This is a question I must have heard asked a thousand times and one which must have been on the lips of many visitors and holidaymakers this last month or so.
In fact, a recent visitor has just returned home having spent a month in the town during which time she only enjoyed four days without rain at some time during the day. So can the town really claim to be an all year round sunshine destination? Is it the place to stay to enjoy a winter sun break? Is the winter climate changing or is this year just an exception.
For so many years, this town has relied on sunshine as its main attraction and to a lesser extent, to provide its entertainment. So just what is there to do in Puerto when it is raining? Let’s try to answer the question.
Well for residents the answer is quite simple; most of them probably follow the example of the locals and stay indoors. For holidaymakers, I am sure the confines of their hotel room and communal areas do not offer the same appeal. Besides, the majority and even the most ardent sun worshippers when forced to abandon the sun beds are I’m sure keen to explore and learn more about their surroundings. Of course fully inclusive visitors may well disagree; when faced with a day of rain they might well decide to stay put and take advantage of what their hotel has to offer. Or to put it more simply, some may choose to adjourn to the bar and wait for the weather to change.
For some visitors, the recent adverse weather has not been a deterrent at all, in fact I think some have rather revelled in the inclement conditions. Of course I am talking about the walkers, of whom there are many and why not, the area surrounding Puerto provides no end of interesting walks. They are always prepared and just don their wet weather gear, pack their survival kits in the ever present backpacks and venture forth whatever the weather. It could be blowing a hurricane and they would be undaunted. Instead I am talking about the vast majority who arrive at the airport with shorts and sunglasses already on, confident enough that because they are on holiday the sun will definitely be shining. Confident enough to have left coats and warm clothing back at home.
Yes I know I am skirting around the issue, deliberately as well, delaying tactics, while I try to come up with a half sensible answer. What exactly do people do in Puerto when it’s raining!
So options time, let’s compare for arguments sake Puerto with a typical UK town, one well used to rain, what does everyone find to do? First and foremost there is shopping, of course, in covered shopping centres. Puerto has one, the Martiánez Centre. However sadly with almost as many empty shops as those occupied it won’t eat up much of your wet weather time. The alternative venue is La Villa in La Orotava, a bus or taxi ride away. The cinema then, Puerto had two, both closed now for years, again the alternative the same bus or taxi ride to La Orotava. Yet even that would prove fruitless to the vast majority as despite there being ten screens I think, all the showings are in Spanish.
Museums surely, yes Puerto has one in Calle Lomo dedicated to Los Guanches, which though interesting won’t realistically keep you dry for any length of time. There are plenty of museums in the surrounding towns, La Orotava, El Sauzal, Tacoronte and La Laguna, just some examples and most of them have free admittance at certain times of the week. If not museums, then perhaps there are buildings of interest. Puerto has many beautiful buildings, fine examples of the architecture of the time, but unfortunately none are open to public viewing on a day to day basis. Sadly once again you are forced to travel further afield.
A sports centre then, surely a must for every town and one with an indoor pool. Yes there are sports facilities, most of which are privately owned, but open air, apart from the many gymnasiums. There are covered sports arenas in the town but solely for baseball or so I believe. The municipal swimming pool is heated in the winter months but again is open to the elements. I hate to say it once again but the surrounding towns really do have more to offer.
So swimming is an option, you are going to get wet anyway and if you are bored with going backward and forwards in the hotel pool, there is always the pools at Lago Martiánez. Personally I would wait for a better day when you can make the most of the facilities which will now, following recent price increases, cost you €5.50 entrance fee to enjoy. Plus a further charge of €2.50 for the use of a parasol, though not that essential of late unless you need to use it as an umbrella. On the other hand there is the Municipal pool where entry is free, certainly for residents, but I am not sure if there is a charge for visitors, there is definitely not a turnstile or any control of comings and goings.
Whatever your plans, an essential piece of equipment is the fold up umbrella. You will find them in all the shops, just inside the doorway when it is raining and they only cost a few euros. Then if the rain refuses to let up at least you can venture out. It may be raining but it won’t be cold, so take a walk around the town, it won’t be crowded because as I have already mentioned the locals hate the rain and try to avoid it at all costs. One small piece of advice, if you happen to have brought with you one of those ‘raincoats’ that fold up into a small pack, check yourself in the mirror before leaving with it on. It may well have seemed like a good purchase at the time and took up so little space in your suitcase but most look ridiculous and resemble little more than a bin bag. I know from experience, I bought one.
Have you come to any conclusions? I most certainly have. Puerto is a beautiful town with so much to offer but when it is raining and looks set to remain so all day, your best option could be to plan an away day. Be it by taxi, the local bus service, an organised trip or under your own steam in a hire car there is a lot see in the surrounding towns. Remember also, the weather here can change very quickly; it is not unknown for us to have all four seasons in a single day. There are so many micro climates on this island that even if it is raining in Puerto the sun will more than likely be shining elsewhere, dare I say it, more probably in the south of the island. So if sun is a requisite, you could always go chasing around the island in search of it.