The Canary Islands are an archipelago of islands in the northern Atlantic Ocean.
The Canaries are volcanic in origin and consist of seven large islands and several smaller islands. It is believed that the last volcanic eruption that helped create the islands happened about 3.5 million years ago.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It plays host to millions of tourists per year. Available accommodations on Tenerife are as varied as the visitors it attracts. Most of the larger towns on Tenerife are resort towns. Some, however, are residential towns that see few tourists.
Los Cristianos, previously a small fishing village, is now one of the largest resorts on the island. Located in the southern part of the island, it is home to mass-market tourism. The architectural feel of the resort town is very typical Canarian.
The town center is never crowded with vehicles, as the entire area is pedestrian-only. Both small and large boats share the large port. A wide array of boats can often be seen docking or parked in the bay. The resort has two large beaches and lots of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops to choose from.
Its nearest neighbor is Playa de las Americas, a slightly smaller and more subdued resort community.
Playa de las Americas began as a man-made beach with a few hotels about 30 years ago. Sand imported from the Sahara desert helped provide the foundation for the resort and beaches. Today it is one of the largest resorts on Tenerife. Not quite as large or robust as its neighbor Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas boasts more private beaches and a quieter atmosphere. The resort offers a vibrant night life, but also caters to families. Many karaoke bars offer great entertainment for young and old alike.
Clubs in the town also offer a variety of shows like medieval night, which includes knights, jousting and sword-fighting. Also available are ballet and flamenco shows. Some clubs offer an alcohol-free atmosphere for younger visitors.
La Oratava is one of the most private get-away towns on Tenerife. It is not overrun with tourists, bars or trinket shops.
Founded in the 16th century, the town still holds an old town appeal. The buildings that line the narrow streets are of a wide variety of renaissance, baroque, Arabic, neoclassicist, eclectic and modern architectures.
La Hijuela del Botanico, the botanical garden, displays more than 3,000 tropical plants from various tropical zones around the world. The surrounding rural areas are filled with plantations and trails that lead to the forests and mountains.
Puerto de la Cruz is a large tourist resort on the northern part of the island.
It is a mere 10-minute drive across beautiful countryside from La Oratava. The Puerto de la Cruz resort began as a port for La Oratava and the export of bananas from nearby plantations.
La Oratava, Esperanza forest and Mount Teide offer amazing views from the variety of hotels in Puerto de la Cruz. Due to its volcanic origins, black sand beaches offer a very unique beach experience.
It is not recommended that you swim in the ocean on the northern side of the island, as there is no reef to protect the shores from harsh tides and sweeping currents. Instead, Puerto de la Cruz has a large open-air seawater swimming pool called 'Lago de Martianez.'
Variety is abundant on Tenerife. Some resorts offer more privacy, which may be desirable to families or couples looking for a quiet getaway.
Others offer a different kind of hustle and bustle than tourists may be accustomed to in their everyday lives.
At any time during your Tenerife holiday, you can find a multitude of cultural celebrations to observe. The abundance of museums, galleries and natural attractions can keep a family quite busy learning about the many aspects of the Canary Islands.
Those visiting Tenerife during any month from May to November may have the opportunity to partake in some part of the Jazz festival that sweeps the Canaries every year.