Going to the Canary Island was a total last second holiday. We were casually searching for stuff online, when, all of the sudden, G asks me: "Hey, why don't we go somewhere nice?"
With massive grins, we both picked up the laptops and started racing who finds the cheapest, most last second holiday. After 15 minutes of searching around, we found a seven day trip to the Canary Islands. The flight was due in like 12 hours, so we thought that's plenty of time to get ready and go. Unfortunately, the operator didn't allow us to book it as the flights were due in less than 24 hours, so we had to book something else instead. We found a bargain for a week in Tenerife with departure time in just over 24 hours. It was May, still a little bit chilly in the northern side of the island, but warm enough to drop the long sleeve and take a nice hike in your shorts. Even without lots of beach time, we found plenty of things to do in Tenerife.
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Accommodation in Tenerife
We booked tickets with EasyJet from Bristol and a cheap 3-star hotel called Pez Azul. This was our view from the hotel room.
We stayed in the Northern part of the island, in the area called Puerto de la Cruz. If you want to make the most out of the sun and sandy beaches Tenerife has to offer, I strongly suggest you pay a little extra and locate yourself in the Southern part of the Island. We found the Northern part quite cloudy most of the time, thus a little chillier than we would have liked.
The Canary Islands have a fair share of tourists every year, which means they aren't cheap. It's still a holiday destination, although you don't have to dine out every night. You can get yourself an apart-hotel and cook breakfast and lunch every day. This will save you a lot of money.
Transportation in Tenerife
Their transportation is called Titsa. They are pretty punctual, reliable and cheap. If for whatever reason you can't rent a car, then this is your choice to travel around the island. We used Titsa to get to La Caldera where we hiked, and also to visit Tenerife's capital: Santa Cruz. You can ask almost any local for directions to the bus stop and they can even help you understand the timetable.
Sadly, Tenerife has a lot of cockroaches. Although I loved Tenerife, I did have some mini panic attacks when walking in the dark. At twilight, these horribly big beasts start to come out from everywhere. I'm really roachofobic, so this is my idea of hell.
I found myself staring at the ground more than looking up when walking around the cities. If you are just as disgusted of them as I am, then I recommend you ditch your sandals for a nice pair of trainers. This kept me at ease, at least a little bit, although still scared not to step on them. Don't worry, I won't post a picture of these horrible beasts, but I must say, I did find them everywhere. I even saw them on the walls, gah!
Moving on to a nicer topic: There are plenty of hiking opportunities around the island, you don't necessarily have to hike to the very top of Mt. Teide. You will find fantastic flora around and some very nice, secluded paths through the forest.
If you are planning on hiking to the top of Teide, please bear in mind that you need to apply for a permit in advance. I recommend you apply about a month or more before your visit to avoid disappointment. The permit itself is free and you can apply via this link. Don't try and turn up without a permit as you won't be allowed to the top. Also, remember to carry your passport with you too for identification.
Food in Tenerife
If you love seafood, then Tenerife is most certainly the place for you. We found this brilliant restaurant called Tambo. It's just by the Playa Maria Jiménez, in Puerto de la Cruz. These guys have the best seafood platters on the planet. Really, I cannot stress enough how amazing their food is. We ended up going there almost every evening. They are not the cheapest, but their fresh food is worth every penny.
When in Tenerife, don't rush to get an all-inclusive accommodation. Part of the beauty is the exploration part. We found a couple of supermarkets full of exotic fruits, freshly baked bread, wonderful sweets and ready-made kind prawns for you to just eat. That's how we ate breakfast and lunch every day. Our hotel was basically made out of lots of apartments, so we had facilities to store and even cook food.
On the Northern part of the island, the beaches are made of volcanic sand. This means you will be sunbathing on black sand, which is pretty unusual and super cool. You will find plenty of touristy shops which sell silver jewellery with bits of volcanic rock in them. You can also find rocky bracelets and pendants which look really beautiful. Who needs magnets when you can buy something quite unique?
If you are interested in partying, I think Costa Adeje or Los Cristianos is a better bet than the North side of the island. You will also enjoy much warmer weather and normal, desert-like sands.
This is of course not an exhaustive list of what you need to know when planning a trip to Tenerife, but I believe it contains some very important information to help you make the wisest decisions. I had a great time and I would love to go back and explore more of Tenerife's terrain.
Next time, I will get some super high top boots though (or a space suit...), so I won't have to worry about creepy crawlies. I will also do less beaching and more hiking for sure.