We (my hubby Greg and I) have just come back from a fabulous holiday in sunny Tenerife. We have had a week of temperatures that did not drop below 20C and which were frequently around 32C. It was bliss! Although a couple of the days started out a bit cloudy, they soon cleared up and we did not need jumpers at all.
Tenerife was not quite what I had expected. I had thought it would just be miles and miles of beaches. I had not realised that it is a volcanic island, with the peak of Mount Teide rising to over 3700 metres, making it the highest volcano in Europe. It has an area of around 2000 square metres and has a huge variation of scenery, including some pretty spectacular roads, with hair-pin bends and steep, cliff-side drops.
I have normally associated mountainous areas with snow and cold. Whilst there was snow on the very peak of the Volcano, it was certainly not cold. We did manage one day on the beach, which was the day we were leaving.
We flew from East Midlands Airport to Reina Sofia Airport in Tenerife with Ryanair. I was most impressed with the service on the way out, as we arrived 40 minutes early in Tenerife. We walked easily through passport control with officials giving our passports a mere glance and straight into the baggage reclaim area, where the luggage from our flight was already on the carousel! As we came out into the arrivals hall, right on the minute that our flight should have landed, we walked right into our taxi driver, who arrived exactly as we did! Given that Tenerife is part of Spain, this level of efficiency was not something I would have expected.
CLC Paradise Resort
We stayed in a self-catering apartment in the lovely CLC Paradise Resort on the Costa Adeje in the Southwest part of Tenerife.
When we got to the resort, everything was ready and waiting for us and again flowed smoothly and efficiently. This continued all week. Every bus and coach we went to catch arrived right on the dot, with the exception of one coach and we were informed it was running late.
Taxis and Buses
Taxis are relatively cheap in Tenerife and a good way to get about, as the resort is located on a hill where buses do not really pass. There were usually taxis outside the resort or if not, the staff would cal one for us and it usually appeared within minutes. We mostly used taxis to get to the main bus station in Adeje to catch a bus to further excursions. The taxi fare varied from Euros 3.80 – 5.10, which seemed to be affected by the day and the direction of travel.
The bus service is very efficient and relatively cheap. If you are going to use the buses a lot, then you can buy what is called a Bono card. This is a type of pre-loaded card, whereby you then get discounts on most of the bus fares. There are cards of 15, 25 and 50 Euros, which are valid for up to a year. The Bono Cards did not, however, include the bus up to the Teide Cable Car as this is considered to be a tourist route bus.
Close to the CLC Paradise Resort are a few little shops and bars, as well as a large supermarket and shopping mall. We made good use of the supermarket, as we wanted food for breakfast, for packed lunches and for a couple of evening meals. We got through loads of water and carrying five litre bottles of water up the hill was a good test of muscle strength. The supermarket offered very useful bags, which had two sets of straps on them – one to carry the bag by hand and the other to carry it on your shoulder. What a great idea!
There are two on-site restaurants at CLC Paradise and we made good use of both of them.
It was a wonderful holiday, with plenty of walking, although some of it was rather hard as we were walking in temperatures of over 30 C degrees. I suppose it is quite true to say that “Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun!” Yes, that was us!
We went on an organised excursion to the Teide National Park, including Masca and to the Island of La Gomera, off the Tenerife coast. We had booked the first one before we went and booked the second one while we were there. The other days out, including The Teide Volcano Cable Car, The Pyramids of Guimar and the Barranco del Infierno walk, we organised ourselves and used the local bus service.
On the last day we walked along the beaches at Los Christianos and Playa de Las Americas before getting a taxi back to the airport.
Airports and Travel
You can tell that you are in an airport when two bottles of water and three bags of sweets cost nearly 17 Euros! The incoming plane was late and then we watched the first bit of Spanish inefficiency that we had seen all holiday. When they tried to connect the moving passenger tunnel to the door of the plane, they found that it did not reach, so the pilot had to get all the jet engines up and running again in order to roll the plane forward about a metre. The people on board the aircraft must have wondered what on earth was happening!
We had an interesting experience with getting through the Security checks at Tenerife South Airport. Both Greg and I got stopped going through the scanner. The trays with our items were taken to one side and we had to follow, one on each side of the security area. I was scanned again with a piece of paper, that created a red blob on the screen. When I asked what they were looking for, I was told, they were scanning for explosives. The security guard asked me what I was wearing in the form of skincare or suncare product. He seemed quite surprised when I told him it was my trusty Coconut Oil. This was the first time that Greg had any on skin because we had used it as an after sun cream on his sunburn.
With nothing else changing, the security guard then scanned me again and the machine went yellow this time and we were allowed to collect our possessions and go through. Bizarre!
We boarded the aeroplane at around 6.30pm, in brilliant sunshine, with temperatures around 24C. As we approached East Midlands Airport at around 11.20pm, all the people around us started layering up with jumpers, jogging bottoms and thick socks. On arriving in England, the temperature was 10C and it was cloudy! It was a bit of a temperature shock to get off the plane.
Although we left late, the pilot had managed to make up time, so we landed punctually. At around 9pm, we were flying alongside a gorgeous sunset, that lit up the whole sky.
In contrast to the efficiency of the outward journey, the arrival back in East Midlands Airport was not so brilliant. Passport control consisted on two card reader machines for all of UK and EU passports together, which was accessed by walking backwards and forwards between barrier ribbons, and four people behind windows to inspect all other passports!
Having previously experienced these machines and their inability to read our passports, we, along with a lot of other tired travellers, decided to take the shorter, quieter route of people-operated passport control.
When we got through the baggage reclaim, the luggage from another, slightly later flight was already on the carousels, although the people had not come through passport control, and ours was nowhere to be seen, even though all the passengers from our flight had safely navigated passport control.
I decided to use the Ladies toilets, only to find there was no toilet paper and the automatic flush mechanism was not working. Welcome to Britain!
At least the bus for our car park was waiting outside, which was good. On leaving the car park, we had a little bit of a scare, as the barrier did not automatically open. We had to contact the help desk, who eventually let us out.
We got home just after 1am, having had an awesome time. The next day we got up to a cloudy, bleak day in Tamworth and felt so cold that we had to put the heating on!
There is so much to see and do in Tenerife and we really only scratched the surface. I would certainly go back again. I would like to explore the North of the Island and also to spend more time walking and taking photographs on La Gomera.
A week was not enough!