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Although we concentrate mainly on writing about life outside of Tenerife’s purpose built resorts, we don’t ignore them completely. We regularly spend time in resorts checking facts, what’s new in town; seeing whether restaurants & bars etc. are still open or not and generally getting a feel of what’s going on.
On this trip we concentrated on visiting the resorts between Tenerife Sur airport and Montaña Guaza; they’re an eclectic mix and a perfect example of why you can’t make generalisations about any area of Tenerife.
After a quick photo stop in Los Cristianos, the first port of call was Palm Mar. I don’t know what to say about Palm Mar because I’m not sure quite what it is or what it’s trying to be. There seems no purpose to it at all except to provide housing in a sunny location. But then maybe that’s what I’m guilty of not appreciating, that some people simply want a place in the sun – no other ingredients. I get the impression that there were grand plans for Palm Mar but the crisis has left it feeling like an incomplete idea rather than a real place.
Second port of call was Las Galletas. I like Las Galletas, especially the area around the port end of the beach. With its fish stalls and old guys spilling out of tapas bars it has a bustle about it that feels real. The harbour buildings are on the garish side but better than being non-entities and the restaurants on stilts overlooking the marina’s waters are an attractive touch.
Las Galletas blends into Costa del Silencio at Ten Bel – a hotel complex whose exterior reminds me of parts of East Manchester around Manchester City’s Etihad stadium before it was built; it was not what you’d call an attractive location. Even Ten Bel shows the wild contrasts that make defining the character of even the most run-down resort areas in Tenerife not that clear cut. Beside Ten Bel’s pool is quite a nice little cove.
Costa del Silencio itself is one of those places on Tenerife whose rocky coast has me scratching my head and wondering why on earth, apart from that old favourite – sunshine, did anyone think this was a suitable place for a holiday resort? But even among the estates in the sun, there are curve balls; little pleasures that are unique; the witty and weird fountain outside the C.C. Chaparral and a piece of coastline at Montaña Amarrilla that has a wonderfully surreal natural beauty.
Next stop on the road trip was Golf del Sur. There’s no need to ask what the attraction of Golf del Sur is; the name says it all. It also has a marina and of course it enjoys good weather. However, the marina doesn’t have a heart that beats like the one in Las Galletas and a rather large and incomplete building works in the centre of the resort is about the biggest blot on any resort’s landscape. A bar owner told visiting friends that it was abandoned after 9/11; an interesting and creative take on things.
Golf del Sur has almost become one with Los Abrigos thanks to the Sandos San Blas Golf and… err… Nature Reserve (not really compatable bedfellows). The nature reserve tag fascinates. I stared and stared and stared at the area around San Blas. The blurb says that it has remained virtually just as it was hundreds of thousands of years ago. I’ve no reason to doubt that but, having visited nature reserves in various places across the world, I’ve got to say this is the most unlikely looking nature reserve I’ve ever set eyes upon. Maybe I’m missing something and need to return to search for the pretty bits in the publicity photographs.
Our mini tour finished off in El Médano – YAY. El Médano is simply my favourite coastal town in the south of Tenerife. Its beaches are attractive and natural; the windsurfing and kite-boarding scene adds vibrancy; it has a buzz that doesn’t exist in any of the other places we visited. All in all it has that feel-good factor. It has oodles of character and you can sense its beating heart and sparkling soul even if the breeze that attracts the extreme water sports crowd is not ideal for maintaining an attractive hairstyle – whether you’re male or female.
These ‘fact-finding’ visits are never anything less than enjoyable and are always interesting. There’s always something new to discover and this trip was no different. It might not have completely changed my views of all the places we passed through, but there were enough pleasant surprises to remind that you can’t dismiss resorts and towns on Tenerife with generalisations and sweeping statements… well, most places you can’t.
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The Real Tenerife Guidebook – in paperback & Kindle
For visitors to Tenerife who want to experience the best of Tenerife:- The 'Real' Tenerife guide to Tenerife's resorts, towns and villages is written with insight and passion by travel writers who have spent years treading the streets of every town and village, trekking along goat trails in the mountains and revelling at fiestas until dawn... [Find Out More]
Real Tenerife Island Drives on Kindle – UK Version