There is always a reason behind the development of our guides.
When we first moved to Tenerife in 2003 we spent many happy hours driving around the island, discovering as much of it as we could access by road. Over the months and then years, we began to notice hire cars parked in odd places, an oversized map being glared at and argued over by couples and families who clearly had no idea where to go to see ‘the island’. It struck us that, although car hire is cheap and prolific, what was needed was a driving guide to show visitors the places we had so painstakingly discovered. So we produced Tenerife Island Drives.
Passionate walkers for many years, we were amazed and delighted to discover that Tenerife held the promise of good hiking and we set about exploring on foot. We quickly found that routes featured in free leaflets from the various municipalities frequently petered out in eroded cliff paths, had been diverted or superceded by newer paths or had been bulldozed in developments years ago. Having got lost innumerable times, we realised that these brochures were simply updated from time to time without anyone ever actually leaving the office to walk them. That’s when we decided to produce Tenerife Island Walks.
Living in Puerto de la Cruz, it was no more than a short jaunt for us to visit the historic town of La Orotava and we made frequent excursions to it with visitors in the early days. We must have visited 5 or 6 times before we realised we hadn’t even seen the parts most of the tour groups go to, let alone the best bits. It was while researching an In Deep article for the long-defunct Living Tenerife magazine that we discovered various hidden corners in the town – the balconied houses the tour groups don’t go to; the quirky museum; the little botanical gardens; the gofio mills. We decided to write a guide so that others didn’t do what we had done, waste inordinate hours wandering the less interesting parts of the town hoping to discover something good along the way, or even worse join a tour group and get herded through the souvenir shops of the Casas de Los Balcones and the Iglesia de la Concepción.
As our Tenerife websites became more popular, we found ourselves increasingly responding to questions from visitors to the site who seemed to think we were the Tenerife Tourist Office and after a while, patterns began to emerge around the nature of those queries. We already knew that hundreds of thousands of cruise passengers came into Santa Cruz annually and we were frequently asked to either take people on tours ourselves or else recommend what they should do in their short stay. We found ourselves advising people to head to Teide National Park or to Puerto or Garachico. It took us a while to realise that people were completely missing the wonderful city into which they had cruised – its fabulous Parque Garcia Sanabria; its shopping streets; its sculpture trail, museums, market and galleries. There was an authentic Tenerife experience literally on the shoreline and people didn’t have to waste precious time travelling for hours on end. So we wrote the Santa Cruz guide.
Puerto de la Cruz
You know how sometimes it’s the thing right under your nose that you’re most likely to miss? I guess when you know a place as well as you know your home, you stop seeing it through other eyes. We were certainly guilty of that and it took us years to get around to writing our Puerto town walk but when we did, it was a joy to put together, including all those quirky corners we took for granted but which visitors rarely saw, not least its green credentials. Everyone knows about the Botanical gardens but few people seemed to be aware of the water gardens or the Park Taoro or even the Sitio Litre gardens, all of them outstanding examples of how lush and fertile this town is. Since publishing our Puerto guide it has quickly become our best selling town walk.
Although we had long talked about producing a guide to the Unesco World Heritage site of La Laguna, it took a plea from one of our regular customers to shift us from empty promise to action. Again, like La Orotava, we had visited La Laguna on countless occasions and considered that we knew the city better than most, so when we decided to write the guide, it was as much simply for directions and timings that we headed back there to do our research. The great thing about knowing somewhere really well is that you can concentrate on the ‘out of the way’ places, knowing you’ve got the big stuff covered, and that’s what we did, in the process uncovering some amazing, little-known (in the English language) facts about the place. Did you, for example, know about the body of the 87yr old nun that when exhumed three years after burial had not decayed one iota? Or that today, over 15,000 people queue to see her body on one day a year? No, neither did we until we wrote our city guide.
Each Town & City Guide includes details on where to park; suggested venues for lunch or a drink; full walking directions; and extensive notes on the main sites not to miss, including all those hidden away and quirky corners. We hope you enjoy using them as much as we did writing them.
Real Tenerife Town & City walking guides for Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava, and La Laguna are now available to buy online as an automatic download for just €8.