I thought it might be fun to see Tenerife through the eyes of a tourist rather than a local. So let’s start with the north of the island.
This adventure is too much for one visit so it is probably best, if travelling from the south, to stay over. We like the Monopol Hotel because they are happy to take our dogs and two nights is about right to get a feel for the area.
So off we go… the sun is out and breakfast over. The world is always a better place once you’ve had that first cup of coffee.
After driving for an hour, we arrive at Loro Parque. Zoos are not everyone’s cup of tea, certainly not mine, but their logo says, El “must” de Canarias and many agree.
Loro Parque on the outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz was originally built for parrots (loro being Spanish for parrot). Since 1972 and with more than 40 million visitors it is now home to over 350 different species of parrots as well as a diverse range of animals including gorillas, tigers, and sea lions. Tickets are sold at many outlets, including the gate but it is easy to buy from the comfort of your armchair using the WEBSITE. This speeds up entry, as the prepaid queue is often shorter. Now I’ve said that, the line will be endless.
Once inside, you step into the largest Thai village outside Thailand. Even if you are against animal shows, the surroundings are stunning. Each show runs several times a day, and the time between can be spent viewing the animals. Top things to see are Orca Ocean, Dolphinarium, Aquarium and Planet Penguin, real snow, a huge iceberg and hundreds of penguins.
You can easily lose a whole day in this people-wowing oasis.
The following morning, set off from the hotel for Icod de los Vinos. It won´t be a long visit, just an hour to see the famous Drago Tree then back to base. Icod got its name from its winemaking tradition, but its reputation is mainly due to the famous El Drago Milenario said to be over 1000 years old.
Following lunch, tour the Botanical Gardens. Created in 1788 by King Carlos III of Spain, the gardens are home to some of Tenerife’s most beautiful tropical and subtropical plants. Then round off the day in Puerto de la Cruz’s main square, Plaza el Charco. The plaza is surrounded with restaurants, cafes, a playground and souvenir shops. You can buy all kinds of knick-knacks including some that say Paris and New York and hundreds depicting the male appendage – I really can´t figure out why. Then a decent meal in a waterfront bar before bed.
Last day and Hola! Puerto. The plan is to take in the best-known sights.
Walking through the town the difference between the old part, with narrow picturesque streets and plazas, and the modern district filled with apartments and hotels built for tourism is noticeable.
Start at Playa Jardin, it is black volcanic sand, which many aren’t used to but a bit of playing in sun, spiced up with the breath-taking view of Teide is enjoyable. Swimming here is not always an option since the waves can be strong, but the surfers enjoy it.
After the beach, Lago Martianez. The pool complex really is a “must”. It is on the main costal walkway and close to a whole bunch of coffee shops and restaurants.
Once again visit the Plaza, this time in daylight, on the way take a quick look at the church, Nuestra Senora de Pena de Francia. As you walk around, you won´t go far without passing somebody busking or doing a bit of entertaining.
Having conquered the north by filling our days with sightseeing, beaches, churches, lakes and squares, it is time to head back to the south by way of the capital Santa Cruz
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