All posts by Karen Blanchard

The Magic of Carnival

February fills Tenerife with colour and joy especially the capital Santa Cruz

 

Reina del Carnaval de Tenerife 2012
A previous Santa Cruz Carnaval Queen

Think of February and you always think of a cold, sombre month but that image has nothing to do with February in Tenerife, where, as well as enjoying spring temperatures, they celebrate one of the funniest parties in the world: Carnival. The colour, the music and, above all, the good atmosphere and safety, make this an unmissable event for anyone who loves having fun and I mean FUN.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is a Festival of International Tourist Interest and is undoubtedly the most famous, with its galas and competitions between the different groups, the crowd-pulling dances every night and the Day Carnival, perfect to enjoy with the family. Although other municipalities on the Island also join in the party and celebrate their own smaller carnivals. The key to experiencing Carnival one hundred per cent is to get dressed up and let the reigning revelry and joy carry you away….

 

carnaval-de-dia-3-jesus-dsousa
Day Carnival  photo: Jesús D’Sousa

 

Design your Carnival plan

 

mamelucos-2
Carnival gala photo: Jesús D’Sousa

If you have not experienced the Carnival in Tenerife before, it is not unusual to get a bit confused when choosing the best dates to come to the island and enjoy this party to the full. Here are some important details that will help you to plan.

Although the official Carnival begins with the contests between the different groups (murgas, comparsas, rondallas), the real show begins with the Gala to elect the Carnival Queen. The event always falls on a Wednesday, and two days later, on Carnival Friday, the streets overflow with joy at the colourful, light-hearted Opening Cavalcade. You should be on the island for this.

From that same night the streets of downtown Santa Cruz are filled with music and costumes. Although this is not an official figure, maybe only one person in a thousand or ten thousand will be at those dances in normal dress. So if you want to go unnoticed among the crowd, get a disguise as soon as you can.

 

Cheerleaders with hairy legs

 

coso-3
Photo: Jesús D’Sousa.

It is normal to meet groups of hairy men dressed as cheerleaders or someone wearing a spectacular costume inspired by a fantastic film. In fact, there are as many disguises as people taking to the streets to enjoy themselves, running into the hundreds of thousands and I’m not exaggerating. Did you know that Santa Cruz holds the Guinness Record for the number of people dancing under the stars? It happened in 1987 when Cuban salsa star Celia Cruz got a crowd of over 250,000 to shake their hips in the central plaza and surrounding areas (the figure remains unbeaten).

For almost two weeks of Carnival, in Santa Cruz a charming mix of good fun and craziness is unleashed – another thing that make this party unmistakable. This is in spite of the huge crowd that meets at the dances of by night and the Day Carnival, which by the way is ideal for the whole family.

 

El Coso, La Sardina and La Piñata

 

carnaval-de-dia-4
Photo: Jesús D’Sousa

On Carnival Tuesday, the Grand Parade, El Coso, along Avenida Anaga represents the high point of the celebrations. The procession attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees including those taking part in the cavalcade and the public.

The night of Ash Wednesday is another date for your diary. The Burial of the Sardine is by far the most amusing funeral you will ever attend in your life. The finishing touch to the “sad” event is a massive dance in the streets of Santa Cruz until the wee hours of the morning.

And then the following weekend (called Piñata), the dances transform the city again with the Day Carnival and the night dances. But everything that begins must end and on Sunday the party says good bye until the following year … but only in the capital. Many other places on the island are about to start their own peculiar carnival, just as lively and surprising.

 

Join in and mingle with the crowds

 

los-cariocas-191-690x453
Photo: Jesus D’Sousa

It is really easy to join in the carnival atmosphere. It’s as simple as getting g yourself a costume that suits your taste. You can find disguises at affordable prices in specialty stores, which offer whatever you need to become a superhero, gladiator or sexy nurse, including wigs, ornaments and all kinds of extravagant makeup.

Just add one more ingredient: your desire to have fun. Fool around by exaggerating the character that you are playing in your fancy dress. The key is to laugh and make people laugh with your feather boa, your huge fake eyelashes and your glittering face. That’s all!

More information and programme:

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/what-to-do/carnival/

http://carnavaldetenerife.com/

 

Tenerife for the perfect family holiday

The island is an ideal  for young and old

When a family is looking for a holiday spot where everyone can have a great time, many automatically think of Tenerife. Why? The island is a close, accessible destination with an annual average temperature of 22 degrees centigrade and above all, it offers almost endless possibilities for having fun.

A family trip involves toying with an idea: that the location for a few days of fun and relaxation is different enough from back home but, at the same time, you do not have to travel halfway around the world to get there. Tenerife usually comes to mind because it is only about four hours’ flight time from Europe. In under a day, you can travel to the island of eternal spring. When you land on the island, its pleasant traditional atmosphere welcomes you and it’s perfect for outdoor activities every day of the year; and if you have children, that’s crucial.

familia_ocio_siam-park_adeje_img_8344

Theme parks for young and old

One of Tenerife’s big selling points for families are water theme parks. Siam Park in Costa Adeje, is the largest water park in Europe and the best in the world according to Travel Advisor. Inspired by the Kingdom of Siam, it offers incredible slides, tropical gardens and attractions like a large white sandy beach with an artificial wave pool. Loro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz, is one of those places you must visit. Penguins, gorillas, otters, sharks, and orcas … Nature in all its splendor in a unique area considered the best zoo in Europe also (also according to TripAdvisor).

There are very many more alternatives, for example in the south of the island. Families can roam around Jungle Park with all kinds of free flying exotic birds and birds of prey plus 500 species of animals and tunnels, bridges, waterfalls, lagoons and caves. For an adrenaline rush, it’s best to go racing at Karting de Tenerife.

Aqualand is a water park offering not only water attractions but also dolphin shows. If you want to feel like a true explorer, head for Pyramids of Güímar Ethnographic Park, which offers several routes outdoors where little ones have a very important mission: to unravel the secrets of the six ancient and mysterious stepped pyramids. If your kids feel like playing and having fun in the countryside, Forestal Park offers all family members the chance to swing on zip lines among towering pines of the Esperanza Mountains.

 

Who said museums weren’t fun? 

The Museum of Science and the Cosmos in La Laguna invites you to discover the fun part of science through experiments and gadgets that you can touch and play with. For those interested in the origin of the island’s indigenous culture, the Museum of Nature and Man in Santa Cruz displays well preserved mummies and pottery that belonged to the Guanches, the first settlers on the island.

Star gazing and whale watching

untitled

Kids will love seeing the stars while adults are fascinated by the unfathomable vastness of the universe. Tenerife, especially Teide National Park, is one of the best spots in the world for stargazing thanks to the clean air and purity of the sky. An original activity for the whole family especially if you hire the services of a specialized company with Starlight Guides offering expert knowledge, long-range telescopes and even dinner at high altitude. Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an attraction in itself for its volcanic landscapes that look like another planet. Dedicating one day to discover the park and the majestic volcano Mount Teide is a terrific idea and don’t miss a ride up the cable car to get close to the crater (you need a permit – apply online).

Another of the island’s star activities is the whale and dolphin watching. Just three miles off the southern coast of Tenerife live colonies of these adorable marine mammals. Hop on one of the boats that organize daily trips for an unforgettable and moving experience.

mother-daughter-main-swimming-pool-citadel_1

Wonderful, surprising spots

Tenerife’s coast is full of beaches north to south, ideal for a good swim in the waves or just to have fun making sand castles with a bucket and spade. If you prefer a relaxing dip, check out the eight spectacular natural pools at Martiánez sea-bathing lake in Puerto de la Cruz. Ideal for a different day out, there are great restaurants in and around this lovely old town.

On the island there are also some very original attractions. From the Palmetum in Santa Cruz, a true botanical garden with all kinds of plant species including an impressive collection of palm trees, to the Cueva del Viento (Icod), one of the largest volcanic tubes in the world thanks to its 17 kilometres of caves filled with silence and darkness.

Garachico 2

There are 4 and 5 star hotels galore with all the amenities and facilities for families – specially equipped rooms, children’s pools, play areas, plenty of entertainment activities and food that satisfies any palate, even the kids. Tenerife is irresistible for families.

Routes Africa 2016 to be held in Tenerife

One of the world’s most important connectivity meetings 26-28 June 2016TENERIFE-PARQUE-NACIONAL02.jpg

Routes Africa, the only route development forum for the African region, will be hosted by the Tenerife Tourism Corporation with the support of the Canary Islands Government this summer from 26-28 June 2016.

Tenerife has been selected because of its strategic location. Lying just 300km off the coast of Morocco, Tenerife is the closest European region to West Africa and a gateway to four continents – Europe, Africa, North America and South America.

The choice of Tenerife as host destination is testament to the continuous increase in flights to the island from Africa, UK and Europe and aligns with the Tenerife Island Government ´s strategy.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Routes Africa has brought together leading airlines, airports and tourism authorities to discuss air services to, from and within Africa since 2006. Around 250 key route development professionals are expected to attend the 11th annual forum.

Aviation is vital to Tenerife’s economy, transporting over 12 million air passengers to the island’s two international airports every year. Tenerife’s long-term aim is to become a logistical stepping stone to Africa, connecting the continent to Europe and the Americas through the expansion of its air route network.

Routes Africa is an important part of Tenerife’s activities to achieve this aim. The event will provide the opportunity to showcase the year-round sunshine and stunning beaches, mountains and national park that attract six million tourists to Tenerife every year, making it one of Spain’s top destinations. The event will also highlight the island’s potential for investment as a hub for passengers, goods and data.

Mr. Alberto Bernabé, Tourism Minister at the Tenerife Island Government, says: “We are delighted and very honoured that Tenerife is hosting this prestigious event. Routes Africa is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our island as a business hub to key aviation industry leaders from Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.”

Over 200 companies from the Canary Islands currently operate in Africa, generating revenues in excess of £173 million in 2015. This is why Mr. Carlos Alonso, President of the Tenerife Island Government, has made increasing and improving the island’s air connectivity a top priority for the next few years, not only with Africa but also with the UK, Europe and the Americas.

 

Mr. Carlos Alonso, President of Tenerife Government, comments: “We didn’t have any direct flights to Africa four years ago and today we have four: to Casablanca, Agadir, Marrakesh and Dakar. With continued efforts we expect this number to continue growing.”

As well as direct routes to Africa, Tenerife has also seen a recent increase in fights from the UK. These include the recently-launched route from Heathrow to Tenerife North Airport with Iberia Express; two new twice-weekly services to Tenerife South Airport from Edinburgh with Jet2.com and Norwegian Airlines; and the introduction of a daily service from Gatwick with British Airways (up from 5 times a week). Also, Thomson Airways is launching a weekly service from Humberside Airport to the island in November 2016 and Thomas Cook Airlines is increasing its weekly flight to four times a week from this winter.

 

Other European carriers, such as Lufthansa, Wizz Air and Brussels Airlines, have also added new routes to Tenerife from Munich, Budapest and Brussels, respectively.

“Connectivity is vital to the development of the tourism sector and for employment,” says Carlos Alonso. “For every seven new tourists, a job is created.”

Increasing air transport links to other continents is one of the key priorities of the Tenerife Tourism Corporation’s Why Tenerife project, aimed at promoting the economic, social and cultural development of Tenerife for businesses to set up on the island. One of Tenerife’s main business incentives is its unique tax system which is lower than the rest of Europe – 4% corporation tax for registered companies and 7% VAT.

For information on Tenerife, please visit: www.webtenerife.co.uk

For information about Why Tenerife, please visit: www.whytenerife.com

For information about Routes Africa 2016, please visit: www.routesonline.com

 

 

 

Get your boots on for Tenerife Walking Festival!

The island is hosting one of Europe’s most important hiking events: March 29 to April 2, 2016

senderismo

The second edition of Tenerife Walking Festival (TWF 2016) is just around the corner. One of the most important hiking events in Europe and attracting more than a hundred participants from across the continent, TWF will be based in Puerto de la Cruz from March 29 to April 2.

Featuring internationally and nationally renowned speakers plus a grand finale with the island’s cuisine and wines, TWF will highlight adventure and outdoor activities on Tenerife.

“The Tenerife Walking Festival returns with the same strengths and qualities which made it a benchmark last year notably the quality and variety of footpaths, the complementary activities and Puerto de la Cruz hosting the event,” says Tenerife Cabildo’s Tourism chief, Alberto Bernabé.

“In just two editions, the festival has become a reference for ramblers, and we want its promotional philosophy and respect for the environment to be present in other initiatives that we plan to implement on the island during the year.”

The festival offers the chance to hike up to 15 trails, which are a selection of the most striking on Tenerife. If you wish to enroll, you can still register online at www.tenerifewalkingfestival.com

Complementary activities: talks and a grand food and wine party

The whole Island and specifically Puerto de la Cruz will be focusing on hiking during the week-long TWF 2016 and local residents are also invited to take part in the parallel activities such as presentations on Wednesday 30 March, Thursday 31 March and Friday 1st April taking place in the San Felipe Castle at 20:30. All are welcome to join in the grand closing party on Saturday 2 April in the Plaza de Europa from 12:00 noon. All these activities will be free of charge and open to everyone.

On Wednesday 30 March there will be a talk by José María Nasarre, Head of Nature of the Spanish Mountaineering Federation (FEDME), who will speak about safety on the trails. The next day, Juan Jesús Ibáñez, a member of the International Union of Mountaineering and Climbing (UIAA), will speak about the project Respect the Mountain, which will restore a footpath on Tenerife in June.

On Friday, 1st April Sebastian Alvaro, the legendary adventurer and director of Spain’s TVE programme “Al Filo de lo Imposible, who is once again the festival’s “godfather, will offer one of his keynote talks combining his life story with spectacular photographs and videos of his expeditions.

The grand finale to the TWF 2016 will be a bustling, lively celebration with tapas, tasting the local wines, show cooking sessions and a fair featuring a sample of the wide range of outdoor and adventure activities on offer for visitors to Tenerife.

Cabildo bus shuttle to Teide

Operativo Nevada

Free bus service to the Teide National Park this weekend

For safety reasons, access by car is only one way – up through Chío and down via Boca Tauce and Vilaflor from 08.00 am to 18.00 on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February

 This weekend the Cabildo has activated Operation Nevada (8.00-18.00) to ensure the safety of visitors to the Teide National Park after heavy snow fall 18-22 February.

The decision is subject to change, depending on the number of vehicles and the weather as AEMET is forecasting winds with strong gusts in lower hills and highlands and rain is also expected in the north tomorrow.

President Carlos Alonso explains: “Currently, access to the National Park is complicated because we have not yet cleared all the roads and because it is a natural area so this operation is to ensure orderly and secure access.” Alonso is calling for patience and prudence on the part of visitors and residents to prevent accidents.

Access to the Teide National Park is only from the south of the island. Northern access roads remain closed as teams work hard to remove the ice and snow from the tarmac. For this reason the following roads remain closed:

TF-24 La Esperanza, which is cut off at Arafo at kilometre 24

TF-21 La Orotava, cut off at Ramón Caminero at kilometre 24

Recent snow falls of up to 135 mm high in Izaña should continue on the ground for at least a couple of weeks, which means that Operation Nevada may well be repeated next week but with more roads open to vehicles.

The Teide National Park can be visited to the cable car station but only by using a discretionary bus service offered free by the Cabildo on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February departing from Vilaflor. Bus company TITSA is also operating the normal services to Vilaflor: line 482 from Los Cristianos to Vilaflor and line 342 El Teide to Costa Adeje.

Access by car is only permitted to Boca Tauce one-way via Chío (TF-38) and going down by Vilaflor (TF-21). It will not be possible to go into the National Park due to the lack of sufficient parking spaces to ensure the transit of bus emergency vehicles. To reach the cable car, you must take the free shuttle bus departing from Vilaflor.

Bus shuttle

The free bus service will depart from Vilaflor to the cable car and not make any stops. Parking areas for cars will be provided in Vilaflor.

15 buses will operate a continuous service between 10.00 hours and 16.00 hours:

 The first bus from Vilaflor to the Cable Car will be at 10:00 am and lthe ast departure from Vilaflor to the cable car at 15:00. The first bus will return from the Cable Car to Vilaflor at 11.30 am and the last at 16.30 hours.

 If necessary, the number of buses will be increased.

The Civil Guard will activate special traffic controls at these points to regulate the movement of vehicles. The Red Cross will have two ambulances on standby for evacuation.

Under Operation Nevada there will be a free lane on the road for emergencies so vehicles will have to drive on the right. A field hospital and three ambulances will also be available near the Teide

 

Forest tracks, footpaths and BBQ areas

For security reasons, any recreational forest trails leading to or from the closed road sections in the mountains will be cut off.

For more information on closed tracks

http:// www.tenerife.es/pistas/

More information on the website of the Cabildo of Tenerife

www.tenerife.es

www.diariodetenerife.info

Or call the Citizens Service Centre (901 501 901) and Highway Information Centre (CIC) 900 210 131 www.cic.tenerife.es

The information will also be updated on the Cabildo’s social networks.operativo_nevada (002)

Snow white Teide

Shiny white Teide

A webcam shows the island’s snow covered peaks while visitors enjoy sun and beach at the coast

Snow has fallen like never before in Tenerife. This weekend, the sun rose on Mount Teide completely covered in white, offering a spectacular picture postcard view of the National Park and the island’s peaks. Road maintenance teams from the Cabildo are working hard to clear the heavy snowfalls and ice from the roads but for now, all access to the National Park remains closed as a precaution.

If you are on the island and waiting to go up over the next few days to enjoy the snow, or if you are at home and want to see what is happening live at Teide, this is the image broadcast live from one of the cameras at the Astrophysics Institute of the Canary Islands:

And while this is happening in the highest part of Tenerife, the temperatures in the rest of the island are still like spring. The sun is shining and the beaches continue to be there for you to enjoy the over 20 degrees Celsius marked by the thermometers.

Have you ever heard that Tenerife is an island of contrasts? Well, over the last few days we have had the clearest example of this. Check out this camera, also live from one of the island’s southern beaches, Las Vistas in Los Cristianos (Arona):

playa-las-vistas

https://www.skylinewebcams.com/es/webcam/espana/canarias/santa-cruz-de-tenerife/playa-las-vistas.html

 

Five Michelin stars sparkle in Tenerife cusine

The island’s gastronomy is one of its big attractions for tourists

gastronomia_restaurante_cofradia_pescadores_puerto-de-la-cruz_img_9542

The 2016 edition of the prestigious Michelin Guide has once more acknowledged the extraordinary quality of Tenerife cuisine, by giving five stars to restaurants on the island. The latest in joining the list is El Rincón de Juan Carlos, which has just achieved its first star. It is joined by the restaurants M.B. and Kabuki, both at the Abama Resort & Spa in Guía de Isora (which retain the stars they already had, two and one respectively), and Kazán in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (which also keeps the star it obtained last year).

Tenerife is the only Canary Island with Michelin stars thanks to its gastronomy, which has been able to combine traditional dishes with other more innovative ones to create a culinary option that —through hundreds of restaurants spread all over the island— now holds its own as a tourist attraction.

Original and diverse cuisine

gastronomia_hotel_bahia-del-duque_adeje_img_6756

Tenerife gastronomy is made from products that stand out for their freshness, one of its greatest identifying features. The fish and the meat and, of course, all of the garden produce make delicious dishes featuring stars such as potatoes, bananas and honey.

Tenerife wines deserve a special mention. The volcanic origins of the island have favoured original and diverse wines, at times produced in unlikely conditions due to weather or orography. These particularities can be appreciated in the five certified designations of origin in Tenerife: Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Valle de Güímar and Valle de La Orotava.

Saborea Tenerife product club

Part of the explanation of the progress experienced by Tenerife cuisine over recent years is the Saborea Tenerife product club. It integrates the growers, the markets, the chefs, the winemakers and everyone who has anything to do with the island’s gastronomy.

The pooling of professional sectors and public initiatives makes up a club where diverse activities coincide, such as gastronomy with alternative leisure activities, active tourism, nature tourism, cultural tourism, wine tourism, accommodation, local production, specialist means of communication and many of the current varieties of tourist experience that mark the difference and singularity of top holiday destinations.

For more information on Tenerife’s restaurants and wineries:

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/activities/eat-drink/?tab=1&page-index=1&tab-view-mode=cuadricula

Expedia captures the magic of Tenerife

Teide & the "Sea of Clouds"

Turismo de Tenerife recently assisted Expedia, one of the world’s largest travel companies, to photograph some of the island’s most spectacular destinations.

The images and stories captured during the 5 day shoot, are now being shared on Expedia sites including the U.S, Canada and France and have been translated into more than 20 different languages.

According to Tourism Media Director, Nick Joy, the assistance provided by Turismo de Tenerife allowed the photographic team to showcase the island, making it easier for international visitors to really understand the magic on the island.

“Having the support of Turismo de Tenerife gave us a great opportunity to share Tenerife with the world,” he said.

Expedia currently has 42,581 followers on Instagram and 322,000 twitter followers.

https://www.expedia.com/pictures/canary-islands/tenerife.d6047194