Posted on April 20, 2017
Tres Chicas y Una Furgoneta -Three Girls & One Camper Van Episode One
Last month myself and two of my girlies Arantxa & Aoife teamed up with the awesome Vans & Sands for a camper van trip around the island of Tenerife. Last year when I came back from Tenerife I realised how many people thought it was just this super touristy tacky place. This just didn’t sit with my idea of a mini glittering Hawaii just a stones through from Europe. So this year with the girls I set out to disprove the theory.
Our home for the 9 days was Pipi a 1970s restored VW van. Oh my goodness Pipi was an angel! After a driving lesson for Arantxa from Rayco the wonderful owner of Vans & Sands we sat down to plan. Our mission? To see as much of this beautiful Island in 8 days as possible from the heights of the Volcano Teide to surf in the clear waters of the coasts. The camper life was everything we had hoped for waking up in a new place every morning and toodling along the coast in search of waves and turtles. I’ll do a whole other post on some of the top tips myself and the girls found made our camper life more cosy and enjoyable. There will also be a whole piece on the food, since you cant send three foodies on a trip to an island with amazing food and expect to talk about much else!
But without further ado….
My Top 7 Spots to Visit
While in the pace of the modern world you can often just want to flake completely on your holiday I I implore, dare, demand that you get out of the usual deck chair day life and get out and see some of these amazing places. In no particular order…
Teide is the volcano in the centre of Tenerife (essentially it IS Tenerife). I was so lucky on the flight over to get the window seat and see Teide covered in snow. As you fly into the island it can feel a bit like the intro to a Jurassic Park movie. Tied and the surrounding area is a national park so its actually important to get a permit if you’re keen to hike to the top. This requires a reasonably good level of fitness and sadly slightly higher organisation levels than what we possessed before flying out (you need to get it a few months in advance). I would HIGHLY recommend doing this and it is certainly on my to do list for the next trip back. We went to Teide and went as high as we were allowed. It was amazing to leave 25C at the cost in Playa de Las Americas to climb up through the cloud line and find snow everywhere. This was certainly the first bit of magic of our trip getting to throw snowballs on a volcano, topped off with lunch overlooking the snow capped peak.
Alcala was a wonderful accidental “re-find”. In the wonderful way that can only happen on a road trip we found it when we were supposed to be going somewhere else. About 20 minutes after setting out on the motorway and deciding that were we were supposed to be going was too close I saw the sign for Alcala and said “hey I think that place is nice, I cant remember why”. The too girls being the kindred souls said “cool lets go there and see why”. Oh what a godsend! Alcala is a beautiful little town nestled into jagged cliffs with amazing deep blue water, a black sand beach, picturesque colourful houses and tons of natural pools. We spent the day snorkelling with angel fish, drinking Barraquitos and playing Dobble in the sun and collecting sea glass on the beach.
Masca was one of those trips you always wish you did and then procrastinate and don’t do. But we did it and it was AMAZING. This is a double must, especially for fitness loving people. The most straightforward (and non soul destroying way) to hike Masca gorge is to get a taxi from Los Gigantes town to the top of the gorge, hike down through the insanely stunning gorge, come out on the beach under the appropriately names Los Gigantes cliffs and get the boat back to the town. The road up is down right terrifying so I really recommend the taxi. For a taxi between three and a boat ticket (get it from one of the operators in the town) it was less then €20 each. Bring layers and sunscreen as its cold at the top and bottom and hot in the middle. I cant do the gorge walk justice so I’ll let the photos do the talking.
El Medano & Montana Roja
I spent a fair bit of time in El Medano last year, I think it is the perfect place if you want to relax on a beautiful beach away from the tourist scene. I can be a wee bit windier (ok a lot) then other better known places like Los Cristianos, but my goodness you will be rewarded with beautiful stone streets, insanely good restaurants, lovely boutiques and surf shops. On the seaside front there are a couple of great beginner surf beaches and more places to wind and kite surf then you can shake a stick at. On flat windless days it’s great to rent a SUP and take a little mosey around all the little inlets and beaches between the town and Montana Roja. Ah Montana Roja, another place that I thought the rose tinted glasses of hind sight had made more beautiful to me. On one of our last days Arantxa and I hiked up here (lets be clear, she’s a fairly gentle hike up and down in roughly 1.5h) and were rewarded with the most stunning sunset ever. Thats big claim, we live in Bundoran the land of amazing sunsets. Entirely pink and purple skies, seas, everything. If you’re in Medano please eat in the Famila restaurant and go up Montana Roja! Also shout out the wonderful folks at La Casa Grande hostel for the amazing hot showers and laundry services. Our clean bodies and clothes applaud you!
Ok so this is cheating a bit, we didnt actually get the chance to visit Santa Cruz on this trip, but it is where I spent most of my time last year so I feel the need to give it a mention. There isnt really seaside here (except the artificial beach Las Terrasitas) so it gets overlooked a bit as a destination. But I would certainly recommend a day here to peruse the Nuestra Señora De Africa market for delicious local fare and if you’re a shopper this is a great place to go with more local prices then the tourist resort! I brought myself on the bus tour like a proper little tourist. I find this a great way to get the lay of the land in a new city. You get to figure out where all the pretty bits are and realise all the things that are close together which is great later when you spend more time on foot!
Taganana and also all the surrounding mountain area are just insanely insanely stunning, there was lots of speculation as to whether or not we had stepped on a stray sod when we drove through this area as the flitting from tropical rainforest to tiered padifield-looking slopes made us wondering if we were in Hawaii or asia. Theres a great little surf beach here, but if we are being honest, Im here for the food folks. There is a glut of lovely little seafood restaurant with the faded plastic seats and umbrellas outside that just screams holidays. If you’re here and you’re not afraid of things that can sucker you back, you should certainly try the pulpo (octopus). Infact seafood on Tenerife is just amazing so I’ll likely do a whole other blog on the food!
Ok this might seem like an odd one, but sometimes some of the best things can be right under your nose! While Los Cristianos is most certainly one of the most touristy spots on the island (you will certainly see the highest level of per capita sunburns here), like so much of Tenerife is it still surrounded by natural beauty. One of the most wonderful parts of our trip was to go on a kayak adventure with SUP Academy Tenerife out along the cliffs to meet the dolphins! I hate the idea of dolphins in captivity and places like Loro Parque give me the absolute creeps, but getting to observe these insanely intelligent animals out in their natural habitat was an absolute highlight!
I’m so excited to share more from our trip in the coming weeks from our favourite Canarian food to out top tips for camper van living. In the mean time you should totally check out www.vansandsands.com and follow @vansandsands on instagram and on Facebook! Have you been to Tenerife? Where were your favourite places? Let me know in the comments below!