Amazing Mount Teide & Another Rockfall in Tenerife News of the Week

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

Tenerife’s Beautiful Mountain
One of the most awe inspiring videos on the internet in the last week was the timelapse video of Tenerife and Mount Teide taken by the Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd. This incredible piece of work captured the imagination of internet users, attracting millions of views in only eleven days and was a priceless piece of promotion for Tenerife. If you haven’t seen it yet, sit back, hit the play button and prepare to be astounded.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Tenerife’s Huge Black Market
Spanish union CCOO have calculated (don’t ask how) that at least 160,000 people living in the Canary Islands are working illegally. The figure amounts to 15% of the population. CCOO believe that many of the black marketeers are small businesses who may have paid taxes in the past but have ‘opted out” now because if they continued to do so would result in their businesses closing. Maybe it’s about time Spain realised that’s what you get when you have legislation that hammers small businesses rather than supporting and encouraging them. In reality the figures are quite conservative and probably don’t take into account the substantial number of people who exist completely outside the system on the islands.

Another Rockfall in a Tenerife Town
With ironic timing, as the Los Gigantes beach re-opened another coastal town on Tenerife experienced a rockfall that could have proved tragic. The small village of San Marcos below Icod de los Vinos may not attract the same number of tourists as Los Gigantes, but its beach and harbour are popular with local sunseekers. The rocks decided to detach themselves from the cliffs at what could have been peak time for visitors, just after 1pm on Saturday during a holiday weekend. Luckily no-one was injured, something that Icod’s mayor, Diego Afonso, attributed to the intervention of God, San Marcos and the fact that the sun wasn’t shining ““ every cloud really does have a silver lining. The local council has completely closed the dock area until it is made safe.

New flights from Tenerife
It might seem crazy to the millions that flock to Tenerife each year that people who live on the island might want to escape it every now and again, but it’s true. So it’s always of interest to learn about new flights operating from Tenerife’s airports. This week Spanish airline company Orbest announced their schedule of flights to and from the Canary Islands. From the 1st May the airline will operate regular flights from the Canary Islands to 15 Spanish destinations (including Malaga, Seville and the wonderful Oviedo in Asturias) and two international destinations (Porto and Lisbon). A return trip to either of the Portugal destinations works out at just under €300 whilst a return flight to Seville lands safely at around €200.

Carry On Camping

Despite the poor weather on Tenerife at Easter, the holiday saw the start of an annual ritual that will continue throughout the summer, illegal campers vs the authorities. Every summer parts of Tenerife’s coastline are transformed into quasi refugee camps as hundreds of campers set up temporary homes on the beaches. And every year local councils threaten to evict them…but rarely do. There’s usually a lot of handbags at dawn, but not a lot else happens. This Easter some campers were actually evicted from parts of Abades in Arico prompting Prodecam (an organisation supporting the rights of campers) to threaten they’d take their revenge in the polling booths in May. There are legal camp sites on Tenerife but, to be fair to the illegal campers, some are about as attractive as Strangeways Prison. The one in Puerto de la Cruz is in an old basketball court surrounded by high walls. When it comes to a choice between that or an open stretch of coastline in which to fire up the old camping stove there’s no contest.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to…Santa Cruz de Tenerife
There’s no doubt that the upcoming local elections are stalling projects designed to improve Tenerife, but the chaotic state of affairs in Tenerife’s capital Santa Cruz has reached quite appalling proportions.

Santa Cruz is a beautiful city and a joy to explore but the local council, amongst others, seem to be doing their best to completely screw up its reputation as a tourist attraction.

The city’s main hot spot for sunbathing, Parque Marítimo remains shut as politicians squabble; Playa de las Gaviotas remains closed to the public as politicians squabble; Tenerife’s most stunning beach, Playa las Teresitas is beset with problems which has resulted in it being closed to the public on several occasions and Tenerife’s football team CD Tenerife is being mismanaged into lower league obscurity. The latest crime in a long list is the fiasco surrounding Parque Viera y Clavijo. This beautiful small park that was home to some important works of art including a sculpture by Joan Míro has been fenced off for some time. A month ago the park re-opened, but not because it was ready for public consumption again. Quite the opposite, the park is reportedly still in an appalling state of abandonment and disrepair because the Santa Cruz council claim that its upkeep is the responsibility of the Cultural Department of the Canarian Government and…guess what…the Cultural Dept claim its upkeep is the responsibility of the council. Basically finger pointing time in the schoolyard.

The local elections can’t come soon enough to get Tenerife’s engines restarted again…but until then at least Santa Cruz has got an open-topped tourist bus as compensation.

Los Gigantes Beach & Saving the Black Pig in Tenerife News of the Week

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

Tourism is Booming on Tenerife
Despite rising petrol prices and continued talk of economic crisis, the number of visitors to the Canary Islands rose by a staggering 22% in March compared to 2010. Over 1 million people visited the islands during the month with 366,241 landing on Tenerife alone. The trend should continue in April with online travel site Skyscanner announcing that Tenerife is proving to be the second most popular destination with the British as the location to spend Easter. Topping the list is Malaga with New York, Barcelona and Rome falling into place behind. It just goes to show that places can be promoted as being sexy, trendy and in vogue till the cows come home, but in the end it’s hard to beat the lure of that big golden orb in the sky.

Saving the Canarian Black Pig
The 1st Cochino Negro Canario Fair (Canarian black pig) on 14th and 15th May at the Ethnological Park in Pinolere in La Orotava celebrates bringing the species back from the edge of extinction. There are now 32 cochino negro farmers on Tenerife breeding the unique pig which some say is a hybrid of African, Spanish and even English porkers. The fair will include some of the pigs, photographic exhibitions, information stands and show cooking displays of roasting pork, sausages and black pudding.
The fair will also have a tasca where visitors can sample just about every lip-smacking bit of the cochino negro. It’s wonderful that the species has been saved from extinction and an old Canary Island tradition is being kept alive, but isn’t saving a pig from extinction in order to eat it just the height of delicious irony?

Los Gigantes Beach Reopens

After a year and a half of being closed to the public following the tragic accident that claimed the lives of two sunbathers, Los Gigantes beach finally reopened its sandy doors to sunseekers on Friday. Around €500,000 has been invested to ensure the safety of visitors to Los Guíos, aka Los Gigantes beach. The reopening of the only sandy beach in Los Gigantes is a huge boost for the area and isn’t it nice to see that the local authorities managed to have the work completed just in time for the local elections.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to
…the Coalición Canaria’s candidate for mayor of Tenerife

This week CC’s candidate for mayor of Tenerife’s capital Santa Cruz, José Manuel Bermúdez , announced his intention to create a new police unit specifically for tourists in the city. Just to clarify in case anyone gets the wrong idea; it’s intention would be to look after their safety and not to follow visitors around, handing out fines when they unwittingly dip their toes into Plaza España’s fountain etc.

Being concerned about the safety of visitors to Santa Cruz is commendable…except for two factors. The first is that Santa Cruz is already an incredibly safe place to visit. The second is the reason we’ve awarded Snr Bermúdez the not-so-coveted TIT of the week award. There are already four different police forces on Tenerife: The Policía Local, Guardia Civil, National Police and the disturbingly fascist looking Policía Canarias.
Having four different police forces was already overkill, especially when some are complaining of not having the vehicles or equipment to be able to carry out their roles effectively. With a recent past such as Spain’s you’d think that promises to create more police forces wouldn’t really be that much of a vote winner with the public.

Incidentally if anyone out there would like to explain exactly what role each of the current bodies of police perform we’re sure there would be thousands of people who would love to know.

James Blunt, Ministry of Sound & Wrath of the Titans in Tenerife News of the Week

James Blunt in Tenerife
And the stars just keep on coming. The latest international name to be performing on Tenerife is James Blunt who shot to fame with his first album Back to Bedlam in 2005. The singer, whose songs provoke a love-them or hate-them reaction, will be at the Auditorium in Santa Cruz at 9pm on the 28th July. Tickets are €40 and €50. Whether you happen to like James Blunt or not, having an artist of his calibre on Tenerife is good for the island….even if his audience are likely to feel depressed for a few days after the concert.

Tenerife’s 50 Metre Tsunami
Researchers have uncovered further evidence pointing to a massive landslide that created Las Cañadas del Teide and sent 50 metre high waves rushing across the Atlantic Ocean. Fossils of shells, coral and even fish have been discovered 30 metres above sea level in the Teno region of Tenerife and researchers from Madrid, Portugal and Tenerife say that they could only have been deposited there by a huge tsunami caused by the landslide. The good news is that this natural disaster occurred approximately 180,000 years ago. The bad news is that scientists say it could happen again. However, it”ll probably be at least 10,000 years before we have to worry about it.

The Carnaval Just Keeps on Rocking

Anyone suffering from post carnaval blues will love this video just posted by The Ministry of Sound on the blog on their website. Tenerife Magazine was there and it was a fantastic night and one of the highlights of this year’s carnaval. Pump up the sound on your speakers, hit play, sit back and relive moments from the best carnaval in Europe.

Clash of the Extras
Casting for extras for the forthcoming Clash of the Titans sequel, Wrath of the Titans caused havoc around Tenerife last week. Over 5,000 aspiring extras are said to have turned up in La Laguna and some dressed in Ancient Greek styled robes in order to improve their chances of being selected. Whilst in El Médano would-be Thespians queued overnight for a chance of being in the spotlight. Apparently there were a lot of mysterious illnesses affecting schools and businesses on casting days. The plot of Wrath of the Titans is about hell being unleashed on earth. Considering the quality of the first movie, let’s hope that’s not a reference to the sequel’s première.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to…The Director General of Costas and ATAN (Tenerife Association of Friends of Nature).
Despite support from the Tenerife Cabildo, local council and Uncle Tom Cobley and all, the proposed Playa Las Vistas festival ‘tenerife Sur de Musicas” was given the big thumbs down by the Director General of Costas on the grounds that there was no unique reason why the festival had to be held on a beach. The ruling also referenced a letter from ATAN which said that a beach festival would have a detrimental effect on the environment.

On their website ATAN claim that the beach festival was a remake of the popular Son Latinos concert under a different name and the plans to hold it were an attempt to promote private interests to the detriment of the majority.

Who exactly are the majority that ATAN are referring to? They’re clearly not the tens of thousands of local people who attend and enjoy festivals like Son Latinos nor the tourists who are attracted to the island and put money into the economy because of events such as this.

It goes without saying that businessmen are trying to make a profit. ATAN are incredibly naïve and unrealistic if they believe otherwise. Is the local greengrocer who makes a profit out of selling fruits of the earth any different?

And here’s a little fact that is quite amusing. Playa Las Vistas isn’t even a natural beach, it’s man made.

We are completely supportive of any actions that protect the environment, but ATAN should be concentrating their efforts on some of the real environmental crimes taking place on Tenerife, not crowing about stopping a beach festival which can be cleaned up rapidly afterwards.

Craig David & Unsafe Resorts in Tenerife News of the Week

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

Craig David in Tenerife

Last week it was Michael Bolton, this week it’s a singer who is a bit more contemporary; Bo Selecta himself Craig David who seems to make of habit of turning up for festivals on Tenerife every now and again. The R&B singer who had massive hits with Walking Away and 7 Days headlines the I Love Music Festival at Tropicana Gardens on Saturday 23rd April. The festival lasts from 3pm till midnight and tickets are available at various outlets and online. See here for more details…if your Spanish is good enough. As well as Craig David performing on Tenerife, Queen guitarist Brian May announced he would be joining Tangerine Dream during their Sonic Universe concert at the Starmus Festival in the Magma Arts & Congress Centre in Adeje on 24th June. Looks like lots of good music to look out for on Tenerife over the next few months.

Fewer Foreigners Living in The Canary Islands
For the third consecutive year the trend towards foreigners leaving the Canary Islands rather than setting up home here continues. Spain’s National Statistics Institute has recorded that there are 70,000 fewer foreigners living in the Canary Islands than there were two years ago. The economic crisis and lack of jobs are partly to blame. However, the drop in foreign residents is attributed mainly to the departure of South American immigrants. EU residents, especially Romanian, British and German, bucked the trend by actually increasing.
But, and this is a massive but, the statistics refer to foreigners who actually registered with their local councils. As there are potentially thousands of foreign residents on Tenerife and the other islands who live outside the system and therefore are never included in any statistical data, it’s impossible to know how accurate a picture their findings paint.

The Saga of the South Hospital

Every few weeks there seems to be an announcement about the progress, or lack of, regarding the construction of the long awaited and quasi mythical hospital in the south of Tenerife. The latest news is that building works have been given the green light again and the hospital should be ready to open in the summer of 2012…only a year behind schedule. The work will be in two phases so only part of the hospital will be completed then. The rest won’t be finished until the summer of 2013 ““ that would be two years behind schedule then (if the building work is completed on schedule). Of course these were only announcements; the next stage of the building process has actually yet to get under way.

The Two Most Unsafe Destinations in the Canary Islands…
…Are La Palma and Playa de las Américas. But maybe not for the reasons you may think. The National Police Force have declared them so because financial cutbacks have left them without the officers and the equipment they feel is necessary to ensure the safety and security of the public in both locations. There is a shortage of cars in Playa de las Américas and there is currently only one van that drops officers off at various points in the resort. After that they have to patrol on foot rather than by car. Wouldn’t that be called pounding the beat and represent the sort of police presence that a lot of people prefer? The crisis isn’t only affecting resorts, Santa Cruz suffers from a shortage of cars, and radio transmissions are so bad that officers sometimes have to use mobile phones to communicate…so they’re not just chatting to their mates after all.

No Smoking in Tenerife ““ What’s the Score?
The first three months of life under the controversial (to many Spanish) no smoking law has passed. Many predicted protests and serious opposition against a law that some claimed was unfeasable to implement. So what has the reality been? It’s been that everyone more or less accepted it with little more than a bar room moan and the threat of protests dissipated like a puff of smoke. The threatened closure of bars during carnaval didn’t take place and instead little tables and chairs started to appear outside many bars giving them quite an attractively quaint look. The doorways to some bars became crowded as puffing patrons kept most of their body inside and whilst the hand holding the cigarette amusingly remained outside. Although statistics are still being compiled first reports are that there have only been 40 denuncias (cases of official action) issued across the whole of the Canary Islands.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to…Creators of the I Love Music Festival website.

The I Love Music Festival is a fantastic boost to Tenerife’s image as a destination that offers visitors a diverse range of musical experiences from world class ballet to contemporary dance music. It’s an event that adds a buzz to Easter weekend on Tenerife and one that many visitors would love to attend. So why then, when the festival is right in the heart of Tenerife tourist land, is the website only in Spanish? The navigation bar has English translations but after that non-Spanish speakers are cast adrift. Apart from not seeming to cater for many of the people who might be interested in knowing more about the festival, it’s crazy from a business point of view as non-Spanish speakers might struggle to buy tickets and clearly that can affect sales. Sometimes you’d never know there had been decades of mass tourism on Tenerife as the basics of how to market to visitors still seems to be beyond some businesses.

Hot Spring Weather & the Bus Ride from Hell in Tenerife News of the Week

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

The Butterfly Effect

Icod de los Vinos doesn’t exactly boast a multitude of attractions to keep tourists in the town for any length of time. The famous Millennium Drago Tree attracts tourists but mainly in a whistle stop tour manner. Then there’s El Mariposario, the Butterfly Garden, dedicated to the conservation and breeding of butterflies and a wondrous place to wander around. You’d think that local politicians would be pleased to have two unique Tenerife tourist attractions next to each other. But no; this is Tenerife where dragging out local political feuds is more important than doing what is best for your town. For sixteen years the council have been trying to close El Mariposario for reasons that are murky at best. What is clear to most people is that the continued presence of El Mariposario in Icod is good for the town. Clear to most people but not Icod’s politicians it seems who, in the past, have stooped to posting a police presence outside El Mariposario in what seemed an incredible bid to deter visitors. The time is long overdue for the petty bickering to stop and for the council to work with the Butterfly Gardens, not against it. The local elections are coming up in May. Lets hope the people of Icod use the opportunity to get rid of the problem that is really harming their town.

A Hot Spring for Tenerife

Great news for anyone planning a holiday on Tenerife in the next few months. Weather forecasters are predicting that April, May and June are going to be hotter than average this year. After the unusually cold spell a couple of weeks ago it’s easy to forget that the first half of the winter was unseasonably warm. And even with the occasional cool spell (that’s cool for here not Northern Europe) between January and March, temperatures were slightly above average overall even though some places in the Canary Islands did experience more rain than normal – Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and the south of Tenerife, hence the novelty of a green landscape this year.

The New Tenerife Parador
The work to renovate Tenerife’s Parador at the base of Mount Teide is finally coming to an end. The renovation has included modernising the air conditioning and electrical systems, sprucing up public areas and rooms and improving sports facilities. All should be completed within the next few weeks even though the Parador’s website is still showing 1st March as the completion date (what’s a few weeks between friends?). Despite the work, which seems to have been going on forever, visitor numbers to the Parador increased in 2010 with American, French, Italian and Japanese visitors showing the highest increases. What, no British increase despite the millions of us that flock to Tenerife each year?

The End of the Circus
At various times of the year it’s still possible to find what residents from other countries may view as old-fashioned circuses (.i.e. ones that still have wild animals as part of their acts) set up in car parks and recreational grounds around Tenerife. But not for much longer in the municipality of Granadilla de Abona in the south of Tenerife. The deputy mayor Antonio Cabrera has put forward a proposal to ban all circuses that include performing wild animals because of the potential for cruelty towards the animals in terms of training methods and housing conditions. Personally I’d also include in the ban circuses that still had clown acts …because of the potential for cruelty to the audience.

Garachico’s New Port
It looks like the opening of Garachico’s new port will be delayed for some months (no surprise with that piece of news). The port itself should be ready by the first quarter of 2012 but then there’s the little matter of port buildings etc. So it should be around the end of 2012 before the port is fully operational. Garachico’s mayor also announced there were plans for a spa, pool and sports complex as well as a new luxury hotel nearby. What is it with Tenerife and the desire for luxury hotels? Garachico already has a couple of the best boutique hotels on the island; let’s hope the politicians don’t achieve what the lava in 1706 failed to do…spoil one of Tenerife’s most picturesque towns.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to…the Santa Cruz Tourist Bus

The new open-topped tourist bus service launched last week was supposed to take visitors to Santa Cruz on a tour of the best of the city’s attractions. However, the service got off to a start that, even by Tenerife standards, should go down in history as the stuff of pure slaptstick genius.
We’re not going to tell you the details, instead we’ll leave you the pleasure of reading Colin Kirby’s hilarious account of one of the maiden voyages of the Santa Cruz tourist bus that started out, as Colin says, in Cliff Richards Summer Holiday fashion and ended up like a Tenerife remake of Speed. Read it and weep..with laughter.

Michael Bolton & the New Mount Teide Visitors” Centre in Tenerife News of the Week

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

Michael Bolton to perform in Tenerife
This week it was announced who was to follow in the footsteps of Rod Stewart, Elton John and Simply Red by performing at Golf Costa Adeje on Tenerife. Names such as Eric Clapton and Santana have been bandied about in the past, but unfortunately it was neither. This summer the golf course will be transformed into an open air concert venue for Michael Bolton of – couldn’t think of an original hit that sounded familiar ““ lots of easy-listening cover versions fame. Okay, we’re being a bit cruel and he’s an incredibly successful and popular singer, but we’d be more excited if it was someone just a bit more contemporary. Anyway, for all you Michael Bolton fans out there the concert is on Friday 8 July. Keep an eye on the Canarias Live Sun Festival site for details of when tickets are available.

The Price of Staying on Tenerife
Travel website have just published some interesting travel statistics that include information about hotel prices and favourite destinations. The most costly place to stay in Spain is Marbella with an average price of €120 per night and the cheapest is Almeria at €55 on average. Playa de las Américas lies in upper mid-table at €79 whilst Puerto de la Cruz averaging €57 per night is the second cheapest place in Spain to stay.
The findings for favourite holiday destinations in Spain are also interesting. Madrid is number one for Spanish holidaymakers. Out of the twenty top destinations, only one is in the Canary Islands and that is Puerto de la Cruz. For non-Spanish visitors to Spain, the trend is different. This time Barcelona tops the list and yet again only one Canary Island destination makes the top sixteen; this time it’s Costa Adeje at number sixteen.

The Mount Teide Centre is Open
After eight years and millions of euros, the Mount Teide Visitors” centre ‘telesforo Bravo’ in La Orotava finally opened its doors this week. But this being Tenerife, the centre isn’t quite finished yet. Although it’s open for administrative purposes and is handy for anyone staying in the north to pick up permits for climbing Mount Teide, the exhibitions about Teide National Park won’t be in place until 2012. However, the 11000 square metres of the centre’s gardens are open in the mornings and late afternoons and feature examples of the island’s plants complete with information panels…in theory. The gardens might still be a bit sparse as the plants there are only young. But come back in a couple of years and it’s bound to be spectacular.

Earth Hour on Tenerife
A big round of applause for La Laguna council who are recognising Earth Hour this coming Saturday by turning off the lights of the iconic Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Concepción at 8.30pm. The blackout will be followed by a candlelit concert at the base of the tower at 9.30pm. Not only does it raise awareness of the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour, it sounds lovely as well.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to…no-one.

Instead it’s an even bigger round of applause for La Laguna council for trying to create a barrier free paradise by opening up a section of one of the most beautiful corners of Tenerife to people who may not otherwise get to enjoy it. The Sendero de los Sentidos (Trail of the Senses) is a commendable project which includes wheelchair friendly wooden walkways into the Anaga Mountains on the Llano de los Loros path at Cruz del Carmen. The route also includes sensory panels to bring the smells and sounds of nature even closer to users.
The paths aren’t only designed for users with disabilities; two routes also involve negotiating wooden bridges and zip lines both of which add an extra dimension to exploring this breathtaking ancient woodland.

Freaky Weather & Mercedes Benz’ Sexy New Model in Tenerife News of the Week

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

Snow on Tenerife
Snow on Tenerife at this time of year isn’t really a big deal; there can be snow on Mount Teide till June. But when the clouds lifted on Monday everyone was surprised by just how far down the hillside the snow level had reached. Roads through the towns of Benijos and Aguamansa (around the 1000 metre mark) in the north of Tenerife were turned white and snow completely covered the town square in La Esperanza, something that no-one there had ever witnessed previously. As the unusual weather conditions piled up, the south west coast experienced hailstones whilst temperatures at 1800 metres fell to 0c for only the fourth time in recorded history (recorded history doesn’t stretch back that far; the other three times were 1996, 1997 and 2005). Just to top things off rain of up to 73 litres per square metre was recorded in Los Rodeos and Las Mercedes with Candelaria experiencing around 62 litres per square metre. The storm front affected the whole Canarian archipelago and even low lying Fuerteventura felt the force of hailstorms. Not the best week for anyone visiting the island”¦but hang on in there; normal service will be resumed by the weekend.

Driving on Tenerife is Sexy
… if you happen to be behind the wheel of one of the new Mercedes Benz cars that have added a touch of sleek glamour to Tenerife’s roads during March.
Throughout the month Mercedes Benz have been using the island’s dazzling scenery as a backdrop to showcase their stunning new models to 700 journalists from all over the globe. To be used as a location to officially launch a prestigious new car from the Mercedes Benz stable is quite a coup for Tenerife. Have a look below to see the gorgeous SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY in action on some of Tenerife’s equally gorgeous roads.

Carnaval Dates for Tenerife for 2012
Okay we’re all still yawning due to the excesses of Carnaval 2011, but for all of you out there who like to plan in advance, here are the dates of the Santa Cruz Carnaval 2012. The opening parade will be Friday 17 February 2012 with the closing parade being Tuesday 21st and Burial of the Sardine Wednesday 22nd February. And just in case four weeks of carnival wasn’t enough to satisfy carnaval junkies, the whole shebang will now last for five weeks with the first event taking place on the 27th January. That means an extra week of murgas”¦deep joy.

Who Wants to Be Michael Jackson?

With the Michael Jackson tribute show Forever King of Pop looking around for a young Michael to play the king of pop in the hit show in La Laguna at the end of March/beginning of April on Tenerife, it would be reasonable to expect the casting director’s office to be flooded with mini MJ look-alikes. But only fourteen potentials turned up. The casting was announced on the show’s website but as it was in Spanish only maybe it was missed by non Spanish-speaking residents. Or perhaps there aren’t that many children on Tenerife who look like a young Michael Jackson who can sing and dance to a professional level as well.

Pick up a St Patrick’s Day Bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey on Tenerife
Jameson’s have released a specially designed bottle of their whiskey just for St Patrick’s Day. The unique bottle, designed by Irish artist Paul Daly, has a Celtic music theme and is only available in travel related outlets during March. These include airports such as Rome, Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and”¦yes, you’ve guessed it ““ Tenerife South.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦
Al Campo supermarket for not keeping its Caja Verde till manned full time.

It represents a step forward to see Tenerife supermarkets adopting environmentally friendly measures by introducing special “˜green’ tills that can only be used by customers who bring their own bags or use the store’s recycled ones (incidentally, Carrefour’s also look great). Al Campo introduced green tills some time ago but lately their La Orotava branch seems to have sacrificed the manning of the till on a regular basis. It begs the question what’s the point of introducing environment saving measures if you don’t commit to them 100%? Make a sentence out of the words lip, service and paying. Green tills should be the first tills that are manned in a supermarket, not the last.

Speed Limit Penalties & Futuristic Hotels in Tenerife News of the Week

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

The North African Connection
Tenerife’s original inhabitants, the Guanche made the headlines a couple of times this week. Claims that the island’s aborigines hailed originally from North Africa were given more credence by a new exhibition of pottery at the Museum of Man and Nature in Santa Cruz. The pottery, donated by Liverpool Museum of Fine Arts, includes examples of utilitarian pottery made by the Berbers and Ancient Egyptians. Some of the designs on both match almost exactly designs found on Guanche ceramics, which historians say is further evidence of a link between the islanders and North Africa. The other Guanche related news relates to the return to Santa Cruz of three Guanche mummies that have been “˜residing’ in Madrid since the 19th century. The mummified remains of the two women and a man are also now on display with other fascinating, and a wee bit gruesome, examples at the Museum of Man and Nature.

A Smart Hotel
There have been reports from Gran Canaria that scientists and the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Tourist Board are working together to develop a smart hotel. Anyone who’s seen the movie Minority Report will be familiar with the concept of advertising being directed to individuals based on face recognition. The smart hotels will work in a similar way. When a guest walks into a room they’ll be instantly recognised and a database will know their likes and dislikes so that service can be tailored to individual preferences. Presumably when you walk into the hotel bar a soothing robotic voice will announce something like “˜good evening Mr Bond, we’re mixing your vodka martini now and it will be waiting your arrival at the bar’. Another example of what the smart hotel can do is that bedrooms will be able to change their décor to suit. So if you like a golden beach, that’s what you get on the walls.
Apparently there’s no truth in the rumour that the Tenerife authorities, having learned what their rival neighbours are planning, came up with the opposing idea to create a dumb hotel where no-one remembers your name, they get your order wrong at the bar, bring you food you didn’t want and then overcharge”¦but then scrapped plans when they realised that model was already in place.

The Cost of Speeding on Tenerife
The new “˜temporary’ laws regarding the speed limit on Spain and Tenerife’s motorways came into effect from Monday 7th March. But what exactly are the penalties if drivers forget the limit is now 110kph?
Drive between 111kph and 140kph and it’s a €100 fine ““ but without a points penalty.
Push the pedal to the metal and hit between 141kph and 160kph and the fine goes up to €300. If you’re caught driving between 151kph and 160kph you’ll also lose two points from your licence”¦and it serves you right because you’re driving far too fast even for the old limits.

At the moment the Spanish Government are saying that the restrictions will remain in place until the 30th June when it will be reviewed (i.e. someone will count up the money made in fines and decide whether it’s a nice little earner or not).

A Disappointing End to the Winter Sales
It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to analyse why the two month long rebajas period from January to March returned sales that were between 10 and 15% lower than last year. The ongoing economic crisis was one reason, but the fact that many retailers didn’t actually reduce their products by a decent amount meant that bargains were few and far between. When shoppers realised this after the initial surge, sales at the sales dropped off. Now retail groups are debating whether the two month long sales period is too long. Maybe it is, but here’s another radical suggestion. If retailers want to improve returns during the sales period why not try bringing prices down by more than a nominal amount? TM witnessed at least one branded retailer who actually put some prices up.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to… the seemingly politicising of what should have been a nice touch in Puerto de la Cruz.

The CIT in Puerto de la Cruz’ idea to honour loyal visitors to the town by holding a ceremony in the town hall was a nice idea. Recognising publicly the value of visitors who come back to the town year after year is commendable.

42 loyal visitors, mainly from Britain and Germany but also from other countries, were honoured at the event which was attended by representatives from the town’s most popular hotels. Some of those being honoured had visited Puerto de la Cruz up to 50 times. Interestingly, despite mainland Spanish boosting the number of people staying in Puerto during the summer months there was only one Spanish couple present. It was this couple that newspapers quoted when reporting what brought fans back to the town.

The weather and being able to enjoy snow on Teide in the morning and a few hours sun on the beach sounds good as does the friendliness and the warmth of the people. However, when it was reported that amongst the treasures that brought them 15 times were the level of services ranging from trade to travel, the restoration of the urban and natural environment, the reform of the road network and the modernisation of various streets it suddenly started to sound like something a politician would say. I wonder if they’d asked Betty and Bert from Bolton why they came back year after year whether their list would have matched that of the couple from Pamplona.

The final nail in the credibility coffin came when it was reported that their list of reasons also included the first phase of the development of the future Parque Marítimo. Oh, come on. The first rule of comedy is”¦you have to have reality (Ted Bovis, Hi-De-Hi).

Carnival Mix-Up and Threat to Firework Displays in Tenerife News of the Week

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

Tenerife’s Biggest Firework Display Threatened
Changes in Spanish firework regulations relating to recommended safety distances during displays have threatened to throw a damp squib on the biggest firework display in the Canary Islands and one of the biggest in Europe, the Fuegos de Mayo in Los Realejos.
The change in regulations meant that in theory firework displays like the famous Los Realejos three hour celebration couldn’t continue”¦in their present format anyway.
However, Mayor Oswaldo Amaro has no intentions of letting his municipality’s jewel in the fiesta crown fizzle out. Apart from lobbying Madrid to have the pyrotechnic battle between Calles del Sol and del Medio declared of national interest and therefore exempt, he’s implemented a cunning plan to create two “˜urban park’ viewing areas for the display. Having designated safe areas should comply with the new regulations, ensuring that the centuries-old tradition is saved and that we can continue to enjoy this superb pyrotechnic extravaganza and fascinating aspect of Canarian culture.

100% Carnaval 0%Drugs
For the third year running the Canary Islands Government have launched a carnival campaign promoting a sensible approach to enjoying the carnival celebrations. The 100%Carnaval, 0%Drugs message is about educating young revellers that when it comes to excess there are no hard drugs or soft drugs, only drugs”¦and that includes alcohol. The campaign also warns against carnival sex. I guess that only leaves Rock “˜n’ Roll to enjoy then.
Last year 18 people were treated for drug abuse and 62% of ER patients were drunk”¦and this was during carnival. Seems small fry compared to Manchester on an average Saturday night.

For People Who Don’t Like Flying
From the 31st March there’s another new way to travel to the Spanish mainland. Naviera Armas are introducing a new route between the Canary Islands and Huelva. It’s not particularly a good option if you want to get there quickly as the crossing takes 28 hours. However, think of it more as a mini cruise as there will be a full agenda of entertainment; a bit like a cross channel ferry. And the price? For residents it’s €40 each way (for a seat only). For everyone else it’s €80 each way.

New Adventure Park for North Tenerife
Anyone who knows the area around La Caldera in the upper La Orotava Valley will know that it’s already a bit of a natural adventure park ““ just try descending through one of the dried out water channels without ending up on your rear. But the local council have plans to create a more structured adventure park behind the popular zona recreativa (picnic area). The project is still to get the green light from the Canaries Medio Ambiente Dept (environment), but if it goes ahead the park will have routes through the forest that include suspension bridges, zip-lines (known also as death slides) and Tibetan bridges (think narrow swaying affairs of the kind that only Indiana Jones would tackle) as well as whole load of other natural white knuckle attractions. Seems more like commando training than recreation”¦but it also sounds as though it could be a lot of fun.

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast”¦
In case anyone missed it, the Spanish Government have reduced the speed limit on motorways from 120kph to 110kph from 7th March in a bid to reduce fuel costs during the current crisis affecting the Middle East and North Africa. As we understand it anyone who is caught breaking the speed limit won’t end up with points on their licence because it’s not a safety issue, but they will be hit with a fine. So far Spain is the first country to take action to introduce speed restrictions. The restriction is supposed to be temporary.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to… Arona Council for the second week running.

This time it’s for coming up with an “˜original’ carnival poster that was almost exactly the same as one designed for the Cadiz carnival in 2009. The embarrassing piece of what appeared to be blatant plagiarism came about as a result of the council “˜designing’ a poster in-house instead of holding a competition which is the usual method of choosing unique carnival posters. A spokesperson for the council said that the poster “˜wasn’t exactly the same, but looked totally similar’. That would be exactly the same then. Have a look at the images of the two posters at the top of the page and decide for yourself.
Needless to say the offending poster was removed from Arona’s website and replaced with a logo (but you can still see it in the background in photos on the Arona Turismo website).
Somebody in Arona clearly made the same mistake that Colonel Gaddafi made last week when he denied there were riots in Tripoli ““ they haven’t woken up to the fact that the public has access to all sorts of information courtesy of the World Wide Web.

Clash of the Titans 2 & Los Cristianos Carnival in Tenerife News of the Week

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

Clash of the Titans returns to Tenerife

There was a minor buzz on Twitter this week when it was revealed that the Clash of the Titans crew and cast would be returning to Tenerife this summer to film scenes for Clash of the Titans part two: Wrath of the Titans (title at the moment). Once again it’s expected that Teide National Park, Garachico, Guía de Isora and Icod de los Vinos will stand in for Ancient Greece.
Despite being panned by film critics and audiences, Clash of the Titans was a huge worldwide success hence news of a sequel. Director Louis Letterier blamed the studio’s decision to jump on the 3D post Avatar bandwagon for the poor reviews, but in reality many people thought the movie was a bit of a stinker”¦Tenerife was probably the best thing in it.
Stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Gemma Arterton reprise their roles whilst Jonathan Liebesman replaces Louis Letterier as director. This time it will actually be filmed in 3D and is scheduled to be in cinemas around spring 2012. Let’s pray that it’s a lot better than the first.

Multiculturalism isn’t working in Tenerife
First it was Angela Merkel, then David Cameron and now it’s a spokesperson for a neighbourhood association in a town on Tenerife. In El Dia newspaper, the president of la Asociación de Vecinos Balcón del Atlántico in El Fraile complained that incomers were sticking to their own ethnic groups and not getting involved with community activities. He commented that many had not made any effort to adapt to the Canarian culture, implying a lack of respect for traditions and that this could lead to xenophobia. As a non-Canario it’s thought provoking from an immigrant’s perspective to read comments like this. It’s a sort of shoe on the other foot scenario.

Free guided tours of Teide National Park
It’s good news, bad news time. The good news is that the representatives of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides are conducting free guided tours around the Roques de García in Teide National Park as part of the celebration of International Tourist Guides 2011. The bad news is that as the tours are at 10.30am and 2.30pm anyone travelling by public transport probably won’t be able to take advantage as they don’t really tie in with the Titsa timetable. Good tourist guides they may be, but a little work on planning skills looks as though it’s required.

A reminder of the world’s worst plane crash
Excavations in the San Juan cemetery in La Laguna uncovered a reminder that the word’s most horrific air crash, involving two 747 jumbo jets, occurred at nearby Los Rodeos almost 34 years ago. The excavations are part of a project searching for the bodies of local people who went missing during the dark days of the Spanish Civil War. However, the chamber that was uncovered last week didn’t contain victims of the war but unidentified remains of victims from the crash that claimed the lives of 583 people. The investigation into searching for “˜missing persons’ from the Civil War in the cemetery continues until 15th March.

Tenerife’s Eco Museum to open in 2011
Like many projects on Tenerife, work on the Eco Museum in El Tanque seems to be progressing at a snail’s pace. But there is light on the horizon. The main buildings should be completed by June, an area for cattle has been built and terraces are being prepared for the planting of nearly 152 varieties of potatoes”¦that’s an awful lot of papas arrugadas. The location of the museum dedicated to rural life, near Los Llanos de San José, is a breath stealer and is also the venue for the wonderful Dia de la Trilla agricultural fair.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to… Arona council for taking an eternity to post information about the Los Cristianos carnival on their official website”¦

“¦And for having a teasing little carnival logo on the site which, when it was clicked, came up with a page which more or less said ““ “˜no information about this here.’

To be fair to Arona at least they do provide decent information on their website, but they need to wake up to the fact that these days potential visitors are looking for dates of popular events quite a bit in advance. There have been questions about the Los Cristianos carnival dates on forums and English language websites for weeks and even on the council’s Facebook page”¦where they were left unanswered. In the end the Tenerife Tourist Board announced the dates on TripAdvisor’s Tenerife Forum before Arona included them on their website.

It’s great that some Tenerife councils are starting to use social media like Facebook and Twitter but they need to understand that these are tools for interaction as well as posting information”¦and that they don’t have to wait for the “˜official poster’ about the event to be ready before sharing information online.