Tenerife: A Rocky Review
I ended up in Tenerife after a scan on Skyscanner showed return flights with Aerlingus for only €151 return. I wanted to go somewhere I hadn't been before and some guaranteed sunshine!
I did a little research on the area and decided to stay in Los Americas as it seemed to be quite lively (even though I was travelling alone, I like somewhere with a bit of a buzz). I found an apartment on AirBnB that seemed to be in walking distance of everything. One thing I always look out for is cooking facilities as I like to prepare some of my own meals to keep an eye on my intake. The selling point for me and this apartment was that the balcony had a sea view and this is where I would be able to work.
Fresh off a photo shoot Monday morning, I flew to Tenerife and had great intentions of trying to stay on track so when I landed in Tenerife, I got a taxi to the AirBnb, dumped my bags and decided to go wandering for some healthy food.
I started walking down the strip and I saw PR people outside every restaurant. I was actually ready to be persuaded but I think most people saw me on my own and presumed I wasn't out for something to eat. I went into a restaurant, ordered some 'grilled chicken' (I think it was fried!), some garlic bread (balance) and a large glass of white wine (yolo).
After a good night's sleep, I went to a gym called Minimal Fitness on the recommendation of a follower from the UK. It was perfect. It had a large free weights area, 2 racks, 2 smith machines and lots of weighted machines. I paid €38 for a weekly pass but it is €8 for a day pass. Just to note that I somehow got very lost after putting it into Google Maps so just search CC Zentral Centre.
fter training I went to the supermarket close to my hotel and spent ages looking at what was available, while trying to plan my food in my head. The supermarkets didn't seem any cheaper than at home really.
Once I had unpacked, cooked and caught up on emails, I decided to venture down to the beach and see if I could book some surfing lessons.
I didn't really know where I was going so I just followed the water and I have to say I was a bit disappointed when I saw the beach. The beach was really rocky and I quickly realised I wouldn't be lying on the towel I brought with me! However, the boardwalk along the beach is really nice. It is scattered with shops and restaurants looking over the sea. I walked for a good bit, taking in the scenery and eventually made it back to the apartment.
Coincidentally, I saw that Claire McGrath was in Tenerife too. She was staying in Adeje with Julie from The Gym Monasterevin and her kids so I arranged to meet them for dinner. They chose a beautiful restaurant called La Forola Del Mar in Adeje. We had a perfect table overlooking the beach. The view got even better as the sun set.
The food was top class. I chose clams in white wine and garlic sauce and then a sea bass in a salted crust for the mains. We saved the carbs for champagne!! We were last to leave and even had a nice gin to cap off the night. I would highly recommend a visit to this restaurant if you are anywhere near Adeje.
On Wednesday, I arranged to meet a follower of mine who happened to work with my friend in Australia. Carla was staying in Los Cristianos with her mam so she had suggested going to the water park together which I thought was a great idea! Carla is from Magharfelt between Belfast and Derry. She trains in a cross fit gym there so before we went to the waterpark, we did a session in Minimal and we got on so well!
We decided to go for breakfast in a lovely restaurant on the boardwalk. I was still trying to be good so I went for scrambled eggs and toast to refuel.
Siam Park is one of the biggest water parks in Europe. Tickets were €35 each. There is a free bus from Los Americas but we decided to get a taxi and it was only about €4.
We arrived at about 1pm and spent a few hours going on a few slides. There is the option to buy a fast pass bracelet but I think it had limited uses so we didn't bother. Since it was June and most kids were still in school, we didn't find any of the queues too bad. The rides were all great and there was a good mix - from the Tower of Power to the Lazy River, there was something for everyone. There was also a great selection of food. I thought I would have to get a burger and chips but I was able to get roast chicken and veg.
I would say we spent about 5 hours there in total. We didn't do any sunbathing but there are beds scattered around as well as a 'Beach' beside the wave pool.
I had to work for the evening and then I decided to take a stroll down to the shops. I was in Pull & Bear when Carla text to say herself and her mother where going for a gin across the road. I couldn't say no! We went to Harry's Bar across from the Hard Rock Hotel. I found this part of Los Americas much nicer. It reminded me of Vegas - but that could have been because of the water fountain displays!
On Thursday, I trained again and went to get my hair blow dried in a place called New Generation, near my apartment. The staff were lovely! I then spent most of Thursday doing some work, recording videos etc. I went to Papagayo Beach Club to edit some videos and I tried Sushi for the first time. I got a mixed plate and it was nice but I was still hungry after it!
I had arranged to meet Carla and Marie for dinner that evening. Several people had recommended Bianco to me so I managed to book a table. It is an Italian restaurant in the same area as the Hard Rock Hotel. We shared some Foccacia with garlic oil and rosemary, and then I got the steak with tomato and Parmesan salad. I had to have a glass of prosecco when in a nice Italian! We also shared a dessert - a chocolate fondant, and it was sensational!!
I think all the restaurants in that block are owned by one company called 'Venture'. We were told that if we took the receipt across the road to Magic, we could get 50% off our first drinks. We went over and I got very excited about the gin menu - They had a huge selection! We ordered three different gin and tonics and I think the total was €22 and that was with 50% off so it was expensive - although the setting was really nice and they were quality gins.
On Friday, Carla came and met me for one last training session and breakfast before they flew home. I was left to my own devices again and did lots of walking. I booked a surfing lesson for that evening with a company called Palm Beach. I had done two lessons before but didn't really know what I was doing so I was glad to see it was only one other couple and me for the group lesson. I paid €35 and that includes all your wet gear and equipment.
Our instructor was Italian and she was very thorough and enthusiastic, although a little difficult to understand. We did some practice on the land before heading out to sea. Once we were out there she took turns with each of us helping us to catch the wave. It is so hard to get standing on the board - and even when I managed it a few times, I was falling within a second or two! I thought I would want to do more lessons over the next few days but I was exhausted and I was a little worried I would injure myself. The sea bed was very rocky. I really enjoyed it though!
I had dinner in the restaurant beside the surf school, some fresh seabass with salad and potatoes and it was just perfect. Then I took a little stroll down to Papagaya Beach Club and had a gin (are you sensing a theme here?!) while I watched the sunset. I was just so happy!
On Saturday morning, I booked to go on a Kayak excursion with Tenerife Sports Club. It was €35 including transfers to Los Cristianos, which is where we set off from. I was on my own and I was a beginner so the instructor came with me in my kayak. There is also the option to go yourself or go on a stand-up paddle board. There were two other couples and a family of 5 on the excursion. The family were having a nightmare trying to kayak. They just weren't paddling properly and the instructor was getting frustrated with them, as were the others on the trip - they were really slowing us down. Eventually they got the hang of it and we were on our way! We went out to the open sea and headed towards the fish farms to try find some dolphins. I spotted a fin and got excited. We hovered around there for a while, waiting for the dolphins to show but then we decided to move on to get in close to a cave/bay. It was beautiful and calm - so picturesque. When we headed back around the fish farms again, the instructor got excited as he saw groups (flocks!?) of birds near the water, which meant there were fish, and therefore, dolphins near by. We ended up getting so close to two huge dolphins. They swam around our kayaks and I was afraid I was going to get knocked out of the kayak but it really was amazing getting close enough to touch them (but I didn't!). I'd highly recommend this trip. My arms were a little tired by the end and I would think I have strong shoulders! I don't have any photos because the instructor had a waterproof camera but afterwards we were told we cold buy the photos for €20 and after reviewing them, I didn't think it was worth it.
Saturday turned into a 'cheat day' for me. I was just grazing on chocolate all day and then I decided to go out for a proper meal. I walked down to the nice area again and had a look at a few menus. I ended up going to a place called Monkey Bravo. Somebody had mentioned the Monkey brand to me and I chose the Italian restaurant because I really wanted a pizza. Another reason I chose this place is that there was no PR person trying to get me in!
The food was really good. I got a garlic and cheese bruschetta with no tomatoes and tomato soup ( I realised the irony). The presentation was impressive. The soup came out in a jug with a knob of garlic butter and croutons in the bowl and then you pour the soup on top. The pizza was really delicious and my mouth is watering thinking back on it as I type.
After dinner I went to meet one of the couples I met on the kayaks for a drink. I got a vodka... lol jk, I got a Gin! Just the one, then I bought some cookies for dessert and went back to the apartment.
On Sunday I wanted to go to the market in Los Cristianos so I checked it on Google Maps and it was about a 30 minute walk so off I went. The market is on Tuesdays and Sundays and has all your typical fake branded stuff as well as some crafts. I wandered around Los Cristianos a bit, stopping for lunch and coffee. It is a nice area, probably nicer than Los Americas.
I got a taxi back to Los Americas and went out for dinner again. This time I wanted a steak and found a steak house called Empire. Again, it seemed to be part of the Venture group as I was offered the 50% off in Magic. The fillet steak was really good - cooked to perfection and well presented (very instagrammable!) I went for roasted root veg instead of chips and I even managed to stay on track that evening - I got some dark chocolate and went home to work on emails.
Monday was my last day so I started the day with a training session with another girl from Dublin who got in touch. She had competed a few years ago so it was great to chat to her about it. I went for a wander around Los Americas again in the afternoon before leaving for the airport at about 4pm.
I didn't think I would have so much to write! When I get asked 'How was Tenerife?' I have been saying 'Grand' but on reflection, I had some amazing meals and some great experiences on the excursions. I know I should have done an excursion to go see the volcanos but I couldn't find a morning that worked. In my head I was comparing it to Alvor (see the blog I wrote on Alvor) and I didn't find it as nice. I thought the area I stayed in was very tacky but once I ventured a little further it seemed to get much nicer. If I was to go back I would probably stay in Adeje or Los Cristianos. I would say Las Americas is perfect for a hen/stag party. I saw plenty of them!
What do you think? Do you love Tenerife? Was I missing something? I'd love to hear your opinions?
Thanks for reading! I actually like writing these travel blogs - even if nobody reads them!