With September gone, so was my long-awaited vacation to the island of Tenerife. Postponed 5 times, I finally managed to get there and I can tell you, it was so worth it. Even compared to my exotic trip to the Dominican Republic, I would say the Canary Island was way better.
I initially planned the vacation for 2020, but with the pandemic and all the lockdowns, our flights got postponed. Even this year, I have to say I was a bit nervous in regards to the travel restrictions, but in the end, it all worked out and we managed to spend 7 days on the island of the eternal spring.
A couple of things about Tenerife that you should know, it is an island part of the African continent, near Morocco. It is under Spain so it is still part of the EU and it is the biggest of the islands from the Canary archipelago. The flight there takes around 6h if you are traveling from Romania. The seasons are just like ours in Europe, but during the winter, the temperatures never drop below 10-15 degrees Celsius, making it perfect to travel year-round.
Depending on the type of traveler you are, you need to consider if you want to rent a car, like we did, or use public transport. The island is surrounded by highways and the traffic is not that bad, in the 7 days that we had there, we drove 700km. For us, the car was worth it.
Another key aspect is related to where you choose your accommodation. We went to Los Cristianos, a fairly popular destination in the southwest. The most popular one is Las Americas, this is where all the nightlife is happening, yet the two are within walking distance of each other. If you are here to surf, you should consider the north for accommodation, but either way, the island can be surrounded in 2 hours. If you do decide to rent a car, keep in mind that you will have to drive on very narrow roads, go for a small car and avoid driving if you are a beginner or do not have much experience.
The difference between the north, where you will see more rain and vegetation, and the south, where the temperatures are higher, is the Teide volcano that prevents the clouds from passing. The landscape changes as you move around the island and if you decide (and you should) to climb on the Teide you will see the volcanic landscape. Probably the best place in the whole world (or at least from where I’ve been) when it comes to having it all, from surfing beaches with black sand, to golden sand beaches in the south, trekking paths on the volcano, or in the luxuriant forest of Ananga. Whale watching and deep blue water in Los Cristianos to huge rocks that are blocking the sea, Los Gigantes. Not to mention their water parks, you have something for everybody.
We made our travel itinerary before arriving, yet we ended up changing the plans and adjusting based on the availability of the tickets. Also, you will have to book your accommodation in advance since you are required to fill in a form 24 hours before your arrival due to the pandemic situation. Also, at the accommodation, you are required to present the EU Green certificate. The mask is mandatory in crowded places and indoors.
Day 1 ~ Monday
The first day was dedicated to traveling and since the flight was a long one, we only picked our car, drove to the hotel and we went for a walk and something to eat nearby. We found a great place near the beach where we ate amazing seafood. After trying a few other places, we ended up returning here in the following days.
Day 2 ~ Tuesday:
Even if we planned the volcano trip, we realized that we had to get our ticket online, and due to weather conditions the cable car was not running. We ended up purchasing the tickets for Saturday and just enjoyed the view.
We readjusted our plans and we went to see Los Gigantes, the natural pools, Puerto de la Cruz, Lago Martianez, and Garachico. A full day with a lot of driving around.
Day 3~ Wednesday:
If you are in Tenerife, going on a cruise to see the whales and dolphins (90 euro 2 pers, including tips and 2 printed photos) is a must. Not only that we saw the small whales, but we were fortunate enough to see a Fin Whale, the second biggest one right in front of our boat. To make things even better, it had a calf with her and we were able to spot those amazing animals for a couple of minutes.
One thing that I appreciated was that the boat crew didn’t get very close to the animals and after a couple of minutes would sail away from them telling us that they do not want to disturb them.
After our trip, we spent the rest of the day at Playa de Las Americas and Playa de Los Cristianos.
Day 4 ~ Thursday:
Masca village was our main focus on the 4th day, yet when we got there we found that we cannot go trekking since that is only allowed on the weekend and with prior reservation. The view from there and driving around the area is spectacular, we ended up getting a coffee and moved to a different type of entertainment, the Loro park (75 euro 2 pers).
If you know me, you know I am not a fan of zoos. My perspective didn’t change after visiting the park. I do believe they are doing their best yet more space for some of the animals should be considered.
The main reason I went there was the orcas, and I have to admit that they do their best to keep them active. They have 4 of them, 3 bred in captivity and one rescued as a baby that turned out to be deaf and impossible to release into the wild.
What I’ve appreciated, apart from telling the story of the whales, they raised awareness over the impact we have on our planet and even demoed what to do in case you find a dolphin on the shore. The animals were well cared for and the attachment to their careers could be seen.
I haven’t been in a zoo for years now, I still cannot say that I agree, nor that I enjoyed seeing the wild animals on display. They do advertise the foundation that they have and they do try to reintegrate as many rescues as they can.
After the park we drove to Teide to see the stars, unfortunately, the Milky Way can only be seen in the summer and the Moon was also present. We thought about going very early in the morning but dropped the idea in the end since the galaxy was no longer visible. If you do travel in the summer, make sure to add this to your list.
Day 5 ~ Friday:
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the island, was our main focus on this day. The small city is very nice to talk in, we wandered around for a couple of hours, got some souvenirs, ate lunch, and headed to Playa de la Teresita, the beach with golden sand brought over from the Sahara desert. Given the position on the island, most of the beaches need to have some sort of block made of stones to prevent the waves. The ones from the northwest can be very dangerous since they open to the Atlantic ocean. The surf beaches have rescue guards monitoring the people and an ambulance close by.
When we were done wandering around we headed to the north, passing the Anaga forest that gave me serious Lord of the Rings vibes. The vegetation is luxuriant and the mist with the view of the bays makes it incredible. At the highest point, you can see the beaches from both the west and the east part of the island. If you are driving, bring your skills with you, since you will have to fit on very narrow roads while climbing.
We enjoyed a couple of hours watching the surfers riding the waves and after that headed to our hotel.
Day 6 ~ Saturday:
Going to a second zoo was not on my list, yet they have a park where you get to feed and see up close the lemurs. Since I am such a sucker when it comes to these little fellows, I went ahead and bought the ticket. Have to admit that apart from the ones that can be fed by the people, the rest of the monkeys are kept in very small cages. Overall the experience was a sad one and I promised myself that the next time I will see them will be in Madagascar. No matter if these were bred in captivity or rescued, no animal should be kept in a small cage. It was a bitter experience. It started very nice, but once we passed the main feeding place, we were left with a sore taste.
At noon we finally went on El Teide with the cable car, climbing to 3,555 m altitude. The air there is thicker and any effort is harder. We were able to see Pico Viejo ( the old crater), but we weren’t able to get a permit to climb on the main crater. There are around 100 permits given per day and all of these were sold out long before we arrived.
But even without climbing to the top, the view from the volcano is amazing, the second-best experience that we had here, the first one is the free whale watching.
Day 7~ Sunday:
On our last full day, we decided to go to Playa de la Arena, the black sand beach, and have a chill day. We also made a stop at the natural pools from Acantilado, where we swam in the water gathered between the rocks. The view of Los Gigantes was amazing and the overall experience was a great one.
We headed to Los Cristianos to enjoy some seafood and a glass of Sangria. Best end to a perfect day.
Day 8 ~ Monday:
On our last day, we did some shopping around Los Cristianos, enjoyed a frappe with the view of the beaches and after lunch, we had to say goodbye to one of the best places we’ve seen so far.
Since we were there on the same days when the volcano from La Palma erupted, there was a bit of fuss around it, but the plane took off just as normal and we arrived in Romania during the night.
I’ve traveled to many places, yet I do have to admit that Tenerife is one of the best I’ve seen. It has so much to offer and the activities that you can do here are unique. If you want to see an exotic island that is pretty close to Europe, I couldn’t recommend it more.
In terms of the costs, I would say the prices are decent, we spent around 2400 euro on everything ( persons). You can pay by card almost everywhere, but I do recommend bringing some cash for tips and small purchases:
Tickets with Wizz around 500 euro
Car rental: 350 euro (with full insurance)
Gas: 70 euro
Hotel: 530 euro
Entry tickets: 300 euro
Food and drinks ~ 500 euro
Souvenirs ~ 100 euros
I would love to return to the Canary Islands in the future, maybe even to Tenerife, there would still be plenty of things to do here. I will forever keep this place in my heart.
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