Tenerife - The Land of Orange Tree and Eternal Spring

Posted in Tenerife on 29 Feb 2016

Our aim is to give our visitors useful information about Tenerife, population c750,000, and situated in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 miles off the coast of West Africa. Tenerife, like the other Canary Islands, is a protectorate of Spain, but NOT part of the EU - so watch your Customs Allowances on cigarettes and liquor when travelling home to EU member countries such as the UK!

With a land area of just over 2,000 square kilometres, Tenerife is the largest of the 7 Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera). Although quite small, the island has as many different climatic zones as a continent and you can see many different types of agriculture from the growing of potatoes and grapes to the commercial cultivation of banana, lemon, peach, apricot and orange trees. You can also see snow covered mountain peaks whilst sunbathing and swimming in the warm coastal waters!

The island’s dominant feature is, of course, the inert (but NOT extinct!) volcano, Mount Teide. At 3,717.91 metres (12,198 ft) Teide (pronounced Tay-dee) forms the highest peak in any Spanish territory and its sheer size and height dominate the landscape for miles around. The earliest recorded mention of 'El Teide' and its snow-mantled, fiery cone, was by the 15th century explorer and navigator, Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon in his native Portuguese) as well as many of the other early explorers.

Tenerife’s most important feature – and one that will stand it in good stead for residents and investors (present and future) – is its climate. Not for nothing is Tenerife, with temperatures in mid-winter reaching 22º (15º at night) and in the summer, 33º (18º at night), known as The Island of Eternal Springtime!

Tenerife - a Brief History

The first recorded settlers in Tenerife were an ancient tribe known as the Guanches. The name of the island is said to have originated from the language of these people: "tene" meaning mountain and "ife" meaning white - a reference to the iconic, often snow-capped mountains that dominate the island.

In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the Spanish conquistadores invaded Tenerife, overcoming the Guanches, who were forced to surrender after a famous battle which ended on Christmas Day 1495. The natives were duly enslaved by their conquerors and used mainly in the creation of new plantations producing sugar cane for export. Wine, bananas and fabric dyes followed and were also exported for Spanish profit. Eventually, and tragically, the entire Gaunche population died from a combination of poor working conditions and disease.

At the end of the 18th century, British forces attacked Tenerife: Horatio Nelson notoriously lost his right arm during one of the many battles around Santa Cruz. The Spanish eventually succeeding in maintaining control of the island after which the British departed.

Before his rise to power, (General) Francisco Franco was posted to Tenerife in March 1936 by a Republican government wary of his influence and political leanings. However, Franco received information and in Gran Canaria agreed to collaborate in the military coup that would result in the Spanish Civil War. The Canaries fell to the Nationalists in July 1936. In the 1950s, the misery of the post-war years caused thousands of the island's inhabitants to emigrate to Cuba and other parts of Latin America.

In 1977, more than 500 people travelling to Tenerife were killed in an aircraft disaster, a death toll that has only ever been surpassed by the September 11th attacks in the US.

In recent years, Tenerife has become a hugely popular tourist destination, with a steadily growing economy and strong agricultural exports.

Climate

The Canary Islands have a wonderful climate, and Tenerife with its warm temperatures year round (earning its sobriquet - The Island of Eternal Spring!) enjoys a great deal of sunshine. The warm, tropical climate results in relatively minor variations in daily temperature throughout the year with the hottest month (sometimes VERY HOT) on average being August and the coolest, January.

Average Temperature: Winter 20ºC (68 ºF); Summer 25Cº (77ºF)
Sunny Days per Year: 300+
Annual Rainfall: 23.7cm

SOME MAJOR TOWNS IN THE SOUTH OF TENERIFE

Costa Adeje

Costa Adeje, in the South West of Tenerife, has recently been described as the best-run Council and richest county in the whole of Spain. This is reflected in high quality public services and the care with which the Council has given to the upgrading of its parks, gardens and roads. One of the most popular attractions in the area is ‘The Adeje Track (about to re-open after extensive repairs and maintenance): a three-hour easy walk through lovely countryside to a spectacular waterfall and cave. Walkers can enjoy a wide range of flowers and plants along the way, with many rest points available. Golf Costa Adeje is just 5 kilometers from the principal holiday resorts of Las Americas and Los Cristianos, and created with the aim of becoming the most important leisure development in the Canary Islands. Siam Park – Europe’s largest water ‘theme’ park is enjoyed by tens of thousands of residents and holidaymakers every year and, as well as the town’s extensive ‘green’ areas, and golf courses, it offers prestigious villas, townhouses and apartments by the coast, or up in the hills for those who prefer the quiet 'country feeling' not forgetting its superb coastal views as an added bonus.

Callao Salvaje

Callao Salvaje is a popular seaside residential town and holiday resort, part of the municipal district of Adeje on the West coast of Tenerife between the resorts of Playa Paraiso and Playa de La Arena, approximately 12km North West of its famous, ‘holiday-land’ neighbours - Las Americas and Los Cristianos. There are several hotels and a wide range of superbly-built villas in the desirable suburb of ‘Sueno Azul’, plus many lovely apartment complexes with pools, and townhouses with stunning sea views. The town has a beach-front promenade, a lovely sandy beach, and Commercial shopping centre with a wide variety of restaurants and shopping. A picturesque area ideal for residential living, or for those who prefer a quieter holiday, holiday home or rental investment.

Costa del Silencio

Costa del Silencio is the longest-established area in the South of Tenerife, very popular with people buying with a view to moving here permanently. Many nationalities are represented – including English, Belgian, French, Italian, Danish and German expatriates, many of whom have started businesses. A wide variety of bars and restaurants is available offering entertainment to suit everyone’s taste, and almost anywhere in Costa del Silencio is just a short walk from the coastline, with the Canarian fishing village of Las Galletas just 20 minutes’ walk away. The main airport for the South – Reina Sofia - is just a 15 minute drive away too, as are Los Cristianos and Las Americas. Properties ranging from luxury villas and houses, to apartments, bungalows, townhouses and studios are all available here.

El Medano

El Medano is a wind-surfing paradise and has been host to many international wind-surfing contests. With its fine golden sand beaches, the lovely, unique, Red Rock (Montana Roja) and beach-side promenade it is a very attractive location. The town is mostly residential but tourists can enjoy this venue too, returning year after year to enjoy its water sports such as wind-surfing, snorkelling, boat-hire, courses in sailing, surfing and paragliding. There is also an excellent array of shops and restaurants catering for all tastes. Properties ranging from luxury villas to small, purpose-built communities of townhouses and apartments, all with swimming pools and sunbathing terraces, are available for permanent living or for the 'holiday home in the sun'!

Golf del Sur

Nestling between the TF-1 motorway and the Atlantic Ocean, a few short minutes’ drive from Reina Sofia airport and en route to the two major South coast resorts of Los Cristianos and Las Americas, lies the residential area of Golf del Sur. ‘The Golf’, as it is affectionately known by the locals, was created around the championship golf course bearing the same name, which comprises three sets of 9 holes. Despite its name, this area is not just for golfers, as there are many leisure opportunities allowing anyone to have a great holiday, no matter what your interests are. There are many lovely residential and holiday complexes in this little oasis, some around the periphery of the course, others enjoying views over the golf course to the sea and mountains. A wide selection of Bars and Restaurants is on offer within each complex, but the main commercial area, called San Blas, is only a short walk from any of the resorts. The Golf Course is surrounded by landscaped gardens and offers a variety of villas, apartments, commercial properties and townhouses. Contrary to popular belief one does not have to be a keen golfer to enjoy this area. It has been developed along the coastline, close to both man-made and natural beaches making it idyllic for those who enjoy walks, playing golf or participating in water sports.

Las Americas

The most popular of all the holiday destinations in Tenerife, Las Americas offers the classic combination of sun, sea and sangria. Developed over the last forty years, this resort town is the brightest and most exciting location, drawing a wide range of nationalities from all age groups. Serious sun worshippers can choose from a number of excellent beaches offering a wide variety of facilities and water sports, whilst nightlife lovers can dance the night away in a massive choice of bars, pubs and nightclubs. Las Americas boasts several sandy beaches, assorted water sports, a water park, countless shops and numerous restaurants. The area, though visited during the day for its beaches, especially comes alive at night with an amazing collection of nightclubs, floorshows, discos and a casino. It also offers a lovely harbour area known as "Puerto Colon" complete with luxury yachts and boats. Puerto Colon also has its own sandy beach in a sheltered bay popular with sunbathers and swimmers. The town is made up mainly of hotels and apartment complexes, with assorted villas near the beach front. The area is a great investment opportunity for those wishing to receive an excellent all year round income through rentals. On the other hand, it is also suitable for those who wish to live permanently amongst the city's hustle and bustle.

Los Cristianos

The main port in the South of Tenerife, and only 15 minutes from the Reina Sofia airport, Los Cristianos is a pretty town with a history that predates the tourist boom of the 1970’s and 80’s. For many years this holiday hub was a quiet fishing village and if you look hard you can still see evidence of its humble origins in the typical Canarian architecture of the older buildings. Nowadays, however, the town offers a vibrant holiday experience with its two golden sand beaches, multitude of bars and restaurants and its year-round sunny climate. There is a wealth of accommodation to suit all budgets including hotels, self-catering apartments and Timeshare resorts. There is also a wide range of excursions available including dolphin and whale watching as well as game fishing trips and party cruises. Los Cristianos still retains a hint of the original fishing village it used to be with its fresh fish outlets by the harbour, and is the second largest holiday resort in the South of the island, the largest being its next door neighbour Las Americas. The centre is completely pedestrian-friendly, which is good news for tourists and a welcome change from the steady flow of traffic typical in areas such as Las Americas. The older area of the town is made up of houses in which most of the local Canarian population still live. Los Cristianos merges into Las Americas further down the coastline and can be reached by bus or on foot. Los Cristianos has two main beaches both of which are suitable for soaking up the sun and lazy swimming. It also has numerous restaurants, and bars including one or two discos. There is a huge variety of complexes offering luxury villas, townhouses or apartments.

Los Gigantes

Los Gigantes and its sister resorts of Puerto de Santiago and Playa de la Arena lie on Tenerife’s picturesque West Coast, about 30 kilometres from Las Americas and Los Cristianos and 50 kilometres from the main airport of Reina Sofia (Tenerife Sur). Los Gigantes itself is a small, peaceful seaside town that rises from a pretty harbour into the hills above, and has an air of exclusivity about it. With a wide variety of bars, restaurants and shops it is a highly popular destination for people who come back year after year. As mentioned, the town is situated on the tip of the West coast and gets its name from the giant cliffs that tower over the town. The spectacular views of the cliffs (2,500 feet high!), the ocean and the nearby island of La Gomera makes the area highly popular for tourists and there are many hotels, plus villas, townhouses and apartments for sale. There is, like many other Tenerife resorts, a black sand beach and great swimming near many bars, restaurants and a tennis and sports centre.