My most recent trip was to the Canary Islands at the end of May. I flew from Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK), then to Madrid (MAD), and finally landing on the island of Tenerife (TFN). After spending 5 days on the island, I flew to its sister island, Gran Canaria.
May is a great time to visit the Canary Islands. This time of year, the climate is similar to that of southern California—dry, warm, and occasionally cloudy in the mornings. Like southern California, Tenerife experiences “May Gray” or “June Gloom” where the warming of air creates condensation and thus a marine layer across the land. The skies usually clear up by early afternoon. I noticed, however, on Tenerife, there was more cloud cover in the north than in the south. It was almost always guaranteed that it would be cloudy in the northern areas like Santa Cruz, La Guancha, La Orotava, and Teide. It can even get a bit chilly! As you make your way south towards Abades, Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje, the clouds dissipate and the sun unapologetically beats down on your shoulders giving you a nice sunburn within 15 minutes or so. Even when the sun is hiding behind clouds, don’t let that fool you! The sun is serious business out there. Apply sunscreen generously!
What to Pack
Pack what you would generally pack to go on vacation…a couple shirts, shorts, and the necessities. Based on weather, I would highly recommend:
– Light outerwear (for chilly days or mountain/volcano hikes)
– Flip flops
– A good pair of hiking shoes
– Travel adapter
– Power banks (for your phone and other electronics)
– Headband and/or bandana (as it can get pretty windy)
Renting a car is recommended if you want to explore more than one area of the island. Contrary to what typical island roads are like (rough and rugged), the roads on both islands are well paved. I would be really cautious driving in Masca in Tenerife. Although it is a beautiful scenic drive, the roads are winding and narrow. Take extra caution when it rains. It is definitely worth the drive though! If you don’t feel comfortable driving, there are plenty of tour buses and excursions that offer day trips around the island.
Day Trip to La Gomera Island
If you have time, I highly suggest doing a day trip to La Gomera Island, a small island adjacent to Tenerife. For a pretty fair price of around $40-60 per person, the tour includes a round trip ferry ride, a guided bus tour, and lunch. It’s a wonderful little island with differing terrain at every other turn.