This post is sponsored by Jet2 and the Tenerife Tourism board.
When you think of Tenerife i imagine images of beach holidays and big hotels come to mind; but what if i told you there’s a Tenerife you’ve probably never heard of.. One of volcanic rock, natural lava swimming pools and restaurants so authentic, you’ll think an english speaking person hasn’t so much as stepped foot within a 5 mile radius. Back in May i visited Tenerife as a guest of Jet2holidays, and we were shown exactly what makes this rather small island so unique.
We flew from Manchester to Tenerife on a Jet2Holidays flight, i won’t bore you with plane details this early on, but i was genuinely so impressed. I’m that person who finds the “getting there” just as exciting as the “being there”, so being met with a huge brand new plane got the trip off to a great start. More often than not you hear negative stories about airlines, everyone loves a complaint, but as i got chatting to the women next to me i realised Jet2 were unlike the rest. The lady required special assistance whenever she flies and told me, without knowing i was a guest of Jet2, that she “always flies with Jet2” even if she has to pay more “because of the way they treat me”. Which i thought was the best advert anyone could want.
Just before coming into land you could just about make out all the 7 Canary Islands, it was my first time on any of the islands but after my trip it’s making me want to explore the other 6 – Tenerife being the biggest. Jet2holidays also fly to other Canary islands, so make sure to check those out after this.
Puerto Del La Cruise:
After landing in a palm tree surrounded Tenerife South, we headed to the Sol Costa Atlantis, our hotel in the town of Puerto De La Cruz. The hotel did not disappoint, it’s one of Jet2’s many 4* hotels that you can book as part of a good old package deal and it really lived up to it’s rating. Tall ceilings, marble finishes and a breakfast that would put the Ritz to shame. The Sol Costa Atlantis made for the perfect base for our trip, i only wish we had longer to explore the facilities – i’m looking at you Spa and pool side day beds. If you’re looking for sun, sea and a little piece of luxury at a fairly affordable price Puerto De La Cruz and the Sol Costa Atlantis will do it for you, i could’ve easily spent the whole trip sitting by the pool and exploring the local area.
Puerto Del La Cruz might be a typical tourist magnet town, but you’d be wrong to think it’s history lies only with holiday makers. The town features a harbour, with memories of it’s fishing village past coming to mind, a strong religious influence with crosses adorned with flowers at all times .. and more recently a real street art scene. The harbour of Puerto was even responsible for shipping Canarian wine to the U.S, so they could celebrate the signing of the declaration of independence.
Getting back to nature:
If you’re someone who likes a bit of adventure on holiday then look no further than Tenerife. We started our trip with a hike through the enchanted forrest, where we experienced Tenerife’s true micro climate: cool and damp under the canopy of trees but warm and sunny when you stepped out of the covering to admire the view. We only did a small hike, but there are multiple trails you can take that vary in difficulty for all abilities, one thing that is guaranteed for all, are the views.
Is that a picture of Peru you ask? Although it might look like a remote part of south America, the aptly named village at the end of the world complete with cave houses is a snapshot of authentic Tenerife. Lizards scurry at your feet while on the dirt track that leads you right to the edge of a cliff, where you have a view over the potato crops. Trails make this a must visit for walkers, but bring appropriate foot wear… trainers don’t count.
Did you know that Tenerife has over 300 volcanoes? The biggest, Mt Teide, can be seen from pretty much anywhere on the island on a clear day. If you’re looking for unforgettable experiences, take the cable car up to the summit or if you’re wary of heights, drive around the national park and explore the crater. It makes for a great instagram picture, and if you can’t make the trip to the grand canyon this still ticks “big volcanic rocks” off the IG travellers check list.
The adventure doesn’t end at night, because of Tenerife’s huge national park and unique geographical location with the Sahara to it’s East, it makes for perfect star gazing. The airspace is closed at night so the observatory can work and you, the tourist, can indulge in some stargazing! We met Jose Antonio Paris, a man who knows literally everything to do with the night sky, he talked us through the constellations with a laser pointer that just seemed to touch each star perfectly. And although it was cloudy, i definitely learnt one thing .. there’s no doubt aliens exist.
For a day in the city:
There’s something very glamorous about the name Santa Cruz, isn’t there? Unlike the traditional towns we’ve seen so far it’s a modern busy city. Santa Cruz has 4 million visitors a year mainly because of it’s huge cruise ship terminal, where visitors from all around the world arrive and spend the day or days in the city. You’ll find every shop you can think of, more traditional restaurants and even a museum underground that holds the actual canon fired at Admiral Nelson during the fight for independence… he lost an arm if you’re wondering.
Food, food and … more food!
Although the canary islands may be owned by Spain, they very much keep their own traditions – especially when it comes to food. During every meal we ate while on our trip we had lashings on Mojo sauce and salty canarian potatoes, i’m craving them now just writing this. There are hundreds of varieties of canarian potatoes, but i won’t discriminate, they’re all perfectly textured and cooked to salty perfection; they used to be a staple in the diet of farmers but now you’ll find a small bag in London’s Harrods for a not so small price.
Where to find the best traditional canarian food? Two restaurants really stood out to me on the trip, La Bodeguita De Enfrente and Bodegas Monje, the latter was in a vineyard so we’ll cover that in the wine section later on. La Bodeguita De Enfrente met tradition with modern techniques, we met the chef who’s family owned 3 restaurants and who’s father was born in a room just off the actual restaurant! They serve canarian tapas style sharing plates, produce their own wine and have a whole vegetable garden opposite the restaurant where they source their ingredients. True authentic canarian food, eaten in cosy surroundings, tables full and with family portraits on the walls.
Did somebody say wine?
I’ve mentioned the Canarian wine previously, but it’s something they’re really proud of on the island. We visited both the Tenerife wine museum where we explored the historical wine making process, and did some tasting, of course .. and Bodegas Monje a working vineyard. Bodegas Monje is where they make Monje wines, as you walk through the isles you are instantly hit with the smell of wine from the barrels, you move from there to huge modern tanks where the wine is left to age and end the tour in their very own bar. It was at Monje where we learnt to make the traditional Mojo sauce; packed with garlic, chill, red pepper and olive oil and then ate it with our lunch. Here we had one of the greatest meals of my life, the pulled pork was to die for and i ate the potatoes like they were crisps, popping them in my mouth straight off the fork. If you go to Tenerife, visit Bodegas Monje and have the pulled pork, that’s an order.
So, did you learn something new about Tenerife? Make sure to check out Jet2’s flights to Tenerife , if you’re thinking about taking a trip to this wonderful, volcanic island.