The It-Girl's Travel Guide To Tenerife
My top recommendations for where to stay, what to eat and what to do in Tenerife
Hey It-Girls, I'm officially back from vacation and honestly feeling better than ever! In case you don't follow me on Instagram (which you totally should), I went on holiday at the start of this month in celebration of turning 25 earlier this month and it was without a doubt one of the most beautiful trips I've taken as an adult.
My trip actually started in Valencia (stay tuned for that post) but since I'm still basking in the afterglow, tanned skin and sunny skies of Tenerife, I wanted to start with the second part of my trip (which I got so many questions about)!
North or South Tenerife
This was actually my first time visiting one of the Canary Islands so I had no idea what to expect with the weather. I guess I kind of just expected that islands automatically mean white sands and extreme heat. But much like the rest of Europe, Tenerife does have some cooler weather, particularly around Spring time when I travelled. However, South Tenerife tends to have much warmer weather than the north so definitely bear this in mind if you're looking for a sunny escape.
Where to stay in South Tenerife
So, on my way to the resort I actually met a local woman on the bus who was so lovely and gave me lots of great background info on the south of the island. She was from Playa La Arena (where I stayed) which she informed me is actually one of the nicest areas in the south. She explained that because Tenerife is a volcanic island, there actually aren't a lot of sand beaches - mostly just rocky shores. But Playa La Arena (which roughly translates to 'sand beach') is one of the few areas with a gorgeous sandy beach! Be warned though - the sand is black and it is HOT! If you think you'll be frolicking and sinking your toes into the sand, think again! I burnt my feet pretty bad after less than a minute of trying to walk from my sunchair into the ocean. Sandals are a must!
Tourist culture in South Tenerife
She also kept it very real with me during our conversation regarding how she and some other locals feel about tourists (from the UK in particular which was definitely eye opening). She said one of the main reasons she loves Playa La Arena is because there are fewer tourists compared to other areas (such as Los Gigantes). She revealed that one of the unfortunate downsides of these overpopulated tourist areas, is that there's often a diluting and lack of respect for local culture and identity. This was something I could definitely identify with as someone who has witnessed first hand the attitude of entitlement and mistreatment of locals as well as experiencing my fair share of negative treatment and blatant racism from 'fellow' Brits abroad. I think one of the most beautiful parts of travelling is being able to immerse yourself in learning and experiencing other cultures so I definitely prefer to be in more lowkey areas when travelling. She recommended some great areas to eat on the strip including Tapas Y Mas Tapas which I actually never got the chance to go to but have heard great things (if you're a tapas fan looking for an authentic experience)!
Where to eat in South Tenerife
Speaking of where to eat, I have to take a moment to shout out Restaurante Saúco in Alcala where I had the most magical and beautiful birthday meal for my last night in Tenerife. It's located right on the coast with waves crashing against the rocky shores just metres away. If you go in the evening like I did, you get unparalleled views of the sun setting over the ocean while you eat. I had the lobster spaghetti which was honestly the best seafood I've ever had. So fresh and flavourful, I really didn't want the meal to end. This was followed up with some fabulous free champagne and a dreamy slice of cheesecake (courtesy of the restaurant and my amazing partner who organised the whole surprise). This is definitely a romantic spot for couples and the staff so keep this place in mind if you're travelling with your s/o!
What to do in South Tenerife
If you're looking for fun and unique activities to do while in south Tenerife, I cannot recommend the Los Gigantes boat tours enough! Our tour group was pretty small compared to some of the others I saw, with only 8 of us altogether (3 couples and 2 tour guides) which was really nice and intimate. We went dolphin spotting which was so surreal seeing them up close and in their natural habitat (see my Tenerife highlight on Instagram for the footage)! We stopped by the Los Gigantes cliffs for a quick snorkel and ocean swim and of course tapas y mas tapas before heading back to shore.
Transport in South Tenerife
By far the best and most cost effective way to get around the South of the island is by bus. The south isn't very industrial or tech savvy so taxi apps such as Uber aren't really popular. There was a bus ticket app at the airport but none of the bus drivers we spoke to seemed very familiar with how to use it so it's best to just pay for a normal paper ticket onboard. It took roughly 1.5 hours to get from the airport to the resort but was a lot cheaper than taking a taxi and was honestly quite a relaxing journey. There are lots of taxi services on the Playa La Arena strip which I did use when going to Los Gigantes and Restaurante Saúco which were decently priced IMO.
Things to do for free in South Tenerife
While beach days, fine dining and dolphin tours are great, I have to say that my day just walking around the island was one of my favourite. On my walks I came across the most stunning, colourful streets and houses. We actually bumped into a group of young locals free diving into one of the many secret natural pools you can find on the island. Being surrounded by so much water and nature on this trip was deeply healing and provided the perfect opportunity to be present and practice gratitude for the beautiful gift that this holiday was.