Tenerife: Cruising - Sunny Side Up
May 31, 2015
Feeling in need of a break to make the most of the sunshine?
The Canary Islands offer year round sunshine and the milder ‘out of season’ highs make them a perfect choice for those who like their sunny rays to be beaming and not blazing.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, meaning that there’s loads to do there for cruisers of all ages. You’ll also find lots of cruises taking in Tenerife from Southampton – so you don’t have to fly if you don’t want to.
What do you think of when dreaming of a cruise to Tenerife?
Do you think of the opportunities to laze on the sand with your cruise ship in the distance?
How about a chance to try your hand at one of the many watersports (and if you’re anything like us, failing miserably)?
You may be happy wandering around the cobbled streets of the nearest town, armed with a guide book, ticking off the various must-sees as you go or maybe you’re wondering whether to bother disembarking at all – after all, if you’ve seen the island once or twice or maybe done a couple of package holidays there, you’ve seen it all, right?
If you’ve got Canary Island fatigue, let www.CRUISE.co.uk inspire you with our list of fun, unusual and unique things to do on Tenerife, so you’re not tempted to stay onboard and soak up the sunshine from your on-ship sunlounger.
There’s much more to this island than just wall to wall sunshine!
Sample Sand from the Sahara
If the idea of seeing Tenerife without an hour or two on the beach sounds like your idea of Canary Island hell, then at least choose a beach that has proper golden sand.
Forget the usual dark volcanic sands that you’ll find on the island and choose somewhere that’s less crowded than the norm, so that you can enjoy a slice of sun-soaked tranquillity that you might not experience onboard a busy ship.
The sweeping mile-long beach at Las Teresitas, near to Tenerife’s cruise port, Santa Cruz, is a beach that holiday dreams are made of – it’s got golden sand imported from the Sahara, the Anagas Mountains as a looming backdrop and it’s a short hop from your ship – what more could you want?
Walk on Water
If you do decide to hit the most popular beaches in and around Santa Cruz, mix up your beach-mooching with some inflatable fun in a Nuclear Globe – it’s basically Aqua Zorbing, except on the ocean.
Picture yourself as a hamster in a huge hamster ball, trying to find your feet on an oversized swimming pool with no edges and that’s what you have to look forward to.
It’s not for the faint-hearted (or the very un-coordinated), but if you love the action-attractions on your ship (the climbing wall, surf simulator et al) – or your ship doesn’t have them – bouncing on the waves in a giant hamster ball is a great way to get the adrenalin pumping.
Teach a Rude Phrase to a Parrot
Or 3,000 parrots, because that’s roughly how many there are at Loro Parque – if you’re successful that’d be a lot of expletives (and you might not be that popular with those who run this family-friendly attraction)!
The park is home to the largest collection of parrots in the world so if you haven’t been before you can only imagine the noise!
Trek across the Katandra Treetops attraction – the newest in the park – to see the island’s wild birds in their natural habitat and once you’ve had enough of the birds (well, there are quite a lot of them – as you’d expect at a place named ‘parrot park’), there are also resident lions, chimps and killer whales to see – don’t expect them to answer back if you talk to them though.
Unless you’re Dr Doolittle, that is.
Get a Buzz in the House of Honey
If you’re used to having a dollop of honey in your porridge and you want a break from the beach without straying too far from your ship, you’ll appreciate a stop off at the ‘Casa de la Miel’ or the House of Honey, in Santa Cruz.
See the bees hard at work, before sampling some of the honey that they’ve made and once the tour is done, you can pick up a souvenir or two to take back onboard with you…handmade beeswax candles all round!
Shake it at the Tenerife Carnaval
Held in February every year, the Tenerife Carnaval is one of those perfect reasons for a winter sun cruise stop on the island.
Not only do you get to shake what your mama gave you and join in with the fun of this annual fiesta and parade (or sit on the sidelines and watch…) but it’s also a perfect excuse to try some local street food from one of the many make-shift kiosks that pop up during the party.
You also get to watch the High Heels Marathon, where you’ll see plenty of burly local blokes trying to complete the race in drag.
Ladies, try not to laugh too hard at their attempts to navigate the cobbles in a pair of stilettos!
Feel On Top of the World (Literally!)
And you thought your stateroom balcony gave you good views!
Hop on the cable car to the top of Mount Teide – Spain’s highest peak at 12,198ft and you’ll be able to see for miles around.
On a clear day you might even be able to spy the neighbouring islands of La Gomera, La Palma and Gran Canaria – although if you can tell which is which you really do deserve a special prize from the gift shop!
Rumour has it that if Mount Teide was to erupt again it could cause a mega-tsunami that would reach New York.
Let’s hope you’re not on the cable car when that happens!
Don’t panic though cruise fans – it’s been dormant for over a hundred years now and isn’t showing any signs of blowing its top again anytime soon.
Stick around in Icod de Los Vinos and head underground to see the Cueva del Viento which is a series of lava tube tunnels formed by burning lava from Pico Viejo which is a volcano near to Mount Teide and the second highest peak on the island.
Wander through the tunnels (in proper shoes, not flip-flops), wearing a very fetching hard hat (photos please – don’t be a spoil sport!) and gaze at the patterns and formations that were burned into the rock, all those years ago – 17,000, if you’re wondering.
Teddy Bear’s Picnic
Spend a little more time nosing around Icod de los Vinos and you’ll find a quirky but also a little bit creepy, doll and teddy bear museum – Artlandya.
The welcoming owners really make a stop off here a magical experience, especially if you’ve got little ones in your group and the gorgeous gardens are the perfect spot for a post-museum teddy bear’s picnic of your own!
Avoid if you have any hint of pediophobia – that’s a fear of dolls, fact fans.
Take a Dip in Lava Pools at Tenerife’s ‘Unluckiest Town’
No, we don’t mean pools of actual steaming lava – that would give a whole new meaning to the term ‘hot tub’! But if you fancy a holiday swimming experience that has a bit more about it than a few laps of the ship’s pool, head to the village of Garachico to join the locals for a dip in one of the natural seafront swimming pools created by lava indentations in the rocks.
If you take the time to have a wander around the gorgeous town centre you might find it hard to understand its reputation as the island’s unluckiest town but believe us, it’s had its fair share of hard knocks (think plagues, floods and, of course, volcanic eruptions).
Still, the result of the volcanic eruptions make pretty neat sea-water swimming pools.
We think we’ll pass on the plague though.
As much as we love the sunshine, too much of a good thing can be, well, too much!
If you’re feeling the need for some shade during your Tenerife explorations then the TEA Art Space in Santa Cruz is a modern marvel.
Inside you’ll find some exciting exhibition spaces, with modern art, fine art, photography and art installations all featuring.
Pop inside for a break from the sunshine on your sunshine break – with an added shot of culture on the side!
Go All Indiana Jones at Machu Picchu
Ok, so the Inca site of Machu Picchu is actually located in Peru but you can experience the second best thing at Masca, Tenerife.
Get your Indiana Jones on and hike the Jurassic ravine – the Indie hat is optional.
At the end of your adventure the hamlet of Masca offers a real off-the-beaten-track island experience – and you have to try the local speciality, cactus ice-cream, to cool off after your hike.
If you’ve still got energy to spare you can hike on even further to be rewarded by a tiny but beautiful beach.
Those tootsies will have earned a refreshing dip after all that walking!
A water taxi will take you back to Santa Cruz, so you don’t have to face the return journey on foot!
Show Off What God Gave You
If you can’t get the idea of sunbathing out of your head (and we understand why, you’re in the Canaries and the sun is undoubtedly shining), then you could always nip to one of the local nudist beaches, such as Playa Las Gaviotas, which is close to Santa Cruz.
On this beach, walking around in your birthday suit isn’t frowned upon and you won’t get reported for indecent exposure either.
What you will get is a great all over tan – perfect if you’ve got a strapless gown hanging up ready for formal night!
The idea of revealing all doesn’t appeal to everyone but apparently the liberation is an amazing experience that’s worth trying at least once in a lifetime.
It might be a little awkward however if your dinner table companions have had the same idea. Expect smirks over sausages at dinner later!
The next time a Canary cruise is on the agenda, don’t dismiss it as a ‘been there, done that’ cruise stop.
Venture away from the Santa Cruz port area and you’ll be surprised at just how much there is to do on the island besides the beaches and the souvenir shops.
There’s loads more to Tenerife than just year-round sunshine but it’s undeniably the perfect place for an out-of-season break.
Enjoy a sunny side up cruise to the Canaries and wave goodbye to your winter woes.
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