I had been under the impression that the Canary Islands were a thing of the past, a place where pensioners went to see the sun when it's not summer in their home country. How wrong I was! Completely delusional even! It definitely makes sense to listen to your partner...:)
This trip was our honeymoon to celebrate our civil partnership, which we had on the 4th of June of the previous year. It was also partly a wedding present from my mum along with a guidebook of the island. Cheapskates as we are, we went for the most inexpensive way we could find to get from Finland to Tenerife, and so we first caught a ferry to Stockholm and then flew from Skavsta with Ryanair. We chose not to bring any suitcases, either, so it truly was a bargain! Julcsi had done some research and picked Los Cristianos as our base in Tenerife, and it was a good choice as we were really lucky with the weather! It was the end of February/beginning of March, and the northern parts of the island were actually quite chilly while Los Cristianos was all sunshine and sleeveless tops :D.
We stayed in Paloma Beach Apartments, which was such a pleasant surprise as the apartment we got was huge with several bedrooms, a kitchen and an enormous terrace. I think the apartment was owned by a Swedish family as the walls were covered with family pictures and the closets were filled with inflatable toys for kids. We stayed there for seven nights altogether and paid more or less 500€ for it, and it was definitely a good price for something humongous like that!
We arrived in the evening and decided to take a taxi from the airport to our accommodation. Usually we go for public transport, but since it was dark and neither one of us had ever been to the Canary Islands before, we went for the easiest and safest option.
We had six full days to explore, and explore we did - we did something different in a different part of the island almost every day! Tenerife has so much to offer, seriously! I even think that you could easily spend another week there and still find something new to do every day!
On our first day, we stayed in Los Cristianos, basically just wandering around and finding out how to get around in Tenerife. It was quite difficult to find information online prior to our trip, so we spent quite some time asking questions at a booth at the bus station - Titsa is the bus system on the island, and the cheapest way to travel is a Bono card that you top up/buy according to the distances you want to travel. There is more information on the Titsa website on the cards and fares if you switch the language into Spanish - the English version will keep you quite clueless. The bus station people will be able to provide more information, but for example Julcsi spent 30 minutes there, trying to understand the Bono system, so be prepared for a very complicated explanation!
|Myself in Los Cristianos!|
|Julcsi in the same spot :)!|
Afterwards, we walked along the beach, popping into shops and admiring the ocean views. How nice to be in a relaxing place like this! It had been such a long time since I'd been on a beach holiday (I think Rhodes in 2001 was the previous time!) that I was a bit lost and couldn't believe it that a trip could be this slow :D. Although we quickly found a way to pace it up...But yes, the first day was very peaceful and relaxing with not much to report about.
|Spent a lovely evening, watching the sun go down <3.|
|My beautiful wife <3.|
|Paloma Beach Apartments from the outside.|
|Our house cat :).|
|The hotel pool lined with palmtrees <3.|
On our second day, we got up early and caught a bus to another part of the island, namely Puerto de la Cruz, to visit Loro Parque, the zoo. Look how cool we are in our freebie sunglasses from the Helsinki Travel Expo :D...
The views along the way were completely gorgeous, and it's obvious that the northern part of the island is a lot more fertile than the sunny south - and rainer as well. As a result, we really needed our hoodies, and it was quite windy in addition to being chilly, so if you go in February and are planning to stay in or visit Puerto de la Cruz, be prepared for cooler weather.
There is a free mini train that will take you to Loro Parque from downtown Puerto de la Cruz (Reyes Católicos) every 20 minutes, starting from 9 am. The last train back leaves at 6:45 pm, so you have quite a long time span for your visit if you're planning on depending on the train.
By the way, I realise that zoos are not everyone's cup of tea so I'm not going to do my everything to try and force you to go to this one. However, in case you are into them, Loro Parque is a good one with plenty to see and do, so you can easily spend the whole day there.
|I loved the food at Loro Parque! We had Canarian soup and paella, so good!|
Back in Puerto de la Cruz, we had some time to have a look around before catching our bus back down to Los Cristianos...
|I love these signs made out of colourful tiles!|
|A random street/alley in Puerto de la Cruz!|
On our third day, we felt so sick that we decided to basically not do anything in order to get a bit better. So, we spent the day in Los Cristianos, pretty much eating various different things and sitting on the beach. Julcsi actually decided to risk it and have a dip in the sea as she figured she couldn't possibly end up feeling worse than she already did.
|Me with a huge smoothie!|
|Feverish on the beach :D.|
|The freebie sunglasses are back!|
|Canarian soup, vol 2!|
We stayed in Los Cristianos again as we had booked a dolphin and whale watching boat trip. Anyone who really knows me also knows how much I love dolphins, and basically sea mammals in general. Just thinking about dolphins makes me get all emotional! I have always longed to be in their presence for some reason. So, for me, one of the highlights of this trip was getting to go out to the sea to see dolphins in the wild.
In the morning, then, we walked to the meeting point for our excursion. However, the departure time came and went and nothing seemed to be happening. We were waiting by the boat with a couple of other people but no one ever appeared...and eventually we decided to leave. Later, it turned out that we'd received an email from the dolphin excursion company, saying that the ocean was too rough for the excursion to take place and so it was cancelled. I was so disappointed! The harbour in Los Cristianos is full of booths selling dolphin and whale watching excursions, but since it was past noon by this point, many of those boats had already gone. I was getting desperate because I really didn't want to miss out on this experience. Luckily, we still managed to find a trip suitable for us - it wasn't as long as the original one we'd wanted, but still included quite some time at sea, and a lunch. We booked it and then went on to do other things while waiting for the trip to begin.
My advice regarding these excursions is to not book anything online prior to your trip to the Canary Islands, but just go to the harbour and find a suitable deal and excursion there. Most of the companies don't even have websites so in reality, you'll have a lot more options than what you see on the internet. You can go for a short excursion (a couple of hours) or a long one (at least 4 hours, sometimes even 6), which will usually take you all the way to Los Gigantes where you can also swim if you want to. If you want a longer excursion, be prepared to sail in the morning part of the day. For the shorter ones, there are still quite a few departures later on in the afternoon, too.
|<3 <3 <3.|
|Sangria on the boat - biiiig mistake :D!|
|Lunch on the boat.|
|Our boat's the one on the right.|
Stay tuned for Part II, in which we do an excursion to El Teide, the volcano!