I’ve come to the conclusion that the general perception that the sun always shines in the south of Tenerife whilst it’s always cloudy, cool and more than likely raining in the north of Tenerife is an urban myth put about by people who benefit by encouraging tourists to visit the south rather than the north.

As I live in the north, I’ve always known that it was at very least an exaggeration which is regularly fuelled by people who state a variation of the following.

“It’s always cloudy in the north of Tenerife.”

Then when you ask then how often they visit, they come out with something like ‘Oh, I was there for 10 minutes in 1981’.

Anyway, I’ve got very good reason to believe that the differences aren’t as great as everyone has been led to believe… and it’s this.

On Saturday, we left sunny Puerto de la Cruz with the testing objective of completing three walks in the south as research for our Real Tenerife Walking Guides.

When we got to our destination it was cloudy with some sunshine, but as the day went on the cloud became thicker, the temperature dropped to being slightly cool and there was even light rain. This was great for walking, but for taking photographs it was a disaster. There’s no real colour in parts of the arid southern hills, only variations of brown which the low cloud completely washed out. Photographing the landscape was like photographing a bucket of ditchwater.

A Rare Spell of Sunshine Just Before that Big Grey Carpet Descended

As a one off this means nada, but this was the fourth time I’d tried to get photographs in this particular area and each time it had been cloudy.

I remember specific instances exactly because we’re usually doing research for articles and good photographs are a must. A couple of years ago we wrote a series of ‘walking’ features for Living Tenerife Magazine and the one on the south was visually the weakest because the weather had been poor (cloudy) on every occasion we attempted to get some photographs. In fact the section about the Barranco del Infierno was nearly a non-starter as they almost closed the Barranco because of rain.

As we walked in a washed out landscape on Saturday I worked out that out of the last 10 big features we had written about the south of Tenerife which needed photos, I’d lucked out in photographic terms 9 times because the weather had let us down.

That’s quite a statistic

The thing is that I’d never dream of stating ‘the south of Tenerife is always cloudy’ because clearly I know that this simply isn’t the case; just as it isn’t the case with the north coast either. Generally speaking, sunshine is the normal state of affairs for both coasts with the south faring better overall. Sometimes you can just be unlucky with the weather – in my case, apparently 90% of the time when it comes to the south.

Incidentally, there are places on Tenerife which can be relied upon weather wise when I need to take photographs for web and magazine articles. Las Cañadas del Teide is pretty much a guarantee. Alcalá and the triad of Playa de la Arena; Puerto Santiago and Los Gigantes rarely let me down; the east coast is consistently bathed in sunshine and Santa Cruz almost always comes up with the sunny goods.

  1. Gary Rosson says:

    Hi Jack/Andrea,

    I have to say that I agree with your summing up of the weather here in the south. Having lived here for a couple of years now, it’s nothing like as ‘permanently bathed in sunshine’ as one of my guidebooks suggests. I even have one guidebook that states, ‘clouds are rare in the south of the island’!
    During the summer months, this is largely true, but at other times, cloud tends to build up during the morning over the hills and roll down towards the coast. Often it stops around where we live in Chayofa, so we can be in shade when looking out towards Los Cristianos from our balcony all is blue sky and sunshine.
    As you say, I think the difference between the north and south is exaggerated. I visited Puerto at least two or three times last winter and it was beautifully sunny but cloudy on returning south. On one of these occasions it was pouring with rain when I returned home.
    The area above the Barranco del Infierno, as shown in your picture and also the Ifonche area are prone to cloud cover while it can be baking hot sunshine down below on the coast.
    I often walk in these areas in cloud and drizzle then sit on my balcony after with a beer in warm sunshine. It’s this variety that makes the island so fascinating for me.

  2. dragojac says:

    Ifonche is a bit like Aguamansa in the La Orotava Valley in that respect. The cloud often settles in around the 1000 metre mark. Because the valley is so big It sometimes give the impression that everywhere is in cloud, when the coast can be in sunshine (the angle of Puerto’s main webcam doesn’t help there).

    But when you climb above it, the vista is out of this world.

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