was to be the 1st week of
December and we were looking for somewhere warm, but not to touristy
and with direct flights from Scotland. The Canaries seemed to offer
the best choice of flights and
Tenerife in particular was
by low cost and charter operators.
We very rarely
deals these days much preferring the flexibility and greater choice
available by organising it yourself. We found a flight from Edinburgh
with Ryan Air that suited us and booked that straight away. Then it
was down to a few days on Travel Republic where eventually we
stumbled across the small Northern town of Garachico and the Isla
It was -3C when
we left Edinburgh so it was a
pleasant surprise to find it was sunny and warm at 23C when we
arrived at Tenerife South. For up to a weeks trip we never check in
bags so it was more or less straight in to our waiting Avis car and
is the shorter route but the road is very
tricky in places. It is possible to go by motorway almost all the way
by going ant clockwise but if you are going to be driving around the
North you will end up on some very tricky roads so you may as well
get used to them early on.
At the time of
writing there is a lot
of new road building and it would seem that the plan is to extend the
motorway all the way around.
at the base of a
1500ft cliff and the decent is very tricky indeed but offers great
views of the town below its just a pity that you as the driver will
be unable to enjoy them as you will be to busy concentrating on the
road. The locals take it in their stride and I'm sure must get very
frustrated with slow moving tourists.
There is a viewpoint close to
the top and a stop there is well recommended. From here you can get
some great views of the town bellow and the new marina to the East of
town and the Volcano de Taco to the West. The whole area below you is
the “Isla Baja” or low lying island and this where our
accommodation gets its name. At the bottom you join the TF 42 coastal
road its right for Garachico but if you were to head left for a few
kilometres you would find the Altesa supermarket on your right,
essential if you are intending to do any self catering. Garachico
itself does have some small fruit and veg shops and convenience
stores. Part of its charm is that the shops seem to try to look as if
they are anything but shops.
The Suites were
to find but parking may not always be available by the door however
you can usually find something close by. Streets in Garachico are
narrow and are mostly one way only but don't offer any great
The Isla Baja Suites are in a
recently restored 18th
traditional Tenerife house. The rooms are all on the first or second
floor built around an inner courtyard which has now been enclosed
with a glass roof. It is here that the excellent Pattisserie is
located. This is a separate business from the suites but it is where
you get breakfast. We also enjoyed a few lunches there. One slight
drawback is that the reception office is only open until 2pm. I don't
know what you are supposed to do if you arrive later but arrival time
was something which the owners contacted us through Travel republic
about several times.
There are only
six suites and some do
face on to the narrow street behind so if you want the sea view you
pay extra, we did and were delighted to get suite five which has a
full length balcony.
The standard is
very high, our suite had a
spacious bed room and bathroom with rainfall shower. A large living
dining room leading on to the balcony and a small kitchen which had
everything you would need if you wanted to cook a few meals. The only
thing missing was a kettle and an English news channel on the TV.
There is WIFI throughout including the Pattisserie.
is mostly unspoilt by tourism, yes it is busy with day trippers but
there is limited overnight accommodation so the streets tend to be
quiet at night.
to be the principle port of Tenerife until 1706 when it lost much of
its seafront to a lava
slide. It is said to be one of the unluckiest towns in the world as ,
it has also suffered fires, floods, violent storms, Bubonic plague
and plagues of Locusts. As said fortunately it has been spared the
plagues of Tourists. As we say in Scotland it certainly “hasn't had
its troubles to seek”
Every cloud as
they say has a silver
lining and the lava pools are an example of that. Paths have been
built around them and ladders provided turning them in to all fresco
Just be sure to
have something on your feet though
if you do decide to take the plunge.
the Lava pools is the The Castle of San Miguel.
was built to protect Garachico when it was a major port: ironically
it survived the eruption which ended its usefulness. There is a very
informative display inside outlining the history of Garachico but its
mostly in Spanish so a phrase book may be a good idea for non
Staying by the
sea there is a promenade which to the
East takes you about a mile to the new Marina this is a pleasant way
to spend a few hours and you can walk around the apparently
ridiculously high protecting sea wall. Perhaps they know something we
To the West you
head out of town passing the only beach
like area in town and that's mainly volcanic
ash. At the top of hill there is a little café with an excellent
view back over town.
Just behind the main intersection close to
the suites is a charming little square here can be found the the sea
gate which was the entrance to the port.
there its just a
short stroll to The
main plaza of La Libertad which is absolutely stunning and said to be
the most beautiful in Tenerife .
Here you will find what used to
be the convent of San Francisco De Asis but is now a museum and
cultural centre, well worth a visit. There is a kiosk in the middle
with a band stand on top. We stooped there for a drink one night on
the way back from a restaurant and it was very quiet and peaceful
there was enough light to sit and read a book if you wanted to. We
were fortunate to witness what I can only presume to be a the regular
ceremony of the closing of the kiosk. Sharp on Ten o'clock the barman
put on a tune and after a short while it became clear what was
playing and the penny dropped as it became clear that “its time to
say goodbye” was the tune playing as he started to clear the tables
and chairs, an international message in any language.
are a wide range of good restaurants in Garachico but not much in the
way of night-life so if you are looking for a tourist strip with
themed bars and discos then this is very much not the place for you.
On the other hand if you are looking a good base with good
restaurants and very few of your fellow countrymen then this is the
place to be. We stayed for a week but it seems that a lot of our
fellow residents were only there for a few days. We did go out of
town most days but we could equally have sat on the balcony or in the
square reading a book. Seriously if you need to get away from it
all for a while and just forget about work then this place is
Weather wise it
was above 20C every day and we didn't see
any rain but I guess we were lucky.