Tuesday, 26 October 2010

What Does Going Native in Tenerife Actually Mean?

Going Native in Tenerife might mean different things to different people but for us it means having the type of experiences that the Canarios enjoy throughout the year.

However, it doesn't have to mean going to a remote location where you're the only tourist. The real Tenerife (not purpose built for tourism) is found everywhere, even in some of the main resorts if you look for it.

When we published our first guidebook about Tenerife, Island Drives, someone commented to me 'Tenerife doesn't need another guidebook'. Obviously we had a different point of view otherwise we wouldn't have bothered and here's why.

My copy of the Rough Guide completely omitted huge chunks of the north coast between Puerto de la Cruz and La Laguna – the route that every traveller pre mass tourism journeyed. A walking guidebook for Tenerife I bought incredibly didn't mention the Anaga Mountains at all. Nobody seemed to be writing about what being at a fiesta was really like so I didn't know about what actually happened on the night of San Juan, or at the bathing of the goats in Puerto harbour, and I certainly didn't know that thousands upon thousands of people and animals descended on towns I'd never heard off to celebrate obscure saints. Nobody mentioned that there were loads of free music festivals and the best of original live music and most buzzing nocturnal scenes weren't necessarily in the places frequented by tourists. Whilst travel articles in British newspapers seemed to be all about the new Tenerife being luxury hotels on the south west coast, the old Tenerife was going about its business more or less ignored and subsequently it was generally only the Canarios who were going to all the really interesting events - it still is. Whenever the 'old' Tenerife was mentioned in the same papers it would more often than not be Garachico or, if the author was being really adventurous, Roque de las Bodegas; both of which which were (are) sometimes described as though Atlantis had just been discovered...despite being favourite coach excursion stops.

The point is that everybody was writing about almost exactly the same thing and although Spanish  speakers knew about all of the juiciest stuff, most of what really made Tenerife tick was still a secret to us English speakers.

Writing for Living Tenerife for four years involved researching small towns, sitting in libraries and talking to people in town halls and cultural centres etc. The experience opened our eyes to all the things that rarely if ever made it onto the printed page in English and so our guidebooks and numerous blogs were born.

There's far too much happening on Tenerife to cover all the interesting events in one guidebook. However, Going Native in Tenerife includes what we consider to be the best of what we think it means to go native here, along with tips and advice to help people visiting Tenerife for a week, fortnight, month or longer experience the Tenerife that the Canarios know and love.

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