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Naturist Opportunities on Tenerife

Bits of Advice to a Newcomer to Tenerife
Before going to Tenerife, I spent quite a time at browsing the web and looking for information. I had found heaps of it, and it was very helpful indeed at making up my holiday plans and scheduling my time. I am most thankful to those who cared to put their systematic or scattered pieces of evidence and advice on the web.
This page of mine is an attempt to convey to a potential newcomer on Tenerife some of the practical experience I managed to gain during my 2-weeks’ stay there. I would be very happy too, if my notes and remarks turned out useful to at least someone.

 Renting a car 
I might recommend to almost anyone who has a driving license and is going to pursue an active way of life on Tenerife to rent a car soon upon the arrival: having a car gives a lot of additional opportunities and the freedom of choice. Car rental agencies are in abundance on Tenerife: you'll find them on literally every corner in all the areas where there are at least slightest traces of tourist presence. They also have got their desks at most of the hotels. The formalities are reduced to an absolute minimum (it would be rather difficult to get away with a rented car from the island, so the agents, apparently, feel themselves secure on this side). The rental prices are very modest: typically, renting a car of the class of, e.g., Ford Fiesta or Opel Corsa, will cost around 11.50€ a day, if you take it for a week or more. In fact, one hardly needs a bigger car on the island where the largest driving route is within 100 km.
[Avenida Londres]
Rented cars parked "en masse" in
Avenida Londres at Costa Adeje
[SEAT Panda]Besides, it is a great deal easier to drive a smaller and lighter car on the narrow mountain roads with hairpin turns and steep slopes, if you are going to extensively use the car for your sightseeing excursions. If you may content yourself with a Spanish-made SEAT-Panda "bug" (a 4-seater), the rental price will be still lower: just 7.50€ per day for a week's or longer rent – cheaper than if 3 or 4 of you were travelling on bus. The petrol price on Tenerife was about 0.65€ per litre in May 2002.
If you are going for a day's excursion onto another island (e.g., to Gran Canaria or La Gomera), it will be cheaper and simpler to rent a car for one day on the new place than to ferry it over. Car rental agents are meeting every landing ship to advertise their service.

 Riding on a bus 
Tenerife has a well-developed and effectively operating bus transportation system. Comfortable air-conditioned bright-green buses bearing a white logo of the TITSA transport company provide a service on about 150 routes all over the island: on highways, on local roads, inside towns, and on the breathtaking serpentines of motorways climbing the picturesque Tenerife mountains.
[TITSA Logo]
One can find bus route schemes and complete timetables of all the Tenerife bus routes on notice-boards at many a bus stop in the most lively areas. Brochures with the detailed timetable are also available for free at bus station Information Desks. A very good TITSA Web site offers the bus route schemes and timetables both on line and as downloadable PDF files: I had studied the bus timetables at home prior to my going to Tenerife, and that helped me a great deal at rationally arranging my travel around the island when already on place.
The entrance to bus is in the front door, and the fare is to be paid to the driver. Exit is normally in the rear door. If you want to get off at the stop the bus is approaching, you are supposed to press a red button over your seat – then a bell rings and a red notice is lighted by side of the driver: "Parada Solicitada" ("Stop Requested"). If you don't follow the procedure, the driver can just speed by the stop. Reciprocally, if you see that a bus of the route you are waiting for at a stop tends to pass by, don't hesitate waiving your hand actively – otherwise you may be at risk of missing it.
On the whole, the bus drivers on Tenerife are a nice folk, very obliging to the passengers. Still sometimes they may be just get stuck with hordes of stupid foreigners who have no idea of the local ways and do not understand a single plainest word in Spanish – imagine yourself in their place.
The bus fares on Tenerife are rather modest. They are becoming even more modest, if you purchase a "Bono-Bus" magnet card. Such cards, available at a price of 12 or 30€, provide for a 30 to 50% discount, depending on the route and the distance of your ride. A few persons can pay with one and the same Bono-Bus card at once. If you make a transfer, the two or more legs of your ride are automatically counted together, so that the second leg may turn out free or for a purely symbolic fare. On entering the bus, you are to insert the card into the slot of a machine by side of the driver and tell the driver your destination (and the number of persons, if you are not alone). The driver introduces a code from his keyboard, and an on-board computer is doing the rest. You are getting your card back, with both the fare paid and the remainder on the card printed upon it. Having a card also facilitates the accounts with driver, particularly, if you cannot master the Spanish numerals freely. One can buy Bono-Bus cards at bus station Information Desks and at many shops in town, but the most suitable place to look for them is newsstands. To give an example as of the scale of fares: a 75 km ride from Santa Cruz to Playa de las Américas (to the end stop at Costa Adeje) costs 3.05€ with Bono-Bus.
Finally, one linguistic peculiarity. The standard Spanish word autobús, for "bus", is not in the common use on the Canary Islands – it only may be employed in very formal situations or in a reference to something clearly foreign. Standing for the Canarian bus is the local word guagua.
According to the standard "Castille" Spanish, the word should have read [Gwah-gwah], but the locals tend to "swallow" starting g's, so the word sounds rather like: Oohah-oohah. Respectively, the bus station is: Estación de Guaguas [Ehstahsyohn deh-Oohah-oohahs], and the bus stop is la parada de guagua, [lah-pahrah-dah deh-oohah-oohah].

 Booking an excursion 
One positively ought to undertake at least a few excursions on Tenerife. If you do not feel inclined for that, Tenerife just is not the right place for you on the Canary Islands. For those keen only on a beach leisure combined with the spree of fervent night life, Maspalomas on Gran Canaria with its big sand dunes and with a cluster of entertainment establishments would be much more suitable a place. Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are more attractive to the holiday makers looking for a quieter beach life as well as for opportunities of surfing and windsurfing: these islands have got superb spacious beaches of finest sand. And if you want a rural seclusion amidst the rising volcanic relief and an exotic vegetation upon it, then La Gomera, Hierro or La Palma will be the right place for you.
Incidentally, there are naturist opportunities on all the islands. Look up, e.g., the page on Canary Islands of the Spanish Federation of Naturism, or pages of the specialized naturist travel agencies, such as the British Chalfont Holidays and
Naturist Holidays, the German Oböna Reisen and Miramare Reisen, or the Russian Naturway.
But once you have come to Tenerife, it would be a great mistake, if you missed the opportunity to see the whole variety of magnificent landscapes and the places of interest which make this island the most unique tourist destination. You will find excursion agencies and their advertisement everywhere. The most popular excursions are on the buses. If even you have rented a car, a bus excursion might make sense: first, you will hear expert guide's explanations, and, second, you will not have to drive yourself over the rather difficult mountain roads that lead to most picturesque destinations. Tenerife has a big fleet of comfortable tourist coaches constantly running over the island roads. There are many regular excursion pick-up points in the popular resort areas, so most probably there will be at least one such point within a 5 minutes' walk from almost any hotel or tourist residential complex you may be staying at.
[Canadas del Teide]
Excursion buses on a pumice field at
Las Cañadas del Teide
at an altitude of about 2,000 m
A typical cost of a day's guided excursion on a coach will be within 20€ per person (lunch not included). An excursion that includes ferrying to the nearest other island, La Gomera, will cost 40–50€ (with a lunch). Most agencies would arrange for bilingual guides, German and English, – the German- and English-speaking tourists together make up perhaps about 80% of all the foreign holiday makers on Tenerife. Flemish/Dutch- and  French-guided excursions are also rather common (the latter are mainly for the sake of French-speaking Belgians who greatly outnumber the French proper on Tenerife), as well as excursion in Spanish for the holiday makers coming to Tenerife from the mainland Spain. Finding excursions guided in other languages may require some effort. Generally, one would be advised to apply with such requests to the tourist agency that has brought you to Tenerife: they will know suitable opportunities better.
Attention of the Russian-speaking tourists:
The Russian-guided excursions on Tenerife offered by Russian tourist agencies are highly overpriced! They are charging for the excursions prices above the ordinary Tenerife level by a factor of 2.5–3. In part, that is due to that they tend to include more expensive services (a lunch in a luxury restaurant, or a ride on jeeps instead of a coach, etc.), but in part just due to greater "overhead" expenses. For instance, as one polyglottic guide (a Flemish by birth who spoke, beside of Dutch, good Spanish, French, English and German, and could put in a few words in Italian and Russian as well) told me, he was learning Russian because the Russian-speaking guides were in great demand and received a better pay. Hence an advice to the tourist: look for ordinary English- and/or German-guided tours, if you understand a bit of at least one of these languages. Apart from saving money, you will have a great deal larger choice of routes and schedules.
A good opportunity exists to cut down even further the excursion expenses.
One can book a full day's coach excursion for less than 10€. Many excursion agencies on Tenerife arrange sponsored excursions that include an "information show". That means that the tourists will be brought someplace to listen for about an hour and a half an advertisement lecture and performance (in English or German, at your choice). For instance, I was twice to a very exciting and educational  information show (delivered by different persons, at different places, and in a very different manner) advertising most novel mattresses and other bedding items of a certain German producer.
As a reward for your patience, you are getting, beside of the excursion itself, a free lunch (modest one) with wine, a free bottle of Spanish red wine, and a free video-tape on Tenerife for each couple – not a bad bargain that is, so these excursions are very popular among the Tenerife guests.

 Time Zone 
[Puerto Cruz]
The Author on an excursion
at Puerto de la Cruz
The zone time accepted on the Canary Islands is the same as in Great Britain and Portugal: GMT in winter (November through March), and GMT+1 for the rest of the year.
However, the Canary Islands lie very far off to the West from the Greenwich meridian. Hence the actual astronomic time differs a great deal from the time on the clock. In summer, the Sun is rising to the highest position on the sky at about 3 p.m. on Tenerife. The hottest time of the day is about 5 p.m. At 7 a.m., when the hotels typically start serving breakfast, the Sun has only just risen. Reciprocally, there is still a broad daylight at 9 p.m. in the evening. One has to account for this peculiarity when planning both one's travel and sunbathing schedule.
Tenerife lies at a rather low latitude, not far from the Tropic of Cancer. That is why the Sun does not travel clockwise over the sky, as we are accustomed to that at the moderate latitudes in Europe: it rather rises directly over the great-circle arc from the East to almost reach the zenith at the astronomic noon (viz., at 3 p.m. in summer) and to get down straight toward the West. The shadows do not almost move clockwise too: they simply are shortening before the noon, and then are getting longer and longer in the afternoon, without appreciably changing their East-West orientation.


Back to the main page:
Naturist Opportunities on Tenerife
Andrei Samartsev, St. Petersburg, Russia  —  May 2002