I have never been anywhere in the world quite like Tenerife. As our plane was nearing the destination, I saw the island popping out of the clouds like a mystical mountain, meant to stay hidden. When we finally dipped below the cloud line, I could see the rest of the tropical paradise below me… I can’t believe I’m finally here!
There are two sides of the island, North and South. The South side is a lot more touristy with all of the bells and whistles that come with that. The sun is scorching hot and the land is dry and arid. My family’s house is on the other side of the island, with more green, more clouds, less heat, and a lovely little village called Garachico.
As we were driving back from the airport, taking in the gorgeous views of banana tree plantations and endless ocean in front of us, I asked my uncle what the family had been up to that week. “Well… nothing,” he said, “That’s kind of the point.” Music to my ears.
We pulled into picturesque Garachico with its traditional houses and beautiful village Church and found a parking spot. I was thinking we had a hike ahead of us to get to the house and then I realized the house was right in front of us, about a five minute walk to the beach. And by beach, I mean natural swimming pools formed by lava rock after the volcano erupted a million years ago (I can’t remember the date). Casual.
I dropped off my bag and was ready to scrounge up a meal when it occurred to me that no one else had eaten lunch yet either. It was about 3:00pm and this was their normal eating time. Welcome to Spain… /my family.
The whole week was like that. Lunch was around 3:00pm and dinner was around 9:00 or 10:00pm. There were festivals or song & dance of some kind every single night, the weather never changed, the temperature was perfect, and our schedule every day consisted of swim, eat, swim, eat, swim, eat, watch the festivities in the town square, bed. It was really exhausting.
Just kidding, it was heaven. The only exhausting thing about that week was mentally trying to keep up with my family who was constantly switching between French, Spanish, and English. My head still hurts.
Occasionally we would change things up in the schedule and throw in a different beach or a hike. The hike we did was actually really cool. It was steep, following this old winding road from back in the day straight up into the clouds. When I reached the top, I had to stop and catch my breath — the view was spectacular. Also I felt really out of shape, but we’ll pretend it was the view that had me breathless. Then I felt the moisture in the air. It wasn’t quite raining, it was like I was standing under a giant misting machine. I was literally in the clouds.
Another little trip we did was to a place called Teno, a tiny little corner of the island. It was crazy windy at the point. You actually had to hold on to your hat and bend over a bit to avoid being thrown off the path and into the water. It was so beautiful though, the landscape was just incredible.
One of the coolest things about this trip was the road we took to get there, well the only road you can take to get there. If you’ve seen Fast & Furious 6, you would recognize it. Yep, they shot part of Fast 6 here. So cool. There’s even a picture of Vin Diesel chilling in a hammock chair (what are those things called?) at one of the local artesanías in Garachico. I had a fangirl moment. Anyway, the roads are amazing, carved out of the cliffside with incredible views of the ocean. Even more amazing when you picture those Fast & Furious cars zipping around them at top speed (and hoping they don’t fly off the side of the cliff).
Speaking of artesanías, they had some fun souvenirs on this island. As a giant volcano, there is plenty of volcanic rock to go around which makes for some beautiful jewelry and little home goodies. I bought a few pieces made out of lava rock, and some made from the bark of the local banana trees. Very cool. This is one of the things I love about traveling, you find such interesting things along the way.
Overall, it was an amazing trip. I got to see traditional dancing from different regions of Spain, a contemporary dance festival (some pieces were awesome, some were extremely out there and strange), and other random festivities & religious processions. I ate my fill of tortilla, paella and so many more delicious regional treats. And I got plenty of sun and time to relax. I’m sure it would be different going on my own rather than to visit family with local connections, but either way it is definitely worth a visit! I mean, if it was good enough for Vin Diesel and the Fast & Furious crew…