Tenerife is a 10 in my book for a vacation that is easy on your wallet and high in entertainment for children and adults. I have been twice to the island and have had a great time on each side of the island. If you hate super touristy places stay on the Northwest side of the island in places like Orotava, Garachico and Puerto de la Cruz. But if you are looking for plush resorts that have plenty of opportunity to party, stay in the South part of the island, which is warmer and sunnier than the North. I could tell you all about each stay, but instead I am going to give my top 10 things to not miss in Tenerife, along with some great food and then where I would recommend to stay.
1. Visit and sunbathe in the Garachico rock pools, El Caleton on the West side of the island. If you want to get all sweaty before you swim, I suggest taking the 2.8km hike straight up from Garachico called San Juan del Reparo, just asked the tourist office, which is situated right off of the parking lot after the rock pools.
2. Go whale watching with the Travelin’ Ladies out of Los Cristianos. Although Los Cristianos is a tourist trap, this 2 hour whale watching tour was 20 euro and well worth it considering how many whales we were able to see.
3. Rent a car, grab some food and drive across Mt. Teide National Park at dusk and then eat your picnic under the stars. El Teide is the third largest volcano in the world and at night you are above the cloud line and more stars than you ever though existed. The lunar landscape is breathtaking and Las Canadas are out of this world rock formations that will leave you baffled on how they became so long and thin, in such a harsh climate, probably erosion, call me crazy, but it is still cool.
4. Hike the Barranco del Infierno in the town of Adeje, it is one of the only waterfalls on the island and the hike is BEAUTIFUL with all types of flora and fauna. Unfortunately you have to pay 12 euro to hike this trial but kids 12 and under are 50 percent off.
5. Go to my favorite secluded beach at Costa de Silencio. You have to drive all the way to the Club Marina Hotel Walk but then park and walk down to the ocean and follow the cliffs to your left until you see a little beach bar where a bunch of hippies hang out, then go down the steps and take a little jaunt along the ocean till a spot speaks to you and then lie down a bask in the sun. If it gets too hot, go down to the beach bar where they have ladders that lower you into the ocean. I heard this spot is great also for snorkeling.
6. Go diving with Tenerife Scuba that offers small group dives think 4 people including 1 or 2 guides and they will take you on dives that belong to your diving experience. My husband has scuba dived hundreds of times and he still came back raving about these guys.
7. Go to Icod de los Vinos not only to see a ridiculously old Dragon Tree but also to check out one of the longest volcano tunnel in the world, called the Cave of Wind or Cueva del Viento. You can trek inside with a guide. If this interests you the website is www.cuevadelviento.net/
8. If you want to spend a time at a sandy beach, go to Playa de las Teresitas where you will seldom find any tourists and it is only five miles from Santa Cruz in the small village of San Andres. If you are looking for a golden beach, this one is your best bet.
9. Hiking in the Montanas de Anaga are a must, there are several trails that take you through the forest and mountains and others that are along the beach, all are beautiful. These are the two hikes I would recommend: The Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada circular walk (11.2km, 3.5hrs) and . Chamorga to Roque Bermejo (10km, 5hrs) where you will find a fishing village that you can only reach by sea.
10. The drive to Masca is terrible and exhilarating. The first time I went to Tenerife I thought I was going to kill my best friend and her baby while turning around hairpin curves only to see a large bus coming my way but the views are incredible and the walk from Masca to the sea is well worth it. Think of huge rocks you have to slide down while your in a huge gorge hiking all the way out to sea where boats will pick you up and take you to Los Gigantes, an over-rated, tourist town with beautiful cliffs, find the Indian Restaurant called Krishnas, it is worth it. If you are more fit and want a real adventure, climb back up the way you came down, it will be a work out, trust me.
Restaurante 88-La Caleta, Asian fusion
La Vieja- La Caleta, traditional Canary, get the patatas arrugadas and calamari
Krishnas- Los Gigantes, best Indian food on the island, period.
Relieve- La Orotava, this sweet shop was like something out of France.
Canada de Garachico – Garachico, this restaurant is right on the boardwalk and it serves up delicious dishes, try the banana omelette, seriously.
Tucan-Puerto de la Cruz, this place is romantic with tasty food, try some octopus.
La Oliva- Puerto de la Cruz, has amazing dishes, good steak with fresh cheese, I felt like my husband and I could have shared our meal.