5 Things I Learned Travelling Off The Beaten Path In Tenerife

Photoessay and essential travel tips from a photographer who lives with his parents, has never travelled anywhere and spent the entire time winging it.

1. Hire car companies suck 

Step off the plane at Tenerife South Airport and spend your first day waiting in a long queue of angry people collecting and dropping off keys. Top complaints were “you’re charging me three times as much as I was quoted on the Internet”, “I’ve received a £250 fine for leaving an empty bottle of water in the cupholder” and “I’ve rented this car from you but it won’t go up hills”.

2. Shitting in a bucket is cool, but not when you’re staying with your new girlfriend

Anna Pumer and I are both hardcore outdoorsy types, so there was no squeamishness when it came to staying in cheap, lo-frills Airbnbs. That said, we’ve only been seeing each other for a couple of months, so barefaced machismo quickly gave way to a desperate desire not to be the first one to do a smelly poo and cover it with sawdust for the other person to find. Suspiciously long detours via public conveniences quickly became a way of life.

3. “El Teide” does not mean “The Table”

But it is a really beautiful place that feels exactly like an American national park. We made an initial sortie up there pretty much by accident one evening, caught the most incredible sunset above the clouds, and were so blown away that we ended up going back three times. Visit one of the enchanted campsites and have a barbecue!

4. Supermarkets are exciting

We dismissed a dazzling array of fancy-ish restaurants in favour of going to bakeries for dinner (visit Lekkery in Icod and try the carrot cake - it will change your life) and “self-catering” (eating cereal around the clock), which meant that discovering the thriving Canarian supermarket scene was essential for our survival. WARNING: DO NOT TAKE A TOMATO OR A PINEAPPLE TO THE CHECKOUT WITHOUT WEIGHING IT AND PRINTING A TICKET *FIRST*.

5. The best bits are wherever all the English people aren’t

Except you, obviously. South of the island has the best weather but you’ll bump into your gran (who lives there) or a bunch of kids on an 18-30 holiday and an existential crisis will follow. Look into staying in the rolling hills of Los Gigantes or the labyrinth forests of Anaga instead - you can drive the entire length of the island in a couple of hours, so sun and long sandy beaches are never far away. 

Todd Lawton