Tenerife Tourism – Read about all the important things you might wish to know before you visit Tenerife.
Tenerife Tourism is of major importance to the local economy. Statistics show that the tourism attracted almost five and a half million visitors during 2006 and together with related service industries tourism generates more than 60% of GDP.
Of those visitors, approximately 33% were from the United Kingdom, 27% were from the Iberian Peninsula and 12% were from Germany. The remaining 28% were spread between Ireland, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Russia.
According to recent Tenerife Tourism statistics, Tenerife has just over 185,000 beds, 46% of which were in hotels and 54% were in self catering accommodation.
The fragile Eco-system of Tenerife has been of great importance to the Government and almost 45% of the island is protected to preserve the National Heritage.
The enormous Mount Teide National Park was created in 1954 but there are also the Coronal Forestal Nature Park and the Anaga and Teno Rural Parks. During 1994 the Canary Islands Natural Areas Act defined different categories of protection and planning regulations to protect the island’s natural resources and introduced penalties to guarantee various objectives.
The Mount Teide National Park, at an altitude of over 200 metres was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site during 2007. The committee took into account that the park scenery is uniquely spectacular site attracting four million visitors per year.
The natural Tenerife habitats for extensive flora and fauna remain well protected but a network of established paths and thirty recreation zones within the protected areas still make enjoyment of the environment possible.
There are some camp sites with good facilities within the protected areas but it is necessary to obtain a permit from the Department of the Environment, Tenerife Cabildo.
Tenerife seems to have catered very well for disabled travellers. There a number of companies specialising in disabled airport transfers and excursions; wheelchair and electric buggy hire.
Most of Tenerife holiday accommodation has been designed for wheelchair access and the resort of Los Cristianos is almost totally accessible by wheelchair. The number of disabled tourists visiting Los Cristianos is remarkable.
There are two airports on Tenerife, Los Rodeos Airport is located in La Laguna in the north and Reina Sofia Airport is located in the south. Both are busy commercial airports with significant traffic.
Los Rodeos Airport is approximately an hour by car from the south of the Island and Reina Sofia is about 20 minutes by car from Los Cristianos so it is important to bear this in mind when booking flights.
Los Rodeos Airport mostly handles domestic inter-island flights with some international connections, there are 13 airlines operating form this airport including;
Air Berlin, Air Europa, Clickair, Iberia, Lufthansa, Spanair and Monarch.
Reina Sofia Airport mostly handles international flights to the major cities of the world, over 50 airlines use this airport which handles almost 9 million passengers a year.
Airlines using Reina Sofia Airport include; Aer Lingus, Air Europa, Easyjet, First Choice, Globespan, Iberia, Monarch, My Travel, Ryanair, Spanair, Sterling, Thomas Cook, Thomsonfly, Topfly and Windjet.
There are already many foreign property owners in Tenerife, many will allow their family and friends use their accommodation.
The choice of hotel accommodation in the Tenerife tourist resorts is very good ranging from basic to five star. Self catering units are also available in all the resorts ranging from basic studios to luxury villas with private swimming pools.
Tenerife attracts many independent travellers who book their accommodation through various means; the internet is now probably the most popular way booking flights and accommodation. Others sources are private adverts, the local papers usually have many classified adverts for holiday accommodation.
Many people use travel agents to make their arrangements including flights and accommodation and although sometimes more costly, the availability of “all inclusive” deals can actually save money.
The peak Tenerife holiday season is from Christmas to Easter with many people enjoying a winter sunshine break; the choice of accommodation may be limited during this period so it is advisable to book early.
The beaches of Los Cristianos, Las Americas and Las Vistas in between are all sandy and have great facilities, sun beds, parasols etc. Some have water sports activities and of course they are in the actual resort areas so bars, restaurants and shops are always close at hand. The waters are calm and swimming is fairly safe, lifeguards are usually on duty.
Other notable sandy Tenerife beaches are Playa Tejita, (sometimes known as Red mountain beach), a natural sandy beach just past Los Abrigos, or Playa El Medano just the other side of the Red Mountain. Both of these beaches are outstandingly beautiful but strong winds sometimes make sea conditions dangerous for swimmers. These beaches are very popular wind and kite surfers.
To the north of the island, past Santa Cruz there is a man made sandy beach known as Playa de Teresitas which is very popular with the inhabitants of Santa Cruz. The beach has many tropical palm trees and sits beneath dramatic steep mountains and cliffs.
There are numerous other beaches all around the coast of Tenerife, some are in the smaller coastal towns and villages with good access, others are not so accessible and many are stony.
Attractions and Excursions
Tenerife is a successful holiday destination, apart from enjoying the weather there are many interesting places to visit and activities to suit all people of all ages.
Even if you live on the island you could never be bored, the choice is amazing and there are always new things to discover.
The following Tenerife attractions and excursions can be booked through the many local agents with transport included. If you are staying in a hotel or apartment complex the reception will often make the arrangements for. Tenerife Tourism is heavily promoted, especially in the tourist areas.
A sample of some of the most popular Tenerife tours available on the Island;
• Mount Teide and Las Canadas Spectacular coach tour, optional cable car to summit.
• Masca Valley, visit the village that time forgot, spectacular views.
• La Gomera Ferry crossing and coach tour of the Island and national park.
• Tenerife Island Tour Coach tour with stops in Candelaria, Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz, Icod de Vinos and Los Gigantes.
There are numerous Tenerife activities for all ages, here is a sample of the most popular;
• Aqua Park Water park with slides and rides, also dolphinarium.
• Big Game Fishing Tuna, Barracuda, Marlin and other large species.
• Diving Various schools and facilities.
• Dolphins Various trips form most harbours, glass bottom boat trips.
• Freebird Sailing Various trips, see the Dolphins and Whales.
• Go Karting More than one circuit to choose from.
• Jungle Park Zoo and Botanical Park with Birds of Prey show.
• Loro Parque Trip to Puerto de la Cruz to see the Zoological gardens, tropical birds, lions and other animals aquariums, dolphins and penguins.
• Medieval Night In the castle at San Miguel with banquet and ballroom with live show.
• Pirate Ship The voyage of a lifetime.
• Quad Bikes Off road exploring
• Siam Park The new oriental themed water park.
• Submarine Safaris Explore the underwater world.
• Trekking Various options including Masca.
• Water Ski-ing Various locations, paragliding too.
• Mountain Biking
Tenerife has a good choice of golf courses to suit all levels of play.
• Abama Exceptional 18 hole golf course created by Dave Thomas.
• Amarilla Beautiful 18 hole golf course created by Donald Steel.
• Costa Adeje Unusual 18+9 hole golf course designed by Pepe Gancedo
• Golf del Sur Interesting 18+9 hole golf course designed by Pepe Gancedo
• Los Palos 9 hole golf course, perfect for beginners.
• Buenavista Golf Cliff side 18 holes course designed by Seve Ballasteros
The choice of places to eat out sometimes makes the decision difficult. All the main Tenerife tourist areas have restaurants serving all types of international cuisine. Prices are competitive and standards are high.
Most restaurants display their priced menus outside the choice of dishes is exception in most restaurants. Fish dishes are very popular because of the abundance of fish. Fish and meat dishes are usually served with vegetables and Canarian potatoes, wine is optional of course and very inexpensive, especially if you drink the local wines which are very good.
The nightlife in Tenerife is laid back with many options to choose from in most areas. By reputation, Tenerife Tourism has branded Las Americas as a party place. Yes it does have young people looking for a good time but if you walk around the place today you will not see much evidence of that. Today Las Americas is a chic resort with upmarket hotels and retail outlets.
Many bars have live music and cabaret where you can relax and have a drink whilst you are being entertained. If you look around the main areas you will probably be able to choose the type of entertainment you like.
Many of the venues employ cover acts ranging from Elvis Presley to Ronan Keating. There are quite a few Piano Bars and Jazz bars, particularly in Las Americas.
Most of the large hotels put on their own cabaret shows and visitors from outside the hotel are usually welcomed. Life in the Tenerife entertainment world is quite competitive so entertainment standards tend to be high.
There is no shortage of Nightclubs for those that want to stay out late, especially in Las Americas. The choice of clubs is varied so is the music ranging from Hip Hop and House to Swing. The night clubs are concentrated in one area and security is not bad. All age groups are mostly welcomed but the clubs are predominantly frequented by the younger generation. Entrance is usually free but the drinks can be expensive.
The range of shops would stimulate any shopaholic, prices are fiercely competitive and virtually duty free. There is a very upmarket shopping centre known as the Safari Centre opposite the Parque Santiago complex in Las Americas. This area has more designer shops than you could ever imagine, a shopping paradise.
There are numerous upmarket retail outlets selling designer clothes, jewellery, watches, cameras and electronic goods, all at very good prices. You will also find local Canarian wares including pottery, embroidery and hand-crafted goods.
Alcohol and Cigarettes are probably the best bargains in Tenerife because they do not attract penalty taxes in Tenerife as they do in some countries. Perfume is also a popular buy, virtually all the designer names are available at excellent prices. The Canarian Government heavily promotes Tenerife Tourism and low prices are an important part of that marketing.
If you are a non-resident or tourist in Tenerife your are entitled to reciprocal health care under the terms of an EU Agreement between the members states. You will however need to produce a document from your own country prior to you visit which is usually obtainable through the Post Office. If you are a UK resident you will be given a “European Health Insurance Card” which contains a reference number.
If you need health care in you will need to visit one of the government health clinics or hospitals to obtain free health care but prescription medicines are not free.
There are numerous private health clinics all over the Island, especially in tourist areas. Although you will be charged, if you have travel insurance, you may be able to recover your costs subject to the policy terms and conditions.
It is worth mentioning that some private health facilities in Tenerife have a reputation for inflating prices, particularly when Insurance cover is available. We recommend that you try and use the public health facilities when possible.
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