Tenerife Cabildo’s pretty road signs – a mad waste of money that the Aytos will have to copy

Photo: Janet Anscombe.

Update 17 September 2015: I’ve not heard any more about this issue, and some signs seem to have improved and others been replaced, but one in particular has never altered, and every time I’ve gone past I think to myself “next time … “. The culprit in question is at the Los Cristianos junction of the TF1. Bear in mind that these are aimed at tourists who don’t know the island … and now look at the photo above. Right next to, or opposite to, depending on direction, a little mountain is a picture road sign for the junction for El Teide. It even has a picture of El Teide on it, but the perspective means that the difference in scale suggests that the little mountain to the side of the motorway is, in fact, the El Teide in the photo. Surely to goodness they can find a better image, or a better place for the road sign?

Update 16 May 2013: It doesn’t get any better. After inspecting the installations of the signs today, the Cabildo is not happy with a considerable number of them, particularly in south Tenerife. They are said to be poorly placed and could confuse drivers. There are also, it appears, issues which have not been clarified with some of the pictorial images themselves. The works were supposed to be finished by the end of this month and so were already behind schedule, and the rectifications that will now have to take place will cause even further delays.

Original post 15 May: Many will by now have noticed that new road signs have been appearing, particularly around motorway junctions. The new signs are large squares of around three metres with large photos showing the attraction most associated with the place name – e.g. cliffs on the signs saying Los Gigantes. Others in different parts show the auditorium, pilot whales, the Drago tree, or Teide itself.

These new signs are part of the Tenerife Cabildo’s Plan E, a response, says the Cabildo, to demands from tourists and businesses for better information provision and directions for visitors, and transforming Tenerife into the first Spanish destination with such tourist-related roadsigns. Well, yes, that was indeed needed, but some will be appalled that the signs, some 650 or so for 300 tourist attractions, will cost around €1,000,000.

The final cost for the project, indeed, will be nearer €1,500,000, to be funded equally by the Cabildo and the Canarian Government, and many will surely ask whether there wasn’t a better use for such a huge sum of money. Education, health, infrastructure are all being hit by cut after cut, public sector workers are being laid off by the thousand, and yet we have gone from inadequate signage to huge pictorial imagery, from one extreme to the other. Do tourists really need to see the image of the place they are already heading for?

Some will be equally appalled that this plan is also being devolved onto the municipalities, Ayuntamientos are already in receipt of a manual containing instructions on how to match the official installation and design. The first local authorities to proceed with the project are Arona, Adeje, Puerto de la Cruz, Santiago del Teide and San Miguel de Abona. Where the money is to come from is anyone’s guess, and I would have thought Arona, at least, would be better employed spending that money in complying with the recent Court judgment to pay the lifeguards to make its beaches safe, rather than putting up signs to beaches where no lifeguards are in place.

Utter madness.


  1. I was amazed at the sign on TF1 just after the main Adeje turn-off (junc.79)…Depicting Los Gigantes …(junc. 79b) Los Olivos /Las Nieves methinks one may well end up in Titos Fruit and Veg. shop….

  2. Author

    I think the problem is that all anyone has ever called for is accurate and clear signs. Pictures that are so large that you can hardly see the place name, and which don’t convey directions, and which are anyway in the wrong place, don’t do Tenerife tourism any good at all, in my opinion.

  3. Why is everyone incapable of trying to imagine what it is like to arrive in a strange place and not know where anything is? This is particularly true for those who speak neither Spanish nor English. Contrary to what most Brits believe tourism isn’t geared solely to them.

    Whilst it’s true enough that funds are needed for education and health care, generating more revenue to fund those sectors is very important. That is what will get the economy going again….so long, of course, as those who benefit (the businesses which sell whale and dolphin trips, windsurfing, whatever) pay their taxes.

  4. Local paper El Día reports today that officials from the island Cabildo have ordered a significant number to be taken down, particularly in the south. Sources say the signs were “misleading” in certain cases, while in others issues have arisen with the pictures used.
    Qoute taken from Island Connections. Daily News

    1. Author

      Yes, but only as a temporary measure, I understand, rather than a U-change of policy.

  5. I ask how long will the pictures last before they become “tatty”. With the amount of sunshine on the island will the pcctures not fade? Perhaps the powers that be hadn’t thought of this or perhaps they have – I doubt it. We are being asked to provide food for the unfortunate people.

  6. Just arrived from the UK what a WASTE OF MONEY

  7. Or what about putting this money towards finishing the hospital in the South!

  8. It is almost as bad as the painting of the faded road marking during the rainy season in Las Americas, then came the rains and washed away all the unmaintained broken up tarmac.
    Then all of the roads had to be patch repaired, another example of non comunication within the cabildo.

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