After 14 dreary months without seeing a proper beach, Boyfriend and I finally hauled our haggard, sun-deprived, zombie bodies out of London on to a sandy beach.
All-inclusive holidays are not usually our thing. But based the budget we had (which was not very much) and the amount of energy we could put into planning (also not very much), it was easy to pick a Thomas Cook package and be done with it. 7 nights for £295 per person, including flights and a self-catering apartment 10 minutes walk from the beach – it was a sweet deal and an easy decision.
Self-catering meant that we save money by cooking for ourselves. Without trying to consciously budget while on holiday, we each spent about £30 a day on food, including all of our lunches at restaurants.
The All-Inclusive Resort Crowd
What was most amusing about trip was probably the demographic we were traveling with. Based on the price and appeal for this kind of vacation, we saw mostly (a) overweight, overly sun burnt, British retiree couples who live outside of London, or (b) fit, young, Northerner couples who are covered in tattoos and eat, drink, and smoke enough to become demographic A in 20 years, and (c) young families with (i) a quiet, relaxed baby or (ii) the devil incarnate in the shape of a young human progeny, born to make their parents’ life a living hell. On top of this, Boyfriend and I were literally the only non-caucasian people on our flight, and belonging to none of the three aforementioned demographics, we looked a little out of place.
Getting around would have been easier with a car, but instead we chose to take a combination of public buses and taxis. The down side was that the busses were not super self-explanatory and sometimes ran on arbitrary schedules. The up side was that it was economic and took us to enough beaches in the area. It took about 15 minutes to Costa Adeje where we explored more beaches, and about 1 hour to Los Gigantes where we spent the morning at a gorgeous black sand beach (Playa de la Arena). Black sand really hurts under the sun, by the way.
We didn’t make it up to Mount Teide because staying on a bus for two hours to see an attraction in the cold just didn’t seem worthwhile when we sought out Tenerife for hot weather. Though if we had a car , it would have been a nice half-day trip.
What To Pack
The sun in Tenerife in mid-April was surprisingly strong. We were enjoying 22-25 degree weather with cloudy patches in between. Even now, a week after returning from our holiday, Boyfriend is visibly peeling from the first beach day day without enough sun protection. Lesson learned – wear sun screen from day 1!
We bought beach umbrellas after setting foot on the first beach. The umbrellas and lounge chairs on the beach were for rent for £3-6 each day. It didn’t make sense to spend that money every day when we could buy our own from the local shops. The slightly more tucked away shops sold umbrellas for £6-7 each, compared to £10-12 for the same ones in the beach-side shops. At the end of our trip we gave our umbrellas to a young family as we didn’t want to lug it back to London with us.
Where to Eat
Within the first couple of days, a quick Google map search pointed us in the direction of Mesón Castellano. It was frequented by Spanish speaking patrons, so we knew we found something other than resort buffet food. In all, we had lunch there 3 out of our 7 days. The memorable dishes were the garlic prawns, octopus carpaccio, seafood paella (yaaasss), and creme caramel.
Supermarkets were plenty, the ones in the more central parts of the area were better and cheaper. For emergency situations, most resorts had their own supermarkets as well. It was really nice being able to pack fruits with me for the beach and be able to snack throughout the day.
As we literally lounged on the beach with our books and podcasts… That had to be my favourite experience! The south side of Tenerife was great for a week of relaxation and much-needed rest.