The island of Tenerife, off the west coast of Northern Africa, is a curious mix of beautiful artificial beaches, energetic night life and dusty, desolate but beautiful natural scenery. Because of the near constant temperatures here, you can visit during the quieter and cheaper months without suffering too much of a weather disappointment (we only had one rainy day out of a week).
Most of the natural earth on the island is black volcanic rock, and although looks a bit ugly compared to the pristine white sand that we were taught to seek as children, it's really exactly the same, and actually is warmer and less messy.
One of my favourite places to visit on the island was Siam Park. This almost 50 acre sprawling complex of slides, eccentric and elaborate set design is a fantastic place for anyone to spend a day (and you'll need a full day to explore it all). It's fairly central on the island, although we rented a car just to make getting around a little easier.
You can also make the most of the warmer water and gentle waves, and go surfing on the southern coast of the island. The waves here (at least when I was there) were not rough at all, and with wet suit and board hire being pretty cheap, it was a great activity to include with some of the more busy tourist activities.
We also had a great time at Loro Parque (Parrot Park) which is the huge zoo/aquarium. Although I don't like Killer Whales in captivity and did not pay to see them, I do love well presented zoos and aquariums, and this is definitely well worth a visit. The seal and dolphin shows were fun without being abusive and the range and health of the animals was fantastic to see.
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