Answers to ten more questions about Tenerife

Every so often we like to do a round up of some of the more interesting questions we’ve been asked, or have seen being asked on travel forums such as Tripadvisor.

Here are ten Tenerife questions from September which piqued our interest.

An owl
An owl, just not one on Tenerife.

Where can I see owls on Tenerife?
The actual question was about whether there were any owl tours, but we’ve never heard of any so I’ve adjusted to suit wider interests in seeing birds in the wild. You can find long-eared owls and, more commonly, barn owls. In fact barn owls are so common you can easily spot them flying around some resort areas. We have seen the sky filled with them a couple of times in the El Duque area of Costa Adeje. There’s no need for anyone staying there to go on an owl tour, just crack open a bottle of wine, sit on your balcony and enjoy the show.

Scallops, Portugal
These scallops were delicious, some of the best we’ve had… but they weren’t on Tenerife.

Where can I find restaurants serving scallops on Tenerife?
I love scallops (vieiras) but I rarely eat them on Tenerife for one reason, they’re usually not fresh. You can find them on some restaurant menus, but the majority of the time the chances are they’ll be frozen as you don’t find scallops in the sea around the Canary Islands. Generally, frozen scallops just don’t taste the same or have the same texture as fresh ones. One of the reasons for this is there can be a practice of soaking scallops in water before freezing to make them ‘heavier’ which then makes them mushy. However, good chefs on Tenerife import fresh scallops from places like Madrid (this was told to us by one of the island’s top chefs). We’ve enjoyed excellent fresh scallops in some of the better restaurants on Tenerife. If you’re a scallop fan and spot them on a menu on Tenerife always ask if they’re fresh before ordering.

Road to Mount Teide, Tenerife
Not a difficult road at all to drive through Teide National Park.

Is driving to Mount Teide difficult?
There have been a couple of questions about this of late and it’s a difficult one to answer as it depends on the confidence and experiences of the driver who asks the question. There are four roads leading to Teide National Park (basically from north, south, east, and west) and all involve negotiating winding roads. All are used by excursion coaches, so that gives you an idea how wide they are; although, there are a few narrow sections on some approaches, so corners should be taken cautiously. The roads shouldn’t be difficult to tackle for anyone with experience of driving in rural parts, but for those only used to long, straight motorways, or town driving, the winding ascents may prove more of a challenge.

Masca barranco, Tenerife
It’ll still be some time before people are picked up after walking the Masca Barranco.

Is Masca Barranco still closed?
The most popular question of the moment (summer/autumn 2019). The simple answer is yes, the Masca Barranco walking route is still officially out of bounds to walkers. The latest news isn’t good. Following an inspection by officials in June 2019, there wasn’t an update regarding when it might open. That in itself is worrying. Some Spanish papers quote locals as saying improvements to the path are way behind schedule. In some ways it’s no surprise. Anyone who’s walked the route will know, because of the challenges of the terrain, it was never going to be a quick fix to make it ‘safe’ for everyone to walk. We shall post updates on facebook as soon as we hear about them. A supplementary question we get asked is ‘are there other barrancos in Tenerife to walk?’ Of course there are, the island is riddled with ravines and there are plenty of other walking routes, better ones in our view. Take a look at our walking website if you want to know more.

Siesta time, La Laguna, Tenerife
Quiet streets in the former capital – siesta time in La Laguna.

Do shops close for siesta time on Tenerife?
There are a number of different answers for this question. In purpose-built resorts the answer is generally no, but in traditional towns and cities like La Laguna and Santa Cruz the answer is mostly yes. This doesn’t apply to shopping centres or the international chain shops you find in just about every city across Europe. Neither does it apply to bars, cafes and restaurants. Siesta normally lasts from 13.30 to 16.30 so if you find yourself in traditional parts between those hours the streets will be noticeably quieter. The best thing to do under these circumstances is to wait until 13.30 and then go for a long, leisurely lunch. Basically, go local.

Intercambiador, Santa Cruz, Tenerife
The Intercambiador in Santa Cruz. The transport hub of the city with car parking, buses and trams.

Where to park in Santa Cruz?
Someone asked this on Tripadvisor and nobody answered. They were staying between El Corte Inglés and the Mercado Nuestra Señora de Africa and were happy to walk a bit from car park to apartment. Personally, as it was only for one night, I’d have been happy to park in the Intercambiador car park (the bus station). It’s modern, brightly lit, open 24 hours, and reasonably priced. It would be our first choice spot to park for exploring the city. It’s not so good when staying on the opposite side of the city. But there are car parks all across Santa Cruz. When we stay at the Hotel Grand Mencey we use the public car par next to it. The wide Rambla makes it easy to access without having to negotiate the city’s narrower and more congested streets. We have parked in the streets before, but we’re not fans of wasting time driving around with our fingers crossed. My advice for parking in Santa Cruz would be to use Google Maps to search for a car park close to where you want to be, and which can be accessed without having to drive through the heart of the city.

The latest President of the Canary Islands might want more of this from visitors.

Is there a tourist tax in Tenerife
No, there isn’t…. at the moment. Up until July 2019 the Canarian Government was against implementing a tourist tax, but the political parties in power changed in July and the new President, Ángel Víctor Torres, is in favour of commissioning a study into the viability of introducing a tax. Businesses and Ashotel (Hotel Association of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro) are completely opposed to the idea. Another case of watch this space.

Roque Bermejo, Tenerife
One of the water taxi drop off/pick up points in Anaga.

How to get to Anaga by public transport?
The person who asked this was staying in Santa Cruz. Our view is getting to Anaga by public transport is a complicated business. Visiting Anaga by car allows far more freedom to explore the best bits of what is one of Tenerife’s most stunning areas. One piece of good advice was to take the 946 bus which travels from Santa Cruz to Taganana eight times a day, but only four times between the hours of 9am and 6pm. To get to the likes of Cruz del Carmen, a hub for walking, it requires two buses, unless you’re staying in La Laguna. Again these are infrequent. Bus services in Anaga are aimed mainly at locals travelling to and from work, so the timetable isn’t ideal for visitors. But it can be done, it just takes a lot of careful planning. Another way to access the most remote part of Anaga is to take a water taxi from Santa Cruz which costs around 30-35 Euros. I’d say this is for keen hikers only, there isn’t a lot to do when you step off the boat in Anaga.

Playa Bollullo, La Orotava, Tenerife
There are decent swathes of sand on Tenerife, but the tide never goes out that far.

Any beaches where large expanses of sand are exposed at low tide?
We were asked this on facebook and never got around to answering as we were travelling at the time. I can’t think of anywhere on Tenerife this happens, and would be surprised if anyone could. The reason being, as the island is volcanic, the shoreline shelves steeply and quickly as anyone who’s paddled beyond the surf at the likes of Playa Jardin in Puerto de la Cruz will know only too well. There are beaches which have more sand exposed during certain times of the year, some of them don’t exist at all in winter months. But you won’t find huge expanses of damp sand when the tide goes out.

Dorada Especial, Garachico, Tenerife
Nope, I don’t have any photos of a shandy, so here’s some local lager instead.

How do you ask for a shandy on Tenerife?
To finish, here’s a superficially obvious question. The original question was actually about whether it was okay to order a shandy for a fifteen year old, but it reminded me of when we first moved to Tenerife and tried to order a shandy for a friend in Canarian bars. We had no idea what it was called in Spanish. For anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation, a shandy is called a clara.

About Jack 434 Articles
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 Facebook

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