We are so excited to be on our first-ever slow travel journey, living in Tenerife, Spain for thirty days this summer. While our family tends to prefer weeklong visits to hotels in Spanish-speaking countries, we are excited to try something new and dive deeper into Spain and one culture.
Recapping our time there, I’m going to share more about how we chose Tenerife as our first Spanish destination and our favorite things we did during our one month there.
We started our adventure traveling from Greenville to Atlanta to New York/LGA and then took a Lyft to New York/JFK. We then took an overnight flight to Berlin with a short layover in Berlin and then a five hour flight to Tenerife, Spain. Looking back, taking Ryan Air, a budget airline for five hours after a long overnight flight was questionable but we made it without any issue or setbacks.
Out of all of Spain, how did we end up choosing Tenerife? Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands of Spain, is located closer the Morocco than the mainland of Spain. We had heard that the city we were looking most at in Spain, Madrid, gets super and unbearably hot in the summer months. Research had showed that it would be best to choose an island with a beach and pool options vs. city living for the month of July.
In addition, I randomly had a mom friend in South Carolina at our Christian school who moved from Tenerife, Spain to Greenville, South Carolina. She was raving about Tenerife and highly recommend that we visit. To make things even crazier, her oldest son house/pet sat for us for the month+! It seemed like Tenerife was God’s perfect will for our family for the summer.
Our Different-than-Usual Accommodations
Being a hotel writer, it was super out of my comfort zone to choose an Air B and B. I am typically hosted or discounted for stays, so when looking for a place to stay for 30 days, it was super different paying full price. With that in mind, we prioritized finding a good place to sleep, have Logan work remotely and we weren’t open to moving around and resettling, so we were ok with the fees of one short-term rental. We chose a Jardines de los Menceyes property in the Palm Mar area of South Tenerife. It was wild doing all of our research online for where we’d reside as a family for 1/12 of the year, but man, sight unseen – we made a great pick! We also were fortunate enough to have amazing landlords who were so welcoming and stayed in contact with us during our stay.
How Could you Travel for that Long?
Last summer, July 4, 2022 to be exact, I was floating in the beautiful Lake Keowee at a friend’s house as she was mentioning how awesome it was that her husband worked remotely. She was sharing how because of that freedom, they were able to have the freedom to spend their summer at their lake house. As I floated there, I thought, wait, we have that same freedom – why don’t we look to live international next summer? Logan’s company permitted one month of international remote work, so he was able to get approval to spend one month in Spain using no PTO time. It definitely sparked our desire to live international for an even longer term!
Logan’s Remote Working on EST Hours
One of the biggest goals the first week living in Tenerife for a month this summer was getting Logan ready to work remote internationally. While he’s used to working remotely, working internationally was definitely different. Thankfully, our rental home had great Wifi and Logan had secured a travel monitor and other IT items that would make it easier for him to work internationally. The biggest challenge was working EST hours since Tenerife is 5 hours ahead of the US meaning he worked from 12:30-9:30/10pm. He was able to spend the mornings working out and adventuring with us but the evenings were tougher, especially for dinnertime, without him. We made it work but it was definitely something everyone had to get used to. We were so grateful that his company approved him working for one month internationally!
Our Favorites in Tenerife: Week One
We had all of the feels flying from Greenville to Atlanta to LGA/New York, taking a Lyft to JFK/New York and flying overnight to Berlin. The bros have become expert travelers on our favorite, Delta Airlines, and so we had a smooth flight with smooth logistics. As we arrived in Tenerife, Spain from Berlin, it was a surreal feeling knowing that we had just landed where we could call home for one month.
The first thing we did was secure our rental car from TopCar, a local rental car company that I’m glad we chose. The vehicle they provided us was reliable and great for our family which would be seemingly important for all of the wild driving logistics I’d soon face!
We settled into our place in Palm Mar. This condo offered us a common area with a Smart TV, a full kitchen with wonderful appliances – top-of-the-line. We also had an outdoor dining area, an outback area for lounging with a couch and two different bedrooms with bathrooms and full closets – it was a great layout for our crew. We had an additional hallway powder room and were on the first floor, making it easy for the boys to access the community grounds and pool without us. One small issue at first was setting Logan up with a work space, but the landlords were able to secure us a desk that Logan used in our bedroom. Although tight, it worked out well and we were fortunate for great Wifi.
We learned through a comical first dinner night out after landing from a connection in Berlin that tipping is not standard in Spain. We ate a meal at a local restaurant in Palm Mar, Prelude, but then rushed to an ATM to get cash out for our server. She was certainly shocked to receive a full 20% and we learned from that transaction that tipping is not expected in Spain. It’s amazing how much less expensive meals are without a 10-15% tip added! The first night we had met some British friends who were living in Tenerife for one month and despite having flown all day, we struck up a conversation with them. This sweet family became friends and we ended up meeting up with them several times while there.
Our first adventure was to Playa de Montana Amarilla in South Tenerife. This piscinas naturales would be our first of many, with our family visiting close to a dozen over the month. Piscinas naturales are natural pools that form off of the ocean and rock barriers form in this pool of water – so neat! This was also our first and certainly not last introduction to topless beaches which our standard in Spain. It’s interesting how our bros were not at all taken aback by that cultural difference and respected the differences in Spain compared to US beaches.
We also had a photoshoot with our trusted favorite, Flytographer, coordinated. It was such an honor to partner with them on this shoot to capture memories of our time in Tenerife. Chema, our photographer, was so great with the bros and was super talented. You can see all of the precious memories that he captured here.
As we continued to explore our local Palm Mar, we got acquainted with a gym, Crossfit La Jaula. We would end up paying to join for the month and we really enjoyed our time at the gym there! It was fun working out with Logan and being in a gym where the majority of the people only speak Spanish. Around the corner from the gym, our family would frequent the local bakery, Croquant. We would stop after the gym and have a cafe cordada with the bros picking donuts or other pastries.
We also practiced getting groceries. It was so different not knowing brands or understanding the packaging labels on items. For example, we purchased meat that we thought would be good for tacos but it was for a pot roast. It was definitely an adventure to navigate. One of the most unique aspects was that the cart was different (four turning wheels) and they don’t bag your items – you have to bring your own bag. We were fascinated by the differences. The bros favorite part was having a fresh juicer in all supermercados and always getting fresh orange juice.
We started doing every week type things including haircuts for all three boys in Palm Mar that first week. I drove our rental car for the first time and it was an adventure! There are very little street lights, all Spanish signs and many roundabouts and it’s very confusing to navigate at first. I ended up getting the hang of it, but those first few rides with me for the bros were straight dangerous.
Landon discovered in the first week his very favorite village, Tajao. San Miguel de Tajao is a sleepy fishing village about twenty minutes from Palm Mar. Sail boats and ships lined the sea and the homes were simple. The winding stairs and pastel colors were a European dream! We found a restaurant there, Aqua y Sal, that ended up being our favorite. We went back many times and are still not sure we’ll ever have such fresh and delicious seafood again. You choose the seafood from the glass window and they prepare it with the most delicious sides (croquettes, bread, peppers) and wine pairings. It was heaven! Landon also loved climbing the rock structures there that overlooked the ocean. It was a breathtaking town.
During the weekdays, the bros and I would go back and revisit an area we saw with dad the previous weekend. Whether visiting a beach like Playa del Duque or heading back to Tajao/Las Galletas, we kept ourselves busy during the days. The bros loved meeting friends of all different backgrounds (German, British, French, Danish) by the pool and they’d spend hours swimming together despite the language barrier – so cool! Besides the pool, one of our go-to spots for weekday entertainment was Palm Mar’s beach, Playa la Arenita, which had wonderful snorkeling at high tide and a little snack bar.
During the weekends, we’d hop in the car and adventure with dad. We headed to Tenerife Norte (north) to do some exploring the first weekend and discovered a magical European town called San Cristobal de la Laguna. This colorful town was something out of a storybook! We ate at a guachinche which is a typical Canadian restaurant with local food and Canarian wine. It was such a cool experience – we couldn’t even read the Spanish menu to order properly. We then tried a new swimming hole (piscina) at Church de la Virgen in La Jaca. I learned without doubt my favorite drink in Spain is a Tinto de Verano: a red wine spritzer.
The next day, we headed to explore the nearby towns of Granadilla and El Medano. While Playa el Medano was packed just like Playa del Duque, we did enjoy some of the best pizza on the island at Wairua. There was some great authentic Italian food in Tenerife that shouldn’t be missed! We ended our first weekend trying to find a secret beach called Playa de la Rajita but never found it. Instead, we stumbled upon a beautiful rocky beach that we named Trinity Beach and its coordinates are secret – we were the only ones there so now it’s officially our beach 😉