Your guide to: Tenerife
Tenerife is fast becoming the place to holiday, and who could blame us gays for taking it under our wing. One of the seven islands that make up the Canaries, it's a far cry from the tack that its neighbours find commonplace. Beaches are trimmed with banana plantations, and mountainous backdrops dip neatly on to the untouched greenery that covers the island. Situated just off the West African coast, the island's year-round subtropical climate produces the varied and beautiful landscapes that make Tenerife a great destination.
Beneath the towering volcanoes that dominate the skyline, picturesque villages and towns provide a retreat from the main resorts found in the north and south of the island. While the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria offers a more extensive gay scene, holidays to Tenerife have plenty to offer with the resorts of Puerto de la Cruz in the north, and Playa de las Americas in the south.
Starting with the north, the lush Puerto de la Cruz provides a haven that remains less frantic than many gay destinations. The village vibe is warm and welcoming and the scene here has more than enough options to keep you interested. Within easy walking distance of the accommodation offered there are two gay saunas (Laurent and Sauna Puerto), several bars, cafes and restaurants and a gay sex shop in case you run out of essentials. Avenida Generalisimo is the place to head as this busy street is the focal point for evening entertainment and where you'll find, Mito 2 and Tabasco (fab little gay bars). Late nights can be spent at the nearby and already renowned Vampi's, but other clubs such as Despantoes are becoming evermore popular.
At the top of your list for daytime fun, write Lago Martinez in capital letters. Drench yourself in sunshine here while taking a dip in the natural salt water pools before lying back and enjoying the view at this somewhat cruisey landscaped lido (the gays are on the left hand side).
If you're a first timer to Tenerife, the one thing that will strike you most about the beaches is the charcoal sand that washes in and out with the tides. For those used to golden shores this may seem odd, but sand is sand and the only golden beaches on this island are man-made and nowhere near as good as the real thing. The island overflows with small nudist beaches, many of which cater to the gay market. Playa Bollullo is just outside Puerto de la Cruz and, rather aptly perhaps, the banana plantation here is where you'll find the action. Keep strolling along this beach and you'll also find Los Patos, a real find with a somewhat cuter clientele.
In this diverse world we live in, it doesn't have to be gay to get our thumbs up (although it helps). The north has plenty to offer anyone looking for a great day out. Revel in nature at Loro Parque where you'll find gorillas, sea lions, shark tunnels and dolphins. Now the second largest attraction after Mount Teide, it's a far cry from its humble beginnings as a parrot sanctuary. While we're on the subject of Mount Teide, it's well worth hiring a car to see this giant of a volcano. The surrounding parks and unspoilt villages make great stop off points and if you have time, why not drop in to the botanical gardens too?
Moving to the south you'll find the lively Las Americas. Their are plenty gay friendly hotels in Play de las Americas. The resort has finally discovered botox and is looking years younger than it used to. The dramatic facelift is partly due to an influx of stylish hotels and partly due to a jolly good scrub. There's even a bona fide gay scene now split between the commercial centre and La Laguna, and it keeps getting better. Gemini's has established itself as a fun cabaret and dance bar while The Cellar and Chaplin's offer something racier. Those of you who have remembered to pack your dancing trousers may well agree that Disco Punto Zero and Gay-Sha are the best places in town, and if you're up for some serious cruising keep your eyes peeled on the area on the beach in front of the clubs. Foodies looking for something a little different in a gay friendly environment will enjoy Sugar and Spices (near the Playaflor) and Tomillo in the neighbouring resort of Los Cristianos, a resort which also houses the San Telmo Shopping Centre, Bolina Beach (occasional gay nights) and the rather nice Agua de Coco Bar - a Brazilian venue which, although on the straight side, is very gay friendly with several gay members of staff.
Las Americas is the place to guarantee the best weather. The gay Las Callados beach in nearby Los Cristianos offers a smattering of naked buttocks and a cruising ground overlooking the sea to tempt you to travel that little bit further. A larger and sandier spot can be found in El Medano, although hiring a car is essential to reach it. While in the driving seat, head to Santa Cruz for more gay options or the elaborate carnival held every February.