Sunnier and drier than in the north, the south is characterised by an ochre-coloured landscape of an almost desert aridity. Its many beaches have encouraged the development of large resorts, such as Playa de Las Americas, which are frequented by a predominantly English clientele who stay in high capacity, average quality hotels. In terms of entertainment and restaurant services, there is nothing lacking in these temples of mass tourism. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy all sorts of water sports, from scuba diving and jet skiing to golf and hiking (through a network of well-marked trails).
The Costa del Silencio, in the south end of the island, has quieter tourist sights which are better integrated into the surrounding environment, despite the proximity of the airport. Further to the east, the site of El Medano is world famous for windsurfing and it regularly hosts international competitions.
Those who wish to stray from the beaten track will find wild and dramatic landscapes like the cliffs of Los Gigantes on the western coast and fishing villages still preserved as part of the small port of El Abrigo, where you can enjoy excellent fish dishes, washed down with the local wine. From the main seaside resorts, you can go on any number of safari cruises to watch dolphins and whales (the journey is a classic round-trip between Los Cristianos and Masca through the cliffs of Los Gigantes). It is also possible to get onboard a submarine for an underwater approach to the island, or to go fishing aboard fully equipped boats.
The inland area also contains a wide variety of places worth visiting, including the Barranco del Infierno near Adeje, a gorge with a beautiful waterfall, and the famous Pico del Teide, the highest peak in Spain (and the Atlantic) coming to 12,198 ft above sea level. This protected site, which was declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2007, is one of Tenerife's must-see attractions. In only 8 minutes, a cable car takes you to its summit, where you can enjoy an exceptional view of the island and where clearly marked trails invite you to hike through the almost surreal lunar landscapes. This is not to be missed! Some specialised tour companies offer you excursions by bus or 4x4 through Tenerife's most beautiful landscapes or on nearby islands, particularly La Gomera.
The Tenerife Aquapark, a short walk from the centre of town, has water slides and a dolphinarium which always proves a hit with families. Otherwise, Las Aguilas Park, near Playa de Las Americas resembles a vast jungle with sport terrains and wildlife, including birds of prey, crocodiles, hippos and penguins. Not far from there, the town of Arona has a popular go kart track as well as the Tenerife zoo where you can admire different species of primates and exotic birds as well as crocodiles, jaguars and lions. These sites are all served by free shuttles if you are staying in the region of Playa de Las Americas, or else you can pay for this service from other tourist areas on the island."
As far as sports are concerned, you can go fishing, diving, windsurfing or hiking. As for the parks, the major specialties of the island, you can go to the Tenerife Aquapark; the zoo and the go-kart track in the town of Arona; or the Las Aguilas Park near Playa de Las Americas, where you can practise sports and observe the wildlife.
Make sure you visit the Tiede volcano and the national park. Also worth the detour are the cliffs of Los Gigantes, the small port of El Abrigo and Barranco del Infierno, a gorge with a beautiful waterfall.
Live your days like the locals: the Spanish rhythm means that the afternoon starts at about 4:00pm. and extends to 9:00pm, dinner is not eaten before this time! Stores and offices close between 2:00pm and 5:00pm, but most will reopen their doors until 8:00pm or later.
Culture fans should avoid the southern coast as it is overrun with seaside resorts which lack any charm or authenticity. Opt instead for a trip to the northern coast, which offers a calm and natural environment more appropriate for excursions.
Avoid talking about Francoism (Franco started the civil war in the Canaries), as it may make the local people uncomfortable.
The traditional dish in the Canaries is a meat and vegetable soup that is typically served with rabbit. All dishes are accompanied with papas, Canarian potatoes served with the local sauce known as mojo. The dessert is usually the huevos mole, an egg-based mousse and the frangollo, a rich and creamy dessert available in different flavours. Do not hesitate to taste the Tenerife red wine for it is delicious - we recommend the Tacoronte.
There are very few local handcrafts in Tenerife. You can, however, bring back some sculptures, jewellery, flowers (strelitzias or 'Parrot's Beak'), semi-precious stones (the Olivina, which comes from the Teide volcano) or bottles of malvasia, an amber coloured and highly alcoholic sweet wine. Be aware that the Canaries archipelago is a tax free port where you can buy a lot of non-taxed products.