Americans on Tenerife

Everyone has his or her own idea of the perfect vacation. Whether it includes sun tanning on beautiful beaches, hiking, exploring caves, swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, water parks, getting up close and personal with wildlife, delicious food, clubbing, local culture, or possibly learning a new language… Tenerife offers all this and more!

Americans on Tenerife

This Spanish island is a widely known European vacation destination; also a place few Americans know exists. So, it’s a wonder how three Americans managed to cram every one of these activities into just seven days. We came to the island with no preconceived ideas, we just “Googled” things that interested us and went with what we found. Staying in Puerto de la Cruz, originally we had been on the island for three weeks when our friend Barrett (above, left) came to join us from California to take part in our final week of adventures. We had composed a massive itinerary of everything we wanted to do in the final week. Everything began with renting a car – the island is bigger than most people think – and transportation was key to conquering our larger than life list.

Unfortunately the Wednesday Barrett arrived, Kyle left for London, taking two days away from our week long excursion. After bidding farewell to Kyle, Megan and Barrett headed straight for Playa Jardín, to play in the ocean and soak up the sun. The next day the pair drove to Playa Abades on the south side of the island, to go snorkeling. Easy Blue World made it simple, only €12 for a wetsuit, snorkel, mask and fins; everything you need for a day of blissful underwater exploration.

Luckily Kyle was gone barely long enough to notice; picking him up from the airport Friday, the reunited trio made a break for Playa Teresitas in Santa Cruz, hardly giving Kyle a chance to change into his trunks. Truly living up to its reputation, Teresitas sandblasted us ““ sending us, towels tucked between our legs to Playa Bollullo on the border of La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz, our favorite beach on the island.

Garachico rock pools

Saturday morning we woke up early to splash around in the naturals pools of Garachico. From there it was only a short trek up the mountain to our next destination Cueva del Viento in Icod de Los Vinos, for €15 a person we were able to tour the largest lava tube in Europe ““ unfortunately the two hour tour left much to be desired. Back on the road again, we sped towards Punta Teno in Buenavista del Norte to see the lighthouses and dive from the point into clear blue waters. After our action packed day, we drove home, dried off and dressed up for a night on the town. Despite what people say about the north of the island, Puerto de la Cruz has a solid nightlife that kept us out long after 4am!

Cueva del Viento

Sunday was more low-key; we took the little yellow train to Loro Parque, a state of the art animal park and aquarium. The facility boasts the best sea lion, dolphin and orca shows any of us had ever seen. As soon as the park closed, we made our way to a local all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet to fuel up for the next day’s hike.

Loro Parque

Monday morning was Masca. The lengthy hour and twenty minute drive from Puerto de la Cruz paled in comparison to what awaited. The strenuous trail took us from the quaint, sleepy, mountain village to the sea (8.5km each way). And what hikes down, must hike back up ““ unless of course you want to take the boat to Los Gigantes, which we did not. Beginning at 9am we were first hikers on the trail, the undisturbed views were breathtaking. The Masca hike was easily the toughest, and most rewarding part of our week.

Masca

The next morning we drove around the island to Siam Park, hoping some fun in the sun would help us recover from our hike. Thrilling waterslides, white knuckled rafting, a shark tank, and tsunami wave pool were exactly what we needed! Although we had to wait through the long lines, we managed to ride everything. The dragon, an enormous toilet bowl, water slide was our favorite of the day. Six o’clock left us standing by our car with daylight to spare, so we ventured to Playa La Tejita and El Médano. Falling in love with El Médano, we stayed to watch the kite surfers while Barrett and Kyle unsuccessfully tried their luck at body surfing.

Wednesday was our last full day on the island, which we spent souvenir shopping, packing and enjoying one final trip to the beach. We had dinner in the town square, and then wandered around Puerto de la Cruz taking in the sights and smells of the city one last time. Of course, we don’t recommend cramming this much into seven days. There are certainly things we missed due to lack of time, but all in all we think the Guanches would have been proud of what we accomplished on their wonderful island!

Americans on Tenerife is a guest post from Megan Gonzales & Kyle Ledeboer from TravelingintheMoment.com

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Kiteboarding, Sporting Fun With Strings Attached

Catching the wind is difficult and riding the surf isn’t exactly easy, put them together and it’s enough to test body and mind to the limit. El Medano has long been a hot bed of this growing extreme sport but when the PKRA Master Cup and Spanish Championship arrived nature added patience to the riders” virtues. The wind had a lay in and didn’t blow in until 2 pm, so much for a 10am start.

Even given the becalmed conditions I was surprised to see riders carrying large hand pumps down to Playa de Los Balos along with chunky surf boards and bundles of sails. All became clear as the kites took shape, the air filling the frames to keep them as light weight as possible.

The originally promised field of 150 riders and the mornings recount of 50 turned out to be 20 but if quantity was absent quality was in good supply. Youri Zoon (above) of Holland was fresh from winning the fourth World Championship round in Fuerteventura putting him ahead of the pack. He gave me some pointers to the competition ahead. ” We go out for seven minutes in pairs and the judges are looking for power and execution. They award one, two or no points per rider, the whole event is on a round robin knock out system. Look out for the two types of freestyle (there is also a race format) old school is jumps and spins but new school go for tricks passing the handle behind their back.”

Although exhilarating to watch, the rewards for professionals like Youri are pretty scant, the men’s winners share 12,400 euros and the women 3,600. “We have to get good sponsors to pay our travel and hotel bills, 5,000 euros isn’t much for destroying your body.” Youri smiles as he refers to injuries, he has twice broken cross ligaments.

As the riders practiced, the announcer tried to direct the public away from the busiest air space but several groups of beach strollers were buzzed by kites caught on sudden breezes. Despite their inflated edges, a sudden dive was enough to put the wind up a few daydreaming holiday makers. Even the sun bathers were enticed to sit up and admire the flips and charges of the riders as they skimmed over the waves. Dressing for action was an experience in itself. First the harness around the waist and then a tight hold of the reigns while guiding feet into the boards foot holds and finding an extra pair of eyes to make sure the kite wasn’t mingling with another rider’s strings.

The sea was pretty crowded on the first afternoon but stray surfers and swimmers were merely another challenge to these skilled riders. Back on the beach the bar was doing a steady trade and sun cream was slapped on liberally and the Reina beer girls added another layer of glamour to the swim suits and torsos. Even those distractions found it hard to compete with the how fast, how high, how dynamic antics of the riders. The action continues until Saturday 13 August, good luck and may the wind lift you to new glories.

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From Dusk Till Dawn & Where’s Harry? in Tenerife News of the Week

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

Santa Cruz the Party Town
Summer in Tenerife’s capital is really set to sizzle with news that the council has relaxed the opening hours for bars and open-air terraces in parts of the city. The extended opening hours relate to establishments within the area that includes Avda. Marítima, Avda. Francisco La Roche, Rambla de Santa Cruz, Avda. de las Asuncionistas and Calle San Sebastián. Throughout summer bars can stay open till 4am, clubs till 6am, restaurants till 2.30am and open-air terraces till 3.30am (Sunday to Thursday) and 6am on Friday, Saturday and festival days. Not everyone is pleased with this news but if the city wants to promote itself as a serious city break destination it needs a thriving nocturnal scene to compare with the best of Europe’s top cities.

How to Attract the Crowds in Tenerife
To put into perspective the embarrassingly low figures that turned out for the Michael Bolton concert last week, here are some figures from the Virgen del Carmen celebrations in Puerto de la Cruz. According to official figures (some bloke in a cap counting 1,2,3…) 130,000 people visited the town for the celebrations with around an estimated 53,000 cramming into the harbour area to watch the embarkation. Of course local fiestas are free and instead of Michael Bolton crooning Dock of the Bay you get a local singer belting out Ave Maria ““ so it’s no contest really.

Bow WOW ““ Tenerife’s Doggie Park
The council in Candelaria have created a park exclusively for the use of man’s best friend (should that be human’s?). The 5000 square metre park lies near the TF1 slip road at Punta Larga and is open for doggie business between 7.30am and 9pm every day. There’s one area specifically for small to medium sized dogs and another for the big guys ““ a bit of segregation there ““ and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs as well as ensuring there’s no canine hanky panky…there will be young pups present after all. Apparently the municipality’s feline population are not a-mew-sed at this blatant display of favouritism.

What 110kph Speed Limit?

There’s been a lot of debate about the decision by the Spanish Government to reduce the speed limit to 110 kph earlier in the year. Doubt about its effectiveness continues with news that the result of a traffic survey revealed that only a third of Spanish drivers actually stayed with the temporary limit. Nearly 50% of drivers surveyed admitted to going over the limit every now and again whilst over 20% confessed to more or less ignoring the limit completely. The findings won’t really come as a surprise to anyone who spends a lot of time driving on Tenerife’s motorways. Rules? It seems traffic laws are treated, as Captain Barbossa would say, more like “what you’d call ‘guidelines” than actual rules.”

Problems in El Médano
It looks like café society is in danger of spiralling out of control in El Médano. Some residents are up in arms because they claim bars, cafés and restaurants have invaded pedestrianised areas with their tables and chairs; apparently making getting anywhere on foot in parts a difficult and risky business. The council are taking urgent action to stem the flow of tables and chairs especially as there are concerns that someone may get accidentally clobbered by a beach bag…clearly serious stuff.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to…
whoever is responsible for the English language movies on Tenerife
Whilst most of the world were treated to the last instalment of the wizard who has matured with a generation, film fans on Tenerife who prefer to see films in their original language had to make do with animated cars. It’s commendable that Gran Sur Cinemas screen an English language movie each week but by not choosing Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 they not only disappointed HP fans on Tenerife, they also shot themselves in the foot economically as well. You have to wonder if the person who picks which English language movies are screened is the same person who advises the Sun Live Festival organisers about ‘famous” international singers. Before anyone suggests that film fans could always watch Harry in Spanish, here are two words that make that a serious non-option ““ Spanish dubbing.

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Tilting At the Wind As PWA World Cup Blows Into El Medano

Like a breath of fresh air, over 60 of the world’s top windsurfers swept into El Medano marking a welcome return for the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) World Cup. Competitive definitely, determined without a doubt, but the whole atmosphere at this latest round on the circuit had a mellow, refreshing quality that most sports just can’t match.

Even the waves whipped up by the timely arrival of perfect strong winds had their own poetic surge that lapped at a packed shore where competitors and fans mingled in the sand and chilled out over a beer or two. Boards and sails covered the sand of the pits area like a flock of exotic butterflies and with little pomp or ceremony their riders took up their steeds and dragged them down into the water in regular small groups for their 12 minutes to impress the judges as they sliced through the Atlantic.

Impressed with the skills but lacking in basic knowledge I sought guidance from a veteran of the circuit. Former world champion Scott McKercher is from Western Australia where they know a thing or two about waves. Although officially retired at 41 he still has the salt in his veins and grabbed the chance to compete again. I test boards over here now but one of the guys got injured in the last round so I applied to fill the space and was thrilled to get back out there again.

So why the 15 year wait for the PWA to return? During my 17 years I have competed here many times but the gap came because there was nobody to take a lead, now Danny Bruch has helped to pull it all together and the sponsors and local council have been wonderful and made it happen.

Last week’s round was in Pozo, Gran Canaria and Scott’s view of the Tenerife event will be music to many ears. This is miles better, the infrastructure is all in place, there’s a real buzz about El Medano and the conditions are just about perfect. So what are the riders all looking for? It’s about getting the timing right, finding that special wave and milking it. Each competitor gets marked on their two best wave rides and one jump, that’s all about building speed and then moving at the right time.

Scott made an early exit but tipped Philip Koster, Danny Bruch, and Victor Fernandez as the ones to catch in the men’s competition and the Moreno twins Iballa and Daida from Gran Canaria to continue to dominate the women’s. Entrants had come from all over the world but Spain had plenty of action heroes like Marcos Perez (below) and Brits found plenty to cheer with Robby Swift (above) taking off in fine style.

There’s a big social side to the competition with a large chill out area just above the beach. Music was pumping gently out as the competition went on but a string of late night parties until 3 am would ensure the party atmosphere didn’t stop. The whole of El Medano embraced the World Cup, local businesses reaping a dividend of increased visitors were giving customers raffle tickets for a draw to win a Renault Clio. During the first afternoon a large party of school children eagerly joined the throng and when I walked back along the other beaches everyone seemed to be trying to ride the surf.

Even the elements were adding their own rhythm, the banners flapping in the wind, the spray of the sea, and the drag of the shingle at the water’s edge. Across the sea of discarded and expectant boards the judges ran a tight ship with a series of coloured flags and horn blasts providing the prompting for the exhilarating antics on the waves. Keen amateurs were skirting by the competitors, well you can’t fence off the ocean, but they couldn’t distract the grand masters from their aquatic artistry. El Medano and wind surfing are a perfect fit. The 30,000 euros split between the top men and the 15,000 euros between the women may not be a fortune but the visit of the tour has enriched Tenerife with a high tide of fun and excellence.

The World Cup continues in El Medano until 20 July.

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Master Cup PKRA Kiteboarding

Title: Master Cup PKRA Kiteboarding
Location: Los Balos beach, El Medano
Link out: Click here
Description: Blimey now the wave riders are taking to the air. the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association are treating us to the Master Cup and the Spanish Championship in one thrilling contest featuring 150 riders including the best 20 in the world.
Freestyle and Race are the two formats on show in this display of strength, skill and agility all set against the perfect skyline of El Medano, and of course it’s free to watch.
Start Date: 2011-08-08
End Date: 2011-08-14

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