Consider visiting in the spring or autumn rather than in the peak season. It has a great deal to offer at this time of year and if you dig under the surface you will discover a totally different feel away from the hotel complexes and tourist areas.
Experience the amazing scenery at the top of Mount Teide, one of the locations for Clash of the Titans. The area abounds with plants and wildlife. A good starting point is one of the information centres on the mountain. For a real experience you should take one of the sunset tours where you walk out onto the volcanic rim and watch the sunset over the other islands. These include a trip up the mountain on the cable car. Star gazing is another activity which is very popular. This mountain is one of my favourite spots on the island.
The Anaga region, one of Europe’s only temperate rain forests is another beautiful part of Tenerife. There are plenty of walks and delightful coastal villages where you can enjoy fresh fish and local wines. There are some spectacular views and if you have a hire car it is worth a visit if you like heights!
Visit during February when it is carnival time. Said, by many to be one of the best carnivals in the world after Rio, you need to make for the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Investigate Agatha Christie’s link with the island. She spent a lot of time finishing her book The Mystery of the Blue Train. Drop into the Puerto de la Cruz tourist office to find out more.
Tenerife used to have a large number of banana plantations but many were sold off to developers. There are however still a few left where you can learn more about this amazing fruit and how it is grown and harvested. Try the Finca Las Margaritas Banana Experience. A great local dish worth trying is ‘arroz a la cubana’ which includes rice, sausage and fried banana.
There are some wonderful foods including specially grown potatoes. Expensive but delicious, these tiny potatoes are best eaten on their own with salt or a sauce called ‘mojo rojo’ which can be quite hot, so be prepared. They say that there are at least twenty potato varieties.
If you can, try to watch some Tenerife wrestling. This is the most popular sport and crowds at a match can reach over 1000.
Spend a day in the capital Santa Cruz and take in its South American atmosphere. Many locals tell me they feel more South American than Spanish. The capital has some wonderful bars where you can try a sweet local ‘barraquito’ coffee made with condensed milk.
Go whale watching. The sea off the island is known for its pilot whales. One of the best ways of locating these fascinating creatures is to take a catamaran trip with a guide.