Tenerife’s ultimate holiday attractions

One of the reasons Tenerife holidays are so popular is that there is just so much variety when it comes to things to see and do. This is an island that caters to its visitors seriously well and I think, when it comes to tourist attractions, there are a couple of options that really stand out.

Beautiful beaches, varied water sports
You’d have to be crazy to come to Tenerife and not spend at least some time lazing around on the beach. What’s nice about the shores here is that there’s loads of variety – everything from black volcanic sands and rock to really fine, golden sand, while there are secluded spots and busy beaches alike.

The main things that’ll dictate where you go are personal questions, like whether you want a large selection of water sports facilities or restaurants, or if you fancy spending some time far away from the crowds.

Of course, there’s a lot of choice and you’re likely to hear about even more options while you’re there, but as a basic guide:

• If you’re after pretty beaches with fine sand, but that still offer plenty to do in the way of activities and places to eat, the shores at Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos are a safe bet.

• Las Teresitas Beach, which is in the north, is excellent for snorkelling. Plus, thanks to its calm, sheltered waters and the fact it is away from the more popular south coast beaches, it is also a quiet option that’s great for couples.
Moving on to the water sports side of things, you’re equally spoilt for choice. Yes, there are a number of great spots for snorkelling, but keen scuba divers will also be in their element thanks to world-class dive sites like Los Gigantes. It’s also worth checking out what kinds of whale and dolphin watching trips are on offer, since Tenerife is situated smack bang on a migration route.

Hiking and cycling adventures
Not all of us are water babies. Personally, I love going to the beach, but let’s just say my skills in the water itself are pretty limited. So, pastimes like hiking and cycling are more my thing.

Home to the wonderful Teide National Park, the island is perfect for these two activities. What’s nice about choosing to cycle and/or hike here is that the landscape is really interesting (so much so that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The main attraction is Mount Teide, a 3,718 m tall dormant volcano. You can hike up here (either on a guided walk or independently), or you can set off to explore some of the park’s lesser-known sites.

Pico Viejo is probably one of the best places to choose, since it was the last volcano to have a serious eruption. Make sure you head to the south side, where you can see the scarred landscape this left behind.
Water parks

There’s nothing like a good old theme park for a day out, no matter what your age. Tenerife’s are generally water-based (which you’ll probably be thankful for, considering the weather!), and there are two main options:

• Aqualand: This is in Costa Adeje. The key attraction is the dolphin show, but there’s also a decent mix of slides and other rides to get your adrenaline pumping and help you cool off at the same time.

• Siam Park: Near to Playa de las Americas, this park is particularly fun because it’s home to some seriously exciting rides (the Tower of Power, for instance, is a near vertical drop that takes you through an aquarium!), as well as a beach to unwind on, if you fancy something a little more gentle.

As a final tip, if you want to experience some culture – and some pretty major partying – time your trip to coincide with the Santa Cruz Carnaval, which usually runs for three hectic, colourful weeks in February.

Why choose Cozumel Island for a Cancun holiday?

If you’re considering booking a holiday to Cancun but have yet to decide where exactly you’re going to stay in the Mexican resort, think about spending at least some of your break on Cozumel Island.

Located around 30 km off the coast of Cancun, it’s something of an island paradise where you can do as little or as much as you please. Here are just a few of the main reasons to look into staying on Cozumel.

Mexico and Cancun are renowned for their gorgeous stretches of sand and nowhere else will you find a better example of soft, golden beaches than here. Much of Cozumel’s coast is fringed by bays and coves ideal for lazy days in the sun. The crystal-clear waters, meanwhile, are home to a vast array of colourful marine life, perfect if you want to go snorkelling to cool down.

For an action-packed day at the seaside, head to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, where you will have restaurants and bars nearby, can hire kayaks or paddle boats and can get involved with organised beach games if you feel like getting active.

Underwater wonders
Cozumel Island is located on the Mesoamerican Reef, which is home to more than 250 species of fish, colourful corals and plenty more just beneath the waves. Snorkelling is one way to explore, but for a truly immersive experience, you should learn to scuba dive. There are numerous operators on the island that will cater for absolute beginners as well as experienced divers, so you can find one that suits your abilities.

Among the creatures you can see underwater are stingrays, turtles, dolphins, angelfish and toadfish, while the vibrant corals provide a stunning backdrop to your dives.

If you’re not convinced about scuba diving, but still want to see some of the amazing wildlife in the water, spend a day at the Chankanaab National Park, where you can swim with dolphins and manatees, as well as snorkel on the world’s only inland coral reef in the Chankanaab Lagoon.

Ultimate relaxation
One of the reasons we go on holiday is to really unwind and leave the stresses and strains of daily life well and truly behind us. Cozumel is perfect if you want to relax, with several world-class spas based on the island. Among the treatments you can try are a hot stone massage, sea salt scrub, facial, pedicure, manicure or Thai massage.
Some centres also offer alternative therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology, reiki and biomagnetism if you really need to de-stress!

Mayan heritage
Just because you’re not on the mainland, doesn’t mean you can’t delve into Mexico’s fascinating Mayan history during your break. Cozumel was an important location for the civilisation and there are a number of Mayan sites on the island you can explore. Travel inland to San Gervasio, a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of love and fertility Ixchel, which held great importance for the Mayans. In fact, each person was required to visit the location at least once in their lifetime.

The Cedral Temple is also worth exploring, as it is believed to be one of the oldest Mayan structures still in existence.

Delicious food
Another great holiday pleasure is tucking into exotic and tasty cuisine and if you’re a foodie, you’ll be well catered for on Cozumel. Many of the meals prepared on the island are based on old Yucatecan dishes but have a European twist. You’ll find fresh seafood on almost every menu, as well as other local specialities like cochinita pibil – a type of marinated pork – and papadzules, which are enchiladas with squash seed salsa.