things to do in tenerife

DestinationsEurope

3 Unique Things to do in Tenerife

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From star gazing to whale watching, check out these unique things to do in Tenerife and get planning your next visit. 

 

Did you know that star gazing in Tenerife is a big deal? Fancy whale and dolphin watching on a luxury yacht? Or maybe you prefer to visit authentic Tenerife instead? I visited Tenerife on a couple of occasions and like many, I went to enjoy the sunshine. I was aware that one of the world’s best water parks, Siam Park, is in Tenerife, as is Spain’s highest mountain, Mount Teide, but it was only recently that I realised there were so many unique things to do in Tenerife. 

I spoke to fellow hodophile Frances Ryan, who has visited Tenerife on many occasions. It was great to talk to her about some of experiences and she kindly wrote guest posts for me on some of the unique things to do in Tenerife. Here are her favourites.
 

 

 

Star Gazing in Tenerife:

Tenerife is one of three designated protected star gazing locations in the world. Yes this came as a surprise to me too! Take a trip to Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, for an evening of discovery. This trip is easily accessible from most resorts in Tenerife and should not be missed if you have a remote interest in the night sky. A word of warning, you will be star gazing at an altitude of 2400 meters so make sure to bring warm clothing! Read more about star gazing in Tenerife by clicking here.

star gazing, one of the many things to do in tenerife
Photo Credit Turismo de Tenerife

Read more here
 

 

 

Dolphin and Whale Watching in Tenerife:

Located in Puerto Colon, just a 20 minute walk along the sea front from Playa de las Americas, is White Tenerife Sea Charter. They arrange numerous boat tips but one of their favourites is dolphin and whale watching, which appeals to young and old alike. The White Tenerife yachts are state of the art and take up to eleven passengers, which makes for a very personalised experience and must be one of the top things to do in Tenerife. Expect to see pilot whales and bottle nose dolphins as well as a chance to jump into the sea for a brief swim.  Read more about whale watching in Tenerife here.

whale watching, one of the many things to do in tenerife
Photo Credit Turismo de Tenerife

Read more here
 

 

 

Go off the beaten track and visit Garachico

Once the main port of Tenerife, Garachico was wealthy and busy in the 15th and 16th centuries, the spectacular buildings in the town are evidence of this. The town is really well kept and the village square, Plaza de la Libertad, is where you will find the town hall and Garachico’s remarkable church. Make sure you bring your swimming togs too, the natural rock pools (El Caleton), are a major attraction on this coastline. Read more about visiting Garachico here.

visit garachico in tenerife

Read more here
 

 

 
Next time you visit Tenerife, why not leave the sun lounger for the day and try something completely different. These unique things to do in Tenerife are evidence that there is more to this Canary Island than sun and sandy beaches. 

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

DestinationsEurope

Dolphin And Whale Watching In Tenerife with White Tenerife Sea Charter

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The next time you visit Playa de Las Americas, leave the swimming pool and sun lounger behind for the day and go whale watching in Tenerife with White Tenerife Sea Charter.

 

Sometimes the best way to see an island such as Tenerife is offshore, from the Atlantic ocean which surrounds the Canary Islands. We set off dolphin and whale watching in Tenerife with the White Tenerife crew. Located in Puerto Colon, they are only a 20 minute walk along the sea front promenade from Playa de Las Americas resort. The morning was beautiful, the sky was clear blue and the sun was starting to warm the stones and at 9.30 in the morning, it was a nice temperature of 20 degrees.


 

 

 
Puerto Colon is a compact leisure sailing marina, on the Adeje side of  Las Americas. Loredana, the company’s office manager in the port, gave us a warm welcome and sent us to ‘Pier 0’, where our skipper, Paco, was readying the yacht to set out to sea. The White Tenerife yachts are state of the art and take up to eleven passengers, which makes for a very personalised experience. You are not meant to wear footwear on wooden decked ships as it can damage the wood, so we all left our shoes in a crate onshore. Our fellow passengers were very pleasant, a family from the Netherlands and a young couple from London on their first holiday together!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The ocean around Tenerife reaches huge depths very close to shore and this is attractive to pilot whales (‘calderon tropical’ in Spanish, of the orca family) and so we set out to a spot 2o3 nautical miles out in to the Atlantic where the sea reaches a depth of 1000 metres. This is where the whales feed on giant squid (up to 6 metres long).
 

 

 
After about half an hour we located a school of six whales which Paco was familiar with. The group consists of five males and one female. The matriarch “grandmother’, is the leader of the school and she leads the male whales. The whales relax during the day after feeding at night, so they were resting just under the surface of the waves with their dorsal fins emerging from the water (the males have a more pointed fin while the females have a more rounded fin).
 

whale watching in tenerife
Photo Credit Turismo de Tenerife

 

 

 
It was exciting to see them as close up as two or three metres while Paco skilfully brought the yacht up alongside them (they will take fright if they are approached from behind or from the front) and after cutting out the engine for a few minutes, the whales let themselves float towards us. Every couple of minutes they surface to breathe through their blowholes and the whooshing sound is the only one you can hear against the sound of the waves. These whales measure up to seven metres long. Paco pointed out the visible scars along the length of their bodies sustained from the giant squid tentacles of the squid defending themselves from the whales.
 

 

 
After enjoying the presence of these majestic animals our yacht approached the coast in search of dolphins which frequent the area in pursuit of fish. Unlike the pilot whales which stay in the place they feed, dolphins travel around in pursuit of fish so it is harder to find them. You will only see dolphins if there are fish which have come in during the previous night for them to hunt and we were privileged to come across twelve bottle nosed dolphins who put on a playful display of jumps and somersaults for us. It must be true that dolphins are sociable because it felt like they were communicating with us and they were certainly aware of our presence. It was exhilarating to watch them.


 

 

 
Our whale watching in Tenerife trip was all about seeing the animals, but White Tenerife also drop anchor close to the coastline for those who want to jump into the sea for a few minutes. They supply a salad roll and a beer during that stop and you step back on to terra firma three hours after leaving the harbour. We loved the outing and felt a deeper appreciation of the island in a more three dimensional way than before.

 

 

 
This is a guest post by Frances Ryan, an Irish girl who is a regular visitor to Tenerife. For more information on dolphin or whale watching in Tenerife, visit TenerifeSeaCharter.com

 

Like this post? You might like:

Star Gazing in Tenerife

Go off the beaten track in Tenerife and Visit Garachico

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

DestinationsEurope

Star Gazing in Tenerife – How And Why You Should Do It.

star gazing in tenerife

Everyone loves a starry sky at night, but star gazing in Tenerife from Spain’s highest mountain, is remarkable. Get a different view of the Canary Islands on Mount Teide, 2,400 metres above sea level.

 

I asked Frances Ryan, a regular visitor to the Canary Islands, about her recommendations on things to do in Tenerife. One of her suggestions was star gazing on Mount Teide, a trip which is accessible from all holiday resorts in Tenerife. As one of the three best places in the world to observe the sky, star gazing in Tenerife is something special…

 

 

 
We were picked up from near our hotel by Volcano Teide Experience (the company which operates the cable car at the top of Teide), for our night time adventure. After a few brief stops while we collected people from other hotels, we were on our way. We reached the top after about 50 minutes’ drive from the coast, through the clouds to a dazzlingly clear blue sky and brilliant sun.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Our trip included a visit to the astronomic observatory on Teide. This spot and the neighbouring island of La Palma are one of three designated protected star gazing locations (dark sky reserve) in the world. Incidentally, the other two in Chile and in Hawaii. No aircraft can fly over the area and there is no light pollution – the altitude provides optimum conditions to study the sky.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The observatory has many telescopes owned by countries (UK, Germany, Belgium) and companies to research areas of cosmic microwave, infrared, solar and nocturnal skies. The oldest telescope, from the 1960’s, is actually their most productive one, the one which is used the most. While we were there, physicists from University College Dublin were carrying out work on this telescope.
 

 

 
As the sun set, so did the cold! TOP TIP: At an altitude of 2,400 metres, cold winds gave us a feel of -10 degrees, so if you are visiting make sure to take thermal clothing and wrap up. We then were driven to the cable car area where we could warm up with coffee and hot chocolate, while our guide Jesus and his colleagues set up the observation activity in the car park.

star gazing in tenerife
Photo Credit Turismo de Tenerife

 

 

 
They cut off all lighting in the car park to see the sky better and handed out blankets which we all welcomed. After showing us some of the constellations in the sky such as Orion and stars such as the North Pole Star, we then took turns viewing, through a powerful telescope, a new star (which was blue because of gases) a binary star (two joined stars) and part of the Milky Way.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The guides were enthusiastic and fun. The experience of the sky at night, which we don’t often take time to look at, was fascinating and humbling in its sheer scale and enormity.  This trip can be arranged through all holiday resorts on the island, so why not try star gazing in Tenerife during your next visit. 
 

 

 

Star gazing in Tenerife is only one of many tours and activities available on Mount Teide. There is also a cable car available if you just want to go to the top and explore on your own, during the day. For more details visit VolcanoTeide.com

 

Like this post? You might like:

Dolphin and whale watching in Tenerife

Go off the beaten track in Tenerife, Visit Garachico

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

DestinationsEurope

Go Off The Beaten Track in Tenerife, Visit Garachico

garachico

I asked a regular visitor to the Canary Islands, about going off the beaten track in Tenerife, she recommended that I visit Garachico, maybe you should too!

 

Before modern tourism started in the south of the island in the 1960’s the main towns were based in the north. The damper climate makes for good conditions to grow fruit and vegetables and over the years allowed for a steady agricultural activity. A visit to the main old towns and villages of the north of the island give a cultural and historical perspective to Tenerife. An interesting day trip if you want to take a break from the beach, is to visit Garachico. Once the main port of Tenerife the town was wealthy and busy in the 15th and 16th centuries. Sugarcane and rum were shipped to mainland Europe, Britain and America. Beautiful and spectacular buildings in the town tell us of that prosperous past.

visit garachico
 

 

How to get there.

A taxi from Playa de Las Americas or Los Cristianos will cost around €70 one way. An alternative is to take the public bus with the Titsa company. These buses serve the local population in the little towns and villages and so there are many stops on the way. This route climbs up the side of the volcano Teide mountain (the highest mountain in all of Spain) and has spectacular and awe inspiring views of the coast and the Atlantic ocean. The locals call a bus a “guagua” and the bus station is “la estación de guaguas”. The one serving the resorts is Estacion de guaguas de Adeje. Buy a Tenmas card in the station for €2 and you top it up as you go along. The fare to Garachico (via Icod) is €12.50 return (bus no. 460 to Icod and then number 363 to Garachico). Buses leave for this route more or less every 2 hours. The journey takes around and hour and forty minutes. You transfer to another bus at the town of Icod for the ten minute trip to Garachico.
 

 
In Garachico get off at the old harbour. The disused warehouse on the quays used to house the farmers’ co-op and here local produce was packed for transport to the other islands and mainland Spain. Next to it, on the seafront, is the San Miguel castle, a defence fortress to protect the town.
 

 
This is a quiet town compared to the bustle of the resorts in the south. It now has a population of 5,000. It has a surprisingly large parish church, Santa Ana, which was built in the 16th century. The architecture of the older towns and cities of the Canary Islands is very reminiscent of architecture you might see in South America.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Christopher Columbus stopped at the Canary Islands (Tenerife and Gran Canaria) several times for supplies on his way from Europe to discover America. The Spanish and Canary Islanders took their influence to America and brought back with them American crops such as tobacco, potatoes and tomatoes.

The town’s fortunes changed after volcanic eruptions in the 17th century filled the port with lava flows and traders started to use the port of Puerto de la Cruz.
 

 

What to see and do when you visit Garachico  

The town is really well kept and conserved. When you visit Garachico make sure you bring your swimming togs and check out the natural rock pools (El Caleton), which are a major attraction on this coastline. The village square, Plaza de la Libertad, is the central point of the town where the powers of authority (the town hall and the church) are located. The hotel La Quinta Roja is worth a visit for its tastefully renovated 16th century architecture, the former home of the Marquis of the Red Inn.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Where to eat when you visit Garachico  

For lunch we looked up a traditional Canary cuisine eatery, Bar Tasca Los Pinos. We had, and recommend, the grilled cheese (queso asado), the garlic prawns (gambas al ajillo), small green peppers (pimientos de padrón) and grilled cuttlefish (choco a la plancha). Our bill was €39 for two, including a half litre of wine which was only €5.00!

Bar Tasca Los Pinos, Garachico
 

 
Go off the beaten track during your next holiday in Tenerife and visit Garachico. It is a lovely way to see the authentic Tenerife and a nice break from the hotel pool!

 

Special thanks to fellow Irish travel hodophile Frances Ryan for writing this post. Frances is a lover of Spain and a regular visitor to Tenerife.
 

 

Like this post? You might like:

Dolphin and Whale Watching in Tenerife

Star Gazing in Tenerife

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

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