On Tripadvisor recently, a 20-something couple asked for advice on which resort to choose. They wanted good beaches, nice excursions and upmarket restaurants, but were not into clubbing. The advice given was go north, this is the best, this is real, this is traditional, everywhere else is man-made and geared to the young. While this reply may be correct it is certainly not the only area that meets the posters criteria. In fact there are probably a lot more suitable resorts. However, this is not a one off reply; it happens time after time that a group of TA experts manage to praise one area while condemning another. Yet some of these “members who are extremely knowledgeable about this destination”, by their own admission, have rarely, if ever, visited the south.
I find it infuriating that so often, the ill-informed scoff the south of Tenerife as not being the “Real Tenerife”. In some rather snobbish way the south is seen as falling short. This is the part of the island I love and know and I am curious to understand the prejudice and its apparent shortcomings.
I am not blind to its faults. I watched the Tenerife Uncovered TV programme that concentrated on the 18-30 age group party capital, yet never hinted this is a tiny area, in fact just a 200 metre stretch of clubs and pubs (but that wouldn´t make for TV shock appeal). Yet this is what is always perceived as Las Americas and criticised as being brash and over-developed.
We are told the north of the island, specifically Puerto de la Cruz is “traditional” but those that tell us rarely tell the would-be visitor about the poorly designed high-rise hotels thrown up in the 60s and 70s some of which, let’s be honest, are a permanent eyesore on parts of this beautiful region. They also forget to mention that just like the south; the north has been affected by the influx of expats.
When asked about attractions, we always hear about Loro Parque (excellent and well worth a visit); occasionally the Lido (but no match for Siam Park) but it is like pulling the proverbial “hens teeth” to find out what else is available without catching a local bus and travelling to towns further along the coast. I don´t know many teenagers who find a visit to see a Drago Tree or even the magnificent Teide the highlight of their holiday. The gardens are magnificent, but not everyone is interested in gardening, or having visited once want to visit again and nobody recommends Pueblo Chico – why? IMO it is something that appeals to all ages.
Anyone who stays in the Las Americas area knows that they have every type of excursion and entertainment imaginable to hand. Yet to the blinkered few, giving the tourist (and let’s not forget the island relies on the holiday-maker) what they want seems to be a failing.
The majority of these Puerto supporters tell us they return to the same accommodation, same months, year after year, but never hire a car to explore where the bus can´t take them. If they did they might find there is a lot more to the island than their preconceived notions. They would realise the traditional Tenerife they enthuse over, starts 5 minutes outside of many southern resorts, often within walking distance. What these so called ‘experts’ don’t seem to realise is that it is easier to promote Tenerife for what it is, something for everyone, rather than subject visitors to their personal prejudices.