Whenever holidaymakers ask what the must-sees are when visiting Tenerife the answers are always the same, Teide and Loro Parque. They are of course both iconic with the island and while Teide may not appeal to tots and teens, there cannot be many, young or old, who are not tempted to make the trip to Loro Parque. For those who may feel it is an expensive excursion, particularly if you have a family and those who wonder is it worth the almost two-hour coach journey from the south to Puerto de la Cruz, in my opinion the answer is YES!
On my very first visit I was surprised to find the park situated amongst the hotels and apartments, it has been there a long time and I suspect originally, there was plenty of space around it but over the years, the town has slowly encroached so that nowadays the location seems bizarre.
The ideal way to make the journey is by car and if you arrive early, parking is cheap and easy in the onsite car park. Once the tour coaches arrive, it is nigh on impossible so I would suggest heading a short distance up the road where there is wasteland and the odd space is normally available if you turn up before lunchtime.
The park is not huge but due to the layout, you can spend a whole day there and still feel the need to go back. No expense has been spared; from the exotic gold leaf buildings and the koi carp pools, to the lush tropical planting and more importantly the imaginative and spacious animal and bird enclosures. Ordinarily I am not a lover of zoos, but having taken the Discovery Tour that goes behind the scenes I can confirm that the same amount of care is taken with the animals when out of public view as when being seen by thousands of tourists. For example, the gorillas’ diet should be the envy of many humans. They have mountains of fresh fruit, yogurt and baby milk as well as bundles of newspapers (not to read) but to make their beds in enclosures as luxurious as any five star hotel.
I have been to Loro Parque many times and never tire of seeing the animals. Even those who participate in the shows look as if they perform for pure pleasure. Of course, everyone has their favourites – I have three! I love the Orca show; I believe the trainers had to spend many months at Sea World in Florida before being allowed to train the whales in Loro Parque. I also find the penguins amusing in their purpose built ‘Planet Penguin’ where 12 tons of snow falls each day to keep them cool while the rest of us sizzle in the Tenerife heat. And I like watching the gorillas or is it a case of them watching me. They are without doubt showmen and invariably play to the crowd.
For me, the park deserves its reputation as one of the best places to visit while on holiday, I just hope the photos convey this and you too make the trip when you are next here.