Arround Tenerife with Andrea Montgomery, travel writer and editor
We are very lucky having the chance to meet really interesting people that stays at GF Hotels, today we are pleased to talk with a good friend of our chain, Andy Montgomery.
So, Andy , who are you and what do you do?
I’m a travel writer and guide book author living in Puerto de la Cruz with my travel writer/photographer husband Jack.
Originally from South Manchester, I’m the author of two Tenerife guide books – Real Tenerife Island Drives and Going Native in Tenerife – and I run several successful internet sites including the newly launched Buzz Trips travel site and the popular Tenerife online magazine TenerifeMagazine.com for which I am Editor and Co-Director.
You can truly be considered an expert in Tenerife, how long have you been in the island and why did you decide to stay here?
I moved to Tenerife almost eight years ago. I was fist attracted to the Canaray Islands because I was looking for somewhere that had a year round tourism industry and wasn’t subject to six months of off-season. Originally, I thought La Gomera would suit me best but actually I found it too small for my needs. To be completely honest I would never have considered Tenerife, because of its ‘Tenerife Uncovered’ reputation, had it not been for my friend who lives on La Gomera and who advised me not to dismiss the island until I had visited the north. She was right. I arrived in Puerto de la Cruz, fell in love with it and have lived here ever since!
As a confessed fan of hiking and outdoor activities, Can you list your top five favourite routes?
I am constantly amazed and delighted at the diversity of Tenerife’s terrain which is an essential element of any hiking destination. The Anaga Mountains are in my view the best place to go hiking on Tenerife and my favourite routes there are Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada and Chamorga to Roque Bermejo. I also love walking in the La Orotava valley with the Los Órganos route being my favourite. The 600metre plus ascent is a bit of a ling and thigh tester but it’s worth it for the stupendous views and it’s all down hill from there. After that I would have to say El Palmar to Teno Alto which is a wonderful hike in a part of the island completely hidden from the tourist trail and finally the Erjos Pools in Santiago del Teide. It’s so unusual to see ponds in Tenerife and the Erjos Pools are so peaceful with their dragonflies and ducks.
and the top five places in the island anyone can miss? Why?
In my opinion you really cannot come to Tenerife and not visit Teide National Park and if you have the time, take the cable car to the top. To stand so close to the summit and to see the rest of the Canarian archipelago as if from a satellite is a truly awesome experience. For me, the ever-favourite destinations of Masca because of its extraordinary location and its beauty, and Garachico for its picturesque plaza and its rock pools are also on the must see list. And my last two recommendations would be the sophisticated La Orotava and the bustling capital of Santa Cruz.
Between those five I think you get a good picture of Tenerife’s history, geography and caharacter.
Many people has the idea the South of Tenerife, has no much to offer but sun and beaches, do you agree? if not , would you share with us 5 interesting tips for holiday makers based in this area?
There is no doubt that the vast majority of visitors to Tenerife come here for the sun, sea and beach holiday that the south does so well with its world class hotels and its exciting theme parks. But there’s more to the south than just sun and sea. El Médano is the place to go for world class conditions for windsurfing and kite boarding or head to Las Galletas for diving in the crystal waters with their fascinating underworld of volcanic columns and tropical fish. And of course Tenerife’s Los Gigantes is one of the best places on the planet for watching whales and dolphins in their natural environment which is such a privileged experience. In Adeje, try launching yourself from a mountain, preferably strapped to an experienced paraglider, or try your hand, and feet, at rock climbing in Arico.
Having such a big audience in several online sites writing about Tenerife is also a responsability, what does it mean to you ?
To me, being considered an expert for Tenerife is both a privilege and a responsibility. On the one hand it means I have endless opportunities to showcase the Tenerife that I know and love, the one that I refer to as the ‘real’ Tenerife and that usually gets ignored by travel agents and tour companies. On the other hand, I feel a responsibility to ensure that my knowledge is constantly as up to date as it’s possible to be and that means many hours of research and of travelling the island.
Do you feel you are a kind of online ambassador for Tenerife?
Yes, very much so and I constantly defend the island against anything I consider to be unfair criticism or unfounded observation. I have no problem with people who disparage Tenerife, I just insist that they know it properly before doing so, or more importantly, before broadcasting it to others.
We know, you love the island and you make a permanent effort to promote it, in your opinion, is there an undiscovered Tenerife with atractive enough for our visitors?
Absolutely. Not everyone wants to spend a week or a fortnight getting a tan, and for those who want more, the island had a great deal to offer. As I’ve already said, Tenerife is a fabulous destination for hikers with a myriad of paths that take you through volcanic craters, ancient forests and coastal palm groves, often hardly seeing another soul.
There are so many picturesque hamlets on Tenerife where crafts and traditions are kept alive; there’s a growing resurgence in fine wines and excellent cuisine and there are incredible fiestas like the Corpus Christi flower carpets and romerías…I could go on!
is there any advice or suggestions for all of us to promote the Island? How can we improve?
Look at what Tenerife has to offer to niche markets and take the time to develop your marketing in those areas but without taking your focus off the main market where value for money and quality should be Tenerife’s watch words.
And more than anything else, there is absolutely no point in throwing millions of Euros at print publications which are marketing to visitors who are already here. Get online and get up to date with digital marketing. It constantly disappoints and frustrates me that so few Tenerife businesses have an online presence and fewer still participate in social media channels. The world is moving forward at such a breakneck speed and Tenerife is in danger of being left behind. We need fast, reliable Internet access everywhere and we need to educate businesses about the power of online marketing and social media. Then we need to lead by example – beginning from the very top.
From GF Hotels, we’ve been pleased with your visit to La Laja restaurant at Costa Adeje Gran hotel, can you share with us your favourite dish?
I was blown away by the quality of dishes at La Laja and particularly by the tremendous value for money it represents. I’m tempted to say the chocolate surprise which was my dream dessert but I think I’ll plump for the warm goat’s cheese salad which was sensational.
It’s been nearly a year since you stayed at GF Hotels and we would be very pleased to meet you here soon and chat again.
I will very much look forward to that
Thank you Andy for this great chat and wonderful tips about the island.
So now, what about you? Have you got a place to share, a hiking trail, a dish, diving spot , maybe a spot? We’d love you to share it with us in our blog, which is also yours. Don’t forget it!