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Tenerife 2017

Cody and I spent seven nights in Tenerife back in July.  We aren’t the kind of people to just sit around by the hotel pool for the whole week – we wanted to go somewhere where we could explore but be guaranteed good weather and we also wanted to go scuba diving.

We decided to stay in Los Cristianos as this was close to the harbours and main tourist areas in the south of the island.  Staying in the south of the island was important as Tenerife has two completely different weather systems – the south gets much more of the warm sunny weather whereas the north is cooler and gets more rain.  We experienced this first hand on one of the days we were there, but I’ll come back to that later.

We had booked to stay at the Marylanza Suites and Spa hotel which was amazing.  Our suite had a double bedroom, a large bathroom and a huge kitchen / living space with a terrace out back.  We opted to go all inclusive but also ate out a few times to try the local food.  The hotel had three pools – two adult pools and a kids pool – and the pool bar served the most delicious pizza and frozen pina coladas!  Needless to say I spent a few of my days sipping on those!

We arrived in the evening on the first day, checked into our suite while enjoying our welcome drinks and quickly headed out to have a look around.  Wandering around down towards the beach we stumbled upon the Hard Rock Café.  We headed inside for a few cocktails but decided to take it easy on our first night.

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We spent the second day exploring back down by the beach.  We had seen a few places that we wanted to check out from the night before so we headed back down to the Hard Rock Café which is in Playa De Las Americas.  From here we walked all along the coast round to the harbour and then back up inland to the hotel.  On our way back we booked to go scuba diving a few days later and to pick up a motorbike the following afternoon as we wanted to explore the northern parts of the island.  We then spent the rest of the day relaxing before an early start the next day for a whale watching cruise!

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Anyone who knows me will know how much I love whales.  Specifically humpback whales, but I love watching any and all types of whales and dolphins!  I knew that there were whales and dolphins that can be seen all year round on boat trips from the harbour so I booked us onto a tour with Tenerife Sailing Charters before we arrived.

We met our captain at the harbour bright and early ready to set off on our cruise and were given a glass of champagne on arrival.  The boat was an amazing sailing boat, perfect for sunbathing on the deck with a seated area and a table at the back.  It took us about 45 minutes to get out of the harbour and spot our first pilot whales.  Before long, we were surrounded by literally hundreds of pilot whales, I couldn’t contain myself and screamed when one surfaced right next to the boat!  It was perfect!  The captain kept a safe distance and no one got into the sea with the whales so their welfare was not at risk.  The whales were just chilling at the surface slapping their tail flukes giving us a show and we could hear the clicks as they communicated with each other.  It really was incredible, it was like the whales were happy we had come to see them!

After spending about an hour with the whales, we headed towards the shore and our captain stopped the boat in a bay for some lunch and a spot of swimming.  We then cruised back along the coast, waving at the other boats we saw along the way.  It really was an amazing experience.

The following day, we headed out super early on the motor bike as we had a ticket for the cable car at Mount Teide for the first slot of the day – 9am.  We set off at 7am as we knew it would take almost an hour and a half to get there and we wanted to stop for photos on the way.

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Teide is an active volcano and the highest point in the whole of Spain.  Measured from its base on the sea floor to its peak it is the highest volcano outside of Hawaii in the world!  The summit stands at 12,198ft above sea level and the volcano and its surrounding area make up Teide National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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We set off up the road towards Teide and soon found ourselves passing through the cloud line as the altitude increased.  Riding through the cloud layer was absolutely freezing!  Luckily there were pockets of warm air where the clouds started thinning out as we continued to climb but it was unpleasant for about half an hour of the ride.  Soon enough we were above the cloud line and the view was amazing, we could see peaks of mountains sticking out above the morning cloud layer and we had to stop to take some photos.  Unfortunately I made the rookie mistake of knocking my camera so the ISO was set realllllly high which added a lot of noise to my photos.  I’ve posted two below anyway because the view really was too good not to share but the photo is nowhere near as sharp as I would’ve liked.

We continued driving and finally reached the road which leads to the car park by the cable car.  The landscape here was breath taking – it was like we were on another planet!  We parked our bike and headed up to the cable car.  I’m absolutely terrified of heights so the cable car wasn’t the best for me but after a few minutes we were at the top of the volcano.  And oh my gosh was it freezing!!  We had dressed in trousers with a jacket as we had been advised that it can get cold up at the top but we completely underestimated the temperature and the wind up there!  We didn’t stay for long but we managed to get a couple of pics (although the ISO was still high) before we decided to take  the cable car back down and set off on the road again.  We stopped at various places on the drive back from the national park for some more photos as the landscape was too amazing not to.

Next up we headed north along the east coast to the Piramides De Guimar.  The pyramids are pyramid-shaped terraced structures built from lava stone and it is thought they were formed due to old architectural practices.  The pyramids attraction also consists of a botanical gardens and a café where we stopped for lunch.  Walking through the gardens there are lots of signs with information about the attraction and we took a few photos as we explored.

We had seen a place called Charco De La Laja on Instagram.  This is pretty much a rock pool that forms when the high tide starts going out and the sea water gets trapped in the rocks as the tide sinks below the edge of the rocks.  When we arrived the tide was only just sinking below the rim of the rock pool so the photos we managed to take didn’t look as good as the images we had seen on Insta.  However we still got a cool shot when the waves splashed up at the rock pool edge.

After such a busy day we were glad to head back to the hotel for dinner and to relax.  We spent some time in the spa and Turkish bath then headed to bed!  The following day we were up early again to go scuba diving!  We didn’t see any of the big rays we had hoped for, but we did see loads of cool pipe fish and an awesome octopus and we were glad to be back in the blue!
The next two days we spent chilling out by the pool and the beach after our busy first half of our trip.  We booked a table at the Hard Rock Café for dinner and cocktails which was amazing!  I’ve eaten at a few different Hard Rock Cafés around the world and never been disappointed.  On our last evening we chose to eat at a little tapas place called Sal Negra which was on the sea front in Los Cristianos and was delicious.  We then stopped at a Agua De Coco for some cocktails – I had a passion fruit Mojito and it was amazing!!  I love a good Mojito or a Mai Thai and this take on one of my faves was so so good.  I’ll be having a lot more of them in future!!

It was almost time to say goodbye to the wonderful island of Tenerife.  We had an overnight flight back to London the next day so we woke up early and headed out to explore one last time.  We headed to Papagayo Beach Club in Playa De Las Americas for some drinks and some delicious calamari.  We had seen this place on one of our evenings exploring however we weren’t in Tenerife to party so didn’t want to head in at night.  The club is so beautifully decorated with huge booths overlooking the sea upstairs so we grabbed a great seat to relax in.  We then headed to the Monkey Corona bar as Corona is my favourite beer (although I had a Mai Thai here!)  We then stopped for a final Sangria and took some final photos before heading back to the hotel to say goodbye to Tenerife.

Top tips for Tenerife

What to do: Grab a ticket on a whale watching tour.  DO NOT go to Loro Parque for the orca and dolphin shows!!  This is cruelty – these animals belong in the ocean, not in a tank.  Seeing the pilot whales within arms reach by the side of our boat was an incredible experience and you can see orcas and dolphins in the wild all over the world.  Make sure you visit Mount Teide but dress for the weather!  You may need to book this before you actually arrive in Tenerife as it can sell out.  You can book the cable car tickets online or arrange a tour with one of the shops in Tenerife who will transport you there on a coach.  Remember that if you want to hike right to the summit you need to apply for a permit from the national park and this can be done online but also must be done in advance – these tickets tend to sell out weeks in advance so even if you don’t book the cable car before you arrive you will need to book this permit in advance.

Where to eat / drink: The Hard Rock Café does amazing American food and cocktails.  Head into Los Cristianos for some smaller local bars and restaurants away from the party strip in Playa De Las Americas and grab a passion fruit Mojito at Agua De Coco while sitting on the balcony overlooking the beach – you won’t be disappointed!  Finally, you’re in Spain so make sure you have at least one jug of Sangria!

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