Useful Information About Tenerife
Tenerife has two international airports. However, the Northern airport of Los Roos (TFN) is now more dedicated to national and inter-island flights between the Canary Islands. The port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have established routes to other Canary Islands, mainland Spain and all major ports in Europe and offer ferry services regularly and all year round.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and due to the massive mountain range running through the center of the island, Tenerife has a prominent North-South divide in terms of climate. The North side of Tenerife benefits from cooler, wetter conditions creating lush green vegetation and the South side of Tenerife benefits from year-round-sunshine and a dryer climate.
A special cultural event which is a MUST if you are visiting Tenerife in February is the Carnival of Tenerife in the capital city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Each year (around the 14th of February), the second largest South American Style Carnival in the WORLD (second to Rio de Janeiro) is held right here in Tenerife!
History - The Original Inhabitants, the Guanches
The natives of Tenerife are called Guanches, who populated the Islands before the Spaniards. Probably from North Africa they were ferried to the Canary Islands in Reed boats and were not able to return as there were no reeds on the Islands. They are generally said to have been tall with blue eyes and blonde hair. Some of their methods of farming are still in use to this very day! Including the infamous Whistle (Silbo Gomero) which they used to communicate between each other through the valleys (or Barrancos as they are known as in the Canary Islands). They still perform this spectacle to visitors in La Gomera. They were also famed for using staffs to help them manoevre through the valleys.
Ironically, they did not have the skills to catch fish and did not even know how to swim! They lived as nomadic goat herders. Neither did they have contact with their brothers and sisters on the other islands due to the missing ship construction know-how and materials. The name Guanche was used initially only for the natives of Tenerife and was later used to describe the inhabitants of the other islands, too.
The Islands were colonized in the late fifteenth century by the Spanish Royal House.
During the Conquista, the conquest of the Islands, the Guanches offered fierce resistance, but in the end they were powerless against the military superiority of the Spaniards and in 1496, the Islands were given to the Kingdom of Castile. Many of the surviving Guanche slaves captured during the Conquista were exported to the Mainland. The rest of the natives adopted the Customs and Religion of the conquerors.