Tenerife conjures images of sun-burnt shoulders, the wonderfully named ‘Playas de Americas‘ and a cheap ‘runaway’ destination for sun, sea and sand. It is 10 million visitors, booze, bacon and Brits all rolled into one – it’s hedonistic and a little hideous.
Beyond the high-rise all inclusives, cheap booze and 18-21 clubbing is an incredible island and outdoor playground. Secluded volcanic beaches and mysterious cactus plants line walking trails, where the sky and the water fuse into one. At 3,718m, Mt Teide (the highest mountain in Spain) looms above the island and encircles every view-point.
We went to Tenerife for £275pp with flights, half board, x7 nights in a 3* hotel and 20kg of baggage. I booked with Icelolly.com
With a little rental car (very cheap in Tenerife, approximately 40 EUR per person for the week), we had the freedom to explore the island and escape the irony of the ‘package deal’. With 7 days, this blog post is a whirlwind summary of 5 top things to do in Tenerife:
1) Kayaking with Dolphins
We booked with Xplore Tenerife, a small family run business with a base in Escuela de Vela in Los Cristianos. We kayaked for three hours and the interaction with dolphins was incredible! We spotted sea turtles and watched in awe as sweet, gentle and intelligent dolphins rose up and danced beneath the water in celebration of the fishermen throwing out fish snacks (we paddled near fishing boats). The cost of the trip is €39 and involves a great experience near a white water cave!
2) Trekking in Cruz De Carmen
We purchased a book called ‘Walk This Way Tenerife‘. The book was a fantastic resource for organising circular treks to hidden beaches and seeing the pockets of Tenerife away from explosive tourism. Head to Cruz De Carmen as an excellent start point for cliff side walks. €0 for the car park.
3) Siam Park – waterslides!
Nothing can invoke a smile faster than shooting down a waterslide on an inflatable dinghy. With Alex squalling behind me, we were thrown down pitch-black tunnels, chugged through white water rings and propelled up and down fast flowing water chutes. I LOVED IT! Often described as ‘The best water park in the world‘, the cost of Siam Park is €36 and the tickets are available through all agent offices all over Tenerife and directly on the website.
4) Reaching ‘The End of the World‘ on the Island
On the first day of our trip, we drove to Chamorga and embarked on a trek to the furthest, most Eastern point of the Island. Spiky Cactuses and mysterious plants lined the trails. There was a tough ascent/descent and we found a completely deserted beach at the end of the trail! We napped on the beach and listened to the soft sounds of water lapping the volcanic sand. We retraced our steps to climb back up to Chamorga. Car park is €0.
5) Sea-water swimming in Puerto de la Cruz
Situated in the centre of Puerto de la Cruz, Lago Martianez is a collection of 5 luxurious saltwater swimming pools. The site consists of fountains, cascading waterfalls, free sunbeds to relax on and restaurants, snacks and changing facilities. The entry fee for an all day pass is €5.50.
- We flew with Thomas Cook and paid only £275 for a hotel with half board and 20kg of baggage each. The hotel well and truly fell into my philosophy of ‘cheap sleep’. With so much to explore, Perla de Tenerife is a great hotel to use as a base.
- Book with Teletext Holidays or Icelolly.com. The price will display something in the region of ‘£150 for a 7 night getaway‘. Be prepared to pay about £100 more then this. Regardless, it’s still a great cheap break to embark on.
- For spending money, we brought approximately €150pp. With dinners included at the hotel, on most days we had a big breakfast, explored for the day and returned to the hotel for food.
- For the Booking Process, you will be put through to a call centre somewhere in India. It took me about one hour to book and get the package done and dusted. Patience is a virtue.
- If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email or comment here and I’ll be happy to help!