1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Tenerife, the Canary Islands – More Sol Than the Costa del Sol

by Suzanne Fluhr on October 9, 2012 · 16 comments

Mount Teide, Highest Mountain in Spain,Tenerife, Canary Islands

Map of the Canary Islands, Spain

Map Showing the Position of the Canary Islands, Spain

In early March of 2001, my husband, Steve, and I were dispatched to Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol on the southern coast of Spain to retrieve Nona, Steve’s 91 year old grandmother, from the hospital. While vacationing there (she was a very spry 91 year old), she fell and broke her hip. As is often the case with 91 year olds, while her surgery was expertly performed by a British trained Spanish surgeon, various complications kept her hospitalized for a full month. (Fortunately, someone who was apparently not all that interested in risk management had sold her travel insurance). The family figured that we were the “A” team and had the best skill set to get her home. Steve’s a doctor and I speak Spanish.

We flew to Spain thinking that Nona was ready to be discharged, so we were expecting a quick turnaround. Of course, Woody Allen had it right when he made the rueful observation, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans?”  Upon arriving at the hospital, we were informed that Nona was still too ill to travel. We decided to hunker down and wait in hopes that she would improve enough over the following five days.

There are worse places to have to hunker down than in Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol; however, it was early March and the Spaniards were still shivering in their winter coats. For us, accustomed to the cold winters of the United States Mid-Atlantic region, a few afternoons were warm enough for us to don running pants and a sweat shirt for a jog along the seawall. But, it was the British tourists and expats who were impressive. They were easily recognizable by their exceedingly white skin, shorts, sandals (yes, sometimes with socks), and by the fact that some of them were actually (gasp) swimming!

Puerto de la Cruz, Canary Islands, Spain

Puerto de la Cruz, Canary Islands, Spain

For those less inclined to want to swim with the polar bears, another financially reasonable Spanish holiday destination is Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands off the west coast of Morocco. Tenerife is known for its perpetual spring—warmer than mainland Spain during the fall, winter and spring and with more moderate and comfortable temperatures when the Spanish mainland sizzles during the summer.

Once one of the most impoverished areas of Spain under the fascist dictator, Francisco Franco, in 1982, the Canary Islands became an autonomous region and quickly developed a thriving tourism industry, catering to Spain’s sun starved northern neighbors, including the United Kingdom.

When the long UK or US winter is more than one can bear, European travel agencies can be a source of budget friendly travel to Tenerife.  The seven islands comprising the Canary Islands have earned a designation as the “Hawaii of the Atlantic”.  Like on the Big Island of Hawaii, the island of Tenerife, provides lovely sandy beaches with water based recreation  activities, stretching from the more laid back, low rise Los Gigantes on the mid-west coast to the southwest beach town of Los Cristianos which is nestled next to the bustling resort town of Playa de los Americas—probably too much fun nightlife for Steve and me (Mr. and Mrs. Excitement).

Mount Teide, Highest Mountain in Spain,Tenerife, Canary Islands

Mount Teide, Highest Mountain in Spain,Tenerife, Canary Islands

Also similar to the Big Island of Hawaii, Tenerife provides off beach adventure and sightseeing options. Visitors to Tenerife, should think beyond sea level, because the island is also home to Spain’s tallest mountain, Mount Teide which soars to 12,198 feet (3,718 meters).  Thus, three months of the year, while sunbathers relax on beaches an hour away, the top reaches of this mountain are snow covered. The volcanic shaped landscape can be visited in the National Park of Las Canadas del Tiede which abounds with hiking opportunities.  For those preferring to do their mountain ascents with an assist, it is possible to do part of the trip by cable car.

Tenerife visitors who find themselves needing a wildlife fix can visit Loro (Parrot) Parque which provides the chance to see dolphin, sea lion and parrot shows. It also boasts a large penguin park complete with man made snow.  Parque las Aguilas is a popular jungle zoo and botanical park, and Monkey Zoo Park is a good option for those who prefer their monkeys up close and personal. In other words, Tenerife provides plenty to keep all generations happy for Baby Boomers traveling with grandchildren.

Tenerife is obviously doing something right to attract tourists.  Official tourism figures for 2011 reveal that there were over five million visitors to the island, including almost 1,500,000 from the United Kingdom.  At present, there are no direct flights from the United States to the Canary Islands, but from the United Kingdom or Spain, flights to Tenerife are readily available.

Would you consider a visit to the Canary Islands?  If you have already been there, please share your experiences. 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

L Sorensen-Jolink October 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Since March 27, 1977, the deadliest accident in aviation history has flashed into my mind whenever I thought of the Canary Islands or Tenerife. On that day, at what is now Tenerife North Airport, a KLM B747 tried to take off while a Pan Am B747 was still on the runway; the KLM jet slammed into the Pan Am jet, and 583 people perished. I was a Pan Am purser at the time. While my memory of that accident will never be erased, thanks to you I will also be able to think of Tenerife as the “Hawaii of the Atlantic.” Thank you, Suzanne.


Just One Boomer October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Now that you remind me, I do remember the horrific news of that plane crash. I didn’t remember how awful the death toll was. There has been much tragedy in the world, even in the paradises.
Thanks for your comment.


Jeremy October 11, 2012 at 10:02 am

Jesus, I didn’t even know two planes could hold that many people. Horrible.


Roz Warren October 10, 2012 at 12:28 am

I once spoke to a guy who had witnessed a deadly plane crash. Apparently you don’t forget that shit. (Can we say shit on this blog, Suzanne?)

So — did she improve?


Just One Boomer October 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Roz–This is a family friendly blog, but I’ll make an exception for you and plane crashes 😉 There are times when another word won’t do.

Steve’s grandmother did improve. After a stint in a rehab hospital in Philly, she insisted on returning to live independently in her Forest Hills apartment in Queens. The following year, she broke her other hip and the year after that, she broke her pelvis while “on vacation” in Miami. We finally moved her to Philly to be near us, kicking and screaming. She had the misfortune to outlive both her children and Steve was the oldest grandchild. She was a person who really did have an amazing outlook on life. She had to flee Bulgaria with her family in 1940, but she really was a “the glass is half full” type of person who maintained an infectious, almost child-like wonder about the world. She lived to be almost 98.


Madaline Fluhr October 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I’m really glad we lived in Mexico and England for a year respectively, because, truly it’s all I can do these days to get myself to the giant Redwoods or the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which are close to spitting distance from where I live. Truly, there are lots of lovely spots within a few hours driving distance. Sue, come out and do a little travel research in CA (hint, hint) and then write a blog post!


Just One Boomer (Suzanne) October 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Let’s meet up in Tenerife. Actually, I might get to the Hawaii of the Pacific first.


Jeremy October 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

I actually had a guest post from one of the survivors of Flight 1549 that crashed into the with his first hand account. Pretty nuts.


Montecristo Travels (Sonja) October 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Jealous … we were supposed to go (now in fact) and financially just could not swing it … so we had to make other (equally fun but not as “exotic”) plans. One day … we will sail those shores!

How is Nona?


Just One Boomer October 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm

So where are you going instead? I assume Montecristo will be with you.

The rest of Nona’s story is in a comment I posted on October 10th above, in response to Roz. She was an amazing lady.


Montecristo Travels (Sonja) October 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Awe … love people like that. I do so wish we had more of them! From Bulgaria eh? Interesting how – I rarely heard of the country and then now – that we are going in June (2013) it keeps showing up here and there.

AS for us? We are off to visit two fans that opened up their homes to us! Can you believe that? So we shall be going to Elgin Texas (we will also see Austin, Bastrop and the Hamilton Water preserve) and then we are off to Miami where we have a long list of things we want to see including the Art Deco walking tour. And yes … the munchkin is naturally coming with.

By the way … if you have time – would love to know your thoughts on this:


Agness (@Agnesstramp) October 22, 2012 at 9:25 am


The title of the post made me smile 🙂 I’ve been to Spain, but only visited Gibraltar area, which I think it was a shame and pitty ;-( I have heard of Puerto de la Cruz, it’s a very lovely and sunny place, may Poles go there for a honeymoon. Thanks for sharing. The photos are lovely. I’ll put Canary Islands on my bucket list :)))))

Happy travels,



Just One Boomer November 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Thanks, Agness. I’m sure the Canary Islands would be a lovely place to go to escape the Polish winter.


Debbie March 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

I just found this post while browsing your blog. Tenerife was one of my favourite vacations of all time! We stayed in Puerto de la Cruz. One fascinating day trip was to the (then) Spanish Sahara where we visited a Bedouin tribe and were served roasted camel meat. It was so long ago, back in 1967, but I remember it well. Wouldn’t mind going back some day. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂


Just One Boomer March 9, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Two silver linings to aging: 1) the wealth of experiences one accumulates, and 2) some places were visited so long ago that they deserve a re-visit. In 2012, I revisted the Mexican town where I lived for a year when I was a child.


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