the roads are very winding - multiply the time navigation suggests by factor of 2. Road from La Laguna to Chamorga takes approx. 1:45 - 2 hours. Hiking is possible in many places, however some of them may require permit to enter. A very incomplete list of treks follows:
- Chamorga - Roque Bormejo. A round trip starts at a picturesque village of Chamorga, goes through mountains, along the shore (grand views!), a lighthouse Faro de Anaga, Roque Bormejo village and back up through a valley Camino de Roque Bormejo.
- A relaxing walk (almost flat road) to Cabezo del Tejo viewpoint through a (often) misty forest.
- Roque de Taborno ("Matterhorn of Tenerife") - a few hours trek around a picturesque mountain. The path crosses a cliff for a few meters, beware if you are easily scared of hights.
Tenerife attracts a large number of cyclists all year around. Weather Mountainbiking or Roadbiking, Tenerife has plenty of beautiful roads and dirt tracks. If you want to avoid the hassle of bringing your own bike, you can rent bikes on the island, for example in Las Americas or El Médano.
Cycling is hard to do casually although bikes are available to rent, the coastal roads are busy and there is little room for bikes except often in the gutter. However if you like cycling up hills there are plenty of steep roads to climb as soon as you leave the coastline. For those less fit, one tour company offers a car trip to the top of El Teide with a cycle down, no pedalling required.
- Eden Catamaran, CC Puerto Colón, local 129C (Costa Adeje), . Offers whale and dolphin watching trips.
- Bike Point Tenerife, Avda.Quinto Centenario s/n, Edificio las terrazas, 38660 Las Americas, Tenerife (Opposite of the police station in Las Americas, Magma and bus station), . Biketours, Rental & Shop in Las Americas and El Medano
There are good attraction parks.
- Loro Parque Zoo (Just outside the northern city of Puerto de la Cruz). An animal protection foundation as well as a huge animal park.
- Jungle Park (Close to the area of Los Cristianos). Well worth a visit, the bird of prey show is a must. There are free bus links to the park, but getting on one to get back is not much fun!
- Siam park (In Costa Adeje). Opened in 2008, this is a fantastic water park, created by the owners of Loro Parque - and it has been beautifully designed, like a modern Lago Martianez! Look out for the 2 metre high artificial waves. Unlike many of these places, there is plenty of shade and high quality cafes/bars so you can spend the whole day there without burning and dehydrating!
- Aqualand (In Costa Adeje). A water park
You will find many local shops selling excursions to these parks.
Karting Club Tenerife
Go karts and motor bikes are raced in the main track and two sizes of cart on the kit track. Located close to playa de las Américas free bus service from and back to your hotel.
Fish is a large part of the local diet with restaurants that allow you to choose a fish from their selection (often hand caught) which they will cook for you. Black potatoes called Papas arrugadas are served unpeeled ready to be dipped into a local sauce.
As in the rest of Spain, tapas are eaten a lot with local specialties including garlic sauces, refried beans and squid. Typical Spanish meals such as tortilla (potato omelette) and paella (rice dishes) are common too.
The south has plenty of restaurants that serve hamburgers, pizza, chips, etc. There are 15 McDonald's including some on the beaches. Also note that in touristic hotspots such as Playa de las Americas, menus are available in numerous languages ranging from English and German to Russian and some Scandinavian languages, making it very easy to choose even if you are not familiar with the local dishes' names or don't understand Spanish.
Lots of Chinese Restaurants are also available in Tenerife. You can eat as much as you can (buffet) paying fixed price like 6 euro, 6.50 euro, lets say the price is different according to the variety of food.
Tenerife also has a reputation for the 'booze scene', with Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos providing ample locations for those that enjoy 24 hour clubbing & drinking. The drinks available are the same as the rest of Europe (predominantly British) with prices being slightly less than those 'back home'.
The local beer is the average tasting Dorada, available everywhere. More specialised drinks include banana liqueur.
- Barraquito, also called barraco, is a coffee specialty from the Canary Islands and particularly popular on Tenerife but also on La Palma.
- Wine. There are a great variety of local wines. Malmsey (Malavasías), red wines, fruity wine.
Money & Shopping
Santa Cruz has a big market by the station on Sunday mornings, and a local picturesque market Mercado Municipal Nuestra Señora de África (open daily until 14:30). Las Americas has one Thursday and Saturday and Los Cristianos on Sundays.
Many, many shops on the island selling electrical and optical goods as well as cameras. You may think you are getting a bargain from these smooth talking salesmen but you aren't. You will overpay for something you could buy cheaper at home and even cheaper off eBay. Your goods may be faulty. Your guarantee will probably be worthless. Your video camera may be SECAM which means a B&W picture in the UK (PAL). These shops are everywhere in the tourist areas and so many people have been cheated by them for so many years. Also, beware of places that sell video games (mainly for the Nintendo Game Boy or DS) as they are usually bootlegs.
If you are holidaying in Tenerife you are probably going to be approached by "scratchcard touts" whose main aim is to part you with several thousand pounds for worthless contracts for time-share apartments. This view is backed up by the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) who suggest that every year 400,000 UK consumers fall victim to these scams in destinations such as Tenerife, the Costa del Sol and Gran Canaria. On average each victim loses more than £3,000. Bogus "scratchcard touts" offer cards that will always be a winner, but to collect their prize, people need to attend a lengthy presentation and are persuaded into signing a contract for an "exclusive" club on the basis of false claims as to the price, range and quality of holidays available. The OFT's is advising people to ask three simple questions: can you take away the contract to consider at your leisure? Is everything you were promised in the presentation in the contract? Do you know exactly what you are getting for your money? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then simply walk away.
The other main irritant on Tenerife are the Lookey Lookey men who try to sell you sunglasses, watches, jewellery and other cheap knick-knacks known as Lucky Luckies. They are quite harmless and generally don´t mean to cause trouble, they are just trying to make a living, but a firm NO generally works!
Stay safe / healthy
Tenerife is generally a safe place to visit but as always, beware of pickpockets. Walking alone late at night in certain suburbs is not advisable, although the inner parts of town aren't problematic. Taxis are widely available, and not too badly priced though a taxi from the southern airport to Puerto Cruz is VERY expensive.
Camping and sleeping at the beach is only permitted at allowed zones. Doing so in frequented beaches may lead to arrest.
Take note that when walking through Playas De Las Americas there is a lot of clubs round here and some drunkenness in the night hours.
There are no scorpions or snakes to worry about. Mosquitoes can bite at night, especially away from the coast, but they do not carry malaria.
Do not take electrical items, credit cards or large amounts of cash to the beach if you plan to leave your goods unattended while swimming.
The sun is extremely strong this close to the equator so use plenty of high factor sun cream and do not sun bathe between midday and three o'clock (this is when the beaches are busiest anyway).