There are lots of excursions organised on Tenerife to take you from the peak of Mount Teide to the Masca Valley and many places in between. But if you want to break free from the tour buses and discover some of the hidden delights that the island has to offer, here are my recommendations for fab things to do:
Swim in the rock pools at Garachico
In what has to be the best example of turning a disaster to an advantage ever, Garachico’s rock pools are hewn from the lava of a volcanic eruption that immersed the town. Choose a hot, hot day and paddle, dive into, swim in, or just explore aquamarine pools filled with shimmering, rainbow tropical fish.
Walk the Masca Barranco
This is just the coolest thing to do. Pack sandwiches and hike down the barranco (gorge) from the hamlet of Masca to the sea (3 hours). Spend an hour or so eating, swimming and sunbathing on Masca beach and then get the little boat that takes you back to Los Gigantes. How fabulous is that?
Picnic in the forest
When in Tenerife, do what the Tinerfeños do. Pack enough food to stock a small café and add a flagon or two of wine to keep it company. Then head up into the pine forests to one of the picnic sites, or zonas recreativas as they’re known, and eat, drink and play until you fall asleep in the dappled, pine scented paradise. Bliss.
Play a round of golf
Tenerife’s eight courses are designed by the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Dave Thomas and have greens overlooking breathtaking Atlantic views framed by swaying palm trees. If you’re a golfer, bring your clubs; if you’re married to a golfer, bring several good books and expect to next see him or her back at the airport.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
Polish up your Ant and Dec impersonation and head to the Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz. Fight your way through the dense jungle undergrowth, past plants whose leaves qualify as lethal weapons and terrapins that’ll have your finger tip soon as look at you; to a tranquil, dragonfly-filled water lily pond. If you get lost, try shouting “I’m a Celebrity!”
Visit the Pyramids of Güímar
Long before they invented Ambre Solaire, sun worshippers already inhabited Tenerife; but without the aid of RyanAir, it’s still unclear to scientists exactly how they got here. Güímar’s stepped pyramids are one theory in the enduring mystery of how the island’s first inhabitants arrived. A theme park that educates – now there’s a novelty.
Apart from being the perfect opportunity to come up with endless ‘double entendres’ about slipping into Bob, this is your chance to really go all James Bond in Puerto Colón. Straddling a scooter with your head inside a Breathing Observation Bubble is my kind of diving – all the wonders of the deep without even getting your hair wet.