What it’s like to go on vacation to the Canaries in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic

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A familiar twinge of anxiety grew in my stomach. It was the day before I left for Tenerife and the government had just announced another travel restriction.

Holidaymakers returning to the UK were now required to provide a negative Covid test before returning home.

Since booking the vacation less than five weeks ago, the rules had already changed several times.

He went from a need for a day 2 side flow test once back in the UK, to a need for a day 2 PCR test and self-isolation, to now also a need for ‘a negative PCR test or a lateral flow test (LFT) to come back.

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Not so long ago, Spain tightened its own travel restrictions, meaning only fully vaccinated people could enter the country.

As myself and my boyfriend who was coming on vacation with me were both annoyed, that didn’t worry me.

On the contrary, it made me feel more secure knowing that everyone on our plane – and the other tourists we had come into contact with – were also fully vaccinated.

But this new feedback test came at the last minute.



Landing in Tenerife

We had previously ordered private LTFs as a day 2 test when we originally booked the vacation. They had arrived weeks ago and were sitting in my room keeping them safe and intact.

At around 10 p.m. the night the restrictions were announced, I called the company I booked the tests through – Vivo Clinic – and checked if we could take them on vacation to use as Fit To tests. Fly.

Fortunately, their phone lines are working 24/7, and the clinic assured us that we can take LFTs with us.

We would be able to send a Fit to Fly digital certificate through them if we got a negative result.

It was a relief – and it meant we hadn’t wasted £ 30 on two LFTs.

That morning, after about 30 minutes of sleep, I woke up with a start when I woke up. The usual pre-vacation buzz was still overtaken by this anxiety in my stomach.

Worry about having to quarantine at a government facility for two weeks in Spain or having our vacation cut short due to ever-changing rules danced through my mind.



Stay safe (and comfortable!) On the plane

But really, I had nothing to fear.

Much to my boyfriend’s dismay, we arrived at the airport very early. It was like a ghost town. Therefore, we made our way through check-in and security.

It only took a few seconds for the staff to scan our sanitary control forms for Spain, which we had filled out a few days earlier.

The airport was decorated with Christmas trees and ornaments – and signage reminding people to keep their distance, wear masks, and wash their hands.

As I got on board, I saw excited vacationers take their seats, each wearing a mask.

The four-and-a-half-hour flight was like any other, and my nerves began to ease.

Getting off the plane and under the Tenerife sun was amazing; there were only a few tiny clouds in the sky and it was about 24 degrees.



The view from our room in La Nina, with Mount Teide in the background

After settling into our hotel, the four-star Be Live Experience La Niña in Costa Adeje, we decided to go for a walk.

It didn’t take long to notice the sea of ​​people wearing masks everywhere we went – in shops, restaurants, inside the hotel, and any outdoor space where you couldn’t socially distance yourself, like the hotel pool bar.

Staff and customers alike wore them alike – young children even wore brightly colored face coverings without complaining.

I joked with my boyfriend that I felt safer in Tenerife than in the UK.

I couldn’t wait to spend my vacation soaking up the sun, taking long walks and going out to eat at night.

Costa Adeje has a lot to offer, from its many sports bars and tapas restaurants to steakhouses and cocktail bars.

One restaurant in particular caught our attention on the first night; Restaurant La Farola Del Mar.



A bird's eye view of our table, with a plate of pizza, a plate of ribs and noodles, a side dish of gyoza and a pitcher of sangria
Our meal at Restaurante La Farola Del Mar including delicious sangria

It had received TripAdvisor’s Best Restaurant award for approximately seven consecutive years.

We tried it out and it was easy to see how it had won so much praise.

I had the pepperoni pizza – something I had craved all day – while my boyfriend opted for the Korean ribs.

But it was their sangria that really hit the mark; their interpretation of the red wine drink was smooth, smooth and fruity, not slightly sour as some may taste.



Sangria at Restaurante La Farola Del Mar.

Later that night, we went to a beachfront bar, El Gran Sol, for a few cocktails. It was around € 8 per cocktail – not too different from UK prices.

But we were shocked when we decided to order a gin and lemonade.

A single and a double gin and sprite cost us € 35 – despite just buying four cocktails at the same bar for less.

It became the barometer for the rest of the vacation; When our lunch the next day cost us € 25 total, we saw how much cheaper it was than our two outrageous gins.

One day we decided to enter Playa de las Americas – the tourist heart of the southwest coast of Tenerife.



Torviscas beach in the center of Costa Adeje

The 40-minute walk took us past beautiful beaches, including serene Playa de El Bobo and the choppy waves of Playa de las Americas.

We explored the nearby mall and visited the Hard Rock Café, ending our day trip with a round of mini golf.

As I started to forget about the Covid, it was time to take our Fit to Fly tests.

They were like any other LFT and luckily both came back negative.

After taking a photo of our results next to our passports, we had to fill out some information online to get our Fit to Fly certificates.

But there was one problem – we couldn’t save our tests as Fit to Fly, only as Day 2.



At El Gran Sol, smiling before being charged € 35 for two gin and Sprites

I started to panic, thinking things had gone suspiciously too well.

But another quick call to the Vivo clinic later and it was taken care of. We were able to continue filling out our form as usual and received our Fit to Fly certificates digitally within minutes.

But even if we hadn’t taken our own LFTs with us, that wouldn’t have been a problem; we could have gone to a clinic to have our LFTs done, which would have cost us 35 € each.

We saw the clinics advertised at the hotel reception and even saw people lining up in front of one on our daily walks. It was reassuring to know that a test would have been so accessible – and reasonably priced – in such a short time frame.

As our six night getaway drew to a close, the weather turned cloudier and slightly milder.

Braving the hotel pool, a couple shouted at us: “At least it’s even hotter here than at home!”

It was very busy when we entered the airport for our flight home.

At the check-in counter, we scanned our boarding passes, our UK passenger locator forms (which, you guessed it, we filled out a few days before) and our Fit to Fly certificates.



Christmas lights at Playa de las Americas

It added an extra five minutes to our check-in, but it was worth it knowing we were safe.

We had plenty of time to go through security and browse the Duty Free.

Trying to conserve the last hours of our vacation, I bought an expensive chorizo ​​and cheese sandwich on fancy bread for lunch.

While eating, I read the reports about “queues and major disruptions” at Spanish airports. I looked around at the tidy chaos of Tenerife South airport and thought about how lucky I was that I wasn’t late.

The flight home was pleasant and easy, as were the PCR tests on Day 2 that we did.



Port of Puerto Colón, not far from La Nina

Our results – both negative – came back less than 24 hours after they were sent.

The holidays have been an important reminder to me that while there is so much worry and chaos about Covid, things are still “normal” to some extent for many people. It is still possible to appreciate what surrounds you and to make yourself happy.

And despite the extra effort (and cost) of testing – in total it was an extra £ 57 per person – it was worth knowing we were protecting ourselves and others.

We followed all the rules and there was really nothing to worry about.

At the time of publication, entry requirements for Spain have not changed.


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