Comments on my last blog got me thinking about this term, the Real Tenerife, that we use – a lot.
In finest Carrie Bradshaw fashion I couldn’t help but wonder what exactly we meant by it.
I suppose that to classify areas of Tenerife as the Real Tenerife implies that other parts aren’t. Surely that must be nonsense? Clearly if it exists it’s real? Well yes and no, depending on how you look at it.
The Mona Lisa is real, but then so is a fake Mona Lisa. But it isn’t exactly the genuine article. In that respect you could argue that the fake isn’t real.
When we decided to label our series of guides, websites, blogs etc. under the umbrella term the Real Tenerife we did it for a very specific reason.
The majority of visitors to Tenerife are interested first and foremost in the weather and that means that most British visitors head to the purpose-built resorts of the south of Tenerife. Subsequently many British views of Tenerife are fashioned by their experience of this part of Tenerife. If you were to check out TripAdvisor or other English language forums you could be forgiven for not realising that much of Tenerife is actually populated by Canarios living in towns that most tourists rarely venture into. Ironically, if you were only to read Spanish papers on Tenerife you could easily be forgiven for thinking that Playa de las Américas didn’t exist. The British press haven’t really helped. Whenever some travel writers venture outside of the ‘new upmarket’ Tenerife that they’re so fond of writing about it’s invariably to Masca and Mount Teide – beauty spots that the world and his dog know about even though some journos try to give the impression that only they and the local goat have ever been there.
When we arrived on Tenerife and started exploring, much of the island was a complete and pleasant surprise. It was not the place that we had read about and seen on TV- or at least there was much, much more to it than that. It certainly wasn’t just the purpose built holiday resort we’d been led to believe it was. That did and does exist, but it is in the geographical minority.
The reality was that much of Tenerife was a place where people lived, loved, worked and partied outside of the world of tourism. A place where culture and traditions were not only alive, but alive and kicking like a bucking bronco. It was a place with a fascinating history that stretched back as far as America’s and beyond. In summary, it wasn’t simply purpose built for hedonistic fun, it was real.
Hence the birth of Real Tenerife (plus real means royal in Spanish and we kinda liked that interpretation too). We make no apologies for continually using it, especially as it’s not meant as a criticism of anywhere on the island. Playa de las Américas is the consummate holiday destination for anyone seeking fun, sun, good restaurants and a lively, diverse nightlife. But it was built purely for tourism and subsequently there is nary a trace of Tenerife in the place. And again that’s not a criticism just an observation – I defend Las Américas constantly as it often receives unfair, biased and misinformed criticism from those who view it purely as Veronica’s.
But the point about the Real Tenerife tag is that it is meant to attract people like ourselves. People who like to taste the cultural differences in the places they visit…even if they happen to be based in a purpose built resort. It’s a nod and a wink that what we’re talking about in the main are the authentic Canario experiences. These cover an incredibly broad geographical and experiential range from rough ‘n’ ready agricultural fiestas to sleek city sophistication. We don’t care who’s doing what, we’ll go check it out – we’re experience junkies – and then we’ll share it.
So we’ll continue to harp on about the Real Tenerife because we believe discerning travellers coming to Tenerife want to know about it. In fact it’s time for the Real Tenerife brand to evolve.
Watch this space.