The Canary Islands have long been a popular travel and honeymoon destination for Europeans, but not very well-known to Americans. But for Cleveland-based couple Jalayne Arias-White and Andrew White, these Spanish islands off the coast of Morocco were the perfect spot for their February 2014 honeymoon.
What made it even more exciting for Jalayne? The fact that Andrew planned the whole trip and surprised her at the wedding by revealing the destination. Read on to see if the Canary Islands are right for your honeymoon and if you should consider a surprise trip too.
Destination42: What was it like having Andrew plan a surprise honeymoon?
Jalayne: It was an experience because I tend to like to know what’s going on, and he would want to talk to me about things. He would try to ask questions like ‘do you want somewhere really low key or somewhere where there’s lots of things to do?’
D42: How did he decide on the location, Tenerife in the Canary Islands?
Jalayne: He was looking for somewhere that wasn’t a typical vacation spot for Americans, because he thought this was a good opportunity to explore somewhere different. And then he considered where the weather would be good and where we could do some history stuff but it would still be relaxing and low-key. The Canary Islands were a nice balance because it was still a big splurge for us, but it wasn’t cost-restrictive.
D42: What was the weather like while you were there?
Jalayne: The weather varied quite a lot while we were there, which was kind of nice because we could get away from the heat but also find it when we wanted to.
In Tenerife the weather was 70s-ish, so shorts and a T-shirt most days and some days it was a little bit cooler. And then one day we went down to Los Gigantes and that’s where we were in bathing suits. It was a lot warmer there.
We did a boat tour where you can see the cliffs from the ocean and you could see dolphins. And we jumped in the Atlantic Ocean, which we didn’t get pictures of and I wish we would have, because it was really, really cold and I wanted bragging rights that we did it.
And then the highest altitude point in Spain is on the island we were on (Mt. Teide) and so we did that and climbed to the top. And it was freezing up there and I was teasing Andrew saying, ‘thank you for taking me, on my honeymoon, from the Cleveland winter so I could shiver.’
D42: Where did you stay during your honeymoon?
Jalayne: We stayed at H10 Hotels. It was OK. When we checked in we didn’t necessarily get a very warm welcome and I’m not sure if it was because we’re American or because we’re young. But that was a little disappointing to me because you’re on your honeymoon, you want people fussing over you and that wasn’t really the type of service. It was also less luxurious than Andrew thought it was it would be. I don’t know if that’s just because European hotels are different than what Americans are used to or what.
But they had a full breakfast every morning and it was one of the few restaurants that was right on the ocean so we could walk out of our hotel and there was a beach with a café where we could sit with tea or coffee and watch the waves roll in.
It wasn’t a bad hotel but I don’t know if I would recommend it to a couple going on their honeymoon.
D42: How was the food on your honeymoon?
Jalayne: Pretty good. We tried a lot of tapas. We also went to one of our favorite restaurants the night Carnival launched and we were able to watch the promenade from the window of the restaurant which was really fun.
D42: So you got to see Carnival? Did you know that would be happening while you were on your honeymoon?
Jalayne: Andrew knew it was going on. He was trying to plan our honeymoon so we could see one or two days of Carnival but not be there the whole time because it does sort of overwhelm the island.
D42: How easy was it to get around the island?
Jalayne: It was easier than I thought it was going to be. I was a little anxious before we got there because I haven’t spoken Spanish in a really long time. I knew it wasn’t an American destination so the likelihood of people speaking English was a little bit less. But we were able to figure out the bus schedule and use the buses for almost everything we wanted.
D42: What advice do you have for couples spending their honeymoon in the Canary Islands?
Jalayne: Be adventurous and willing to try new things. Things don’t always go smoothly and if you can just roll with the punches things will almost always turn out OK.
Also, we didn’t have cell service over there, or much Internet access. Had I known that I would have done more research ahead of time on different restaurants.
D42: Would you recommend other couples have someone plan a surprise honeymoon?
Jalayne: I loved it. It gave me something exciting to look forward to and it gave us something as a couple to joke around with leading up to the wedding. It was also nice because we were doing a destination wedding too and it took a little bit of the planning pressure off of me.
It also helped that we were doing a delayed honeymoon, so it gave me time to prepare after the wedding for where we were going. It was fun to do more research after the wedding as opposed to it being part of the wedding-planning process.
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