Just under a year ago Andy wrote a blog for Tenerife.co.uk about why she chose to live in the north of Tenerife whilst Linda Wainwright (aka IslandMomma) did the same for the south. It was an interesting exercise, especially as Tenerife is many things to different people.
We tossed a coin to see who would write the piece for the north and, obviously, Andy won. But I liked the idea of penning my own reasons and thoughts. I haven’t read Andy’s list since she wrote it and have deliberately avoided doing so until I get these down on virtual paper.
So, whilst the bulk of British visitors head to the southern side of Tenerife here are five reasons why I’m perched on a northern slope.
The perfect climate
The weather was a big factor when we picked somewhere to set up home and the climate around Puerto de la Cruz is for me just about as perfect as it could be. There is a lot of rubbish written about Tenerife generally, especially where the weather is concerned. We enjoy wonderfully warm sunshine throughout the year. There are seasonal differences (there are seasonal differences of varying levels everywhere on Tenerife) and I like that fact. There are wild flowers in spring, summer is usually rain free, whilst autumn and winter can bring rainfall – usually not for long and often at night. Sometimes it’s like a monsoon, which is spectacular and hypnotic. There can be a bizarre thing on Tenerife about the fact that that greenery means rain. Of course it rains. It rains most places, but I can’t recall ever seeing anyone purse their lips about either the Caribbean or Thailand and say ‘hmm, I’m a bit concerned about visiting because it’s so lush and green.’
A lot of people don’t stop to think rationally about the weather on the island, forgetting that it’s a subtropical climate whether you’re south, west, east or north. It’s been good enough for most Canarios for five centuries and it’s certainly peachy enough for me.
Linked to the above, scenery is important and waking up to see the verdant Orotava Valley and one of the most spectacular sights anywhere, Mount Teide, has never lost its impact. Rainfall does keep the northern world green and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Around us is a banana plantation that I’ve become so accustomed to I hardly register the people-sized exotic leaves as I drive past them every day. A few minutes westward is the most stunning part of Tenerife’s coast (obviously in my opinion) with palm groves, more bananas and the most beautiful colonial haciendas. Just to the north are my favourite beaches on the island. Twenty minutes inland and I’m in the pine forest where the only buildings belong to forest rangers. This is the place that wowed seasoned Victorian adventurers. And this is only our small slice of the north.
We’re spoiled when it comes to food. Because many of the best restaurants in the north cater for the Canarian population, eating out is excellent value. And we have some cracking places to fill our tums. The bigger Canarian towns near us are quite sophisticated, probably due to their multinational heritage, so as well as basic and contemporary local cuisine, when we fancy a change we can choose to eat at excellent Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and vegetarian restaurants. One of the best restaurants on Tenerife is within walking distance of our house, yet most visitors don’t know about it. As a bonus, many restaurants are located in the likes of colonial buildings and old cottages, so not only do we have great food at low prices, we get to eat it in wonderfully atmospheric surroundings. Because of this I’m probably over critical of some restaurants in the purpose built resorts, especially if I think I’m paying over the odds for mediocre fare.
I like living amongst the Canarios. From a business point of view, working here can frustrate the hell out of me to the point that now we rarely work with businesses based on the islands. Too many burnt fingers and bad experiences in the past. In fairness, most of the worst business experiences involved Brits. But the act of living is different. I’m a Calvinistic Scot, it takes me about five years to decide whether anyone’s decent or are indeed the untrustworthy miscreant I immediately had them down as when I first met them. But the open faces and wide smiles of the Canarios disarm my natural grumpiness.
I love the strong sense of community that reminds me of growing up on a Scottish Island; I love the fact that tradition is important and that the sense of identity is so very unique; I love the fact that life is more important than work, although clearly that can affect other things (see above). Basically I love the fact that I feel like I’m living somewhere with a culture that is very different from my own.
It has soul
The biggest reason why we chose to settle in Puerto de la Cruz in the north of Tenerife is something that is difficult to explain as it’s something you can only feel. From the moment we arrived, having checked out a few other towns first, and ordered our first cerveza (with a Madrid type ‘th’ until we knew better) in Plaza del Charco, we were infected by the strength of the town’s soul. It seeps out of historic buildings and rises up from the cobbles that people have trampled for centuries, filling the atmosphere so that although you can’t see it, it courses through your veins. Places either have a soul or they don’t and not everyone can tune into it. I remember being in the most idyllic historic European town, where the air was thick with the soul of the place, and hearing a fellow visitor complain ‘but what is there to do here?’ They simply didn’t get it.
It’s massively important to me that a place has soul, it’s something that breathes life into bricks and mortar and you can feel it, or not, the moment you set foot in a town or village.
Now I can check Andy’s list of reasons.
Hmm, looks like we’re quite well matched.
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+
Having visited Tenerife as a child, long before the southern resorts were even thought off. When we came to live there, lovely Puerto was our only choice. I never tire of waking up to the sight of Teide, and even looking forward to its first snow. The beauty of the island reflects through the year long blooms of the multicoloured Bougainville, the sweet smelling jasmine and the gently swaying palm trees. No wonder the Fourtune Islands became known as paradise on earth.
Totally agree with all that Richard.
May we send thanks to Andy for recommending Benijo? We did the long journey there (from the opposite end of the island) and had lunch in the Mirador de Benijo. It was excellent!And the scenery in the Anaga Park is awe-inspiring.
Thanks, I’ll pass your words on – she’s gallivanting around Milan at the moment 🙂
I’m really pleased to hear the food at the Mirador de Benijo is still excellent as it changed hands shortly after we ate there. It is such an incredible spot.
I am so happy to have found your website. I long to visitorotava where my great grandfather was born and sailed to Puerto Rico around the year 1880. Thank you so much for your stories.
Hello everyone I am considering moving to Tenerife due to ill health and am on several medications [now retired]. Any advice or help gratefully received. I want to move to Los Realejos nr Puerto. I have long term Spanish friends there.
I have always holidayed in the south, but visited the north on one of those coach trips! Recently I stayed in oratava as we have met friends who own a lovely old villa there. My partner and I fell in love with the place. So much better than the dry dusty man made feel of the south.
Orotava, possibly my favourite pace on the island. Our house was sort of half in La Orotava and half in Puerto de la Cruz. In fact we paid our electricity bills to Puerto and our water bills to La Orotava 🙂
Totally agree Jack. Having lived two years in the south, Silencio and so far two years in the north Llanito Perera I am able to compare both ways of life. The North wins every time!
The climate, the people and the culture. ?