Adventure #39: A Big Splash in Watersports
To paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett Browning, how do we love Tenerife? Let us count the ways. There’s the perfect climate, the majesty of Mount Teide, the blend of quaint villages and cosmopolitan cities, the parks, the world-class dining, the shopping, the museums, and so on. But there’s one reason above all others to love Tenerife: the water. And the island has countless ways for you to enjoy it to the fullest.
Come On In — The Water’s Fine
Admiring the surf from the beach is fine, but to truly experience one of the world’s great watersports destinations, you need to put on your swimsuit or wetsuit and explore beneath the waves. Swimming is idyllic year-round, with water temperatures ranging from an average of around 62◦F in January to 75◦F in August.
Perhaps you’d like to take a closer look at the abundance of marine life that thrives in these waters. Excellent snorkeling and scuba diving can yield glimpses of up to 350 species of fish, including parrot fish, barracuda, white bream, sarpa salpa, scorpion fish, wreckfish, Mediterranean moray eels, angel sharks, stingrays, and loggerhead turtles. Or go even deeper on a submarine tour, departing from Marina San Miguel and descending to a depth of 65 feet.
High Adventure on the High Seas
Adventure lovers will also find plenty of ways to jumpstart the adrenaline in the waters of Tenerife. Surfing is a popular activity, with conditions at their peak from October to April. Tenerife is also a hub for windsurfing and kiteboarding, boasting ideal conditions for these sports. In fact, conditions are so idyllic, annual international competitions draw athletes from around the world — including the World Cup of the Professional Windsurfers Association, held here last August. Don’t worry, though: there are plenty of courses available to beginners, too.
Another professional competition Tenerife has hosted is the Waterski World Championship, held here in 2013. You’ll find plenty of waterskiing options, whatever your level of skill.
The hottest new trend in watersports also abounds off the coast of Tenerife: flyboarding. In this sport, you wear a jetpack and stand on a board attached by a hose to a jet ski. As the hose fills with water, you are lifted as high as 15 feet into the air. You might also try out wakeboarding, or feel as though you’re flying and sailing at the same time by parascending (also known as parasailing). Or scoot over the waves on a jet ski.
Boating is a must when you’re on Tenerife, and just about every type of vessel imaginable is available in the crystalline waters off the coast. Invigorate yourself with a kayak or canoe trip, or cruise the coast and enjoy a good workout in a pedalo, a vessel with pedal-powered paddlewheels. Board a banana boat and hang on tight as you skim over the surf — or are even lifted into the air. Another option is the waterbuggy. Controlled by a joystick, these watercraft look something like bumper cars at sea and provide fun for the whole family!
Perhaps you’d like someone else to do the work. A fun choice for the whole family is a dolphin- and whale-watching cruise. Roughly 30 species roam the seas here, and the passage between Tenerife and La Gomera is considered the best place to encounter them. Viewings can’t be guaranteed, but the animals you are likeliest to spot are pilot whales or bottlenose or common dolphin. Spotted dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, striped dolphin, sperm whale, fin whale, and other species have also occasionally been seen. You can even charter a yacht, to combine whale- and dolphin-watching with swimming and snorkeling in a small group.
Inter-island charters are also available. Catamarans, motorboats, and sailboats are all available for rental and charter. Private charters are also available for deep-sea fishing. Fishing is excellent year-round, offering the thrill of angling for white and blue marlin, tuna, mako shark, dorado, amberjacks, wahoo, dusky grouper (considered a delicacy in Spain), and more. Or simply watch the parade of yachts and cruise ships around Marina Tenerife, located close to the city center of the island capital, Santa Cruz.
On Tenerife, you can enjoy the water without even going to the beach. Swim in the crystal-clear waters of inland pools, such as Charco del Viento. Located on the island’s north coast, it offers fabulous swimming conditions, as well as views of Mount Teide and banana plantations. Also on the north coast is Charco de La Laja, where Atlantic waters are calmed in a basin of volcanic rock.
Another idea is to “take the waters” at a luxurious spa. Tenerife abounds in spas offering Turkish baths, hydrotherapy treatments, hot tubs, Jacuzzis, and more. One of the finest spas in Europe is located in the Botánico Oriental Spa of the Hotel Botánico in Puerto de la Cruz. Inspired by Asian relaxation techniques, it offers internal and external thermal circuits with swimming pools, Turkish bath, aromatherapy, and more, as well as rest areas with waterbeds and fitness equipment. The leading thermal center in the islands is the Aqua Club Termal on the Costa Adeje. In addition to the 11 treatment cabins and a well-equipped fitness center, the Aqua Club Termal features an enormous hydrotherapy pool with 330 jets. Also on the Costa Adeje, you’ll find the Vitanova Spa Wellness, where you can indulge in a massage with hot volcanic stones, as well as seaweed wraps and more. Or try the seaweed wrap at the spa of the Mare Nostrum Resort on the Playa de las Américas.
Parks & Recreation
Another way to enjoy water-based activities without ever leaving the shore is at one of the many wildlife and water parks on the island. Loro Parque, a wildlife park in Puerto de La Cruz, features walk-through aquariums and sea life center. Among the best-known water parks are Siam Park, with its 92-foot Tower of Power water chute and giant funnel ride, and Aqualand, with its flumes, slides, trampolines, and more. See our “Family” blog post for details on these family-friendly options on the Costa Adeje.
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll find schools, outfitters, and tour operators scattered throughout the island, as well as a friendly people eager to ensure that your vacation is as magical as it can be.
Please note: The water quality throughout the archipelago ranks high for quality, but you are advised to use caution and never swim alone, as there can be strong currents, riptides, and undertows.