What You Need To Know
Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, off West Africa, is dominated by Mt. Teide, which rises 7,500m above the ocean floor and is among the world’s largest volcanoes. Still, Tenerife may be best known for its huge pre-Lent Carnival, as well as its beaches (with sands from yellow to black) and busy, upscale resorts, including Los Cristianos and Playa de las Américas.
Area: 785 mi²
Population: 889,936 (2014)
- Tenerife uses the euro (EUR) as its official currency, with €1 equal to 100 cents. Notes are issued in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro. Coins are issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euro denominations.
- You have three main ways of getting your euros – ATMs or cash machines (which all banks have, as do most supermarkets and small towns), cashing travelers cheques, or, exchanging your money inside a bank or at a bureau de change.
- Taking your credit card with you on holiday can save you from having to carry around wads of cash. But you need to watch out as many will charge you for using them abroad. The good news though is that some are designed specifically for overseas use and as a result, can make a great addition to your wallet.
- However, you shouldn’t be put off using a credit card abroad as, providing you pick the right one, they can be a great travel companion. Many offer competitive exchange rates and a number of them allow you to avoid some, if not all, of the above charges, making them ideal for your holiday spending.
When paying with a credit card abroad, the retailer may (or may not) give you the option to pay your bill in your own currency, rather than the local one, using dynamic currency conversion.While this is convenient, as you can get an idea of the value of your purchase, it comes at a price. You’ll be charged a higher exchange rate for dynamic currency conversion, which isn’t worth paying.The retailer might automatically use dynamic currency conversion unless you say not to, so it’s best to check your bill carefully before signing anything or entering your PIN. If they have used dynamic currency conversion, ask to be billed in the local currency instead.
The Canary Islands lie at around 28° North and enjoy a pleasant sub-tropical climate with average daily maximums of over 20°C throughout the year. Cooled by the Canary Current and the prevalent north-easterly Trade Winds, temperatures are slightly cooler than would normally be expected at this latitude (the same as Orlando in Florida and less than 300km from the Western Sahara). This north-easterly breeze is at its most consistent during the summer months and helps to keep temperatures in the high twenties rather then the mid thirties.
Tenerife has Spain’s highest mountain – Teide (3718m) – which is often be covered in snow during the winter months. It is not uncommon for Northern European tourists to bask in sunshine in Puerto de la Cruz with the snowy peak of Teide in full view.
Occasionally, when the wind comes from the east or south-east off the Sahara Desert, the temperatures soar and the air becomes thick with fine red dust. While Tenerife is not as badly affected by this phenomenon as the Eastern Canary Islands, temperatures can become unpleasant and the fog-like dust-laden air can cause problems for people with respiratory conditions.
The language of the Canaries is Spanish (Castilian), but the accent and dialect of Canarian people is more like the Spanish spoken in the Caribbean and South American countries which differs from the Spanish on mainland Spain. Canarians also use a lot of words, which are a living proof of the many links established through emigration between the islands and the Caribbean nations.
Health and security
- A wide selection of clinics and hospitals offer high-quality medical care, both private and national. The people from Tenerife are very health conscious indeed.The Canary Islands are not renowned (thankfully) for any particular diseases and the worst you can get is a hangover from too much partying. It’s very important to be aware of the risks from sunburn, dehydration or insect bites.
Tenerife is especially popular with residents of European countries with colder weather that visit looking for relief from ailments such as arthritis and MS. People with mobility problems should always check they have booked accommodation in the flatter parts of the island.Medical insurance is strongly advised, even though EU citizens who hold an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) are entitled to basic national healthcare as received by local residents.
There are many English-speaking doctors and dentists. Your hotel will always be able to recommend one.
The local chemists (farmacias), recognisable by a green cross sign, will have just about anything you may require and there is always one open after hours in each area. The location of the duty chemist is indicated on every chemist’s door.
- Travel to and around Tenerife is relatively safe and visitors should not be excessively concerned about dangers in the area. The government of Tenerife is stable and there are no terrorist threats or other major national dangers of which visitors need to be aware. Violent crime against tourists in the area is almost non-existent and non-violent crime is relatively rare.The two most common crimes which are committed against tourists are car theft and petty theft. Theft of vehicles is relatively uncommon but theft of items kept in vehicles is sometimes a problem. Visitors should keep all valuables with them, instead of in their rental cars, especially when parking cars for the night. Additionally, visitors should obtain proper theft insurance for any rental vehicles. Petty theft is generally in the form of pick pocketing and purse snatching. Common sense precautions and remaining aware of surroundings generally keeps visitors safe from this type of crime. Theft of any type should be reported to the local police.
- Phone numbers to be aware of for the Tenerife police are:Main number for police-tourist interaction: 922 21 25 11
Local police in Tenerife: 092
National police in Tenerife: 091
- Don’t take any scratchcards – every scratchcard on the promenade leads to a potential timeshare rip off. Another tactic is just to take the scratch card then keep walking saying you will scratch it later. They soon realise you are onto their scam and take the card back and leave you be.
- Don’t stop for the hair braiders unless you want it done – if you do they will grab your hair and start tying some braid into it – once they have they expect you to pay.
- Please remember that when you are in Tenerife you are off the coast of Northern Africa, and therfore that much closer to the equator. Ensure that you slap on a good quality sunscreen and reapply throughout the day.
Tenerife is sometimes a cloudy island, but even through the clouds 80% of the suns rays get to your body.