Hola my Petites!
Since our adventure in Tenerife has ended for the moment, I wanted to share with you this fabulous experience.
At the beginning of 2019, we (me and Alex) didn’t know how many things were about to happen and change our lives. And here we are, at the end of the year and of a decade, grateful for one of the most fascinating experiences of our lives – our 2.5 months adventure in Tenerife.
How it all started? With a failed attempt to go to Thailand for more than 15 days (we didn’t give up this idea, either). Our desire was to make the most of our new lives as freelancers and try to combine work with fun and discovering new places.
It was a Sunday morning, September 22, we just woke up when Alex asked me “What about Tenerife?” I didn’t give it a second thought; my answer was YES. Even thousands of miles away from Romania, it was still Europe. By the end of the day, our tickets and accommodation were all set up and we were about to arrive in Tenerife in two weeks.
Everything happened so fast and the 4th of October came in a blink of an eye. We were about to trade autumn and a small part of the ugly winter in Romania (which was not actually that ugly so far) for palm trees, black sand beaches, exciting trips, exotic dishes and, of course, plenty of fun in the sun. The fact is, I have always thought about Tenerife as a destination too fancy for my taste, but it was a misconception I have debunked. I must admit that I didn’t know much about the island – I knew it was part of Spain, but I didn’t know it is situated near Africa’s West Coast in the Atlantic Ocean.
Our experience started with an accident on the way to the airport. It was autumn’s first rainy day; it was Friday and the traffic in Bucharest was a mess, so our taxi was hit by another taxi. I was on the back seat, but I wasn’t paying attention to the road and I ended up with my head hitting the front seat’s headrest. With my head and face hurting like hell, we arrived at the airport on time. If you look at the picture below, you wouldn’t say that we’ve just been through a car accident, right? This is how excited we were!
After a 6.5 hours flight, we landed on the Island of Eternal Spring. We were already tired but excited to arrive at our temporary home in Puerto de la Cruz.
Yes, we chose the northern part of the island to host us and we are so happy with our decision because there are many differences between the North and the South regions of the island.
One of the main differences between them is the climate – the South is dry and sunny all year long, while the North is known for its heavy rains. If you are interested in getting only a suntan in December and enjoy the nightlife, then the South is right for you – this region is more tourist-oriented.
But if you want to discover the true culture of the island, you should definitely choose the North with its blue skies and abundant vegetation, local restaurants and amazing experiences.
How we traveled – transportation
During our 2.5 months stay in Tenerife, we never used public transportation – Titsa, because we wanted to enjoy more freedom every time we planned to visit a new place. The best way to getting around the beautiful island is to rent a car, which we did every time we wanted to travel around the island. I must mention that driving from South to North takes a maximum of 1.5 hours and there are two routes – on the motorway or via Santiago del Teide.
When we arrived at the airport we picked up the car we have booked from Cicar – I guess they are the most reliable, they have a modern and varied fleet, and you don’t have to pay a deposit at pick-up – you just have to return the car with the same level of fuel, pay for the extra fuel consumed or get money back if you return it with a fuller tank. We returned the car at the office in Puerto de la Cruz, but there are eight offices in Tenerife.
Where we stayed – accommodation
When Alex searched for accommodation (he is great at picking the best places, and not only) he wanted to make sure our home away from home can meet all our needs – we wanted a clean and cozy place where we can work during the day – this means high-speed internet connection, but also a place that is close to the beach and the main attractions in Puerto de la Cruz. And the place that met all our expectations was this modern and cozy studio at Valle Luz situated 200m from Playa Jardin, 1.7 km from Lago Martianez, 1 km from Loro Parque, 10 minutes walking distance from Taoro Park and 5 minutes walking distance from Plaza Charco. Valle Luz offers access to three outdoor swimming pools. Valle Luz also hosts a Don Comelon restaurant, the best all you can eat in the area, where sincerely we ate more than 20 times – the food is great, homemade, and the price is fair for the quality offered.
What we visited… and what we didn’t
I should probably begin with what was on the list and we didn’t visit – and this is one of the main attractions of the island – Teide. No, we didn’t visit Teide because I was and still am afraid of the road conditions because of my motion sickness which really aggravated at the beginning of our stay in Tenerife.
Another place on our list was Anaga Rural Park and we didn’t visit it either; every time we were thinking about going to the mountains, we ended up choosing the beach(es).
We visited the popular and vibrant beaches in the South – Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje; they all had something magical; they are perfect for relaxation, some fun in the sun and a bath in the warm ocean even during winter.
We also visited El Medano, a lovely beach in the South that doesn’t feel so touristy. Most of the beaches in the South have golden sand or a combination between black and golden sand, they are not like the ones in the north.
Playa Jardin is by far one of the most fascinating beaches I’ve ever seen because of its black sand.
Another marvelous beach in the northern Tenerife is Playa de Las Teresitas, a man-made beach with golden sand brought from Africa.
On our last days in Tenerife, we have discovered a new beach – Playa El Bollullo, 15 minutes driving from Puerto de la Cruz. Even though it was closed because of high waves, we could still admire the beauty of this place and understand why it is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. We also served a nice fish and seafood plate at the Bollullo restaurant.
If you plan to travel to Tenerife, make sure you enjoy at least one sunset at the beach. Since I was a girl and I watched the famous series Sunset Beach, I wanted to watch a romantic sunset, and I have finally did it. Make sure you capture the moment in a romantic photo.
My favorite place – Loro Parque
During our stay, we have visited many places and each one offered something unique. But my favorite is Loro Parque – once a paradise for parrots, now one of the most beautiful and respected zoological institutions in the entire world. Loro Parque is not a zoo, it is an institution that respects and preserves nature. I have visited Loro Parque three times and if we return to Puerto de la Cruz, I will surely get an annual card so I can have unlimited access and visit it whenever I want. This is how much I liked it!
The dolphins and orca shows were so emotional that I almost cried.
Loro Parque makes you smile, laugh, and cry tears of joy.
Siam Park – Heaven on Earth
I am not a huge fan of aqua parks, Alex is, but Siam Park is a piece of Heaven on Earth. Siam Park is the number one water park in the world.
Even if you don’t want to ride the craziest waterslides, you will find something to do here – as I did, from waterfalls to wooden walkways and many Instagramable spots.
Alex is a huge fan of thrilling rides so he didn’t miss the Tower of Power, the 28m height waterslide where you can reach the speed of up to 80km/h.
Lago Martianez a nice complex of pools, gardens, and sculptures in Puerto de la Cruz, is on our list of favorites as well. This place is one of the main attractions in Puerto. You can spend an entire day here sunbathing, relaxing, swimming in the pools with salt water from the ocean, and admiring the palm trees.
Parque Del Drago
In Icod de Los Vinos, ½ hours driving from Puerto de la Cruz, there is a living National Monument – Drago Milenario – a millennial dragon tree, one of Tenerife’s main attractions.
I must admit I expected to discover a huge tree but I was really impressed when I saw Drago Milenario – the oldest specimen of its kind. It’s really interesting to see how this living tree has passed the test of time. The dragon tree is surrounded by a beautiful garden where you can walk and relax.
Jardin Botanico Puerto de la Cruz
If you love nature and enjoy green spaces, the Botanical Garden in Puerto de la Cruz is a place you should visit. I have never seen so many interesting and beautiful plants.
Taoro Park offers a breathtaking panoramic image of Puerto de la Cruz and is a great place to take a relaxing walk.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz is the capital of the island and the home of one of the most important harbours in the Atlantic Ocean, and also the home to Playa de las Teresitas. No matter where you stay on the island, you should pay Santa Cruz a visit and at least admire the Auditorio de Tenerife – the extravagant concert hall with its interesting architecture.
Wandering the streets of Puerto de la Cruz
The amazing Puerto de la Cruz is a lovely place to live in. It surely has a soul. For us, it was love at first sight! Puerto has many pleasant alleys with local bars, restaurants, boutiques, and shops.
Wandering the streets of Puerto de la Cruz, you will see that everyone is relaxed and happy, the bars are animated by singers, and you always feel safe.
What I liked the most about Puerto de la Cruz is that it is very, but very pet-friendly. As a dog lover, I was so excited to discover that dogs are allowed everywhere – at supermarkets, restaurants, malls.
Puerto de la Cruz is also a great place to eat well and stay fit. Of course, you should do this wherever you are, but I was really impressed by how many people were practicing different sports such as yoga and running. We also started running by the beach and it was amazing.
People in Puerto de la Cruz love having fun and celebrating. The atmosphere was so nice on Halloween that we went out to celebrate after I created a Dia de Muertos inspired makeup.
Our culinary adventure
Tenerife is the culinary capital of the Canary Islands and offers an extraordinary experience to all food lovers, especially if you enjoy fish and seafood just like us.
I will start our culinary itinerary with the outstanding experience at NUB, one of the 5 restaurants with Michelin stars in Tenerife. The NUB experience is by far one of the most interesting of our lives. The restaurant is in San Cristobal de la Laguna, the oldest city on the island covered by clouds – thing that inspired the name and the pure nature of the restaurant – NUB means cloud.
Everything at NUB exceeded our expectations, from the menu which combines Chilean, Italian, Canarian flavors, to the presentation of the menu and serving.
Back in Puerto de la Cruz, our home away from home, there are many restaurants that serve amazing food and I recommend trying as many local restaurants as possible. Restaurants that are not placed near the main attractions offer some fantastic dishes at reasonable prices.
One of our favorite local restaurants is Restaurante Alanda – this one has a special place in our heart because it was the first one where we ate when you arrived in Puerto de la Cruz. Here we had tapas – delicious gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns), Canarian omelet and the best fresh Dorada with papas arrugadas. Speaking of papas arrugadas, during our stay, I have eaten so many that I don’t want to even see them for a while. Haha. They are delicious. Sangria is very good as well at Alanda and the waiters are all very friendly.
When you say Spain, you say Paella and the best Paella we had in Puerto de la Cruz was at Compostelana in Plaza del Charco. Actually, there are multiple restaurants that are part of Grupo Compostelana, all of them known for exceptional service and quality.
El Pescador is another restaurant in the group where we had a nice experience as well. Plus, the sangria here is simply the best, especially when served along with a tasty plate of seafood. The entrecote steak is also delicious.
Great steak can be served at Brunelli’s in Punta Brava as well. You will actually see the restaurant is advertised all over the island and there is no wonder why considering it offers a truly interesting gastronomic experience.
If you are not fond of fish and seafood, then you will surely love Foster’s Hollywood, an American restaurant in El Trompo – La Orotava, where you can enjoy more comforting dishes. I loved Tex & Cheese Fries.
Oh, and the pancakes with dulce de leche!
A great local restaurant in Puerto de la Cruz is Tasca Los Melizzos. Here I enjoyed a hearty local dish – Garbanzada a lo Canario (Canarian Chickpea Stew) which I really loved considering it tasted much like Romanian baked beans. Also, for 11 euros, here you can have a full menu of the day with a variety of options with starters, main dish, and dessert. Considering it was in front of Valle Luz, we ate there a couple of times.
Another restaurant on our list is Restaurante Peruano, a great local restaurant near Valle Luz, where you can enjoy relaxing flute music and delicious food. You can try some authentic Peruvian dishes, or you can just opt for local ones such as seafood, paella, and fish.
We also recommend Tito’s Bodeguita, Bodega Julian, Cafe de Paris and Bambi Gourmet – this one is a great Romanian fine dining restaurant we visited once when we really missed the Romanian flavors.
Yeah, Tenerife was an outstanding culinary experience. If you plan to visit the island, try as many tapas as possible.
And if you are in Puerto de la Cruz and want to have the best cocktail, you should give El Duque a try – here we had some interesting and delicious cocktails accompanied by shisha and popcorn.
Wherever your experiences take you, don’t forget to eat local! In Tenerife, you can enjoy the sweet and delicious bananas – platanos de Canarias that grow everywhere in the North.
Our adventure in Tenerife was unique, revealing, and full of happy moments. It was a test for ourselves and for our relationship considering that we’ve stayed together all the time. we worked in the same space face to face, day by day, we experienced new things together, and we discovered a new culture we felt in love with.
I must admit that it was challenging but so, so beautiful and I would gladly return to Tenerife, now more than ever because I have finally had the opportunity to exercise my Spanish and oh, how much I liked it!
At the end of this experience, we are even more adventurous and ready to take our travels to a new level.
This article reflects my own beliefs and experiences.