I read a comment recently about how it was so cool in Santa Cruz that people were dressed in coats, boots, thick tights, jumpers… you know, the usual northern European type autumn/winter gear.
It’s true that Tenerife has felt cooler than normal this winter but that’s not necessarily the reason that the Santa Cruceros were in woolly winter gear.
The default setting for Santa Cruz is warm and sunny, probably more so than just about anywhere else on Tenerife. If you watch the national weather on Spanish TV it won’t come as a surprise to learn that most of the time Santa Cruz is warmer than the part of the island that attracts the most tourists.
We moved to Tenerife in October 2003. In October it was as hot as the best British summer we’d experienced… by a long shot.
By the end of November it had cooled a bit although it was still warm enough for us to be wandering around in tee shirt and shorts. So it was a bit of a shock to find on a trip to La Villa shopping centre in La Orotava that a lot of shoppers were sporting fashionable winter wear – suede coats, knee length boots, thick patterned tights.
At first we laughed that the locals were wearing cold weather gear when it was so warm. Then we felt slightly silly at standing out like sore thumbs in our straight-off-the-plane clothes.
It didn’t take us long to learn that at the first signs of a lowering in temps, a lot of Canarios were only too keen to switch into outfits that consisted of more than skimpy tops and shorts – even when the temperatures in the sun were mid 20s.
It’s not something that is noticeable in resort areas where tourists vastly outnumber Canarios but head to some of the bigger traditional towns on a warm winter day and the evidence is as plain as the scarves wrapped around the noses on their faces.
It’s a common mistake to think that winter clothes in the shops means cold weather. On Tenerife it doesn’t. It mainly means there’s a demand for wearing something that’s a bit different from summer clothes.
A friend commented to us recently how she envied British weather with different seasons requiring all sorts of changes in the clothes that people wear. I’m sure it’s a sentiment that would change after a prolonged period in Britain, but it’s a perfect illustration why there’s such a demand for winter clothes.
As for us, we no longer wear shorts and tee shirts in the main winter months. Today, although it was sunny and in the low 20s, I wore a jumper and a jacket to the shopping centre.
After 10 minutes I was sweating like a pig.
Well, when in Rome…
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+