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A Taste of Tenerife for Spring Break

It felt like Fallas in Valencia had barely passed before spring break (nearly a week and half holiday for Easter/Pascua) came upon us. Since we use school breaks to travel as much as possible, we were off again to explore a new destination, Tenerife, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, which was just a three-hour flight from Valencia.

Celebrating 10 years of marriage gave us the excuse to stay at one of our favorite types of accommodations: a beautiful resort with a suite and a kids club, the Ritz-Carlton Abama. We enjoyed the variety of restaurants, activities, amenities, and mix of social and secluded features of the family-friendly property – there was even a mini-train shuttle and a funicular running down the cliff to Abama Beach. Most visitors seemed to be from the UK and Germany, given the direct flights and relatively short travel distance from northern Europe to these tropical islands off the western coast of Africa.

Although we did some exploring and excursions around the island, to be honest we had a hard time leaving the resort. After several recent trips in Spain with a lot of touring and minimal service, some days we just wanted to savor what actually felt like a relaxing vacation (rare to say when traveling with a little kid). Pool and beach time is very easy, quality family time at this age as well.

As a volcanic island with micro-climates, Tenerife felt reminiscent to Hawaii’s Big Island, though less developed in some parts. In Tenerife you can journey up the mountain through the breathtaking Parque Nacional del Teide and even take a cable car close to Teide’s peak of 12,000 feet (3,718 meters) (you can also hike but need an advanced permit). On a clear, sunny day, we could see neighboring islands of La Gomera and La Frontera to the south. The park’s visitors center does an excellent job of explaining the island’s history and unique features, and how early inhabitants managed to survive in this difficult landscape and how wildlife continues to thrive through the change in seasons. Also, with very little light pollution, viewing the constellations at night is incredible here.

Another fun activity was the no-chase whale and dolphin boat tour we took from Los Cristianos port through the protected sea channel between Tenerife and La Gomera, where about 400 whales and 200 dolphins are native, non-migratory residents. On a gorgeous day we saw numerous short-finned pilot whales and bottle-nosed dolphins in just a two-hour ride.

Finally, we did some driving exploration along the southern coast of the island, checking out the scenic cliffs of Los Gigantes and attempting (and quickly abandoning) the treacherous drive to Masca, a small mountain village, due to rain, clouds, and some of the craziest roads I’ve seen in awhile. We did drive along the western coast of the island back to the airport in Santa Cruz, but unfortunately got rain and clouds and thus no views along the way (it seems like that western side of the island experiences more variable weather given the significant changes in valley altitude from sea level).

We really enjoyed this Tenerife trip and would love to return to explore more of the Canaries.