Top Ten Tips for First Time Visitors to Tenerife

Wed, November 30th, 2011 - By Andrea Montgomery

Choose the right resort for you. Tenerife has many different resorts, most of them dotted around its south and south west coastline, and each has its own individual character. If you want to see the best of Tenerife, you have to know which resort would suit you best.

Have realistic expectations. If you book one of the purpose built resorts such as Playa de Las Américas, Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes, Playa de la Arena or Costa del Silencio, don’t be surprised to find All Day English Breakfasts and Karaoke and little in the way of Canarian culture. By the same token, don’t book a holiday in Garachico and expect nightly cabaret,  and discos ’til dawn.

Know your cebollas (onions). Although English is widely spoken in hotels and restaurants across Tenerife, the first language of Tenerife is Spanish. But it’s not Spanish as you may know it from your Costa del Sol vacations. Canarios speak Spanish with a pronounced accent that can be almost impossible to understand – even Spanish mainlanders struggle.

Tea bags and beans. Unless you really want to pay double your airfare in excess luggage charges, don’t fill the cases with familiar products and brands. If you’re self catering or have a baby in the family, it’s worth going to the nearest hypermarket where you’ll find everything you need, including many of your favourite brands or perfectly good alternatives.

Hiring a car. Driving on Tenerife can be an absolute joy and is by far, the best way to explore the island without wasting precious holiday time waiting for buses or touring every hamlet en route to the next town. But like anywhere, it pays to know a little about local habits before you let the handbrake off so do a little online research.

Timeshare touts. If you’re strolling the promenade and someone offers you a scratch card for free, either accept that you’re about to win some incredible prize and get the timeshare pitch, or give a polite refusal and keep walking.

Beware of clouds. It’s said that the sun is always shining somewhere on the island, but if it isn’t shining where you are, take care, the sun’s rays will still get through the clouds. Just because your skin doesn’t feel hot doesn’t mean it isn’t burning. I see more beet faces and angry shoulders on cloudy days than I ever do on sunny ones.

On the buses. Titsa run an efficient and economical public transport service that will take you most places across the island, albeit at a rather slow pace. If you’re travelling from north to south, look for the ‘sin parada‘ service which is the express.

Foreign food. If you’re staying in a traditional resort like Puerto de la Cruz or Buenavista del Norte, don’t be nervous about taking the family to a Canarian restaurant. You’ll find roast chicken, steak, pork chops and grilled fish are the staples and everyone loves the little papas arrugadas, even kids.

Mistaken identity. Fiercely protective of their island identity, don’t make the mistake of referring to islanders as Spanish. Call them that and you’ll get a resolute “Somos Canarios!” ( we’re Canarios!) in response.

Posted : Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Category : about tenerife
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