Tenerife, The Island With An Identity Crisis

Now don’t get me wrong, jetting off to Tenerife for a whole week with some great friends was a blast. I had the best time and was too out of it to pitch in any complaints about the devastating effect tourism has had on the south of the island.  The level of sophisticated architecture is below zero, every building seemed as if it had drawn it’s inspiration from a variation of Cycladic, Spanish, Grand Theft Auto style and British warehouse designs. (Skip to the end for the gory clubbing details)

Beach

All the beaches in the south of Tenerife are man made, so you won’t get that breathtakingly beautiful natural cove that no one else has discovered but you will fine some very striking golden sanded beaches with some amazing shades of blue. The water tends to be choppy so not ideal for snorkeling. Some beaches are so cut off by wavebreakers that fish do collect amongst the rocks close to the shore. The waters are filled with life and not too many cigarette butts either. What surprised me though is just how little sand there is on the beach, just about deep enough to cover my hand. Some beaches vary in clarity and sand quality but even the uglier looking ones were sufficient for a good swim and catching some rays.

Food

There were hardly any Spanish or Canarian dining options even though I browsed frantically every day up and down the pedestrian path.

A word of advice, don’t look too hard as once we were bribed in by a restaurant rep stealing our beach ball and sat down there were a few tapas and paella options on the menu. We were promised the fish was fresh and it tasted good however you can never be too sure with the food in Tenerife. The safest thing to go for is probably a premade and reheated pizza, the ones I had where fairly cheap and were a lot better than expected. There is no in between expensive and cheap restaurants however so be prepared to cook yourself something for lunch if you want to avoid spending your money unnecessarily. Supermarkets were reasonable

So whilst strolling along the dated beach path, you notice the south of Tenerife really doesn’t seem to have a particular desire to be anything in particular. There are too many palm trees. Yes I couldn’t believe what I was thinking either, there are too many palm trees in Playa de las Americas. Due to the fact there are so many they lose their effect. They end up looking like more of a weed. Apart from the Coconut Palms, which I saw for the first time. The coast is damaged by endless numbers of Steak Houses/Pizzerias and none of the meat I had at any of the restaurants was worth writing home about. To add to that there wasn’t anything worth buying for those back home either. Usually I’ll settle for a good fridge magnet, but not a decently made one to be found.

What was good was the relatively new water park, Siam Park. It’s probably the best water park in Europe/Africa. The best ride was the dragon in my opinion, completely unexpected as while you are queuing you have no idea what the ride will be like as your vision is blurred by tons of trees. Then you go through a tube and when you least expect it are thrown out into a huge bowl going from side to side uncontrollably. The transport in Tenerife also deserves to be applauded 14 euros will get you a return ticket to Santa Cruz from Costa Adeje from the main bus station next to the impressive Magma Theatre. 

Santa Cruz 

The journey to Santa Cruz was very enjoyable, it was amusing seeing bus stops in the middle of what seemed like nowhere and people getting off and wandering into the desert. Whilst passing hills filled with cactus’ you stumble past slums which are brightly painted and you almost get the feeling you’ve been shipped to Latin America. It’s quite enchanting.

Arriving into the city initially it’s easy to be underwhelmed by the suburbs only when you pull into the central bus station and see the Auditorio de Tenerife is when your curiosity starts to grow. Out of all of the blurred confusion and Identity crisis which clouds the south of the island, the confusion is still present in the capital yet Santa Cruz manages to draw together all the fragments of Tenerife’s mixed history well. It takes a while to find it’s essence but after about an hour of walking aimlessly it’s easy to stumble into a green plaza surrounded by apartments where the locals stroll carelessly by. The city is clean and striking, looks like it’s brand new. I’ll do a proper post on the city later on.

Nightlife

Now to the clubs, the Veronica Strip back down south is a truly…. unique, met some interesting characters, there is a variety of clubs and bars, the strip itself is quite small. I would recommend ‘envy’ for starting off staff not pushy at all. The reps are brilliant at convincing you into their bars just keep walking and speak in different languages to avoid them. ‘Joyce’ was good for dancing, ‘Anthony’s bar’ had the best deals on drinks and we heard many things about Tramps yet never actually got the chance. ‘Level’ had some great foam parties but be warned your eyes will sting like mad and there is a possibility if a girl leans in for a kiss she will bite as I had the displeasure of finding out. The crowd seemed older roughly 18-27 so best to go with a large group. We went on a bar crawl which was rather expensive but thankfully the majority of the crowd was around our age.

Unfortunately no Europeans in the clubs, everyone was from the UK. I was hoping to meet some people from other countries but it didn’t end up happening. Whilst happily waddling through the street at 4:30 you realize it’s quite safe as there are plenty of police patrolling the area from a distance, yet that didn’t stop me nearly getting mugged by some span-yards who looked like they were on drugs.

Another unexpected highlight was the Africans guarding the toilets forcing you to cough up your precious euros in exchange for dry hands after washing. Another thing you should be warned about is how the music in Tenerife is not great, after  you’ve had some drinks everything seems fine, but every night pretty much every DJ would lay down the same lines, same jokes and same music. There was hardly any house music available to my disappointment however you grow to love the songs you hate. 

The last highlight of the trip was ‘whale watching’, pilot whales specifically. Not really whales at all more like dolphins yet they were very friendly and come right up close to the boat. Boat had shade and was spacious, with an open bar and paella. I think the boat we took was called MaxiCat? So that the dolphins natural behavior isn’t disturbed you aren’t allowed to spend an awful lot of time with them but according to what time of the year you go other whales and dolphins can also be seen.

So that’s the summary of my time in Tenerife. I missed the chance to see the botanical gardens and the traditional village of La Ortova but i guess you don’t really do those things on a guys holiday. I was quite lucky they let me get away with whale watching and Santa Cruz, I couldn’t have gone with a better group of people. Met some hilarious personalities had a lot of first and last time experiences and will hold the memories closely to my heart and mind for the rest of my life. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about it and keep posted as there will be more to come.

Chris

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2 responses to Tenerife, The Island With An Identity Crisis

  1. Ahh..the pictures are awesome but I think I understood your disappointment. but at least you had a lot of fun 😀 i hope you guys got a tanned 😉 i didnt know the beach were man made tho. too bad about the fishes…maybe they need to work more on the beach but it doesnt look too bad tho 😀 I always love your pictures they look so awesome. 🙂

    • Chris – Author

      Yeah I had such a great time I didn’t take notice of the negatives while I was there I need to schedule lots of posts because I will have rubbish internet over the next few days! Thanks for commenting as always Idda =D

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