Tenerife Nightlife La Orotava Style

Fri, January 7th, 2011 - By Jack Montgomery

Twice in the last week we’ve visited La Orotava, Tenerife’s most aristocratic town, after dark and both times have been completely seduced by the town’s transformation when the sun goes down.

Just a few minutes drive from the northern tourist resort of Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava’s historic streets bustle in daylight hours with a mix of residents and tourists bussed in to be enchanted by the town’s colonial mansions and immaculate gardens. However at night, after the coach excursions are long gone, La Orotava is no less busy.
When the antiquated street lamps go on in the old town, turning the cobbles golden, and the lighting in shops reveal original fashions and artistic window displays that would put some modern art exhibitions to shame, La Orotava offers an Aladdin’s cave of treasures to explore.

Our first nocturnal visit was to see the Christmas lights which, like everything else in the old town, are often in a different league to other places on Tenerife; Barcelona as compared to, dare I say it, CD Tenerife. The café below the bandstand at Plaza de la Constitución is a prime people watching spot at the best of times, but over the festive season it’s like sitting in the middle of a Christmas box. This year there was the added bonus of a ‘wow’ inducing display of sculptures by gifted local artist, Julio Nieto.

His mesmerising metal creations, sensuous and slightly disturbing, added a slice of surrealism to the festive panorama. That’s La Orotava; historic in character but also with a thriving contemporary cultural scene.

Our second night time visit was on the 5th January for the Tres Reyes parade. It’s Spain’s version of Christmas Eve, the night when the three kings bring presents to the country’s children. Traditional towns celebrate this with a flamboyant parade. Whilst the serious pageants, watched by thousands upon thousands of people, are in Tenerife’s bigger towns and cities like La Laguna and Santa Cruz, resorts including Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes, Puerto Santiago and Playa de la Arena also hold smaller affairs.

La Orotava’s is one of the bigger parades and the kings arrived on camels preceded by fire jugglers, Roman centurions, Egyptians, toga togged nymphs, Shakira-esque harem dancers and…Disney characters (not sure I remember Donald Duck being in the stable).

After watching the parade, squeezed between hordes of local children who screamed the names of each of the three kings with as much gusto as if they were visiting rock stars, we decided some nourishment was needed. But the town’s tempting tapas bars were packed to capacity and more. Plates of cheese and olives on wine barrel tables combined with rows of hams hanging from beamed ceilings taunted and teased our empty stomachs, but there was no room at the inn, any inn.

In the end we gave up and headed for home. Just means we’ll have to go back another time to explore La Orotava’s atmospheric restaurants; maybe at a less busy time…if there ever is one.

Posted : Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Category : festivals & carnivals
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One Response to “Tenerife Nightlife La Orotava Style”

  1. […] Some of his other sculptures are products of a vivid and fantastical imagination that clearly knows no bounds. So it was with childlike delight that we discovered a street exhibition of his work in La Orotava’s plaza when we visited between Christmas and New Year. […]

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