Thursday, 10 December 2009

Walking on Tenerife: Using Public Transport or Hiring a Car on Tenerife

When we first travelled abroad, we used to go on all the excursions available. I loved getting to see all sorts of interesting things, but hated being herded about and eating mediocre meals.
Within a few years we dumped the excursions, bought guide books and set off on our own. If it was in Europe, we’d hire a car, if it was further afield we’d use whatever public transport was available - tuk, tuks, trains, dhows, river taxis and even the occasional elephant. Instead of simply sightseeing we started having adventures. The experience was worlds away from the world of organised excursions.

It’s probably a safe bet to assume that if you’re reading this blog and you’re interested in walking on Tenerife, you are the sort of person who enjoys setting out under their own steam whether it’s by car or by local bus (sorry, no elephant transport here, although there are camels). But which depends on personal preferences and on what areas you hope to explore when you visit Tenerife.

The bus network on Tenerife is excellent in my opinion. Although we both drive we use it regularly if we’re going into Puerto de la Cruz or Santa Cruz for a night out, or to and from the airport, or the port at Los Cristianos if we’re travelling to La Gomera. Buses are cheap and on the whole reliable and if you’re planning on walking, you can get to many good walking areas by public transport. For example, if based in Puerto de la Cruz, a regular bus service will transport you into the heart of the pine forest in the upper La Orotava Valley. If you’re in the south west around Los Gigantes, the bus to Puerto drops walkers off at the Fleytas bar where there are a number of classic routes to explore.

But, and this is a giant sized ‘but’, if you’re the sort of person who relishes exploring the most remote corners of the places you visit, the less populated an area, the less likely it is to have a regular bus service. The most spectacular route to Mount Teide isn’t on a bus route because no-one lives along most of it.

I read a post on Tripadvisor recently from someone who had been to La Gomera. He said that it was completely different from Tenerife and that it was probably what Tenerife was like before tourism. He was wrong about that. The Anaga Mountains with their tiny agricultural hamlets are exactly like La Gomera; if anything, they make La Gomera look over developed. But some of the spectacular walks there are more or less ‘out of bounds’ to someone using public transport, so for many visitors there are great swathes of Tenerife which remain ‘hidden’.
For me that’s where the car wins hands down. Hirting a car on Tenerife opens up the whole island rather than just part of it.

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