Avanti Destinations named Tenerife as a new destination on its roster of places where it provides components for independent vacation packages. It’s the first new destination Avanti has added for a while. Adding destinations was not a big trend during the Covid lockdown, or even now while the industry is re-tooling and getting back on its feet. Avanti’s last introduction of a major destination was Abu Dhabi in June 2022.
Since its founding in 1981, Avanti Destinations specializes in custom-built vacation packages for independent travelers. Avanti now offers components for vacation packages for 65 countries, and an incalculable number of destinations throughout Europe, South America and Asia. It’s a full plate. So, why Tenerife? And why now? Since Tenerife is not a household name in America, we might add the question “What?”
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, a small archipelago that starts about 62 miles off the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The island of Tenerife is about 186 miles west of the northwest shoulder of the great African continent, and about 4,000 miles due east of Florida.
Though the Canaries have historically been claimed as a territory of Spain, they are geographically more akin to Africa. As islands, they have their own distinct culture which blends elements of European and African cultures. Since 1982, the Canaries have had the status of “an autonomous community of Spain.”
It is said that the Canaries were Christopher Columbus’ last stop on his way to what he thought would be the Far East. I wonder if he’d known he was about to discover a New World, if he still would have taken the time to stop. As it was, the Canaries were his last stop as he stepped into a radically new chapter of human consciousness.
If you search “Canary Islands” you’ll see a row of beach vacation offerings, and that’s mainly what the Canaries are known for here in the States—beautiful, exotic beaches. The islands are also known for great hiking, mind-expanding scenery, fascinating wildlife, national parks, and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Canaries are volcanic formed islands, peaks that jut out of the ocean to elevations of more than 4,000 feet. The highest peak among them is the 12,000-foot Teide Peak on Tenerife, the tallest mountain in all of Spain.
As with other destinations Avanti offers around the world, the company offers the full range of ground options for independent travelers, including hotels, lodges, inns, sightseeing tours, activities, and transportation.
Avanti is selling the destination as part of Spain, as an extension of other travels within Spain. “The addition of Tenerife expands our offerings in Spain—consistently one of the top five best-selling European countries for Avanti.”, said Paul Barry, Avanti Destinations CEO. “Tenerife is, however, a unique destination—Spanish, but just 186 miles off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic, it feels entirely different from mainland Spain.”
Offering Tenerife as part of Spain fits into the shifting purchase preferences of Avanti’s customers since the onset of Covid. “While the trend before 2020 was for FIT travelers to visit several countries in one vacation,” said Barry, “now more of them are going to several places within a single country. Tenerife provides a subtropical island experience that makes a wonderful addition to a Spanish itinerary of, say, 10-14 days. Most of our Spain bookings combine cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Seville with smaller destinations such as Rioja, Mallorca, and Malaga.”
Avanti recently launched a joint campaign with Tenerife Tourist Corporation, the intention to educate travel advisors about the attractions of Tenerife. Besides its beaches and turquoise water, Tenerife also has dramatic volcanic landscapes, Europe’s largest lava tube, Michelin-starred restaurants, whale and dolphin watching, Europe’s first Marine Heritage Site, colorful festivals during pleasant weather year-round, and the second-largest Carnival celebration in the world.
The educational campaign includes a 28-page downloadable e-brochure called Tenerife: Crown Jewel of the Canary Islands. The brochure includes two new customizable vacations, at www.flipsnack.com on Avanti’s travel advisor portal; a $25 gift card for advisors for each Tenerife stay having a minimum land value of $2,500 booked between Feb. 14 and April 30, with travel completed by Dec. 31; and a webinar jointly led by Tenerife’s tourism organization and Avanti (recording posted here.)
In addition to the two basic packages, Avanti offers a series of hotels in the five- and six-star categories, four private sightseeing programs, and six shared tours on Tenerife.
According to Paul Barry, a trip to Tenerife is more than just a typical beach vacation. “Tenerife has long been a favorite getaway for Brits and Europeans because of its subtropical climate and location off the coast of Africa,” said Barry, “but it definitely has much more to offer independent travelers than beautiful beaches, luxurious resorts, and nightlife. A part of Spain since before Columbus stopped there on his way to the Americas, this intriguing island blends influences from several European countries and the Americas, as well as boasting two UNESCO World Heritage sites—one natural, one cultural. There is something there for clients seeking active travel, wildlife spotting, gourmet restaurants, picturesque towns, stargazing, traditional local festivals, and striking landscapes.
Barry recommends combining a stay in Tenerife with a vacation in Spain, Portugal or Morocco, which are all within a two- to three-hour flight away. Tenerife is connected by air to 150 European airports, and United Airlines maintains a seasonal nonstop flight from Newark Airport. “One of our new suggested itineraries pairs Tenerife with Madrid and Barcelona,” he said. To avoid the more crowded peak tourist times, Barry advises visiting April through July or September through November.
Avanti is offering 10 Tenerife sightseeing tours through which to experience Tenerife. These can be purchased as components of an individually assembled package.
Teide National Park
Cable cars lead to the 12,000-ft high summit of the Mt. Tiede stratovolcano (UNESCO World Heritage site) in the middle of the park, offering mountain biking, trail running, hiking, hang-gliding and exceptional stargazing in a moon-like landscape of lava fields and ancient calderas. Several movies have been filmed here, including Clash of the Titans.
One of the Canaries’ oldest towns dating to the late 15th century, Teide National Park – Cable cars lead to the 12,000-foot high summit of the Mt. Tiede stratovolcano (UNESCO World Heritage site) in the middle of the park, offering mountain biking, trail running, hiking, hang-gliding and stargazing in a moon-like landscape of lava fields and ancient calderas. Several movies have been filmed here, including Clash of the Titans. Garachico was an important wine trading port until it was nearly destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1706. Many buildings survive from 16th and 17th centuries in the city’s Old Town section. Visitors can soak in volcanic pools formed by solidified lava from the eruption.
Icod de los Vinos
Near Garachico, this city has a view of Mt Teide and is the site of several traditional local festivals throughout the year, as well as an ancient dragon tree, said to be 1,000 years old. It’s also near Cueva del Viento, Europe’s largest lava cave, fifth largest in the world.
San Cristobal de La Laguna
The former capital of the Canary Islands, San Cristobal de La Laguna is a showcase of architectural styles starting from the 16th century onward. It’s Tenerife’s cultural UNESCO World Heritage site. Revolutionary at the time it was built, its layout was used as the blueprint for several South American cities. La Laguna is near the modern capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
This fertile valley with rugged cliffs and forested trails is one of Tenerife’s most scenic places. The 2,000 ft.-high village of Masca has examples of traditional Tenerife rural architecture.
Bottlenose Dolphin and Pilot Whale Watching
Two new Avanti tours take clients by catamaran—one with underwater viewing, the other with underwater sound system—to observe marine mammals in Tenerife’s turquoise waters.
Avanti is also offering two new customizable independent vacations, which may be customized to client preferences, with additional days and activities or combined with other destinations in Spain or elsewhere.
A five-day, four-night package that includes: private arrival and departure transfers; private tours of Teide National Park, Garachico and Icod de los Vinos; choice of accommodations; and daily breakfast. It’s easily combined with destinations in Spain, Morocco, or Portugal.
Spanish Cities and Seascapes
A 13-day, 12-night vacation with four nights each in Barcelona, Madrid and Tenerife. It includes private arrival and departure transfers; one three-course dinner in Madrid; first-class rail between Barcelona and Madrid; choice of accommodations; and daily breakfast and five private tours, including Highlights of Barcelona with driver and guide; Flavors of Barcelona Private Tapas Tour; Highlights of Madrid with driver and guide; Teide National Park; and Garachico and Icod de los Vinos.
For more information, please visit https://book.avantidestinations.com.
David Cogswell is a freelance writer working remotely, from wherever he is at the moment. Born at the dead center of the United States during the last century, he has been incessantly moving and exploring for decades. His articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Fox News, Luxury Travel Magazine, Travel Weekly, Travel Market Report, Travel Agent Magazine, TravelPulse.com, Quirkycruise.com, and other publications. He is the author of four books and a contributor to several others. He was last seen somewhere in the Northeast US.