Dark skies at night – astronomers’ delight in Tenerife!

Tenerife enhances its “astro-tourism” with eight new telescopes at Teide Observatory

VOLCANO LIFE

Tenerife has boosted its position as one of the best locations on the planet for stargazing, with the introduction of eight new telescopes at the world-famous Teide Observatory. Introduced last month, the new telescopes will appeal to “astro-tourists” and scientists looking to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

The new, advanced solar telescopes mark the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC). Of the eight introduced, six are robotic telescopes from countries including the USA, Russia, Qatar and Slovakia; and two belong to the QUIJOTE (Q-U-I-Joint Tenerife), a scientific experiment involving multiple partners from Spain and the UK. The recently-launched Volcano Life Experience operates guided tours several days a week to the Teide Observatory, which is also home to GREGOR, the largest solar telescope in Europe.

Located at 2,390 metres above sea level and next to Mount Teide – Spain’s highest peak at 3,718 metres – Teide Observatory is perfect for studying stars at night due to its geographical location, low-light pollution and extremely clear night skies, which are protected by laws relating to contamination levels and flight paths. The Observatory rests above the clouds in the volcanic Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, globally recognised as a ‘Starlight Tourist Destination’.

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The largest island in the Canaries, Tenerife offers a huge choice of ‘star tourism’ experiences for visitors to enjoy on their island getaway. Those with an interest in outer space can learn about the important astrophysics research carried out by the IAC at Teide Observatory by joining a guided tour to see the stars and marvel at dazzling displays. Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy a free “open day” at the Observatory every summer, with many activities available for children. They can also tour the Planetarium at the Museum of Science and the Cosmos in La Laguna or stay overnight in a rural cottage or country hotel complete with a telescope for a private observation of the stars. Mount Teide’s cable car also offers a very special ‘Sunset and Stars’ stargazing trip, with a dusk-time dinner served at 2,000 metres above sea level.

The Canary Islands, specifically Tenerife and La Palma, have the privilege of being among the few locations in the world that will install new telescopes of the future. The island of Tenerife also leads the EUSky Route, a pioneering project funded by the European Commission which aims to create “astrotourism” routes in the participating European countries, including Poland, Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria, Greece and Spain.

Next year, Tenerife will welcome stars of a different kind, such as Stephen Hawking and astrophysicist-musician Brian May, when it hosts the Starmus Festival – a unique celebration of science, art and music – from 27th June to 2nd July 2016. This special event is the brainchild of Dr. Garik Israelian of the IA.

For more information on stargazing in Tenerife, please click here.

Siam Park and Loro Parque receive once again the prestigious Travellers’ Choice Award from TripAdvisor

Siam Park has been named the #1 Water Park in the world and Loro Parque the #1 Zoo in Europe and #2 in the world thanks to traveller’s opinions and comments

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Loro Parque company celebrates that for the second year running the group’s theme parks, both located in Tenerife, are considered to be among the best in the world and continue to achieve success, now with the prestigious recognition of the largest travel website, Tripadvisor, considering Loro Parque the Nº 1 Zoo in Europe and 2º best in the world. On the other hand, Siam Park received the award as best Water Park worldwide. This distinction was announced in the third edition of the Travellers’ Choice Awards, created by TripAdvisor honouring the opinions and recommendations regarding the best sights and attractions in the world according to travellers’ themselves.

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A total of 533 winners were awarded. A Top 25 world ranking was established in which attractions and places of interest from all over the globe were taking into account, including the best theme parks of Asia, Canada, China, Europe, India, South America, the Pacific and the US. On this occasion, Siam Park repeats as Nº1 in the world for the second year in a row and Loro Parque, which was considered to be the third best zoo in the world in 2014, has gone up one position and is considered to be the second best zoo in the world in 2015 after the historical zoo of San Diego.

This year Loro Parque and Siam Park have also received individual “Certificates of Excellence”, an award given only to the places that have achieved excellent ratings by travellers in the past 12 months. Having achieved these certificates during the past five years running, both Loro Parque and Siam Park have been included in the Hall of Fame.

TripAdvisor is the largest travel website in the world, founded 15 years ago and currently operating in over 45 countries and in 28 different languages. Each month the website is checked by 340 million travellers and shares more than 225 million opinions and comments (139 comments each minute). The Travellers Choice Awards are determined based on the quality and quantity of positive comments and opinions expressed by travellers about the attractions in each destination.

A (REAL) DAY AT THE BEACH

Lying on the beach enjoying the sun and sea breeze, doing some water sports, trying some local food for lunch and rounding off the day with a cocktail while watching the sunset… here’s the recipe for a dream day at the beach in Tenerife.

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There are days when you don’t fancy doing much at all, except just relaxing. Well, you can do just that in Tenerife, but not in your hotel room with the curtains drawn. We’re talking about lying on a sun lounger at the beach listening to the hypnotic sound of the waves and soaking up the sun while the cool sea breeze caresses your skin. Sound appealing? Well that’s just the basis for an enjoyable day at the beach.  If you want to get even more out of your day, whether alone, with your partner, family or friends, you can add lots of extras to enhance your day and make it a truly unforgettable experience.

Here’s our plan for you to spend 24 hours in Tenerife that includes a bit of everything, but always with the beach and sea as the star attractions.

CHOOSE YOUR IDYLLIC BEACH

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Close to a hundred beaches stretch along the north and south coasts of the island. The ones in the north are more wild, especially as most are of black volcanic sand. We suggest checking out the beaches of El Socorro (Los Realejos) or Playa Jardín (Puerto de la Cruz), for instance.

If you prefer golden sand, Las Teresitas, in Santa Cruz, is over three kilometres long, so there’ll be plenty of room for your towel and to let yourself be seduced by this tranquil setting. If you decide to head south, there are lots of golden beaches to choose from, such as Playa de Las Vistas (Arona) or Torviscas (Adeje), to name just two.

 

HAVE FUN AND MORE BESIDES

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At the beaches of Tenerife, you’ll often find options to complement your sunbathing and refreshing swims with other activities that require a minimum of effort. From donning your mask, flippers and snorkel to explore colourful sea beds teeming with life, through to more daring options like parascending, windsurfing or kitesurfing. For such sports, El Médano is definitely one of the best places to head, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. Here, you can enjoy your favourite sport in excellent wind and sea conditions combined with an ambience that is both bustling and inviting at the same time.

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GREAT SEAFOOD AT MASÍA DEL MAR

All over the island, restaurants serve traditional food that turns them into culinary temples where eating is about more than simply satisfying your hunger. On this occasion, we’re recommending one such restaurant where they create exquisite seafood specialities: Masía del Mar, in La Caleta de Adeje.

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It’s easy to find as it stands on a pedestrian-only street that ends at the picturesque cove after which this fishing village is named. A useful tip: before sitting at your table, take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets that lead to the cove, and have a refreshing swim next to the small boats moored on the pebbles. Then, having worked up an appetite, you can head back to the restaurant.

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Guests are met by Marivi who runs the restaurant and tells them all about the mussels, langoustines, shellfish, crabs and lobsters they serve that attract hundreds of diners to the restaurant every day.  What to have? Paella, “arroz caldoso” (a delicious rice soup), “zarzuela de marinera” (seafood casserole), bouillabaisse… Whatever you choose, you won’t regret it. This spacious, well-lit establishment has various dining rooms where you can try their exquisite dishes, as well as a terrace with spectacular views.

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PAPAGAYO BEACH CLUB

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A day at the beach wouldn’t be “a real day at the beach” without a fabulous sunset, and if we throw in some good music, great food and enticing cocktails, we can only be talking about one place: Papagayo Beach Club, at Playa de Troya beach in Arona.

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Since its opening in September 2012, Papagayo has become the island’s number one hotspot at any time of the day and night. It has two floors with a very tasteful decor, so you’re sure to find a corner to chill out in;  including the outdoor area, with exclusive Bali-style beds and “VIP palapas” (thatched-roof shades), as well as the indoor restaurant.

They serve a wide variety of dishes, as well as different breakfasts to start the day or lunches that include sushi specialities and gourmet burgers. Of course, there is also an extensive choice of international dishes: rice with lobster is probably the star of the show, but they also have grilled Iberian pork with potatoes and seasonal vegetables, or chef’s special sea bass.

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In the evening, you can enjoy fabulous sunsets from here, which is yet another great reason to come along. In good company, trying some of the many cocktails or signature G+T’s, all makes for a truly sublime experience. If you like gin and tonic, you simply must try a G´Vine Floraison, made with slices of grape and raspberry (or strawberry) and a sprig of basil accompanied by Fever Tree tonic.

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Later on, you can enjoy some great live music, including soul, funk and flamenco. At weekends, the cabin attracts great artists from both the national and international electronic music scene. Papagayo Beach Club opens at 10.30am and doesn’t close until 4 in the morning (6am on Fridays and Saturdays).