Three children under the age of 10, three adults and three days to hit the highlights of Tenerife. That was the challenge we set ourselves on a recent weekend trip over from Gran Canaria.
Siam Park in Costa Adeje sells itself as the best waterpark in the world. Now, I haven’t been to them all but I can tell you that it’s the best waterpark I’ve ever visited. In fact, I’d struggle to think of how to beat it.
It’s set on a hillside covered in tropical plants that hide the rides. This means that you don’t quite know what to expect until you get started.
The range of rides is superb and even though our youngest son was too short to go on the biggest ones there was plenty to keep him busy.
The biggest attraction, the super-fast Tower of Power, is the closest thing to freefall that I’ve experienced without jumping out of a plane. It’s exhilarating but not that scary so I’d advise everyone to take the plunge.
The lazy river has a ramp and a rapids section and is a lot of fun if you share the double floats. Keep to the left at the end to make sure you do the detour through the shark tank.
Go early and get to the most popular rides like the Tower of Power as soon as you can to avoid the queues. You can always use the huge Lost City water play area and the wave pool later on when everyone else is waiting in line.
If you want to film yourself on the rides, you need a head or chest strap for your GoPro or mobile phone. You can’t carry anything on the Tower of Power.
By the time we’d convinced the kids that it was a good idea to get in a small capsule and go up a volcano, the cable car was fully booked for the day.
No problem, because we wanted to stop at a winery anyway and Bodegas Reveron was on our route up to the Teide National Park. It’s a small, working winery with a shop where you can buy their wines.
We arrived during a busy time and got to see local growers dropping off grapes. The air was thick with the smell of yeast and the whole place buzzed with activity. While we waited for someone to have a spare minute, we helped ourselves to a bunch of grapes from a vine by the entrance.
Stocked up with white wine made from the Albillo grape (silky with tropical fruit flavours) we headed on up through the terraced farmland of southern Tenerife and into the pine forests. This route up to Teide via Vilaflor is fun because you don’t see the mountain until you are right there at its base.
It’s hard to describe the initial impact of Teide volcano rising out of the Las Cañadas plain. It’s just as impressive as anything we’d seen in the Andes: Teide really is the quintessential volcano, rising up like a giant triangle with petrified lava flows all around it.
And, it has a bar right at the base at the Parador Hotel. It’s the perfect place to get a refreshing beer and take a few selfies. Then, it’s up to you to stop the car wherever you want around the southern base of the volcano. If you’ve booked in advance, the cable car trip up the flank of the mountain to over 3000 metres is spectacular. We’ll have to come back and do that next time.
On this trip, we just stopped the car and headed off into the wild landscapes with its wind-twisted bushes and crazy rock formations.
Once we’d had our fill of photos and landscapes, we headed down towards the sea on the TF 38 road back to the south-west coast. This takes you areas where the pine forest has only just started to reclaim the moonscape lava flows. The views west towards La Gomera and La Palma islands make it impossible not to stop and gawp.
After a trip to the top, the best thing to do is head to sea for a swim and our favourite spot is Playa San Juan where the banana plantations reach the sea. We chose the little beach within the harbour and spent a few hours in the sunshine. The kids jumped off the old jetty into the sea and we lazed around under the palm trees.
Then there was just time for a quick plate or three of seafood by the ocean before we headed home.
Day three: A final swim and back home
On the morning of the third day, we discovered the pool at our apartment and the kids spent the morning splashing around while we packed up the car. Then it was time to head back to Santa Cruz to catch the ferry back to Gran Canaria.
What did the kids think of their whistle-stop tour of Tenerife? Well, as we queued for the ferry they asked us, “can we come back next weekend?”.