Tenerife Magazine Tenerife Magazine Flickr Flickr Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Youtube Youtube Google Profile Google Profile Linked In Linked In Google +

Tag Archive | "summer"

Forest Fires on Tenerife


The welcome news that we’ve all been hoping for is that yesterday the Tenerife Government announced the fire was mostly stabilised and although there are still areas that are burning, the situation is positive and conditions look good for its extinction.

Residents of Vilaflor, Tijoco and Ifonche were allowed to return to their homes and most roads have re-opened except sections of the TF38 between Chio and Boca Tauce and the TF21 between Vilaflor and Boca Tauce.

Unsurprisingly, during the worst of the fire, rumours, hoaxes, mistranslations and misinformation accompanied the reports that were flying about the internet.

We thought it might be of interest to cut away all the ‘unofficial’ aspects and provide a brief account of how the fire took hold, spread and was fought, taken only from information provided by Tenerife’s Government.

15 July
The fire started on Sunday around 3pm near Ifonche above the Barranco del Infierno in Adeje. At first it was believed to have been caused by a farmer burning scrub-land but Tenerife’s President Ricardo Melchior commented at a press conference that the source of the fire appeared to be ‘focussed’ but that it was far too early to determine what had been the cause.

At first the fire affected only scrub-land but with tinder-dry terrain the fire soon spread on two fronts, one heading towards Guia de Isora and the other towards Vilaflor. Around 50 residents of Ifonche, Taucho and La Quinta were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

The fire was quickly raised to a level 2 which put the control and organisation in the hands of regional rather than local government.

16 July
A heatwave and breezy weather didn’t help the situation and the fire continued to take hold. Five roads were closed (TF38, TF21, TF583, TF585 and TF567) as a team of 500 professional and volunteer firefighters, assisted by seven helicopters, battled the blaze. The heat (temperatures of 35C), 30kph wind and difficult terrain meant that firefighters were unable to bring the fire under control and it continued to march on. Residents of Tijoco Bajo were evacuated and by nightfall 1800 hectares had been affected with the fire destroying about 40-50% of this area.

17 July
The Spanish Government sent three special hydroplanes to assist firefighters as the fire moved towards the outskirts of Vilaflor and reached the boundary of Teide National Park which is part of the municipality of La Orotava (nowhere near the town of La Orotava as was reported in some accounts of the fire).
1800 residents of Vilaflor were evacuated, again as a precautionary measure, and although the hydroplanes made an impact, the fire continued to gain more ground. With the situation looking increasingly serious for Vilaflor, fire-fighting resources were concentrated on that area. It’s important to state at this point that the government were working on the advice of specialist technicians who predicted, as far as they could, how the fire would develop and what areas were at most risk. At all times calculated decisions were made about where to focus resources. By this time there were five helicopters, three seaplanes and 500 firefighters, made up of professional firemen, police, army and volunteers, tackling the blaze.

18 July
The front heading towards Guia de Isora, although more virulent, had almost reached an area of lava fields where technicians believed it would die out whilst the front that had reached Teide National Park burnt out on reaching the barren terrain. The decision to focus on Vilaflor was shown to be exactly right as the fire reached a football field on the edge of the town and jumped defences. With three more helicopters and the army of fire-fighters performing miracles, the night of the 17th and morning of the 18th proved to be the turning point. The fire was held back and brought under control at Vilaflor. With other fronts stabilised, apart from above Guia de Isora, there was finally a glimmer of hope.

Residents of Taucho and La Quinta were given the green light to return to their homes.

19 July
By the morning of the 19th, the tone of the Government’s press releases was clearly optimistic. The fire was stabilised enough for Ricardo Melchior to thank all those involved with tackling it. More people, including residents of Vilaflor, were able to return to their towns and villages.

Whilst the news is as good as can be expected and the course of the fire has slowed and is burning out on the lava fields as predicted by the technicians, it remains a level 2 emergency and it will take some weeks before the danger is fully extinguished.

The damage caused by the fire is horrendous but not the tragedy it could have been; injuries were few. The perimeter of the fire covered an area of around 5,000 hectares of which about 1,000 of which has been destroyed. It could have been a lot worse.

As well as a superhuman effort on the part of the fire-fighters and support services, the organisation and flow of information during the fire has been excellent and subsequently Tenerife’s press have been able to keep everyone accurately informed and to scorch (maybe not a good word to use) rumours and misinformation.

We’d like to echo Ricardo Melchior’s words of thanks to all those involved. These people are real superheroes.

All images courtesy of Cabildo de Tenerife

Posted in Featured, News, NewsletterComments (5)

The Dangerous Park & Rude Guests in Tenerife News of the Week


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

El Hierro Eruption Update
Another week of earth tremors on El Hierro with 93 being registered on Sunday. Only a few of these have been felt on the surface as many occur at least 20km below ground. The biggest of yesterday’s tremors registered 3.9 on the Richter scale. What this means has scientists divided with some claiming the tremors could be as a result of the land settling following the undersea eruption off the coast of El Hierro. Others believe that there is some evidence to suggest that there is the possibility of another undersea eruption developing to the north of El Hierro.

Meanwhile the undersea volcano near La Restinga continues to spew pyroclasts into the sea some of which have been reported as reaching the surface still glowing.

A Trip to Parque García Sanabria Could Make Your Children Sick
A visit to Santa Cruz’ favourite park is potentially dangerous for the young ones according to Professor James Nogué. At a Conference on Clinical Toxicology in Santa Cruz, the good professor pointed out that at least two of the plants in the park (Nerium Oleander & Thevetia peruriana) were toxic and that eating their flowers and leaves could lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. This was a worry to the professor as children are apparently prone to stuffing any flower they come across into their gobs because they look pretty and smell sweet. Allowing your children to chew on any plant they come across in a public garden seems like a recipe for a display of projectile vomiting. Flower munching should be be left to the sheep and goats. Come to think of it did he say children…or kids?

Goodbye to Tenerife
Apparently the author Christopher Isherwood finished his novel Mr Norris Changes Trains whilst staying in a small hotel in La Orotava. Mr Norris Changes Trains is often included in a collection of Isherwood’s writing called The Berlin Stories which includes Goodbye to Berlin ““ better known to many by the name of its movie adaptation Cabaret.

Do Something different on Tenerife ““ Take Part in a Political Protest
Here’s a new angle about something to do on holiday ““ political tourism. Head into Santa Cruz on the 12th November for the demonstration against the proposed controversial and environmentally dodgy Port of Granadilla (ironically situated next to the bio-climactic village that has been heralded on some green eco travel sites as evidence of Tenerife’s move to embracing green tourism). The protest takes place on Avenida Anaga from midday. Afterwards you can even explore the city; a case of sightseeing and doing something good for Tenerife’s environment in one outing.

Tourism on Tenerife is on the Up
Whilst the dark shadow of another (continuing) recession hangs over the world, it’s smiles and back-slapping on Tenerife as tourist figures continue to look much healthier than last year.
Between June and September official statistics show a 7.3% increase in visitors to Tenerife over the summer months. British holidaymakers registered a huge 21.4% increase. But the biggest increase comes from Eastern Europe with the Russian market increasing by 32.2%.
The upwards trend has affected both north and south areas of the island with the south enjoying an 8.9% increase and the north, after 3 years of registering a downward trend, registering a 3.4% in visitors.

The only negative was the amount of Spanish visitors to Tenerife whose numbers dropped by 9.4% over the summer.

And the reasons for this optimistic surge? Politicians will claim innovative tourist policies (attending travel fairs and the like) and interventions. But we know the real reason that British visitors are at the top of Tenerife’s tourist tree”“ an absolutely shocking summer in Britain.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦The Guardian & Observer Travel Awards
This prestigious event took place on Tenerife recently when the great and the good of the travel industry descended on Tenerife in their shiny evening gowns and sleek DJs…not that the world outside of the island would know much about Tenerife’s role in events.

Some of the local press on Tenerife have described the awards as being ‘a huge success for Tenerife.” At Tenerife Magazine we have to disagree (we make a habit of not running with the pack).

Despite all the stops being pulled out by the Cabildo and Tenerife Tourist Board and despite the fact that guests were ‘treated’ to trips around the island, there was nary a mention online. There were certainly no travel articles praising the island. Nada.

This glitzy event organised by Guardian and Observer rewarded Tenerife’s hospitality with deafening silence. The island may benefit by having adverts in the Guardian and Observer but it’s not quite the same as having positive reports about the island from some of those who attended. It’s almost as though those involved were embarrassed to mention they had actually stayed on Tenerife.

This isn’t the first time that an event on Tenerife involving the travel press has generated very little post-event publicity and the chances are it won’t be the last. Part of this is possibly down to naivety on the part of Tenerife’s officials and politicians (we don’t believe they fully appreciate the image that Tenerife has amongst the travel press in the UK). But ultimately there’s no excuse for treating the hospitality of your hosts with what appears to be disdain.

By not even acknowledging that the awards took place on Tenerife in their Travel Awards 2011 Winners” article, that’s exactly what the Guardian and Observer did.

Posted in News, NewsletterComments (3)

Top Ten-erife Beaches


Whilst it’s fair to say that the beaches on the Canary Islands get better the further east you go, Tenerife has invested a great deal of time and money in the importing, sifting and general manicuring of sand to create beaches which, whilst they may not be the best in the world, are exceedingly pleasant places to be.

1. Las Teresitas, Santa Cruz ““ Archetypal golden tropical beach backed by palm trees and the Anaga Mountains. Great parking facilities; kiosks on the beach have good tapas and cold Doradas; water is gently shelving and perfect for swimming/snorkling and there’s always great people watching.
Downside; if it’s breezy you need a sunbed to escape the fine sandstorm at surface level.
2. Playa Del Duque, Costa Adeje ““ Tucked into a sheltered bay with views of the over developed coast screened off by cliffs. Immaculately clean, soft white sand; elegant changing booths; stylish Hawaiian-style parasols; quality sunbeds and good restaurants in easy flop flop reach.
Downside; quality doesn’t come cheap and your wallet will get burned.
3. El Camisón, Playa de Las Américas ““ Small, sheltered bay located right at the heart of the resort but without that mass tourism feel. Gently shelving golden sand; stylish backdrop provided by the fabulous Sir Anthony Hotel; nice beach bar with shady terrace and grassy knoll for sand-phobes.
Downside; location means it gets very busy in high season.
4. El Puertito, Playa Paraíso ““ Greek-style bay tucked away in a sheltered cove where a sprinkling of white buildings creep down to the shore. Tiny, golden sand beach shelving into crystal, turquoise water where fishing boats gently bob.
Downside; in summer the bay is a magnet for illegal campers and all solitude is lost.

5. Playa Bollullo, La Orotava ““ Idyllic, natural, black sand beach hidden away at the foot of the cliffs and frequented mainly by locals. Way off the radar of most visitors with only a handful of sunbeds for hire, a simple beach café with terrace on the cliffside and plenty of space to stretch out.
Downside; on most days the Atlantic rollers turn paddling into an extreme sport.
6. Las Vistas, Los Cristianos ““ Probably many people’s number one choice; a vast, golden sand beach bridging the join between Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Américas. Easy access from hotels; backed by shops, bars and restaurants; good range of water activities; disabled access and enough space to swing several very large cats.
Downside; regimented rows of sunbeds hog the shore-line leaving a hot gauntlet of Sahara Desert-sized sand to negotiate to the promenade.
7. Playa Jardín, Puerto de la Cruz ““ Long, black sand beach backed by César Manrique-designed gardens, at the foot of the La Orotava Valley. Stunning setting with Mount Teide in the background; good mix of locals and visitors; well served by bars, restaurants and facilities and great people-watching.
Downside; A lack of breakwater means swimming is only for the brave and the stupid and black sand gets blisteringly hot in summer.
8. La Tejita, El Médano ““ Natural, Robinson Crusoe-style, endless white sand beach lapped by azure waters and favoured by those who have an aversion to white bits. Accessible by car and big enough to take every resident of El Médano and still have that away-from-it-all feeling.
Downside; It’s a long walk from El Médano and on windy days (of which there are many) sun bathing is out and sand blasting is in.
9. Playa El Médano, El Médano ““ Natural, golden sand beach right in the centre of the town and the pulsating heart of the community. Buzzing with activity on all but the rarest of bad weather days, El Médano’s town beach is just a deck chair’s width away from a plethora of excellent places to eat, drink and shop.
Downside; Small and busy, space is a premium and then there’s that wind…
10. Playa La Arena, Playa de la Arena ““ A sheltered, black sand beach with a permanent European Blue Flag flying and stunning sunsets. Family-friendly beach in the centre of the resort; super clean facilities; great tapas restaurant with shady terrace right on the beach and a stroll away from shops, bars and restaurants.
Downside; Gets crowded in high season and other than sun bathing, there’s little to do or see.

Apologies to all those beaches that didn’t make my cut ““ you’ll no doubt feature on someone else’s list :)

Posted in Beaches, Top 10'sComments (4)

Fiestas Del Carmen ““ A Wild, Wet and Distinctly Fishy Affair


When I think of fishing and fishermen, I think idyllic streams in the Scottish Highlands where the gentle rushing of water over stones, the hum of bees and the swish of a lone fly fisher’s line blend imperceptibly into the silence; or a quaint Greek harbour where a bearded Adonis sits silently mending his nets to a background soundtrack of cicadas and the tide slapping the boards of lazily bobbing fishing boats.

Cut to Tenerife where these images are shattered by the audible battles of dance music blasting from the speakers of beer stalls and the open air rave; the screams of girls being cannoned by high powered water pistols or thrown from the harbour wall into the chaotic water below; the deafening cacophony of splashing as a thousand hands churn up the harbour waters and the horns of dozens of small fishing boats as the Virgen Del Carmen ( Our Lady of Mount Carmel) takes to the waters for her annual jaunt around the bay.
Welcome to the wild, wet, fishermen’s Fiestas Del Carmen in Puerto de la Cruz.

Puerto de la Cruz may be a thriving tourist centre and one-time premier resort of Tenerife but it has never lost its fishing village roots. Arguably the prettiest natural harbour on Tenerife, Puerto is home to a strong community of fishermen and mariners. Annually they treat the Virgen Del Carmen and San Telmo (Saint Elmo), to whom they feel indebted for their livelihoods, to a trip around the bay in order to ensure safe voyages and full nets for the coming year.

It’s a tradition which takes place in many of the coastal resorts of Tenerife in and around the 16th July; Virgen Del Carmen‘s Feast Day.
A feature of each of them is the central role played by the fishermen who carry the statue of their Saint on their shoulders to her embarkation point, sail her around the headland and then return her safely to her permanent church home amidst fireworks and celebration.
The difference with the fiesta in Puerto de la Cruz is that somewhere in the region of 35,000 – 40,000 people descend on the town for the day turning it into one of Tenerife’s biggest festivals.

I have a sneaky feeling that the weather God is a fisherman at heart because in all the years I have been attending Puerto’s Fiestas Del Carmen, it has always, without exception, been a red hot, cloudless day; regardless of how many days before or after have fallen prey to the cloud that trade winds bring to the north coast in early summer.
And yesterday was no exception.

With Tenerife at the tail end of a heatwave, the harbour saw temperatures tipping 34ºC as the sun beat mercilessly down on the thousands of revellers who took to the harbour waters in their droves to stay cool. Those who preferred to stay on dry land had running battles with high powered water pistols turning Plaza Charco, Calle Perdomo and the Muelle into an arena of water cannon cross-fire where escaping without a soaking was not an option.

With everyone heat exhausted and soaked to the skin (voluntarily or otherwise), the Virgen and San Telmo finally arrived at the harbour where they were given an emotional rendition of Ave Maria before being carried to their waiting boats. A few squeaky bum moments later they were both safely ensconced on board their vessels and heading off towards the horizon. While the party continued to rage, some of us trod our weary way homeward, safe in the knowledge that there would be fresh dorado (bream), cherne (grouper) and chiperones (small squid) for the coming year.

Fact File:
Fiestas Del Carmen take place in Los Cristianos, Bajamar and El Médano.
Some of the larger celebrations are in Santa Cruz and Las Galletas.

Santa Cruz – Friday 16th July 2010 ““ a full programme of music and concerts takes place in the city centre. Mass is held at 6pm in Iglesia de la Concepcion followed by a parade of the statue of the Virgen del Carmen through the city (Plaza de España, Marina, Avenida Marítima) to the harbour at Muella Ribera (near the junction with La Rambla) for embarkation and a trip around the harbour. Fishermen lay a wreath on the water in commemoration of fallen colleagues.
On the Virgen‘s return, she’s paraded back through the city and is greeted in Plaza del España by the traditional firework display.
Another day of celebrations, concerts and festivities follows on Saturday 17th July 2010.

Las Galletas – Sunday 16th July 2010
Amidst a whole week of events which includes parties with live bands from 11pm on the nights of Friday 16th, Saturday17th and Sunday 18th July 2010, the Virgen is taken to sea on Sunday 18th July amidst a noisy flotilla of small fishing boats. On her return at 9.30pm there’s a large fireworks display followed at 11pm by the final party.

Posted in Fiestas & FestivalsComments (6)



Email Newsletter

Tenerife Weather Today

ADVERTISMENT

Events Calendar

  • Events are coming soon, stay tuned!