The Development of Tenerife, the Long & Winding Road

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Life, Spain, Tenerife
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve driven around Las Américas and Costa Adeje many, many times. But I always take what seemed like incredibly circuitous routes to get anywhere.

Last weekend, after crippling myself on 12 Beaches Boulevard I got the chance to see which route Tenerife’s bus drivers used to travel between Los Cristianos and Fañabe.

We had a look at taxis first but, after noticing that the fare from the centre of Los Cristianos just to the port was €5 I figured that as I’d never paid to get screwed, I wasn’t about to start now.

With a bit of advice from bus route guru Colin Kirby, Andy and I boarded the 417 bound for Guia de Isora. From Los Cristianos to just before San Eugenio the route was pretty straightforward, but it was from there I was really interested. Blow me if the bus driver didn’t take the route I thought that I must have always gotten wrong. To get from one part of Costa Adeje to Fañabe on four wheels you really do have to cross the TF1, go round a couple of roundabouts and re-cross it again.

I’ve always suspected I was missing something, but no – it is actually a complete mystery of road planning. It just doesn’t make any sense and betrays that someone wasn’t exactly looking at the bigger picture when they were developing the area.

As we turned this way and that way on a convoluted route from A to B, La Laguna popped into my head. The reason being that when La Laguna was being developed nearly 5 centuries ago, the grid layout used for the town was revolutionary. It was such a logical and clever layout that many South America cities used it as a blueprint.

This thought occurred to me; is it possible that five centuries ago road planners on Tenerife were smarter and more advanced that they are now?

As an epilogue of sorts, when we crossed into the Fañabe the bus headed back towards PDLA before turning and coming to a halt at a bus stop. It was quite a distance from the hotel, so I advised Andy that we should stay on the bus until it got a bit closer.

My heart fell when the bus, instead of taking the road I thought it would, headed right back across the motorway again in the direction of Guia de Isora, presumably because there was no way to rejoin the motorway from the side I wanted to be on (those pesky road planners again). Thankfully we managed to get off on the other side nearly opposite our hotel, so it wasn’t a disaster and we didn’t end up with an unplanned trip to Guia, but it was a close call.

  1. islandmomma says:

    I’ve always thought that the problem was that Playa de las Americas had sprung up and was quite large before anyone seemed willing to acknowledge that it was there. My friend who used to come here as a teenager, remembers taking the bus from Puerto de la Cruz to see “the desert” of the south. She says there was just one hotel (which I think is the Gran Tinerfe from memory), and then another sprung up and then another and so on.

    Of course it also takes up space in two municipalities Arona and Adeje, and there are many rumors about the jealousy between the two over this…..but I only know of rumors, I emphasize. 23 years ago PDLA didn’t appear on road signs, because, in theory it didn’t exist. Los Cristianos had been a village for centuries, but where PDLA now is was just deserted coastline. It goes without saying that planning permissions were granted willy nilly (and there are plenty of rumors about that too !)

    • dragojac says:

      That sounds feasible – it looks as though it has never been developed in the way a town would have been. Simply bits are added on whenever a new hotel springs up; a case of build the hotel first, think about the infrastructure later.

      I’ve got a great little German guide book from about 30 years ago and the main southern resorts weren’t even a twinkle in developers’ eyes. Although there were small communities dotted around, the road south beyond Güímar wasn’t built until the 1940s.

      The Spanish press regularly reports accusations of misappropriation of funds in some municipalities around the island and audits show that large sums of money are unaccounted for with findings suggesting that at best it’s down to inefficiency and at worst…
      There’s very rarely a satisfactory explanation, but it all just gets forgotten about and the people shrug and say ‘that’s politics here’.

      Local government and the construction industry…an ‘interesting’ relationship everywhere since the dawn of civilzation…hmm.

  2. islandmomma says:

    I have to laugh at your last paragraph because Blackpool was also full of the same sort of rumors year ago, and the local government (traditionally Conservative) was always seen as only allowing development if it was in their own interests in some way.

    I was thinking about that bus route, which is one I had to use for a while a couple of years ago. I think it has to cross the autopista to allow pickups and drop offs for the people of Fañabe, which, contrary to popular, ex-pat opinion is not on the coast but just the other side of the road in fact. I have no idea if they are served by any other bus service.

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