Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is a destination blessed with natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and a warm, sunny climate. For conscientious travelers, it's crucial to consider the environmental impact of our journeys. Sustainable travel is no longer a choice but a responsibility, and Tenerife offers a plethora of opportunities to explore its stunning landscapes while minimizing your carbon footprint. In this extensive guide, we will delve deep into the realm of sustainable travel to Tenerife, covering transportation choices, eco-friendly activities, accommodations, responsible dining, conservation efforts, and much more. The Green Tourist will tell you more about it!
If you're traveling to Tenerife from a distant location, consider booking direct flights to minimize layovers. This not only saves you time but also reduces emissions associated with multiple take-offs and landings. Many airlines now offer carbon offset programs, allowing you to compensate for your flight's environmental impact.
Once you arrive on the island, make the most of Tenerife's efficient public transportation system. Buses, trams, and the innovative Tenerife Tram network are excellent ways to explore the island's cities and towns without adding to traffic congestion or carbon emissions. The public transport system is well-connected and often offers breathtaking views of the island's landscapes.
Choosing eco-friendly accommodations is essential for a sustainable trip. Tenerife offers a range of options that prioritize sustainability:
Look for hotels with recognized sustainability certifications such as "Biosphere" or "Green Key." These establishments implement various environmentally friendly practices, including energy-efficient systems, waste reduction, and responsible water use.
For a more rustic experience, consider staying in eco-friendly cottages or rural retreats. These accommodations often blend seamlessly with the natural environment and emphasize sustainable practices.
Several upscale resorts on the island have adopted sustainable practices, such as solar power, waste reduction, and locally sourced cuisine. Staying at these resorts not only offers luxury but also supports responsible tourism.
Carry a reusable water bottle and shopping bag to reduce plastic waste during your travels. Many hotels and restaurants in Tenerife are committed to reducing single-use plastics. You'll often find water refill stations and eco-friendly dining options that utilize biodegradable or reusable tableware.
Tenerife is renowned for its delicious cuisine, and you can make your dining experiences sustainable by following these tips:
Seek out restaurants that prioritize local and organic ingredients. By doing so, you support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint associated with food transportation. Tenerife's cuisine features fresh seafood, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and traditional Canarian dishes.
Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Opt for vegan or vegetarian dishes when dining out. Plant-based meals have a lower environmental impact compared to meat-based options. Tenerife has a growing number of restaurants offering delectable vegan and vegetarian choices.
If you enjoy seafood, choose restaurants that source their seafood sustainably. Look for certifications like MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) or ask about the origin of the seafood on the menu.
Tenerife's natural beauty is its biggest draw, and you can enjoy it while being a responsible traveler:
Tenerife offers a myriad of hiking trails, each with its unique charm. To minimize your impact, stick to designated trails to avoid damaging fragile ecosystems. Joining guided eco-tours is an excellent way to explore the island's natural beauty while learning about responsible hiking practices.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Tenerife is a prime location for marine wildlife enthusiasts. When booking whale and dolphin watching tours, choose operators committed to responsible wildlife viewing. These operators adhere to guidelines that protect the animals and their habitats, ensuring a safe and educational experience for you.
A visit to the iconic Teide National Park is a must, but it's essential to follow the park's rules to preserve this unique volcanic landscape. Stay on designated paths, avoid removing rocks or plants, and be cautious with open flames or littering.
Consider going beyond sightseeing by actively participating in local conservation initiatives during your stay. Many organizations and national parks offer opportunities for travelers to contribute to the preservation of Tenerife's unique flora and fauna. Volunteering or engaging in educational programs can be both rewarding and impactful.
Practice responsible energy use during your stay in Tenerife. Simple actions can make a difference:
Turn Off Lights and Electronics
When you leave your accommodation, make sure to turn off lights, air conditioning, and other electronic devices to reduce energy consumption.
Opt for Energy-Efficient Accommodations
Choose accommodations that implement energy-efficient technologies, such as LED lighting, solar power, and smart heating/cooling systems.
To be a responsible traveler, take the time to learn about the local customs and culture and be respectful of the residents. Here are some ways to engage responsibly with the local community:
Support Local Artisans
Seek out local artisans and craftspeople, and purchase their handmade products as souvenirs. This supports the local economy and promotes traditional craftsmanship.
Avoid Endangered Souvenirs
Be cautious about purchasing products made from endangered species or materials that harm the environment. This includes items made from coral, sea turtle shells, and exotic hardwoods.
Learn Basic Phrases
Learning a few basic phrases in the local language, Spanish, can go a long way in showing respect and cultural appreciation. Locals often appreciate when visitors make an effort to communicate in their native tongue.
Lastly, one of the fundamental principles of sustainable travel is to leave no trace. Ensure you leave Tenerife just as beautiful as you found it:
Proper Waste Disposal
Dispose of your waste properly by using designated trash bins and recycling facilities. Avoid littering in natural and cultural heritage sites.
Admire wildlife from a distance and avoid feeding them. Feeding wild animals can disrupt their natural behavior and harm their health.
Cultural Heritage Preservation
When visiting historical or cultural sites, be mindful of their preservation. Avoid touching or climbing on ancient structures, and follow any posted rules or guidelines.
Traveling to Tenerife in a sustainable manner is not only possible but also immensely rewarding. By making conscious choices throughout your journey, you can enjoy the island's stunning landscapes and vibrant culture while helping to protect the environment and support local communities. Let your next adventure to Tenerife be a shining example of responsible and sustainable travel, leaving a positive impact on the island's natural beauty, local communities, and future generations of travelers to come. By embracing sustainable practices, you can ensure that Tenerife's stunning landscapes and unique culture thrive for years to come, providing incredible experiences for all who visit this enchanting island.
~Wietse & Sten