When Things go Wrong on Holiday: a supposed trip to Mount Teide, Tenerife…

posted in: Blog, The rest of the world! | 31
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Mount Teide
This was where we were supposed to be going…(pic courtesy of the Tenerife Tourist Board)

Jess writes:

Our family visited Tenerife over Christmas, and had a wonderful time. We had been looking forward to the trip for four reasons – the sunny beaches, the opportunity to relax, Siam Park (which has to be one of the best waterparks anywhere) and Mount Teide, which is supposed to have phenomenal views and is a world-famous national park.

We worked out that we should be able to fit all of these in, but sometimes things don’t go to plan….

The coach journey didn't start well and it got worse!
The coach journey didn’t start well and it got worse!

Our trip to Mount Teide was to be a guided tour, which seemed sensible as we had never been to Tenerife before and had heard that the drive itself to the summit was special. If someone else was driving, then we could all enjoy it and mum and dad wouldn’t have to worry about navigating!

We found out a little bit about the mountain beforehand and packed all our winter clothes as it sometimes snows at the top. What happened next was unexpected.

We drove to our meeting point where we spent over twenty minutes waiting for our very late coach to show up (no apology was given) before spending over an hour driving in circles to collect the rest of the group.  We later discovered that others had been waiting outside for well over an hour and when the coach finally arrived, they couldn’t believe that everyone got off for a toilet break!

Being as British as we are, we were not too impressed when the lady running the trip did not apologise for being late, and instead shouted at us for talking while she was explaining what was happening in French. Everyone was talking quietly, and we all found this very rude and off- putting. Mum said she had never been told off on a coach trip before.

But that was only the start. Our guide then told us the trip, billed as a half-day outing of between three to five hours, was actually far longer than that. She casually dropped into the conversation that we would be unlikely to return for around six hours, and we could see that some of our fellow travellers were concerned. Many had already booked activities for the afternoon.

Our trip certainly wasn’t going brilliantly, but we were pleased with our guide’s local knowledge and the information she gave us (did you know Winston Churchill used to holiday in Tenerife?). We were also excited when she told us that we were going to stop at Vilaflor, the highest village in Tenerife, so that we could adjust to the higher altitude and changed air pressure. It sounded gorgeous and also necessary, as she said if we didn’t stop, we would get terrible headaches when we reached our final destination. Mount Teide is over 3,700 metres high.

Unfortunately, the coach broke down just before a roundabout!
Unfortunately, the coach broke down just before a roundabout!

Things were looking up, but not for much longer. Just as we reached a busy junction, the coach broke down. We weren’t given much information, but eventually we worked out that it would be better if we all got off. A replacement coach was called and we were told that it would arrive in half an hour, but this wasn’t the case. We kept waiting. Eventually, our tour guide told us that when the coach arrived, we would skip Vilaflor and just take the coach to the top of Teide without stopping.

“Won’t we get headaches then?” we asked.

“Yes, but only small ones; it doesn’t matter.” she responded.

By this point, most of other fellow travellers had already departed, and were waiting for a bus back to their hotels. After some more waiting, we decided that we didn’t want to visit the top if we were to get headaches and have a bad-mannered tour guide accompanying us the whole time, so we decided to leave.

“What’s the point of doing the trip now?” she exclaimed, when we told her we were leaving. I think she might need to work on her manners….

We had pretty much no idea where we were, but luckily, the bus that we got on went directly to the area where we had left our car and met the coach originally. We felt a bit overdressed as we walked back to the car (I probably didn’t need to be wearing thermal socks, but I had been expecting snow!) put our warm clothes away and went to the beach. It was a strange day all round.

Playa del Bobo in Tenerife
Fortunately we ended up at the lovely Playa del Bobo and had a great time

Mind you, the beach we visited, (the Playa del Bobo) was the best one we visited in the whole holiday, and we really loved running into the waves and eating delicious ice cream. It was definitely a warmer, and perhaps better, day than it would have been if we continued up Teide! But unfortunately we didn’t have time to find out…..

Read about our visit to Siam Park in Tenerife

Do you like winter sun? Read about our trip to Negril in Jamaica

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31 Responses

  1. Mari

    Mmmmm, sounds to me like someone needs to change their job or have a good rethink about why they are doing it in the first place. I’m hoping it was just a bad day for them but I’m sorry it ruined your experience, it’s frustrating to come away (even in thermal socks) without having experienced what you had planned to.

    • Jess

      It was annoying, but we did still have a brilliant day at the beach, despite our long-sleeved tops and boots!

  2. fashion-mommy

    I have to admit that I’ve done planned excursions which have been pretty terrible, we now make our own way to things using local buses and a bit of planning.

  3. Christine

    That sounds like an awful day trip, I think you probably had a lucky escape with the breakdown! I’m glad you had a good day in the end and hope that you get to go back and visit some day in the future.

  4. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    Oh what a shame – certainly sounds like she’s in the wrong business, and some unfortunate events definitely made worse by her attitude. I’m surprised to hear the comment about getting headaches, as I certainly don’t remember having any problems when I went up Teide, even going from sunshine to snow.

    • Jess

      Yes, the women had a terrible manner! That’s funny about the headaches – maybe it depends on the person?

  5. Stephen

    We went to Majorca in the summer and we booked a fast coach to our hotel, which meant sitting in a dark carpark for over an hour and a half due to a late plane… the slow coaches went before us!

  6. Ness

    My goodness, what a faff! Thankfully I’ve never been on a bad coach trip but this seems a very bad way to run a business!

  7. Kara

    What a rubbish experience – i understand that sometimes these things happen but the way it was dealt with was unacceptable

  8. Mums do travel

    What a shame that the trip didn’t work out. How did you book the tour? I’m glad that the rest of your holiday went well and that you had fun at the beach.

  9. Shere

    what a pity!! I hope you got your money back. We drove ourselves and we didn’t stop much, neither we felt sick or had a headache. The views from the top of the teleferico were awesome and as there was snow, we couldn’t reach the summit.

  10. Laura

    There’s absolutely no need for rudeness. I would’ve departed just like you too. Let’s hope the guide gets some customer service training. Glad to hear that you had a nice day in the end.

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