Sitting back I relaxed on the eight-seater mini bus, with a full days itinerary ahead. I didn’t really know what to expect – just that it was going to be a long day which would share with us many highlights of this enchanting and fertile island. As we began to pull away from the canarian coastline and up through its undulating, leafy green shoulders, lavender flowers mingled with cacti and brush. I had been told about the diverse micro-climates, which are a unique and very appealing part of this little islands landscape and was thoroughly enjoying meeting them at first hand, as during the day we moved from brilliant sunshine to fast moving clouds, into mist and rain before encountering blistering sunshine again. Magnificent sweeping vistas arose majestically out of its earthy volcanic terrain, as the twists and turns of the road carried us ever skyward,
As an Overseas Rep, I had been invited to experience the Islands Delight Premium Tour, part of the TUI exclusive collection-so I could personally share with guests, what the tour consisted of. As the road soared ever higher and deeper into its heart, I was greeted by the vision of its burnt umber, rocky, bouldered interior. it reminded me of the photographs I had seen of the Grand Canyon. The spectacular scenery holding my gaze in the cool of the mini-bus interior.
- Gran Canaria rises from sea level up to up to its highest point of 1949 metres at the top of Mount Las Nieves
I had been excited by the stories I had heard – of how the words of Neil Armstrong-the first man to ever walk on the moon-had been beamed down via Gran Canaria and wondered also if I were truly bothered to see Scientist Stephen Hawkings graffiti, on the wall at the artisan coffee plantation in Agate, in the north of the island, where he too visited.
- Make the most of the stopping points along route to create those memorable, holiday, photographic moments
Pine trees surrounded us, as we made our way to the central viewpoint on the island, spying Mount Tiede through the thrilling, billowing weather. Tenerife’s dormant volcano, rising high across the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. An awe-inspiring sight on this bewitching archipelago.
- Stable footwear is recommended to wear for when you reach the highest point, to ensure you gain good stability at the best viewpoint on the island
Our traditional, all-inclusive rustic lunch at Mirador Cuewas, tickled both tastebuds and memories, as the creamy dessert brought to life delicious childhood puddings of the past-our tour guide translating my pleasure to the waitress. Salty canarian potatoes, with a spicy, garlicy red mojo sauce, had me licking my fingers as I ate it with my bread and fish.
- Take a moment and walk to the restaurant roof and allow yourself to be absorbed in the echoey clucking of chickens in the surrounding hillside, whilst you absorb distant sea views
As I let my lunch digest, the island delight premium tour wound its way further north west, to Finca La Laja – the only artisan coffee plantation in europe. Once there, biting into samples of their sharply, sweet, Washington Neville orange, I learnt about the fermenting process used to create the young wines.
- It is a long time in a vehicle during the day, so if you suffer from motion sickness it might be worth taking something for it, before you leave your hotel. A real benefit of the tour is the guide translating questions and information with the staff and owners
I didn’t think I would enjoy this part of the trip as much as being up in the mountains sucking in the panorama but being with an enthusiastic crowd who were great company, our glasses were filled very generously. The grapes are picked at night and matured in the cool mountain. The young red we sipped was only four months old and the muscatel was definitely my favourite. The wines were served alongside local produce and award winning cheeses. The arabica coffee bean roasted made the coffee have a smokey smell, I liked a little sugar in it, going down well with light and fluffy homemade cake.
- At the coffee plantation they have a shop where you can buy the wine, mojo sauce and other local products
I was feeling very full and content by this time. So didn’t mind getting back in our transport to slowly make our way back along the deep blue coastline, through Las Palmas, the islands capital to our resort and hotel.
The great thing about this trip and all the other TUI trips available on the island, is that you don’t have to be on holiday with Thomson, TUI or First Choice to be able to enjoy them. Just speak to the rep in your hotel. They’ll have a big red TUI written on their back and they can book it all for you.
Island Delight Premium Tour costs from:
£50.74 per adult.
£45.50 per child.
(Prices as shown online 22/7/16)