Edit Blog Post
Published: January 22nd 2006
With the snow and cold of Germany in winter and no chance of going back to San Diego for Christmas, Kate and I decided to find a warm place to go during Christmas. Our local travel agent suggested either Egypt or the Canary Islands. Since we prefer islands to sand we choose to go to the island of Tenerife, a Spanish possession for over 500 years. We were going to arrange our trip to be gone over Christmas but the travel agent informed us that 1) there was a 200 Euro ($240) per person surcharge for staying over Christmas and 2) he found a special deal for a week at a very nice resort, including airfare, transfer to and from the resort, breakfast and dinner each day, and located two blocks from the beach, plus a car rental for three days for a little over $1000. The only drawback to the special deal was that we would arrive back in Germany around midnight Christmas Eve. We decided to go for it.
Tenerife, is an island in the Canary Islands chain, which consists of a group of seven major islands of which Tenerife is the largest and six smaller ones
in the Atlantic Ocean, lying between 60 - 190 miles off the northwestern coast of Africa, a few degrees North of the Tropic of Cancer. Mount Teide, Tenerife’s largest mountain, a little over 12,000 feet, effectively splits the island in two. The cooler northern part is a lush tropical paradise with banana plantations and palm trees. In contrast the south of the island is hot and dry with almost a desert like landscape. Tenerife claims that it has four different climate zones: hot desert-like zones, rainforests, lush, verdant valleys and striking lunar panoramas.
Now that we have all the history and general information out of the way, we can tell you what our trip was like. We found Tenerife to be a combination of Waikiki, intermixed with some Tijuana, and a little Arizona throw in for good measure. Tenerife appears to have four different climate zones as stated above. Although we did not see much lush rain forests (although it did rain one day - all day long), there are lots of beautiful sunny beaches with the most modern and luxurious resorts and “expensive” name brand shops like Arami and Rolex along the boardwalk, lots of banana and tomato
Our Resort - Riu Adeje
A very nice resort about two blocks from the beach.
plantations, a lot of which are completely covered with huge burlap tents, vineyards whose vines are grown much closer to the ground (18” to 24”) than we have ever seen before, lots of volcanic rock everywhere and lots of fences constructed of field rock. Interspaced between the resorts, plantations and rocky areas are a good number of lots just filled with trash. There is a tremendous building boom going on in Tenerife of which we find somewhat hard to comprehend as the island is already running out of fresh water. There is a desalination plant on the island but to emphasize a point, this was the first resort we have every stayed at that specifically stated that all water from all faucets were non-potable. Also, this was the first place where drinkable water was more expensive than gasoline. Gas was about $0.90 a liter where as drinkable water was about $1.30 a liter. There are roughly 4 liters per gallon (actually 3 7/8 liters). It was also interesting to note that on Tenerife, an island full of banana plantations, bananas in the local supermarket was more expensive than in most German markets.
Driving around Tenerife was a very different
The resort had a nice pool. The buildings surrounding the pool are the various accommodations at the resort. It made the resort look like its own village.
experience. Imagine a very steep mountainous island. There is a pretty good road that circles the island but to get to Mount Teide you have to drive up to the top of the island. It takes about an hour to get to the top as you have switchbacks every couple hundred yards or so and lots of tour busses you get to dodge on the road. After an hour of zigzagging we were so glad to get out of the car even though the temperature was a little above 30 at the base of Mount Teide. We decided to drive down the other side of the island (another hour of switchbacks and again ducking huge tour busses) to visit Loro Parque, which was very enjoyable, and we would recommend it to anyone visiting the island.
Our resort, Riu Adeje Hotel & Resort, was quite nice and convenient to both beach and shops. The breakfast and dinner buffets, including in our travel package, were excellent. Almost every morning they would make us fresh juice in blenders, and we had a choice from an international breakfast selection. The evening meal was always a different theme, Mexican, European, etc. The desert buffet
was phenomenal. I gained 5 pounds that week just from the deserts alone.
Although it was enjoyable being back in the warm weather again, neither Kate nor I would go back. Except for lying around the beach or pool, shopping, or visiting Loro Parque, there wasn’t much to see or do. Kate and I love to learn and see the history of the place and although there is definitely history in Tenerife it is quickly being swallowed up by huge resorts and even larger apartment and condo complexes going up. Tourists from all over Europe fly into Tenerife and are immediately put on special buses that take them directly to their resorts or hotels. There they lay around the pool or beach like beached whales, do some shopping and at the end of their week stay the sunburned tourists are bussed back to the airport dumped off and the buses await the next inbound flight from Europe. Maybe all vacation tours are that way but this was extremely streamlined and efficient.
Tot: 1.1s; Tpl: 0.108s; cc: 12; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0366s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb