One month after arriving in a new place, with a third of our journey under our belts and two thirds left to look forward to, we like to take stock of our initial impressions. Overall, Tenerife had been exceeding our expectations, and we were very pleased with our decision to come here. Here are some highlights from one month on La Gomera and Tenerife!
Mike: Our first hike in the Anaga mountains was one of the best we’ve ever done. The path leading from Afur down a canyon to the beach, then along the coastline to Taganana was, for me, the highlight of the month. We’d seen a lot of amazing nature already, but this was the best yet.
Jürgen: While landing at the Tenerife South airport, I got a great view of the Teide for the first time, which immediately triggered my ongoing obsession with the volcano. I haven’t been able to stop taking pictures of it.
Mike: I’ve been very positively surprised by Canarian cuisine, and it’s hard to pick a favorite … but I’ll go with almagrote, which is a bright orange cheese spread made with peppers and garlic. It’s delicious and used in a bunch of dishes, but I liked it best spread simply on toast.
Jürgen: I’m grateful that Tenerife introduced mojo and escaldón to my diet, but the island’s grilled meat keeps me drooling, and is the best I’ve had in Spain so far.
Mike: How far apart Canarian culture is from that of mainland Spain. I mean, it’s not completely different, but these islands definitely have their own cuisine, their own customs, and their own accent. We’ve enjoyed getting to know the things which make Tenerife unique.
Jürgen: For me, Tenerife always had the image of package and mass tourism, and definitely caters to that. But the island has so much more to offer; there are so many towns, hikes and beaches which are totally ignored by the masses. Realizing this has completely changed my impression of Tenerife.
Mike: I’m shocked by the amount of traffic on Tenerife. Maybe it’s because there’s only a couple major roads which everyone uses, or because space is limited, what with all the mountains. But we’ve been in so many traffic jams here, and eternal lines for parking lots, it’s awful. The roads are always busy, and the drivers are too aggressive.
Jürgen: I also have to say traffic, the worst was one day getting stuck in three long traffic jams. The first one delayed us over an hour, and we missed the early morning dolphin tour we had set up. On the way home, when we were already frustrated and disappointed, we got stuck in two additional, unrelated traffic jams. It was the most frustrating day we’ve had in a long time.
Mike: The Silbo Gomero was one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a while… the description of it, “a whistled language”, doesn’t sound funny, but listening to it at the Mirador Abrante made me laugh out loud. You can just about make out the words being communicated in the trilling language, and it sounded like two birds having a nearly intelligible conversation.
Jürgen: As we were introducing ourselves to Canarian cuisine, we had the bad habit of staring at the plates on other tables, wondering what these dishes were. Several times, the people would see us doing this, and wave us over for an explanation and a sample. The locals here are really proud of their food, and extremely generous!
How Expensive (Scale of 1 – 10)
Mike: 5. Our favorite restaurants, the rural guachinches, happen to be the most affordable, and we’ve rarely spent more than €35 on even the hugest of feasts-for-two. Rents are a little more elevated than in Valencia, but overall things are cheaper, and sometimes much cheaper, especially away from touristy zones. We recently had a fun evening at the neighborhood bar, four beers and two bags of chips, and the total bill was €6. In most cities, that would have been the price of a single beer.
Jürgen: 5 or 6. Car rentals and gas are very affordable, and restaurants serve such huge portions that you can easily share one main course along with a couple of appetizers, making eating out affordable. Many touristic activities can be pricey but on the other hand, the hikes are totally free of charge.
People from Tenerife Are…
Mike: Very generous and patient, except while driving, when they turn into the least generous or patient people imaginable. But really, we had wonderful interactions with nearly everyone we came into contact with.
Jürgen: Extremely friendly, generous and helpful as long as you stay away from touristy hot spots, because then it’s a totally different story.
Tenerife in Three Words
Mike: Beautiful, diverse nature
Jürgen: Teide, Anaga, Guanchinche