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Cultural Trip to Santa Cruz

Cultural Trips are important excursions organised by the AWF for our volunteers. Our founders want all volunteers to have the opportunity to see some of the important historical and cultural spots of the island. One of the cultural trips is a day trip to visit three important sights of Tenerife: Candelaria, Güimar and the capital, Santa Cruz.

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Candelaria

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The trip begins in the little town of Candelaria. Start the day with the coffee in the plaza, of views of the ocean, the beautiful church and the famous Guanche statues.

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Candelaria is a nice town to make a quick stop in on the way to Santa Cruz. It has a lot of Catholic significance, as it is seen as the place of the veneration of the Virgin Candelaria.

The church is a beautiful stop to do a brief tour through, and there are many cafes surrounding the main plaza, where the Guanche men statues stand in front of the sea.

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Güimar

After the stop in Candelaria, the trip drives further north to Güimar, where volunteers can visit the famous pyramids of Güimar. 

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Santa Cruz

The capital city of Tenerife and 1/2 the capital of the Canary Islands (the other half is in the Gran Canaria, the 2nd largest of the 7 islands) is Santa Cruz. Located in the north of the island, Santa Cruz is a beautiful city to spend an afternoon in to see a bit of the island different from the endless beaches of the south.

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The main Plaza de España in Santa Cruz is right next to the commercial streets with shops and restaurants.

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Overall, Santa Cruz is a small, vibrant city with a much more “Spanish” feel to it than the tourist traps of the south. It is a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean, and a good place to see during a stay in Tenerife.

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Kayaking w/ Teno Activo

Ocean Kayaking is a popular activity among volunteers that come and work here at AWF.

We have partnered with Teno Activo  based in Los Gigantes in Tenerife for our kayaking excursions. For a very reasonable price, volunteers receive a two hour kayak rental, complete with a guided tour and photographer as well as a beer or non-alcoholic drink halfway through the journey.

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Each kayak had two people paddling, the seats were comfortable with back rests and came with one life jacket per participant. The guide also brings masks and snorkels, but we advise our volunteers to bring the ones we have at the foundation, so that they can fully enjoy a little swim during the break.

The water in this area of the island is really crystal clear, and swimming beneath the giant cliffs is an incredible experience. The ocean conditions are fairly mild, but it is a good workout for active volunteers!

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Surfing

A popular and frequent trip put on by AWF is a trip to El Medano beach to go surfing! El Medano is a well-known surfing beach famous for having great waves and wind for water sports.

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There are plenty of surf and watersport vendors in El Medano, and we have partnered with Red Rock Surf Academy for providing our volunteers with surfboard rentals and lessons. For a very reasonable price, volunteers can have 2 hour group lessons, or just rent a board if they want to try to learn themselves. The surf shop has a huge selection of different sized boards for people of all abilities.
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Scuba Diving

One of the activities we most encourage our volunteers to try while they are here in Tenerife with us is scuba diving. For volunteers who have never been diving, we are able to schedule try dives through Zero Gravity, a dive shop right in Puerto Colón by our Visitors Centre.

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Try dives are an excellent way for volunteers to become familiar with scuba diving. The dive masters start the session with a briefing in the dive centre so the divers understand basic functions of the equipment. They are then taken to El Puertito, the same location of our snorkelling trips, in order to see the turtles. El Puertito is a sheltered bay, so it is never rough or dangerous conditions for the divers.

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Once in the water, the dive master holds onto the diver as they descend 5-6 meters to become acquainted with the incredible sensation of breathing underwater. In the bay, divers can see the turtles and different beautiful fish species.

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After completing the try dive, volunteers have the option of completing a PADI course through Zero Gravity. Completing the Open Water Diver or Advanced Open Water Diver is a very feasible task that a volunteer could do during their time at AWF, even if they are only here for a week. We make sure to take their diving priorities into consideration when making our schedules, so that they will be in the port at the correct time.

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Image from Zero Gravity

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Forestal Park

Forestal Park, situated in the north of the island of Tenerife, within the biodiversity rich area of Las Lagunetas, boasts the largest treetop adventure park in the Canary Islands. This “GoApe” style woodland climb offers a variety of courses of varying difficulty and will keep you busy for at least 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your group.

If you are one who is particularly beset on heights, then this is a great place to chase that adrenaline rush and can be incredibly rewarding! If not, then hanging 30m above the forest floor and ziplining 230m might just do the trick!

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We recommend that our volunteers arrive at the centre with some time to spare and explore some of the surrounding woodland before engaging the course; with the lack of greenery in the south of the island where we are situated, traversing beneath the illuminated canopy of Canary Island pines is a refreshing sight, just don’t get lost!

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This post brought to you by our volunteer, Rhys.

Lisanne: Why I Chose Volunteering with AWF

This weeks story brought to you by our lovely Dutch volunteer, Lisanne!

I studied Environmental Biology back home, in which I focused on ecology and the behaviour of animals. In my study I did internships about the behaviour of birds, large felids and terrestrial mammals in general, but I did not do any project about sea animals. So when I finished my study, I was looking for a project with sea animals to get more experience about the behaviour of this group of animals.

I was also looking for a long holiday in a warm place! I wanted to combine my holiday with volunteering work, but unfortunately, most volunteering work quickly gets very expensive. I found AWF just by googling and was surprised by the projects they offered and the low costs. I also really liked that it is an organisation with many students and that they organize many trips in Tenerife, such as visiting Santa Cruz and snorkelling. I felt it was everything I was looking for!

One week at Tenerife and it is still everything I was looking for 🙂 So far, I have been on the boats (with very nice crew and food), went snorkelling with the turtles at Turtle Bay, went diving for the first time (very exciting!), had much fun in the water park Siam Park and relaxed on the beach of Los Cristianos. While being on the boats, I have already spotted numerous bottlenose dolphins and short-finned pilot whales, but was also lucky enough to see common dolphins, atlantic spotted dolphins, flying fish and even a Bryde’s whale! There are many people at the AWF house and that is really nice, because there is always someone you can talk to and go with on trips to explore the island. I would definitely recommend volunteering at AWF and I am excited for the rest of my stay at Tenerife!

Snorkelling in El Puertito

The beach of El Puertito in Adeje, Tenerife is a beautiful retreat and change of pace from the overcrowded tourist beaches of Las Americas and Los Cristianos.

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Not only is it separated from the hoards of sunbathers and beachside drinkers, it is a protected bay perfect for snorkelling in, as it boasts crystal clear waters and a resident group of sea turtles who have become quite friendly with visitors.

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Tenerife offers a lot more than a beautiful landscape. There is a breathtaking underwater world with an amazing flora and fauna along with many different marine species, including incredible turtles, three different types of turtles exist on Tenerife, Atlantic Green Turtles, Leatherback Turtles, and Loggerheads. The most common one to be seen is the Atlantic Green Turtles. Their length starts at 90 centimetres and can measure up to 2,70 meters! These incredible ocean turtles can be found very close to the coast and are often a common companion when you are snorkelling. At El Puertito, also known as Turtle Bay, the ocean has a depth of up to 12 meters. Turtles can be seen at a depth of eight meters all year round. The terrain is made up of a rocky reef, which also brings in many different types of fish and sea life.

I would definitely recommend snorkeling in Turtle Bay. It is one of the best experiences i have had. Being able to be so close to such a peaceful creature is truly amazing. During my time snorkeling i saw two atlantic green turtles, one very large one and one slightly smaller, i was able to swim alongside them as well as touch their shell! In turtle bay you are almost guaranteed to see a turtle. As well as snorkeling with turtles, i also snorkeled a little closer to the shore near the rocky reef, where there are so many colourful and strange fish to see, it is fascinating.

I would recommend this trip to everyone! I was able to see so many different animals as well as having a nice day at the beach, and swimming with turtles completely topped it all off.

Snorkelling in El Puertito is a fam trip that is frequently organised by the AWF. A day spent in El Puertito gives volunteers the opportunity to see marine life up close, learn about the different organisms found around Tenerife and inspire them to to pursue scuba diving if they enjoy interacting with marine life and wish to take it further.

The AWF has plenty of mask and snorkel sets for volunteers to use, but if they do have their own and have space in their luggage, it is encouraged that individuals bring their own equipment if they can!

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We also make sure that there is a trained lifeguard coordinator with the groups when they go snorkelling, and we have lifejackets to give to volunteers who are not strong swimmers or wish to take extra precaution.

There are several small bars and restaurants in the coastal town of El Puertito for volunteers to eat at for lunch, but the selection is a bit limited so packing a lunch is advised for groups that are going to be out swimming all day.

We hope you come see the turtles with us!

Volunteer Fam Trips

Throughout the summer months and for volunteers that select the activity package for their experience, AWF coordinators organise several trips during the week for volunteers, which they sign up for based on personal interest. Here is a list of some of the activities that AWF puts on for volunteers, helping groups discover all the magic that Tenerife has to offer.

  1. Snorkelling in El Puertito to see the resident sea turtles
  2. Surfing Lessons & Board Rentals
  3. Go Ape: A high ropes course and zip-line experience
  4. Hiking in the Laurel Forest of the north of the island
  5. Exploring the capital city of Santa Cruz
  6. Kayaking from Los Gigantes to Masca Bay

These are just a few examples of the amazing excursions AWF offers to volunteers.

The foundation provides the transportation to the excursion locations free of charge, and some excursion activities are completely free, while others are charged at a discounted rate for volunteers. Sign up sheets with information will be provided at meetings, so individuals can decide what they want to do during their time at AWF.

Come explore Tenerife with us!

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Gran Canaria

The second most populous island of the seven Canary Islands is a stone’s throw away with just 68 kilometers (42 miles) separating the port cities of Santa Cruz (Tenerife) and Agaete (Gran Canaria). For those wishing to head straight to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (the island’s capital), there are also direct ferries with Armas. This trip is rather slow taking approximately 2 and a half hours but is comfortable none the less.

Las Palmas itself is much larger than Santa Cruz and is believed to have the best climate in the world with an average annual temperature of 21.3 °C (70.3 °F). The city has a few urban beaches, the largest, and most popular one being Playa de Las Canteras. These warm waters are visited by many tourists as well as locals living and working in the city.

The city is divided into a few districts containing a number of smaller neighborhoods such as Triana, Vegueta, and Guanarteme. When not at the beach, many tourists walk through parts of the city, exploring the historical buildings and charming streets. There are numerous restaurants to chose from (especially if you love fresh seafood) and many bars to enjoy a refreshing cocktail.

I would recommend trying out one of the restaurants in front of Playa de Las Canteras such as La Casa de La Playa (4,5* on tripadvisor) and then head over to La Azotea de Benito in Triana (4* on tripadvisor), a great rooftop cocktail bar with some cool city views.

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If you are visiting the island for just a day or two it’s probably best to remain in Las Palmas. A day at the beach and a day for exploring the city is a good itinerary. For longer stays, consider heading down to the south of the island for something different.

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