Tenerife is a destination filled with a whole variety of must try experiences, locations and attractions you should definitely visit, and excellent places to stay. It really is one of the top destinations for a vacation not only in Europe but also globally, with so much more than might initially spring to mind.
If you are looking for a holiday filled with sun, sand and sea and plenty of opportunity to relax, then this is absolutely somewhere you should head to. What we try to recommend to you, our readers though, is to explore the island and go on some of the wonderful trips and excursions here, as well as enjoying the fantastic beaches and weather to truly make the best use of your time in Tenerife.
One such trip to try out if you’re looking for something different while you’re here, is a superb sea kayaking trip! Recently some of the Tenerife Magazine team joined some of the Pearly Grey team and some friends on this excursion with the excellent Tenerife in Kayak, a company owned and run by the super friendly, experienced and professional Paolo Condolo, who also owns Dive Club Tenerife.
Our group of six met with Paolo and his colleague at the beach in Palm Mar, where the company is based. While some of us had taken this trip before, for those that hadn’t Paolo gave some safety instructions and details about the trip and we were each given a life jacket to wear. Then in pairs we each got into the kayaks which were kept steady by Paolo while we did this and then got handed the oars.
Once we were all in the kayaks, we headed off out into the ocean trying our best to keep the kayaks heading straight and following Paolo’s lead. It felt amazing to be out on the ocean waves which that day were very calm, under the bright blue sunny sky with some great friends. We raced towards the fish farm in the hope of catching sight of some dolphins.
Unfortunately this particular day we weren’t lucky enough to see the dolphins, although on most of the sea kayaking trips in this area you are likely to see them swimming around the fish farm often very close to the kayaks, including leaping in and out of the water. This was our experience on our previous sea kayaking excursion with Paolo.
Even though he provides an excellent excursion, he isn’t able to control nature which of course is sometimes unpredictable. Unlike in the water parks and zoos where dolphins are unfortunately held captive for entertainment, the dolphins in the ocean are thankfully free to make their own decisions.
We were still all having a wonderful time though, kayaking in the open ocean waves, gazing out into the distant horizon and managing quite successfully to keep the kayaking in pairs in almost perfect timing. We headed round the fish farm with views of Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje in the distance and back towards the cliffs of the coast next to Palm Mar.
Once we had reached the right spot we stopped for some snorkelling. Almost immediately even before we jumped into the water, there was a large sea turtle swimming near the surface. Seeing animals like this in the wild is truly an incredible sight and 100% beats seeing them in captivity in a zoo or park. We all quickly put on our snorkelling masks and jumped into the ocean so we catch a glimpse of more turtles and other sea creatures swimming about.
We were able to get a good sighting of the turtles swimming about underwater and enjoying their ocean habitat, plus a variety of different fish. While the water wasn’t exactly warm, it also wasn’t super cold so made it a perfect temperature for a short swim and to cool off after kayaking under the sun. Following this we got back into the kayaks with Paolo and his team mates help and headed back along the coast towards Palm Mar beach.
Before getting back we were able to kayak close to an impressive cave that it’s sometimes possible to kayak right inside when the waves aren’t too strong. Afterwards it was time to head back, so all eight of us kayaked alongside the cliffs towards the beach.
Once we arrived Paolo and his team mate got out first, then helped each of the other pairs in turn to make sure we could all get back onto the beach safely and easily. This is the kind of professional and excellent level of service that it is great to see!
Back at the beach after saying goodbye and thanks to Paolo and changing out of our wet swim gear we were ready for a drink and something to eat after a couple of hours of kayaking and some swimming. Thankfully there is a perfect spot in Palm Mar right on the beach, the excellent Chiringuito Palm Mar beach bar, run by the friendly Martin Hejnar. Here we enjoyed drinks, a live World Cup match on the TV, snacks, a delicious Paella and even a fun game of boules on the beach.
All in all this was a perfect way to spend a Sunday with a perfect activity of sea kayaking with friends, followed by a fun lunch and watching football at the excellent Chiringuito. We all had a lot of fun and really enjoyed ourselves seeing nature, staying active and socialising with friends. All of this is so important, especially in today’s world which can often be too focused on work and technology. These kind of excursions really are great and are definitely worth trying out in Tenerife, to help break up simply a week of beach vacation!
Tenerife has long had a reputation as somewhere to head to if you are looking for a destination with plenty of sun, sand and sea, with an almost guaranteed year-round warm, spring-like climate. Because of this many people choose to either relocate here permanently, for a totally new life, or alternatively decide to buy a second home for holidays and rental opportunities.
This property is built on two levels and really is amazing as it has a high quality, modern design and boasts a number of standout features including gorgeous panoramic views that take in the Costa Adeje coastline on one side, and on the other the mountainous interior of Tenerife. These views are enhanced by the floor to ceiling windows throughout the whole property which lets in a tremendous amount of natural light.
Inside on the lower floor you will find a spacious and comfortable lounge area, a modern kitchen/dining room with appliances, three large bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a large terrace area outside which is perfect for dining and sunbathing opportunities. There is also a lovely private swimming pool, Jacuzzi and large terrace on the upper level offering even more perfect sunbathing space.
The location of the property is perfect, being situated between El Duque and La Caleta, just in-land from the Costa Adeje coastline. This means you are close to the ocean and beautiful beaches, but also in a quieter, more relaxed and tranquil area than other parts of Costa Adeje, so you can enjoy living either full or part time here in Tenerife in perfect harmony.
You are also a very short walk from the amazing Activate Sports Club where you can play tennis, padel, beach volley-ball and go to the gym. The apartment is also part of the Baobab Suites which is one of the most luxurious and exclusive resorts on the island, with top class dining opportunities inside.
Overall this is an absolutely fantastic property for a permanent relocation to Tenerife, as a second home in the sun, or as an investment opportunity to rent out to other people coming to enjoy their holidays here in Tenerife. If you are interested in renting out this property after purchase then a professional team from Second Home Tenerife will be able to arrange this optional extra for you, to give you complete peace of mind in your purchase.
When people picture Tenerife, luxury investment property might not always spring to mind so easily, as opposed to other destinations such as in France, Italy or mainland Spain. While of course you can find properties to suit almost any budget, including no-frills studio apartments, there is also a growing trend for higher-end, luxurious properties, hotels and resorts. This may surprise some of you, but Tenerife and the Canary Islands in general, are certainly moving up market!
For the past nine years, Pearly Grey has successfully raised a substantial amount of funding for the brilliant Ingane Yami children’s village, through its much enjoyed annual charity golf tournament. This year was no exception, as the tournament proved to be just as popular among all of the players competing and their friends and family members who came to support them.
Ingane Yami does vital work in South Africa caring for and supporting orphaned children, who would have very little hope otherwise. Each year the tournament raises a large sum of money for the charity which will be put to fantastic use. This year there was around €20,000 raised through sponsorship, donations, a charity auction and raffle tickets which is outstanding!
Most of the children cared for by Ingane Yami have unfortunately suffered from heart-breaking starts in life, but with the help of the charity they are able to look forward towards a much brighter and successful future.
This year’s tournament was once again held at the gorgeous Golf Costa Adeje golf course, one of the most popular in the Canary Islands. This event proved to be a brilliant experience for all involved, with everyone enjoying a great day out among friends and colleagues and in good spirits for what was the sixth consecutive year at this beautiful course.
Although there were some clouds early on in the day, the weather turned out to be absolutely perfect, with plenty of warm sunshine, a bright blue sky and only a light breeze which helped to keep the players cool. Playing conditions were also excellent for those competing due to the high level of course maintenance.
It was great to see the large turnout for this charity tournament, supporting such a worthy cause, with 84 competitors from the UK, Tenerife and South Africa taking part.
As in previous years, the team at Pearly Grey did a wonderful job of organising this tournament, in conjunction with the professional and friendly staff at Golf Costa Adeje. This includes a special shout-out to Pearly Grey team member Dennis Markham, who has once again worked tirelessly with the organisation of the tournament, and on the actual day of the event. We would also like to mention the excellent work that Power FM and Island Connections have done helping with the promotion of the tournament.
Another FABULOUS tournament, thanks to the terrific weather, beautiful golf course, and superb organization by Dennis and his team at Pearly Grey.And of course a big shout out to all those that took part and helped with donations! In the next few days, we will announce the amount raised.The Ingane Yami Childrens Charity Golf Tournament held at Golf Costa Adeje organised by Pearly Grey!
This event is expected to continue to become better each year, having become firmly established on the Tenerife golfing calendar! There was a prize giving buffet dinner that everyone enjoyed following their time out on the course, as a wonderful conclusion to the end of the tournament.
We would also like to give a big thanks to photographer Paulino Diaz Lorenzo for his excellent work on the day, and for taking the tournament photos each year for free. It is individuals like Paulino that really make the difference on charity events such as this tournament. You can find all of the photos that Paulino took on the day here in this album on the Pearly Grey Facebook page.
When people think of Tenerife, probably some of the first images that may spring to mind are sunshine, sandy beaches and the ocean. It’s also quite likely that they picture themselves sunbathing on the beach or having a refreshing swim in the beautiful blue water, then later enjoying some tapas and a drink (or two) at a nearby beach bar. This is the Tenerife that many know and love, thus leading over several decades to the island being one of the most popular year-round tourist destinations in the world.
If you think you know Tenerife based on a beach holiday or two, or maybe some photos you’ve seen online, then you might be quite surprised by the fact that it is also a destination filled with fascinating culture. Yes, you read that right! Tenerife is not only a place for sun worshippers and families looking for a cheap getaway, but has a rich cultural and historical heritage that is just waiting for you to discover.
While the island will always be an amazing place for those seeking a year-round warm sunny climate, top-quality excursions and attractions for all ages, breathtaking beaches, excellent resorts and hotels and amazing places to eat and drink, it should also certainly be considered as somewhere for those who enjoy immersing themselves in culture.
This doesn’t have to be for the whole trip of course, but can certainly be combined with other aspects of your holiday. Perhaps one day you may want to enjoy a day at the beach and then the next experience the more cultural side of Tenerife.
You don’t just need to take our word for it though, as there are tours to be taken which will help you fully appreciate and take in some of the unique aspects of Tenerife’s rich history. One such tour that our team recently enjoyed was with the highly knowledgeable, engaging and entertaining Jorge F. Ballesteros and his brand new company Living Tenerife Tours.
Jorge is a native of Tenerife and was born and raised on the island, and now lives in the north which if you decide to take one of his tours, focused on the upper half of the island, you will be able to fully appreciate is very different to the southern half.
During his school years, Jorge was sent several times during his summer holidays to different locations within the UK including to the lovely Hampstead in London, to study and improve his level of English. During this time he also developed a keen interest in British culture and history.
So while Jorge was born and raised in Tenerife, he speaks English to an excellent level including with what could be considered a fairly “posh” accent. This certainly suits the exclusive and unique style of his tours, and the information that he offers to his guests, perfect for English speakers looking for something quite different from typical, cliched trips that can be booked here. His tours will be of particular interest to British tourists as they explore the longstanding links between Britain and Tenerife, many of which have been amicable, some of which less so, as you will discover!
The particular tour taken by our team, some local British writer friends based here on the island, and another Canarian guest who works within the travel industry, was a fascinating cultural and culinary trip around the stunning capital city of Santa Cruz, located in the north of Tenerife.
While there is certainly some interesting history and culture across almost all parts of the island, if you want a true taste of the real Tenerife, then you need a trip to Santa Cruz and this excursion offers the perfect opportunity to discover some real hidden gems, even if you have already visited before.
What you will certainly notice about Santa Cruz is that it seems a world away from the modern tourist resorts of the south such as Playa de Las Americas and Costa Adeje. It might seem ironic to head to Santa Cruz to learn about the British connection with Tenerife.
You will see though, that despite what some may believe, British people didn’t simply start arriving in Tenerife (and the Canary Islands) with the advent of cheap flights and package tours, but instead have been heading here for hundreds of years, albeit for different reasons.
Our tour began in the morning after we met with Jorge outside of the Real Casino de Tenerife, an exclusive private members club with a fantastic location within Santa Cruz. The large and impressive building is to be found very close to the Plaza de Espana, one of the many iconic features of this beautiful city.
From here we met with our driver for the tour who lead us to the nearby mini-bus that we would be transported around on. Jorge had promised an exclusive and luxurious experience and this was immediately apparent from the quality of the vehicle. This wasn’t just a typical tour bus but a stunning brand new luxury Mercedes Benz vehicle.
The outside was gleaming in the sunlight which had started to heat up the day quite considerably. Not to worry though, as inside was fully air conditioned providing a perfect temperature for our tour. The bus was spacious and extremely comfortable, with high quality leather seating. This felt more like sitting on a private plane than a tour bus!
Our friendly driver and Jorge sat in the front of the vehicle and then there was seating available for an additional 12 passengers. There were only 6 of us on the tour so we had a huge amount of room. With Living Tenerife Tours, the aim is to always keep the size of the tour groups smaller and more intimate, rather than large, noisy groups, thus definitely another contrast to some of the other tours on the island!
There were drinks on board and during future tours there will relaxing music. This really was a brilliant way to start our journey around the city. It also provided an interesting contrast between this modern, luxurious minibus and the historical and cultural views and information.
During our tour around Santa Cruz, Jorge imparted a significant amount of cultural and historical knowledge over to us that he had built up over many years of studying the history of the city and island, and his strong interest in the many unique areas of the city that likely even many locals don’t know about.
He explained to us how this vibrant and fascinating port city and capital of Tenerife was founded in 1494 by the Kingdom of Castille, and although initially it began as a small fishing village, over time due to its excellent location it became transformed into the most important and fortified port in the Canaries, becoming the main sea route between Spain and the West Indies.
You will see if you choose to take this tour that Santa Cruz has a grandeur and splendour not found in much of the rest of the island, especially in the southern modern tourist hot spots. This is owing to it being the capital city of Tenerife since 1723 (previously the capital was neighbouring city La Laguna) and co-capital of the Canary Islands, a title it shares with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (although it was the sole capital of the islands from 1833 until 1927).
Due to its historical and modern importance the city has a significantly impressive level of architecture and now surprisingly has the sixth highest building level height of all Spanish cities. On top of this, in a 2012 article written for The Guardian newspaper, Santa Cruz was ranked as one of “The five best places to live in the world, and why”!
As the article points out, rather humorously, and as mentioned earlier in this post, this is certainly not the Tenerife you think you know. As opposed to many areas beloved by Brits and other nationalities in the south, Santa Cruz actually feels like you’re in Spain.
As pointed out on our tour though, this city of around 200,000 inhabitants within its administrative limits (538,000 within the total urban zone), is more than just a wonderful place to live, or for enjoying a sightseeing wander to view the impressive buildings, park and other features, it is also a destination with a rich history and culture to discover. This includes the links between Britain and Tenerife that stretch back centuries, way before the modern influx of British holidaymakers.
During our tour we learned about the peaceful and fruitful connections that grew between Britain and Tenerife in terms of trade produce such as tomatoes and bananas, and the much more aggressive history that preceded that in which British naval captains attacked Santa Cruz, including 2 attempts to conquer the island. The inhabitants remain proud of their city which was able to remain undefeated despite these various invasion attempts from Britain. several centuries ago.
The first place we stopped off at during our tour of the city was at a beautiful building constructed in the 19th Century by a man named Henry Wolfson with a fascinating story. He was originally born in Russia, but emigrated to Britain at a young age, and became a British citizen to escape persecution of the Jews there in the late 18th Century.
Subsequently he decided to move to South Africa but on route he stopped off in Tenerife by chance and decided to stay after seeing the significant business potential there, and his immediate fondness for the island. While in Tenerife he enjoyed many entrepreneurial successes during his life in Tenerife, including becoming one of the first businessmen to export tomatoes from Tenerife to the UK. This proved to be a lucrative business which made him quite wealthy.
Among other enterprises, he later bought the biggest plot of land in Adeje to cultivate the production of bananas and tomatoes there for export, plus also created the first gas company on the island, the Tenerife Gas & Coke Co. Due to all of these endeavours he became a highly respected businessman on the island.
The building we visited is now one of the most esteemed educational centres in Santa Cruz, the Escuelas Pías which is where Jorge studied various subjects including English, where he developed his keen interest in the language.
Originally though, this building was constructed by Wolfson as a palace to live with his wife, Jane Mariner, but sadly she passed away before they were able to live together there. Following her death, he decided to change the house into a hotel which he named Hotel Quisisana, an Italian name which was popular at the time for hotels related to health and rest.
During the successive world wars and Spanish civil war the building became severely damaged and was closed as a hotel and sold to the local authority. It later became what it is today, an educational centre. Quite the transformation from palace, to hotel to school. As you can see the building still looks splendid and enjoys some of the most impressive views in the city.
Following this stop we set off on our journey in the luxurious minibus around the city, as Jorge continued to impart fascinating stories such as the fact that in Santa Cruz General Francisco Franco organised the national uprising that led to the Spanish civil war in 1936. He also pointed out information about various buildings along the way such as the British Hotel which is one of the most attractive buildings in the city.
It was once known as the Battenberg hotel as a tribute to the King of Spain, Alfonso XVIII’s wife Ena Battenberg, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, but it’s name was changed to Mountbatten due to George V’s decision during World War I to change all German names of all the members of the British royal family.
We also had a quick stop off at the attractive Saint George Church which was constructed to serve as a place of worship for the significant community of British people who were living in Santa Cruz by the middle of the 19th Century. Once again this goes against what many people know of British inhabitants in Tenerife, because as opposed to now where most British expats reside in the south of the island due to the sunnier and warmer climate, two centuries ago most of the British in Tenerife were living in Santa Cruz and Port of La Orotava (now Puerto de la Cruz), for economic and trade purposes.
The church remained an Anglican church from when the first stone was laid in 1897 right through to 1990 when it was sold to the Catholics, on condition that Anglicans could still use the church for worship. As you can this is certainly an attractive church to go to for worship, or simply to take some photos!
We then continued onwards to the Regional Military Museum of the Canary Islands (Museo Militar Regional de Canarias) to find out about the other side of the British connection with Tenerife. As Jorge had mentioned earlier on the tour, on three separate occasions Santa Cruz had been attacked by British ships.
On 20th April 1657 23 British ships sailed into the port of Santa Cruz led by Admiral Robert Blake on board of the flagship HMS George. He had received orders to steal a large cargo load of silver and gold from Spanish ships that had been forced to shelter in Tenerife, due to the British blockade of the Port of Cádiz.
While Blake had been able to sail into the port and destroy 12 Spanish ships and capture five more which he subsequently ordered the destruction off due to heavy gun fire, he was unable to steal the treasure as it had been taken well ashore two weeks before. Despite his overall failure, Blake was hailed as a hero by Cromwell; while in reality it had been a success for Santa Cruz and Tenerife against the British.
On 6th November 1706 a small Royal navy fleet commanded by Rear Admiral Sir John Jennings on board of his flagship HMS Saint George sailed into the port of Santa Cruz, with the intention of actually conquering the island. Again though, this was a failed attempt with Jennings and his fleet being forced to withdraw and retreat.
The most serious of the three British attacks came from the most famous of all British Naval heroes, Admiral Horatio Nelson in 1797. During our visit to the Military Museum which started its life in 1854 as a military fort to protect the shoreline from attacks, we learned about the attempted invasion by Admiral Nelson.
Inside the museum there is a rather fascinating historical display of Santa Cruz with models of all of the British and Spanish ships, with a detailed commentary of the battles that ensued and lights to help you pinpoint exactly where these happened. The level of detail that has gone into this model is excellent and it really helps you to understand what happened.
This display and the memorabilia of this time including guns, uniforms and the flags from the ships, really help to illustrate how much times have changed. It seems incredible to think that back in those days Britain was attempting to conquer and overthrow Tenerife and just shows how far British and Spanish relations have changed over the centuries. The Canary Islands have experienced a kind of British invasion in recent years, but thankfully only of the touristic side which has strongly boosted the economy of these islands.
We saw many interesting things on display such as the flag from Nelson’s ship which as Jorge pointed out is different from the modern day Union Jack because it only represented the flag of England (St George’s Cross) and the flag of Scotland (St Andrew’s Cross) combined. It wasn’t until 1801 following the union of Great Britain and Ireland that the Union Jack flag came into use, after the attack of 1797 by Nelson’s ships.
We also saw the coat of arms of Santa Cruz which displays three black lion’s heads to represent the three British attacks on Santa Cruz. Ultimately just like the two previous attacks, Nelson suffered defeat and it was also during this attempt to conquer the islands that he was shot in the arm, leading to it needing to be amputated.
Inside the museum you will see many different types of uniforms, weapons, pictures, flags and information about various battles. Outside there are some huge cannons which were used to defend the city from invasion attempts plus more modern weaponry such as helicopters and tanks.
Following our tour of the museum it was time for the culinary part of the tour, but not before a quick stop at one of the most iconic buildings in Santa Cruz and Tenerife, the Auditorio de Tenerife – Tenerife Opera House which has a certain resemblance to the Sydney Opera House with its incredible design!
We we were then driven back to the Plaza de Espana and said goodbye to our driver. We wandered from here back to the Real Casino de Tenerife. Inside the building Jorge first gave us a brief tour around to fully appreciate how impressive it is and also to be able to take in the incredible views out over parts of the city, including the Plaza de Espana. As this is a private and exclusive members only club, these are views that ordinary members of the public do not usually get to enjoy, unless of course you decide to take one of the Living Tenerife Tours excursions.
After a brief speech from Jorge in a large and impressive sitting room he thanked us all for attending his tour which we had all very much enjoyed.
It was then time for the final icing on the cake in the beautiful dining room of the Casino; what can only be described as one of the most delicious meals I’ve experienced in not only the Canary Islands, but also anywhere in my life. There was a strong consensus on this from all of our group!
Views across Santa Cruz. Photo Credit: Kate Michelle ContiThis was true fine dining of a Michelin Star standard. What was also so great about the meal was it consisted of a selection of several courses showcasing some of the best local Canarian foods that the islands have to offer. This included a starter of award winning goats cheese from Fuerteventura with jam, the famous papas arugadas with mojo sauce, sweet gofio and fig, a fish dish for the second course, a main course of the popular Cochinillo Negro (a type of pork from locally reared pigs) and a delicious local desert.
During the meal we were also served local wines from Tenerife of which the quality was excellent. Wines from the Canary Islands have been produced for many centuries and were even written about in some of Shakespeare’s plays. They are now beginning to once again gain the international recognition that they rightly deserve as they really are of top quality.
This was a superb end to what had been a truly excellent exclusive tour, that really showcases some fascinating insights and sights in the stunning and city of Santa Cruz. This is Tenerife, but almost certainly not what you think you already know about the island. In fact you will see a totally different side to the island, and discover a British connection to Tenerife that you probably never realised existed!
All of us here at Tenerife Magazine would like to thank Jorge and Living Tenerife Tours for taking us on this excellent cultural and culninary trip around the city. If you are interested in booking an excursion with Living Tenerife Tours then make sure to head over to their website: www.livingtenerifetours.com
You can also follow the company via their social media channels for all their latest announcements:
On my recent visit to Tenerife, I was interested in trying a different type of boat trip from the usual larger noisier one’s so my friend Simon and I joined a luxury yacht tour with Picarus Sailing Club.
From the very first contact with Irene, everything was easy and professional.
On the day of the trip, Simon and I met Irene at the office in Las Galletas and walked down to the yacht moored in the nearby harbour. There can be a maximum of eight guests onboard, which makes for an intimate experience, but we only had four other guests joining us. They had been picked up from their accommodation in the Picarus Sailing van and would be dropped off again afterwards.
As I was welcomed onboard the Bavarian 46 cruiser of almost 15 metres in length, by the friendly crew and Jaime the captain, all I could think was wow!! This was my first time aboard anything like this and I was amazed at how much more spacious it was than I had expected. It was also spotlessly clean.
As we set sail, a crew member called Takashi told us the safety rules on board and made us all feel comfortable and safe. After this, I moved to the front of the yacht, enjoying the sense of freedom and the movement of the waves. Simon joined me, and we had a fun photo session, and then just relaxed while the yacht glided through the water.
We travelled to a conservation area just off the coast of Tenerife, where we very quickly found a pod of sleeping pilot whales. There were some mothers with their calves and the babies were so sweet. They would roll onto their backs and hit the surface of the water with their tail fins while making cute little noises. As there are not many guests on the yacht it is quiet, so you can enjoy the peaceful sound of the pilot whales breathing.
Takashi is very knowledgeable and cares about the welfare of these mammals and conservation of the sea. He told us all many interesting facts about pilot whales such as only half of their brain sleeps at a time. The male pilot whales can reach up to 25 feet in length and weigh as much as three tons, while the females are around 16 feet and weigh one and a half tons.
After spending a good bit of time with the pilot whales (much longer than the other boat trips I have been on), we set sail towards a fish farm just off the coast of Palm-Mar to see the dolphins. We had already seen a few before this playing in front of the yacht and jumping out of the sea just behind the whales.
There are many dolphins by the fish farm, obviously, a great supply of food for them is found here. This is a wonderful place to see the parents and their babies, especially during the winter months.
After watching them for a while we sailed closer to the shore and dropped anchor, and the guests that wanted to could then have the opportunity for a swim or to snorkel (all equipment is provided). There is even a paddleboard on the yacht to try if the sea conditions allow for it.
Then it was time for what I can only describe as one of the best seafood paellas I have ever tasted! It was cooked fresh onboard by the crew and was absolutely delicious, much better than I have eaten in many restaurants, and as a lover of Spanish food I have eaten many paellas.
If you have dietary restrictions, then be sure to tell them at the time of booking and some alternative food will be provided. There is also a broad selection of drinks on board to choose from.
After lunch, we headed back to the harbour after a fantastic four hour trip on the yacht.
This whole experience was amazing, and I can’t recommend it enough! For only €60 (not much more than the bigger noisy boats) you will be treated to a five-star service, which is sure to go above and beyond your expectations. I, for one, can’t wait to join Picarus Sailing Club on another trip very soon.
In case you didn’t already know, Tenerife is an absolutely perfect place for playing golf at practically any time of the year, making it a top-class destination for golf holidays, tournaments, or somewhere to enjoy weekly golf sessions with friends, family or colleagues if you are lucky enough to live here!
There are a number of factors that make Tenerife so brilliant for golf, including 9 courses across the island, a selection of top-class accommodation, beautiful backdrops such as palm trees, the Atlantic Ocean and incredible Mount Teide, plus of course the gorgeous year-round warm sunny climate.
Temperatures rarely get too hot or cold, the skies are generally blue, winds are rarely too strong and there is little average yearly rainfall. All in all, Tenerife is a golfing mecca!
Throughout the year at the various golf courses, there are a variety of different tournaments offering a great challenge for players who love to compete on Tenerife’s beautiful courses. One such tournament is the excellent Hotel Jardin Tropical Torneo de Golf which this year celebrated the 24th Edition (XXIV).
Each year this tournament brings together more than 150 players who are absolutely passionate about the sport, to compete in what has become one of the most highly regarded golf tournaments in the Canary Islands.
The tournament was once again held at the absolutely stunning Abama Golf course located in the South-West of the island, a short drive away from Jardin Tropical. This course really is spectacular, with palm trees, lush fairways, beautifully maintained greens, streams feeding into lakes and an excellent clubhouse with restaurant, bar, golf-shop and other facilities.
As well as this, players can enjoy spectacular views across banana plantations out to the bright blue Atlantic ocean and La Gomera in the distance. There really are few better places to enjoy a great game of golf than in amongst this gorgeous tropical like golfing paradise.
It goes without saying though, that despite the beautiful surroundings, the players were here to win and there was some excellent golf on display throughout the tournament, with a healthy dose of competitive spirit. Despite the competitive nature of golfers, it was all good-natured with everyone enjoying themselves; keeping their cool while trying their best to win.
The shots on display were a good indication of the high level of quality that exists in Tenerife which in part is a testament to the excellent golf courses across the island, where you can also find top-class private golf tuition.
Following the tournament’s conclusion, later on in the evening, there was a cocktail dinner and prize giving ceremony at the beautiful Hotel Jardin Tropical. There was a delicious variety of freshly made food served such as sushi, mini burgers and grilled meat, plus a wide selection of different drinks.
This was an excellent way to see off this year’s tournament with everyone in high spirits and enjoying the beautiful outside surroundings of the hotel including palm trees and stunning swimming pool. Towards the end of the night was the prize giving ceremony for the runners-up and winners.
There were speeches made by those who helped to organise the event and help to run the hotel including Fabien Drogue, Subdirector of the hotel. There was also a farewell goodbye from Saad Azzam who has decided to step down from his role as General Manager of the hotel.
Overall this was another highly successful year for this much beloved and well-regarded tournament and has been another great success for Hotel Jardin Tropical and Abama Golf. This tournament was also in collaboration with the official Tenerife Golf organisation and is part of the official circuit of golf tournaments throughout the year in Tenerife.
Many people feel that they know a destination from one or two visits, or even just from what others have told them, or they may form a stereotypical image of a place based on a few cliched photos or articles. These stereotypes often seem to persist despite significant changes or the fact that these perceptions have relatively little basis in everyday life.
For example, the cliche of Brits all loving a cup of tea and sitting down for an afternoon tea break together in the afternoon is very antiquated but is still seen as typically British. Sure many Brits do love a cup of tea, but you’re just as likely to find them enjoying a latte or cappuccino as tastes are changing, with some surveys suggesting coffee is now even more popular than tea in the UK!
The point is, don’t take so-called “common knowledge” for granted, because one of the only constants in life is that it is constantly changing. Sometimes this change is for the worse, but very often it is for the better which is something not reported as much in the mainstream media. A great case of a significant improvement in action, is tourism in the Canary Islands which is evolving to become increasingly more upmarket, luxurious and sustainable. This is happening across the islands, including here in Tenerife.
For many, the image they have of Tenerife is somewhere full of cheap, low-quality hotels, restaurants and bars, and defined by sunburnt Brits baking on the beach. This though is a completely tired stereotype that doesn’t do the current travel and tourism scene here in Tenerife justice at all. Sure you will find plenty of sun, sand and sea here all year round, perfect for an amazing family beach holiday, but for those looking for something more luxurious, active and different from what you’d expect, Tenerife has so much more to offer!
One such amazing example of this is Las Terrazas de Abama Luxury Apartments located in the south-west of the island, in a beautiful area between Los Gigantes and Playa de Las Américas. Unlike these resorts and other areas in the south, Las Terrazas de Abama is a world away offering tranquillity, privacy and luxury at its finest!
While you are only a short drive away from some stunning beaches and more touristic areas with shops, restaurants and bars, you also have a real sense of exclusiveness and undisturbed peace. There are two excellent on-site swimming pools, including an incredible infinity pool with gorgeous views across the adjacent Abama golf course, out towards palm trees, banana plantations and the amazing Atlantic ocean with La Gomera in the distance.
If you have an image of Tenerife in your head of packed beaches, noisy bars and all you can eat buffet restaurants, then relaxing in the infinity pool gazing out at the picture-perfect panoramic vista with total peace and relaxation, will make you completely forget this stereotype.
The apartments themselves offer a true touch of luxury with incredible attention to detail, what’s more, you will find wonderful on-site facilities as well the swimming pools, such as the top-class Abama golf course where you can enjoy a round of golf in the stunning palm tree-lined surroundings or take some private classes.
You will also find the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy where you will be able to enjoy some private tennis lessons with the tennis coaches. As well as these sporting facilities if you also want to stay in shape there is also an excellent onsite gym.
At Las Terrazas you are very well catered for in terms of dining with the onsite MELVIN Restaurant with their top class team and excellent food and drink options for breakfast and dinner. This includes a variety of different themed dishes, created using excellent high-quality ingredients, by the highly trained professional team lead by head chef Diego Dato, who trained under Martín Berasategui, who with eight Michelin stars, is widely seen as one of the best chefs in the world.
So, if you think you know Tenerife already, based on a stay you had years ago, or the stereotypical images of sun, sand, sea and cheap beer, then this post should show you that there is certainly a more energetic, stylish and luxurious side of the island that is really starting to take off. Places such as Las Terrazas de Abama are certainly at the forefront of this revolution!
Over the years, Tenerife has built itself a bit of a reputation as a party island. So you’d be right in thinking that a lot of the resorts on the island cater to northern European tastes. Just a short stroll down Costa Adeje’s main boulevard leads you to a mass of bars and restaurants serving meat heavy dishes. But, you’ll be pleased to hear that things are starting to change. Tenerife is not only attracting a different type of tourism, those there to see its incredible landscape and wildlife, but it’s also nurturing a very up and coming vegan scene.
This vegan scene is not only flourishing in the main holiday resorts but also in some of Tenerife’s traditional towns and villages and they aren’t just carbon copies of vegan restaurants found elsewhere. Many take advantage of the local produce, like bananas, papayas and avocado which grow aplenty across the island. In doing so they create original and fresh dishes which blend traditional Canarian flavours with popular vegan cuisine.
Take the restaurant, El Guanche. Located in Masca, one of the prettiest and smallest villages in the Teno Mountains, this family-run vegetarian restaurant offers a fantastic opportunity to try traditional Canarian cuisine with a twist. Most things can be made vegan and the family adapt their small menu to what they have growing in their garden.
It’s the perfect setting to try Canarian soup with homemade bread, or one of the many salad dishes with papas arrugadas, a traditional potato dish usually served with a chilli garlic sauce. Be sure to try one of their fresh smoothies and one of their sweet desserts, usually made with locally sourced palm honey. While the food is tasty, it’s the view which makes this restaurant stand out. Surrounded by sweet-smelling flowers and lush vegetation, the
balcony looks out onto the Masca valley which blooms with citrus trees, palms and cacti.
For those keeping to the main towns, there is even more to choose from. K Vegan is situated in the popular tourist town of Los Cristianos and it’s a neat little food stall found in the La Pepa Food Market, on the top floor of the Passarela Oasis shopping centre. It’s a great place to stop and grab a quick bite to eat on the go.
The menu is entirely vegan and offers a range of fast food dishes including falafel wraps, burgers (grain, soy and seitan-based) as well as a few specials including Spanish-style potato tortillas. It’s vegan fast food at its finest and the falafel wrap is, to date, the best I’ve ever had. On top of that, there’s also a variety of homemade kombucha drinks to try, including raspberry and mint, and mango!
For those wanting more vegan fast food, there’s even a vegan chain restaurant in Tenerife called Burger Mel! It has a few establishments in the north of the island and offers a range of vegan burgers, hot dogs, fries and desserts!
For something a little more unique, the main towns are also home to several independently run restaurants. One of the best is Veggie Penguin, located in the historic university town of La Laguna. Its vibrant and botanical inspired interior is the perfect setting for lunch and, with its fresh menu, it’s easy to see why this place is a popular hangout for locals.
From fully customisable salads and pasta dishes to its lentil based burgers in the softest brioche-style pumpkin bread buns, it’s no wonder it’s advisable to book a table in advance. Make sure to try the turmeric almond latte!
For those holiday-makers going self-catered, finding vegan food in the supermarkets is also a lot easier today than it was a few years ago. While meat substitutes are still yet to hit the market, most shops stock a wide variety of plant-based milk substitutes, including soy, almond and oat. Pulses are easy to come by, as are fresh vegetables and fruit and even soy yoghurts. Likewise, one advantage of the island being a holiday resort is that most packaged
food lists its ingredients in different languages. This makes it really easy for non-Spanish speakers to check whether items are suitable for specific diets.
While most of the established cafes and ice cream parlours are slow to catch up and as yet don’t offer milk alternatives, there are a few places you can treat yourself to a vegan-friendly hot drink and sweet treat. Sweet Paradise is one of those bakeries you don’t want to miss. Located in the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, it serves a variety of vegan cakes, cheesecakes, brownies and doughnuts – enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. On top of that
it also serves a small selection of lunch options such as salads, sandwiches and burgers – making it the perfect lunch and afternoon stop off.
As well as that, I’d highly recommend paying a visit to Il Gelato del Mercato, a tiny ice cream shop located in the capital. (There’s also another branch in Los Cristianos.) It’s one of the few places I found that serves vegan ice cream, as well as gluten and sugar-free options, and every day they make different flavours freshly in their kitchen. The dark chocolate ice cream was absolutely divine, and mixed with the orange sorbet; it tasted just like Terry’s chocolate
orange. I wish I had brought home tubs of this stuff!
So with a little research, it’s relatively easy to find vegan-friendly food throughout Tenerife – and this food isn’t second best. These small establishments, which are promoting veganism, experiment with exciting fresh flavours to create food that closely rivals some of the best you can find in the well-established vegan cities of Berlin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam. It’s only so long before veganism becomes mainstream in Tenerife and that’s when things get
In 1960, I spent my first three weeks in Buenavista del Norte exploring the region on foot and mastering the language. Because everybody was Spanish-speaking and curious about the solitary young ‘extranjero’ in their midst, they all greeted me and asked countless questions. Every evening, I looked up new words in my dictionary and studied Spanish grammar. Soon I was able to hold my own with anybody.
Doña Lutgarda’s cousin, Mata Cabra, offered me work, helping to construct a banana plantation. Juan Gonzales from Los Silos was our ‘encargado’. Juan, only a few years older than I, was a highly capable foreman. He was supportive and respectful of his work crew. Some dozen men and women, we made the daily ride to the worksite on the back of a lorry. We left the plaza at 7.15 a.m. and returned at 6 p.m. five days a week. The work was very hard but I had lots of fun and I earned enough to pay for my keep in the Pension Méndez.
Our job was to excavate the plantation from the prickly wasteland. We did this mostly by pick and shovel. The men filled woven baskets full of clay and rock. The women carried these on their heads and dumped them into the lorry.
Occasionally we used dynamite to blast rock that defeated our picks and crowbars. Juan taught me how to lay sticks of dynamite, insert the explosive caps, and wire everything to the plunger. None of my fellow-workers dared to use explosives so I earned a reputation for fearlessness. Juan was an expert in all things from construction to managing plantations. We became good friends and I learned an enormous amount from him. We remain friends to this day.
When we’d finished excavating, we had what looked like an empty swimming pool the size of a football field. Then we built a stone wall as a foundation and brought soil from the mountains. We planted Irish seed potatoes and local banana corms. With water that came from reserves inside the mountains through complex networks of pipes and channels, we irrigated the planting.
Finally, we built a cinder-block wall around the plantation to protect the future fruit from the constant wind that blew in off the Atlantic.
At weekends, we would hunt octopus among the rocks. Sometimes we’d go inland and find ‘mora’ trees laden with mulberries. I’d take my straw hat full of ripe berries back to the pension and Doña Lutgarda would make mulberry pies. Juan and I scaled Teide and explored the ice cave and the crater.
Don Juan-Pedro came from Arico and also lived in the pension. He taught school up in the tiny hamlet of El Palmar. One day, he invited me to talk to his class. Juan-Pedro used a blue motor-cycle but because the gravel road was so steep and dangerous, he asked me to walk the few kilometres up a rocky path to the tiny school.
His pupils had never seen an extranjero before and plied me with questions. When I told them I’d attended school for 13 years, there were cries of disbelief. Juan-Pedro talked to them in rapid Spanish and calmed them down. That night at dinner, he told Doña Lutgarda and the girls about my visit. “Why was there such a commotion when I said I’d attended school for 13 years?” I asked.
“Children in isolated hamlets attend school for only a few years,” he explained, “so 13 seems like a lifetime to them.”
“What did you say that pacified them?” I asked.
“Oh, I just told them we Canarios can learn in three years what it takes the feebleminded Ingleses 13 to master!”
Doña Lutgarda and the girls laughed. But they believed him!
When the construction job ended, Don Salvador offered me employment. Don Salvador lived in Puerto de la Cruz. He and Don Pancho owned ‘Alhambra’, a firm in Buenavista del Norte that exported bananas to Scandinavia. With a mixed work crew, we collected green piñas from the plantations and packed them in straw or pine-needles for protection.
Miguel the lorry driver drove them overnight to Santa Cruz to be shipped to Stockholm or Helsinki. Banana stalks are cut green. They must be packed, kept cool and shipped rapidly to their market. Sometimes we worked 20 hours straight to get a lorry-load to the cargo boat waiting at the port.
While working for Don Salvador, I fulfilled my ambition and graduated to carrying a machete. Epifanio, a quiet man with a lifetime’s experience of banana production around El Rincón, taught me how to judge the ripeness of a growing banana stalk. He showed me how to reach up with the machete and cut one so that it rested its 20 or 30 kilos comfortably on my shoulder.
Doña Lutgarda Méndes Hernández and her large family, my co-workers and the villagers of Buenavista del Norte taught me a great deal. For their warm hospitality, for the gifts of their language and friendship, for sharing their culture and their ways, I salute the people of Tenerife with respect and gratitude.
Text and photos by Ronald Mackay
To discover more of Ronald’s amazing year-long adventure in Tenerife, take a look at his book here:
Both for visitors to Tenerife and those lucky enough to live here permanently, this is an island where you are veritably spoilt for choice in terms of places to dine out. Whether you are looking for somewhere for a quick bite to eat, or something a bit fancier, there really does seem to be something for everyone, whatever your budget and taste. While competition may be fierce in the food and drink scene though, we are always excited to see new options appearing, especially if it is somewhere offering a truly unique dining experience.
Because there are so many restaurants competing for people’s attention and interest here, it really does take somewhere truly special to stand out. Well, one recent addition to the excellent stock of places to dine in Tenerife, that has recently arrived is the incredible MELVIN Restaurant, based at Las Terrazas de Abama in the South of the island. This is sure to make a significant impact on the fine dining scene in Tenerife, with exceptional food, a stunningly beautiful location and a top-class team.
As is befitting of such an incredible restaurant, there was an exclusive event to unveil it yesterday to a select group of invitees which the team here at Tenerife Magazine were invited to. As we arrived we were greeted very kindly by all of the staff including the organisers of the event, Laura Soruco, Hotel General Manager at Las Terrazas de Abama and Desiree Lopez, Sales Manager. We also spoke to head chef Diego Dato, who trained under Martín Berasategui, who with eight Michelin stars, is widely seen as one of the best chefs in the world.
MELVIN is a fantastic concept that combines the personality and vision of well-renowned architect Melvin Villarroe, with the amazing culinary expertise of Martín Berasategui. The influences of these two forward-thinking individuals can be seen in all aspects of the restaurant, from the delicious menu, right through to the beautiful design which fully incorporates natural light.
The inside area of the restaurant looks out through a number of sets of glass doors onto the huge terrace area. This wide use of glass within the design allows those dining inside to be able to fully appreciate and enjoy the fantastic view outside and the stunning natural light offered in Tenerife. The design helps to combine the inside and outside of the restaurant, by blurring the distinction between the two.
The overall style of the restaurant is modern, elegant and sophisticated, without seeming pretentious. The kitchen area is also fully on view, creating a feeling of theatre as the food is prepared in view of those dining, again creating and adding to the feeling of openness.
Outside there was a live band playing a selection of different jazz tunes which fit the mood of the evening very well, perfectly complimenting to the chilled-out ambience of the evening.
Throughout the event, those who attended were served a selection of different beverages.
Later on, a huge variety of different finger food prepared by Diego and his team including gazpacho, different types and croquettes and seafood paella were brought out to attendees, who were more than happy to try.
There were also speeches from Laura, Diego and others to thank everyone for coming to the event and talk about how excited they are to launch such a fantastic addition to Las Terrazas de Abama, and the contemporary fine dining scene in Tenerife.
All in all this event provided a fantastic unveiling of the incredible MELVIN restaurant which we’re more than certain will continue to become a huge success in Tenerife. You can already see from the reviews that Diego and his team have received on Tripadvisor that the restaurant is quickly moving up through the ranks due to the quality of food, excellent hospitality of the staff and fantastic views. We hope to see you there sometime in the future!