Every so often I like to take a look at some questions asked on the travel advisory site Tripadvisor to see how accurate the information being dished out is and whether users are being given good or flawed advice.
These are some recent topics which interested me.
Is Tenerife windy?
This question comes up quite a lot and answers invariably depend on the experience of those who’ve replied. Is Tenerife windy? I don’t think of Tenerife as a windy island. Shortly after we moved into our house our neighbour turned up at our gate with a set of wind chimes. He’d bought a whole batch from a girl who’d opened a small shop nearby. He felt sorry for her because, in his words, “she’s never going to sell wind chimes here, there’s not enough wind.”
Except when there’s a storm, or when winter is morphing into spring, we experienced mostly still weather in the lower Orotava Valley. But parts of Tenerife are breezier than others. Because the north of the island has more rain than the south, some people assume it has more wind as well. Simply not true. The south east coast is almost constantly breezy and the south can be on the breezy side. But south west and north aren’t. Any skeptics out there should think about this. Where are the wind farms on the island? The answer tells you where the windiest parts are.
TA rating: Very good (in this case) – the question on this occasion was about Golf del Sur and with it being located in the south east, people who responded quite rightly confirmed it is generally breezy there. But I’ve seen plenty of people say Tenerife is a windy island on previous questions about the subject. Those don’t paint quite so accurate a picture.
Cockroaches on Tenerife
A current thread is about finding cockroaches in a 5 star hotel. Apart from one friend who doesn’t mind cockroaches I don’t know anyone who isn’t freaked by the sight of a cockroach scuttling along the floor. But cockroaches are a fact of life in hot countries, more so in resort areas. I’ve never seen one in rural parts of Tenerife, but I’ve seen plenty in the resorts. However, we’ve stayed in a lot of hotels in all parts of Tenerife and cockroaches haven’t been a problem. We’ve seen the odd one, but it’s usually been dealt with quickly. The worst Tenerife cockroach experience we’ve had was walking along the promenade from Playa de las Américas to Los Cristianos around 3am, parts of the prom were like a sea of cockroaches – the stuff of horror movies.
TA rating: Very good – responses to the question about cockroaches were sensible; they exist. Like some posters commented, they can’t tell whether a hotel is 4 or 5 star. But insects aren’t really a problem on Tenerife at all, it’s remarkably insect free compared to many other popular holiday destinations.
When is high season?
An interesting question. I’m amazed people still don’t know Tenerife is a year-round holiday destination. Unlike many popular destinations, there is no time when there’s a danger restaurants and bars haven’t opened for the season. But visit at various times of the year and the experience can be vastly different. It’s less noticeable in resorts which mainly attract British holidaymakers, but winter months attract northern European visitors whereas Spanish mainlanders dominate the during the summer, especially in coastal areas which are more traditional. Canarians themselves also impact on some areas during summer. A relatively high percentage take their holidays in the Canary Islands. Although no off season, there are a couple of months where it is quieter. May is traditionally one of them and a few restaurants in some areas close so staff can have a break.
TA rating: Limited – Although respondents got it right that there was no ‘off season’ nobody mentioned the fact that summer was Spanish season, instead mainly relating seasons to British holiday patterns, i.e. school holidays. Responses were based on experience in a small part of the island.
Suggestions for a good wine
This is one of the questions which when asked on Tripadvisor has me bashing my head against the nearest wall as answers invariably don’t actually include Canarian wines. Tenerife wines have a very good reputation these days and there are five wine growing areas on the island. Al Campo supermarket has an aisle made up mostly of Canarian wines. We prefer Canarian wines to their Spanish counterparts as they’re more interesting in our view. Subsequently we always order Canarian wines in Tenerife restaurants.
TA rating: Poor – apart from one expat resident trying to push the local wine, answers only referenced Spanish labels. Again this is related to people’s experiences being limited to some resort areas where local produce isn’t as widely available as in other parts of the island.
The actual question was ‘can you bring bacon to Tenerife from Britain?’ The obvious question to bounce back, as a couple of folk on Tripadvisor did, was ‘why would you want to?’
The sort of bacon you find in hotel breakfast buffets on Tenerife is generally pretty poor. However, you can get decent bacon in supermarkets across Tenerife, with a selection of choices ranging from back bacon to smoky rashers. When we’ve made bacon butties for visiting family in the past, they’ve generally remarked how tasty the bacon is. Some brands of bacon on Tenerife are a lot better than others and trying various ones is recommended until you find a personal favourite. The bacon available is certainly good enough to not warrant giving over valuable space in a suitcase to packs of rashers.
TA rating: Mixed – a couple of people pointed out you can get decent bacon on Tenerife, others insisted the bacon was rubbish. One person suggested bacon on the island was too expensive. It might be if you don’t have access to local chain supermarkets and are only using rip-off resort affairs.
As is usually the case, advice on Tripadvisor ranges from good to misleading. The difficulty for users is being able to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+