How Well do the British Know Tenerife?

Posted: November 1, 2010 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A while ago I wrote a blog titled The British are the Curse of Tenerife. It was basically about how the impressions that others have of Tenerife might have been formed as much by the people who visit the island and never step foot outside their resorts as much as by media coverage.

Recently I’ve read quite a few blogs and professionally written articles about Tenerife that have had me wondering how much people actually know about this island and how on earth they can get their facts so wrong. After spending a wonderful leisurely afternoon in Santa Cruz with Andy and friends Sarah and Denise, who’d won a holiday in Golf del Sur, I think I may have the answer.

First of all here are some things I’ve read about Tenerife recently which had me raising my eyebrows.

“It’s not a cultural centre, but who really wants culture on a family holiday? I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t mind not being dragged to a museum…”

Err, Santa Cruz, La Orotava, La Laguna? I think the author of that one will find more than enough museums, art galleries, theatres etc. to bore the pants off her children if she looked beyond the resort she stayed in.

No Culture in Tenerife?

Another spoke of visiting the Tenerife most tourists never see – they were referring to Masca, the second most visited location on Tenerife after Mount Teide.

The next wrote of catching a bus from Santa Cruz to a little known beach – Las Teresitas, the secret beach used by the greatest concentration of residents on Tenerife i.e. Santa Cruceros and Laguneros.

Apart from the first example, two of these are just writers’ spin designed to make their travels sound more exotic and adventurous. It’s a commonly used device and there’s nothing wrong with it, but sometimes poetic licence is stretched to breaking point.

The place that most tourists actually do see!

At least these were in positive articles about Tenerife. The worst piece of misinformation I read was from a supposed Eco warrior website and we used it as TIT of the week in Tenerife Magazine last week. The eco warrior was calling for the closure of Loro Parque because it imprisoned whales and dolphins. Nothing wrong with that point of view, plenty of people don’t approve of keeping creatures like that in captivity and no pool can replace the sea.

However, the eco warrior suggested that people should go on whale watching trips instead and recounted how a friend of hers had taken her out in a boat to see whales and dolphins in their natural environment. An environmentalist recommending unregulated boat trips…a sure fire way of disrupting animals’ behavioural patterns right where they live and a massive environmental NO-NO.

What a dork – she certainly hadn’t done her research.

Anyway these are all cases of people getting the facts slightly wrong and, apart from the dangerous environmentalist, they’re not serious. But it all adds up to a slightly off centre picture of Tenerife. I read much worse fictions all the time and friends Sarah and Denise provided a clue as to why.

They had asked a bar owner in Golf del Sur about some unfinished building work in the resort – you know the thing; great unsightly breeze block construction left to blot the landscape for years. They were curious as to why nobody seemed to have been working on it for some time. His explanation was classic.

It was because of 9/11.

After 9/11 it seems, tourists stopped coming to Tenerife and the building work stopped.

I’m still laughing about that one. But what other absolute nonsense are visitors being fed? No wonder we read so much fantasy about Tenerife when some people are filling tourists’ heads with this sort of guff.

  1. Overheard in Los Cristianos – I’m not coming back here again, there are too many Spanish, at least in Los Gigantes everyone speaks English.

    Heaven help them if they left the resorts and went a couple of miles inland !!

    • dragojac says:

      LOL. I asked if they had any bocadillos in a supermarket in Los G a couple of years ago and the english shop assistant didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. I had to explain what a bocadillo was. Increible.

      Mind you when we went to the Gran Sur cinema and asked in Spanish for tickets to see Inception, the assistant replied using a word I’d never heard before. Andy had to ask him to puedes repetir twice and we still didn’t get it. The word was teerteen. Then the penny dropped – thirteen. It drives me mad in some resorts where people seem to have an aversion to replying in Spanish.

  2. islandmomma says:

    Some weeks back I was telling a Canarian friend about meeting friends from a cruise ship which docked in Tenerife for the day. We were talking about how the taxi drivers gather as the people stream off the boats, and I mentioned that they could promote themselves better than they do. My friend laughed, and told me that when the drivers are asked questions about something about which they know nothing, they invent things. Of course, they are much more likely to be believed, being locals!

    I laughed at the guy in the GDS bar (and hush my mouth I will not put in print what I was thinking about that place!). Having been in real estate, and having friends who are doctors and nurses, I can tell you that the barman or the next door neighbour always knows far more about the price of property or can diagnose one’s illness much more efficiently than a professional ;=)

    • dragojac says:

      I suppose everywhere is much the same – people don’t like to admit ‘I don’t know’.
      When I was 17 and worked in a hotel on the Island of Bute I was comandeered by a coach party to act as a round the island tour guide. I knew sweet fanny adams about the place even though I’d grown up there, so everything I told them was complete fiction – no doubt there’s still some English pensioner somewhere who believes there’s a Kyles of Bute sea monster who cames ashore under darkness to eat the local sheep and the occasional tourist who’s wondered off the well beaten path.

  3. islandmomma Life on a Small Island and Beyond says:

    LOL!!! Wish I could have heard that!

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