Playa de las Americas: The Ideal Family Getaway in Tenerife - Guest post by Katie
Earlier this year I spent a couple of months traveling around the Canary Islands and Spain. I’d visited Tenerife on holiday on many occasions over the years, sometimes with a boyfriend and sometimes with some of the girls. I knew it as a place to catch some rays during the day and hit the clubs on the night. So needless to say I was surprised when my sister suggested that she joined me in Tenerife with her and her two children for the winter half-term break. ‘Tenerife’ and ‘family’ just didn’t go together in my mind, but she was adamant it was the perfect place to enjoy a family holiday, so who was I to argue.
By far one of the best days of the holiday was the day we spent at Siam Park, known of as the best water park in Europe. There is a free bus which takes people to and from the park and we were lucky enough to have a bus stop fairly close to us which got us to the park within 20 minutes of us getting on. Siam Park has a Thai theme and when the bus pulled up we found ourselves face to face with an entrance that looked like a huge temple. We’d hopped onto the first bus so we didn't have to queue up very long for our tickets.
Once inside, the children ran to the first thing they saw – the sea lion pool. There were two huge sea lions lounging in the sun on a rock and another one swimming in the water below. The children were so captured by the creatures that I’m sure they would have been happy to stay there all day but we managed to drag them away and find a spot to lay our towels down in the park.
By the end of the day we’d been on every ride at least twice, had eaten some great food at the beach bar, had splashed around in the wave pool for what seemed like hours and had definitely caught a lot of the sun. Not only had we had a great time, but the kids had absolutely adored it. They’re quite tall for their ages, so they’d managed to pass every height restriction – something I had secretly been concerned about but didn't want to mention for fear of spoiling the day out. After catching the free bus back to our hotel at the end of the day, we were all so exhausted that we fell asleep as soon as our bodies touched the beds and didn't wake up until the sun shone through the curtains in the morning.
Whilst we were at Siam Park, we’d spotted a few posters advertising Loro Parque. It looked like it would be a great day out, so we asked the receptionist about it at our hotel and she said it was highly recommended. After a day of relaxation to re-energize after Siam Park, we were on another bus, this time heading to Loro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz. This animal park was much further away than Siam Park – it took around 90 minutes to get there – but the children were so excited that they were quite well behaved and mostly just chatted among themselves.
After queuing up and getting our tickets, we began following the recommended path on the map. It wasn't long before we realized just how huge Loro Parque was. Not only did the park have every kind of animal we could think of, but there were also shows, exhibitions, and tours to see. All I can say is that I’m forever grateful that my sister is more organized than I am – she took charge and we managed to see absolutely everything that we wanted.
The animals and enclosures were really impressive. I know some people don’t like zoos, but there isn't a bad word spoken against the way Loro Parque is run. The enclosures are huge and all the animals looked very happy, healthy and well taken care of.
My favorite part of the day was watching the orca show. As we expected, the children insisted on sitting in the splash zone. If the show hadn't been so amazing, I would have complained that ‘splash’ is mislabeling and ‘soak’ is more appropriate. As the first whale entered the water after its impressive jump we were absolutely dripping. I thought the plastic covers the staff handed us were just over-the-top health and safety measures. I wouldn't have liked to be sitting there without them!
Luckily we all dried off very quickly walking around in the sunshine. Just like the day spent at Siam Park, we were all incredibly tired after our day out at Loro Parque, so much so that we all fell asleep on the bus home.
My sister was concerned about her children getting too much sun and burning, so we chose to go to the local beach on one of the rare cloudy days. This bay was only a short 10-minute walk from the hotel and was fairly busy, despite the weather. Because we weren't bothered about sunbathing, we got to play with the kids and had a great time building sand castles, playing bat and ball and even swimming in the sea which was surprisingly warm. The water was really calm here and there were loads of facilities so we visited again several times during the holiday.
The Safari Centre
One evening when we were looking for somewhere to eat, we came across the Safari Centre. Made up of three separate blocks of shops and boutiques, this retail center offered something for all of us to enjoy. As well as loads of top end brands and high street clothing labels, there were also a number of toy stores and children’s clothing shops to keep the little ones happy. After we’d spent a couple of hours shopping, the kids spotted an ice cream parlor where we stopped to enjoy large refreshing scoops of ice cream in the sunshine.
Melrose’s Steak House
We had loads of choice when it came to evening entertainment. We had a lot of meals at Melrose’s Steak House, just a short stroll away from our hotel. They had loads of meat dishes, as well as pasta, pizza and seafood. They even had a kids’ menu with smaller portions of the regular menu, so the children could feel grown up whilst still eating suitable meal sizes.
Between this restaurant and our hotel was a strip of bars where we spent many evenings. Most bars and pubs along here offered live music for us to enjoy and a mixture of board games, cards and pool tables which kept the kids amused.
We stayed at the Dream Noelia Sur hotel in the heart of Las Americas, close to loads of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, so we never had to walk far during our stay for a bite to eat or cheeky cocktail. There were also many excursion centers in the area, which had loads of leaflets and brochures advertising every activity and attraction on the island.
The week absolutely flew by and when it was time for my sister and her children to catch the flight home they didn't want to leave. I began the week thinking of Tenerife as a full on party destination, but I now know that my sister was right and it can be a great family getaway.
Katie is a baking and travel addicted blogger behind @delightsomeblog where she tweets about her adventures in cake and on foreign shores.