Recently I’ve been following the exploits of Kyle and Megan, a couple of young American bloggers who are currently experiencing life on Tenerife and in Puerto de la Cruz.
They’re getting out and about exploring and interacting with the local community and generally seem to be enjoying themselves. These two are exactly the sort of people I love to see visiting Tenerife. Apart from their adventures, what’s interesting about Kyle and Megan is that they had no real preconceptions about Tenerife before they arrived.
Reading about their experiences got me thinking about our perceptions and misconceptions related to Tenerife and who is responsible for them. The more I considered it, the more I realised that there was a wide network of people out there who have been shaping our views for a long time – sometimes (maybe even often) for dubious reasons.
Here’s another interesting thing, it seems you’re more likely to be manipulated if you happen to be British.
Age and Puerto de la Cruz
The fact that Kyle and Megan are young and staying in Puerto de la Cruz brought home the fact that those people who tell you Puerto de la Cruz is for the more mature person and there’s not much of a young scene are painting an incomplete picture. Not many young Brits visit Puerto de la Cruz, but that doesn’t apply to other nationalities who don’t appear to be infected with the same skewed beliefs. This type of thinking also totally ignores the existence of the young Canario population as though it’s only the British scene that counts.
Evidence: Head to the clubs and stylish Canario bars after midnight or go to any fiesta if you don’t believe me.
Who’s Peddling the Toro? Generally businesses or people with a vested interest in Tenerife’s other resorts. But, ironically and possibly unwittingly, also some visitors to Puerto de la Cruz itself whose favourite venues and leisure hours may not match those of younger visitors and locals – therefore the young Puerto scene simply doesn’t exist.
Tenerife is Naff
Only the British seem to think this. Non-British friends are generally shocked by this revelation as are Canarios. Mind you, so are some British Tenerife fans which is a mystery as TV shows and travel articles in British newspapers have been pushing the naff image for years. Boozy Brits, footballers on the piss, sex on the beach, wet T-shirt competitions and C-list celebs in bikinis sell more tabloid newspapers than tales of culture, cuisine and real Canarian life.
Evidence: Read any article about Tenerife in any tabloid, the chances are it will have nothing to do with the Tenerife the Canarios know. A lot of the times it won’t even have anything to do with the Tenerife that most visitors know.
Who’s Peddling the Toro? The British media.
The South is Sunny & Hot, the North is Cool & Cloudy
There is absolutely no point in going over the facts about Tenerife’s weather being relative again. There is more than enough evidence out there for anyone interested in the reality. But this notion has been sold to the British since the development of the resorts in the south of Tenerife.
Evidence: It ignores the fact that the majority of Canarios live in the north; it ignores the fact that Spanish mainlanders have traditionally taken their holidays in the north; it ignores the fact that when people were talking about Tenerife having a perfect climate they were talking about the north… in fact it ignores the facts. It’s a mantra that has been repeated so many times that it has become an unshakeable belief. The example that drives me up the wall is when people talk of Santa Cruz as being cooler and wetter than the south of Tenerife because it is in the north. Take one look at the terrain around Santa Cruz and that should tell you all you need to know regarding how much anyone who spouts this guff knows about Tenerife.
Who’s Peddling the Toro? Travel agents seem to be responsible for starting this one decades ago, encouraging people to fill the newly built southern resorts. Like so many things in life, it comes down to somebody making money. Tenerife isn’t the only place to suffer from tourism industry manipulation. Have you ever wondered why different nationalities are found holidaying on different Greek Islands for example? Enforced segregation by the tourist industry via package holidays. Until the internet made independent travelling easier, we were all victims of industry manipulation. Some people still are.
These are endless. Ironically, the same internet that has given us more access to good, honest, experiential information about travel destinations is also a breeding ground for misinformation. Pick any travel related forum on any day and there will be any number of examples of misleading advice handed out. Some are deliberate; some are due to ignorance; some are because of people wanting to come across as more knowledgeable than they are; some are because of people wanting to try to help even though they know next to nothing about a place and a lot are because people often mistake opinion for facts and knowledge.
Not all information is to be placed under suspicion; there’s a lot more good, honest and accurate advice out there than there ever has been.
The trick is in being able to separate the wheat from the chaff and also being able to identify when someone is trying to manipulate you for their own ends.