Sunday, 4 April 2010

Huge Travel Discounts in the Canary Islands

(Photo - the twin peaks of La Palma above Santiago Del Teide)
There’s something quite fascinating for me in being part of an archipelago; it’s like being a part of a family – a solid, geographic family. And I think it gives a place a very special feel and character.
When you spend your holidays on Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura or Gran Canaria, it’s highly likely that it never even occurs to you that you’re one island in seven; why should it? The same is true for most of us ex-pat residents of the islands. In some respects, it’s a bit like living anywhere else; you tend only to be aware of your own immediate surroundings- the ‘my back yard’ syndrome.

Look out over the south and west coasts and you can’t fail to see Tenerife’s nearest neighbour, La Gomera. Look harder on a clear day and you’ll see the twin peaks of La Palma lying to La Gomera’s northwest and the tip of El Hierro lying off her south coast. Off the north east coast of Tenerife the mass of Gran Canaria is clearly visible on many days.

But to really get a feel for being a part of the Canarian Archipelago, drive up to Teide National Park on a clear day (September and October are the best months for crystal clear visibility) or take the cable car to just below the peak and experience the awesome beauty of all four of those islands, and sometimes five if Lanzarote sneaks onto the eastern horizon, lying in their crystalline azure waters; brothers and sisters to Tenerife.
It’s said that if you climb to the peak of Mount Teide for sunrise, on a clear morning you can see all six satellite islands. Unfortunately when Jack and I did it, we could only see five and it’s not like you can just ‘pop back again’ the next day to see if you can get all six this time. Still, it’s definitely on my ‘things I still want to see’ list.

So, with all those other islands lying tantalisingly in such close proximity, each completely diverse from the others, why not take the opportunity to do a little family visiting?

Having recently had reason to do a bit of island hopping for both business and pleasure purposes, it strikes me that some regular visitors to Tenerife may not realise that they’re entitled to reduced fares on all the inter-islands transport; ferries and aircraft.
And by way of illustration of just how valuable that discount is, here are some price comparisons (all prices are from websites for one day return journey on 5th April 2010):

Tenerife to La Gomera:    ‘Tourist’ rate        ‘Resident’s Rate’
Fred Olsen Express               €60.92                  €30.44
Naviera Armas                     €46.31                  €23.17
Binter Canarias Airlines          €137.70                €70.70

How do I qualify for the discount?
Anyone who lives in the Canaries, either full time or for some part of the year is entitled to resident’s discount.
You’ll need a copy of your NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros) which is the number you applied for when you made any kind of large purchase (a car, apartment etc. or set up standing orders for rent, utilities etc) and your Certificate of Residence of the EU.

If you haven’t already got your Certificate of Residence, it’s well worth taking the time and trouble (the usual assorted bureaucratic hurdles) to get it, as it entitles you to all sorts of other discounts like entrance to parks and facilities; the cable car; excursions etc.

With your discount under your belt – there’s really no excuse not to go out and revel in the fact that you’re part of an archipelago – a gloriously beautiful one.

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