In real life, I am an ancient historian, and was a university lecturer in Classics & Ancient History specializing in rhetoric, law and politics before moving to Tenerife. I’ve been here now for ten years that have gone in an astonishing flash, after finding Higher Education had become little more than a processing factory for successful graduates who would be in debt for decades, or unsuccessful ones who were set up by the system to feel like abject failures after being encouraged to aspire to a level of education that was simply beyond them. Tenerife was our holiday home from home before 2004, and the obvious place to choose to retire. It is a sub-tropical haven with a pretty much year-round Spring climate and a language and culture both exotic and familiar. For anyone who wants to stay in Europe but in a place with a buzz, and who has rheumatoid arthritis, like me, and so needs steady humidity and kind temperatures, it is just about perfect.
I live with my husband in a tiny 200-year-old Canarian cottage on the edge of a mountain village a kilometer above the west coast. Our garden is full of flowers and trees, and lizards who now clearly consider us protection and food source combined. We have to resist constant demands for more egg mayonnaise, and shuffle them out of the way as they run at us for more banana now please! One thing I love about living at altitude is that we have seasons, something I think expatriates’ bodies simply need, and in Spring the air is heady with blossom scent from fruit and almond trees, and in autumn it’s a glorious relief to see autumnal colour and falling leaves while watching the mist rolling up the barranco like a steam train! Here’s a view from up here that I never tire of, looking out over the sea to the light show over La Gomera that is different every day. The “blessed isles”. Yes, indeed!
Over the last decade, I have spent quite a bit of my time indulging my interest in houses and homes, particularly interior design but also architecture – ancient architecture was always one of my favourite sidelines in work. My main fields, however, of rhetoric, law and politics have been the launchpad for considerable research into modern Spanish law and politics. If I see this website as having any function beyond that of personal enjoyment, it is as a source of advocacy for anyone thinking of moving here, or actually living here and struggling with bureaucracy and legalities. Ideally in such a place, people would be stress free and fulfilling their ideal of “living the dream”, but all too often it turns into a nightmare. I hope this site is helpful to anyone looking for accurate up-to-date information about what is happening here as well as a straightforward guide to the legalities and bureaucracy involved for resident and visiting foreigners, and their rights and responsibilities.
Please investigate the tabs across the top of the page. They lead to information and advice on being legal, owning property or living here – there are also a few private sales for those looking to buy property – as well as questions and answers on a wide range of related topcis. There are links to pages on everything from the rights of consumers generally to those of patients in the health service in particular, and from keeping dogs to donating a body to science! Under “Useful Stuff”, you’ll find some Spanish vocabulary, links to jobs available for English speakers, books written about Tenerife, essential places to visit, readers’ photos, how to stay safe in heat and water, and a full calendar of “what’s on” with links to detailed information about events.
Below on this page are the latest of regularly-updated posts about news and events; for earlier items, just look to the right and click on the main news link or on a particular date in the calendar (just hover over a date and it will show you the posts made on that day). The right hand column also has buttons to “follow me” on Facebook, Twitter or by RSS feed; a search box to help locate news items or information of interest; links to recent comments made by readers (please do express opinions or ask questions – just click on individual headlines to find the comments box); and the latest news from the BBC and in English from El Pais. The final tab at the top of the page is to Links and Laws, a whole range of legal, official, practical and inspirational resources for anyone with an interest in this wonderful island I call home.
COPYRIGHT: Apart from press releases or where expressly stated otherwise, I have written every single word of text on this website myself. The entire content therefore belongs to me or the source I quote and the copyright is protected and reserved. Readers are welcome to take text without permission as long as they expressly name and provide a link to this site. If anyone wants to use anything without crediting me in this way, please ask first.
Latest news and events in Tenerife
Click HERE for the What’s On Diary
The Cabildo has announced that Tenerife will be the host of 2015′s International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), the world’s most important golf tourism fair. The event will be attended by over a thousand delegates and several hundred specialist journalists.
Tenerife president Carlos Alonso said that “it’s one of the best news we could get. To be the host for the IGTM is sought by major destinations around the world because of the economic and promotional benefits it can bring”. Alonso stressed the hard work that has resulted in the award, and said the Cabildo was sure that Tenerife’s IGTM would be the best IGTM to date.
Canarian government tourism minister Ricardo Fernandez de la Puente echoed the Tenerife president’s words, saying that the event would be hugely important in enabling Tenerife and the Canary Islands generally to promote the advantages of the destination to the very large and year-round niche golf market.
Cabildo tourism councillor Miguel Angel Santos explained that Tenerife’s bid was the most complete of all the presentations to host the next IGTM. “Our magnificent golf courses, exceptionally high standards of accommodation with all facilities for golfers, and the leisure attractions that Tenerife offers have all been crucial to being chosen”, he said.
Peter Grimster, IGTM director, said that apart from Tenerife’s climate, accessibility and facilities, one of the the most significant elements to awarding the fair was the coordination shown by all parties involved in the bid, from the Cabildo and government, to golf courses, hotels, and to the cohesive upmarket branding for Tenerife Golf, which has resulted in Tenerife being “a world-class destination for both golfers and tourists in general.”
The event will be held in Costa Adeje’s Magma Centre next October and will incorporate visits to some of the island’s famous landmarks, including the Teide National Park and La Laguna – both Unesco Heritage Sites – and various activities, from whale watching to gastronomic events. Participants will come from around the world, with notable contingents from Germany, Netherlands, USA, China, Russia, UAE and India.
The body of a man has been found floating in the sea at Los Cristianos beach. There are no details of the man at the moment other than that he was discovered just a few metres from the shore around 10pm last night and no identification was found for him. Local police recovered the body from the water and paramedics could do no more than confirm his death at the scene. No doubt there will be more information in due course.
It’s been delayed for a very long time, and has overcome hurdles of every type, but now it’s on the starting grid. The Tenerife motor circuit has finally received the go-ahead from the Canarian government. Nothing now stands in the way of tenders to run the track. With the utmost backing of the Tenerife Cabildo, the Circuito de Tenerife in Atogo near Granadilla is underway. It will be overwhelmingly financed by private initiative but apparently interest is extremely high. The track will be able to provide facilities for all sorts of motor racing on up to nine track formations allowing for everything from carcross to motor cycling to Formula One. The project is forecast for 2017, and the Cabildo sees enormous tourism advantages for Tenerife from the circuit, not least because it is near the island’s main international airport and its principal tourism infrastructure.
Update 28 October: As I posted in January, travel firms had until November to be fully integrated into the automated SARA system for resident discounts. Throughout this year, technically, travellers no longer had to provide travel empadronamientos (Certificado de Empadronamiento para Viajar) but were advised to get one in case their travel agent or carrier was not yet part of SARA. Well, November it nearly is, and from this Saturday, travellers will find the process completed automatically and will no longer be asked for the travel empadronamiento – indeed, they cannot be asked for it.
As I said below, to be clear, this just means that travellers don’t have to produce a certificate any more. They still have to be “on the padron” so that the automatic system will be able to confirm they are registered with their council. The expected confirmation that all travel agents, shipping companies, airlines, etc., must use the SARA system from Saturday was given today by the Ministerio de Fomento. The government said that travel empadronamientos will still have to be produced for children under 14 and for anyone who has only very recently registered with their council.
Original post 24 January: The government has modified the requirements for resident discounts so as to avoid “unnecessary procedures”. The measure is included in a law approved today by the cabinet. Government minister Ana Pastor said that from now travel agents and airlines will use the same telematic system (Sistema telemático de Acreditación de Residencia - SARA), and will be required to do so. As a result, the public will find the process completed automatically and the Certificado de Empadronamiento para Viajar will therefore no longer be necessary.
Just to be clear: anyone getting a discount must not only have a Certificado de Registro but must also have registered with the council and be “on the padron”. It is just the requirement to get a travel certificate that is being waived. The travel agencies or airlines or ferries will be able to confirm the registration with local councils automatically. Until November, however, travellers are advised to carry a physical certificate while the automated system is set up. Please be aware that you have to renew your registration on the padron periodically: check with your local town hall how often this needs to be done.
Update 28 October: The following notes of the meeting at El Mocan on the 26th have now been posted in the Clean Up Palm Mar event page on Facebook (link).
There was 29 people in attendance of various nationalities, although, disappointingly some 24 people who stated they would definitely be coming were absent. Representation came from Club de Mar, Balandros, Laderas, Pariasio I and II, Cape Selima and various streets.
Peter opened the meeting by thanking everyone for their efforts and support over the previous month. There was also a mention of Janet Anscombe who has supported the Clean Up Campaign by placing an article and photographs on her website. Through the chair there was a request to give special thanks to Tess Spelman for all her hard work and also Karine Lecat who kindly donated 200 red aprons for use in the Clean Up Campaign.
Peter asked if there was anyone willing to volunteer to be responsible for fund raising. There was much discussion regarding charity donations e.g. Who holds it; how it is spent and legalities. Sue Cooper was mentioned as a possibility. Mark Thornton agreed to approach local business for support, John Bentley, president of Laderas has said he has a couple of signs to put up along the back road of Calle Quezal.
Vicky Jackson presented posters that could be used around Palm Mar and it was agreed we use as many different types to attract the attention of the reader.
It was suggested that Communities be approached regarding support, however there was no firm decision made.
It was also suggested that volunteers be aware of culprits leaving poo and offering them a plastic bag (nappy bags are very cheap to buy!) This was agreed that some of the group would be vigilant.
Peter Clarke said, although not in our remit we should approach Arona Council regarding the collection of all dead palm tree branches scattered around Palm Mar. Peter Clarke agreed to follow this up.
Ann Benton reiterated from the last meeting that if we phone Arona Council on 010 we can ask to be dealt with by an English speaker. For those who wish to send photos or communicate via email with Arona their address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Concern from a number of people regarding the state of Palm Mar being openly published on this site would deter visitors. It was therefore agreed to create a separate group which Vicky Jackson has done called Clean Up Palm Mar
Hopefully this summarises most of the discussion of the meeting
Peter suggested instead of a meeting next month that we should clean up the main streets from the archway straight down the main road. To take no more than 2 hours. It was therefore agreed that we get as many volunteers as possible to meet at El Mocan at 10 am Sunday 30 November 2014. Bring your red apron given out at the meeting, those who don’t already have one they will be available on the day.
Update 6 October: The date for the second meeting of Clean up Palm Mar has now been confirmed for 26 October, at 2pm in El Mocan. Organizers say that everyone is welcome, and that many people are already very busy transforming Palm Mar into the beautiful place they all know it can be.
Original post 1 October: They pay their IBIs, and might think that the council should provide the service, but frustration has finally got to the residents of Palm Mar and they have taken matters into their own hands. Fed up with litter and dog mess left by the irresponsible and uncaring, and even worse, Arona Ayuntamiento’s lethargy and uninterest, a small but growing group of currently around 20 residents has been organized.
The group is using Facebook’s Palm Mar Group (HERE) to update all the residents on events and future schedules, and chairman Peter Clarke says that the first meeting was held at Clouseau’s on Sunday, 28 September, with the next meeting at El Mocan on Saturday, 26 October. Peter says he would also like to thank Paul, Mark, Tess, Sue and Jan for their wonderful efforts this week.
Good luck to them. They shouldn’t have to do it, but sometimes needs must, particularly for motivated and responsible residents. Here are some photos from that FB group.
It’s that time of the year when summer’s going and winter’s coming, and the weather veers between storm, calima and rain, and today, Aemet is forecasting more rain, though not of storm force as we had recently. The met office has raised a yellow alert, all the same, for scattered showers which could be heavy in parts throughout today, with the heaviest rain expected this afternoon and evening in the north. Although the recent storm didn’t leave any snow on Teide, today’s weather is expected to give us the winter white view that everyone so loves. The weather alert also extends to the sea, with strong winds whipping up a real surf. Please be careful in or near the water. There have been enough deaths in the sea this year.
Next week, one of the suites of the exclusive Baobab hotel in the upmarket El Duque area will become an exclusive restaurant where eight chefs will team up to prepare eight different dishes … with a difference. From starter to dessert, the main ingredient for each course will be a different type of ancient Canarian potato! These are not just any potatoes. Canarian potatoes are world-renowned, and guests will sample each dish as they learn about the potato they are tasting.
The event is obviously intended to promote Canarian potatoes, and although Baobab is hosting the event this time, it’s organised by Frack Chefs, and it’s very likely that it will be repeated in different locations throughout the Canary Islands and even further afield. A wonderful gastronomic and cultural experience, accompanied by excellent local wines. It will be held on 30 and 31 October, and costs €59 per person. For more information and to reserve a place, see Baobab’s website HERE.
Playa san Juan’s beach is again open to the public and fully restored after the damage caused by the recent rains. The council says that it acted on the best information available at the time, but the amount of rain that fell was well beyond forecasts and took everyone by surprise. Nonetheless, some 4,500 tons of debris has been removed by 200 lorries and all is now back to normal. Both of the town’s beaches – playa grande and playa chica -are now open again as of 2pm this afternoon.
Update 27 October 2014: Over the last couple of days things have gone a bit haywire with enquiries about this new legislation, maybe it’s just because it’s coming to the end of the year. So, to clarify, the situation with driving licences is:
An EU directive already in force in Europe is being enforced in Spain from January 2015. No-one has to change to a Spanish licence. Drivers who are in Spain for more than six months have a choice : they must end up with one of two things:
- Either a Spanish licence
- OR a UK licence with a medical – both medical cert and licence inscribed with trafico.
To exchange: you or a representative has to go to Trafico (you could contact Diana McGowan, for example). Tráfico will check with DVLA that your licence is valid and exchange it for a Spanish one. You’ll need the usual documentation, including a photo, and a fee of around 27 Euros … plus the fee of someone doing it for you if you employ someone. If you don’t want to exchange, you have to take a medical and these must be taken at specific registered centres (there’s a link to the official list below so it depends where you are) and then take (or get someone to take) the medical and your UK licence to Trafico to inscribe them. Please note that all procedures with Tráfico must now be done by prior appointment: this can be arranged HERE or by phone to 060.
Please, though, understand that there is a separate and additional issue to consider as far as the UK is concerned. UK licence holders are required by British law to inform DVLA of changes of address, but foreign addresses cannot be registered as a new address on a UK driving licence. Instead, the DVLA tells drivers moving abroad to contact the appropriate driving licence authority in their new country of residence. (link)
This means, logically, that the UK requires anyone who is living in Tenerife to contact Tráfico – which means getting a Spanish licence. This is why some advisers are saying that anyone living here must change to a Spanish licence. It is UK rules, however, not Spanish, that are behind this requirement, the issue arising from the fact that British licences are only valid for UK residents. As far as Spain is concerned, the situation is that a driver living here must either have a Spanish licence or have taken a medical which is then inscribed with their UK licence.
If anyone needs further information, please just read the posts below.
Update 18 January 2013: Further confirmation from Trafico today specifically for those who are thinking of changing to a Spanish licence: British licence holders who exchange valid British licences for Spanish ones will be processed and given a new ten-year Spanish licence without the requirement for a medical. HERE, in case anyone wishes to see for themselves, is advice from the European Motorist Association. So, the situation is that there are new rules requiring drivers throughout Europe to take medicals, and these rules are being enforced in Spain from January 2015. From then, drivers will either have to exchange their British driving licence for a Spanish one, or keep a British licence but go for a medical and then take the medical certificate plus UK licence to Tráfico for inscription.
Update 16 January 2013: From Trafico today:
- You need to go to Trafico if your inscribed licence has expired and you’re having it renewed.
- You need to go to Trafico if you have been driving here for more than 6 months and you’re having a British licence inscribed for the first time.
- You need to go to Trafico if you’re changing your licence for a Spanish one.
- You do not need to go to Trafico if you have already inscribed your British licence and the inscription is valid.
- You do not need to go to Trafico if you already changed your British licence for a Spanish one.
One of the above conditions must apply to all British drivers.
Everyone who has been resident in Spain for two years, and who has not changed their British licence for a Spanish one, must have a medical.
If you are in the category of driver who needs to go to Trafico, you can get a medical at the centre to the side of Trafico.
I hope this is as clear as it needs to be.
Original post 12 January 2013: I was going to post this in a week’s time but a flurry of emails on the subject suggests it’s as well to post now to avoid confusion. An EU directive, 2012/36/EU, which comes into force on 19 January means that there will be changes to driving licence rules for some expatriate residents in Spain (BOE). The EU law is intended to “harmonise” licensing throughout Europe so that drivers from countries with permanently valid licences (e.g. France), or licences of very long validity (e.g. the UK), will have to comply with the same rules as residents of the countries in which they live, and which issue licences for set periods of time.
These drivers will now have to take a medical test every ten years if under 65, or every 5 years if over 65. The rules will apply to all British drivers in Spain once they have been resident here for two years, and Trafico will impose a €200 fine on anyone who has failed to do so. The medical tests are taken in specific centres known as centros de reconocimiento (list HERE), and comprise a manual dexterity test (a hand-eye coordination test rather like a computer game) and an eye test. Providing the test is passed, Tráfico will register the licence holder in the Spanish drivers’ census: from that moment, drivers will have to renew their licences as the Spanish currently do; they will also be subject to Spain’s penalty points system.
It appears that British drivers will be able to keep their British licences, since the change relates specifically to medicals and the penalty system. Because drivers will be registered without a new computer-generated Spanish driving licence being issued, those attending the medical will therefore need to take a photograph for Trafico’s records. Clearly, however, drivers have the option of not just taking the medical, but of changing their licence once and for all to a Spanish licence: the only reason many have not done so is because of the medical anyway, and it is important to note that failing to tell the DVLA that one is resident in Spain is an offence in the UK. Many (if now not all) of the centros de reconocimiento undertake all the paperwork necessary to make the change to a Spanish licence in addition to performing the medical.
A 30-year-old man was taken to hospital last night with serious injuries after a fight in in C/. Ernesto Sarti in Adeje – the road that runs from Sunset Harbour around past the Esmerelda hotel (as was) and up past Playa Olid. Emergency services say the incident took place shortly before 4am when they were called out with reports that someone had been hit on the head in an attack which had left him badly hurt. The man, about whom there are no further details at present, was stabilized at the scene and taken to hospital with a serious head wound.