The island of Tenerife lies around 290 kilometres off the coast of Africa and was sculpted over millions of years through several volcanic eruptions, the most recent being in the early 20th century. It is the largest and most populous of the seven Canary Islands with a population of around 900,000.
It is cold, windy and grey when we land in Tenerife North Airport – not quite what we were hoping for! We make our way to the ‘meeting point’ where the courtesy bus collects us and takes us to the car rental office and soon we are on our way to Puerto de la Cruz.
As we drive around a bend in the road Puerto de la Cruz comes into sight and, although there is a huge, dark cloud covering most of the island, the sun is shining on the town where we will be staying. We can see the cliffs, the waves breaking on the volcanic rocks, the beautiful contrast of the black sand beach and the crystal blue ocean and the pools at Lago Martianez.
We find hotel Sol Puerto Playa and check into our room before setting off to explore the town. We wander through Plaza del Charco where reps from the restaurants and cafeterias around the square try to convince us that theirs is the best place to have lunch. Instead we choose to head to the small fishing port, where people are swimming behind the breakwater. In the port is Chiringuito Pipo, which has been recommended to us by the receptionist at our hotel. “It is not where the tourists go, but if you are looking for a proper chiringuito where you can have a nice, cold beer and deliciously fresh fish then this is the place”, he tells us. The waiter recommends salmorejo con atún y papas arrugadas; “our salmorejo is different to yours” he says, “this is what I am having for lunch”. The food is delicious and we enjoy a few Dorada Especial beers in the sun.
We spend the rest of the afternoon walking through the town, marvelling at the quaint streets before returning to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Earlier we passed an organic restaurant called El Maná and we decide to return to try it. The unique restaurant opened in 2011 and offers creative vegetarian cuisine. The food is exquisite and we enjoy the local white wine, Frontos, produced from organically grown grapes in the Abona region of Tenerife.