Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

The Botanical Gardens are Almost Ready to Re-open
Despite initial estimations that it would take a month to clear up the damage caused by the storm at the end of December, the director of the Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava, more commonly known as the Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz announced in a radio interview that the gardens may be open again for business some time this week.
Most of the clean up of the gardens has been completed a week and a half earlier than anticipated and all that is required is specialist assessment of the condition of some of the garden’s taller trees.
Tragically some rare specimens, including a rare fig tree and ancient Mediterranean olive trees, have been lost forever but most of the ground cover should recover in two to three months.
For all the damage, Tenerife’s most renowned gardens retain their enchanting and exotic, rainforest character and are still one of the north’s must sees.

Santa Cruz ““ It’s not that far
This week the president of the CIT (Centre for Intiatives and Tourism) Miguel Ángel González Suárez called for support in having Santa Cruz declared a “˜Tourist City’.
Despite the number of cruises that dock at the capital’s port every week, Santa Cruz has seen a reduction in the numbers of daily visitors in recent years. CIT’s president pointed a finger at wasted opportunities quoting limited shopping as one of the reasons that visitor numbers were down. The question of all day opening hours and Sunday shopping has long been a hotly debated topic.
However, there are already plenty of shops with familiar names that open all day, but visitors can now find many of them in southern shopping centres. Something that wasn’t the case not so long ago when southern residents had to travel north for a bit of decent shopping. People visiting Tenerife just for sunshine and shopping aren’t going to bother making the trip up the TF1.
Santa Cruz is a wonderful and vibrant city with many charming corners ““ this is what the politicians should be promoting. With its unique mix of sun, fun, history and culture it’s an ideal city break destination. Forget the bling and concentrate on promoting the real attractions of a European city with real character.

The Ups and Downs of Cycling on Tenerife
Turismo de Tenerife has commissioned a study into looking at the feasibility of developing mountain bike routes through some of Tenerife’s most spectacular scenery in the Anaga Mountains. The idea is to create a series of routes which are between nine and fifteen miles long that include cross country and descent trails. The belief is that these sort of bike routes will attract thousands of new tourists who practice mountain biking. Sounds like a decent enough idea, but what was interesting was that it was also suggested that it might be something suitable for families with children. Have you been to the Anagas? Tackling the Anaga’s undulating ravines isn’t quite the same as a gentle cycle along a canal tow path.

Magic Mushrooms
If you don’t know a psilocybin from a saprotrophic then a trip to Santa Úrsula should help clear up any confusion and avoid unwanted hallucinations as the council has set up a new free mushroom identification service in the town hall. From now until March a specialist will be on hand between 11am and 2pm Monday to Friday to advise people whether their wild mushrooms are more suitable for the frying pan or for any retro 70s party they might be planning.

Skating on Thin Ice
The ice rink in Santa Cruz was finally opened to the public a week later than scheduled”¦which in Tenerife makes it pretty much on time. It was reported that the initial reaction was cool and there were suggestions that a fear of falling may have deterred adults but numbers picked up as the more fearless younger Santa Cruceros hit the city by late afternoon. Organisers said that they believed numbers would continue to increase especially over the weekend when one Spanish paper reported that an “˜avalanche’ was predicted. Creating an ice rink in Plaza España is impressive enough, but throwing in an avalanche as well”¦.

Tenerife’s Cathedral Set to Re-open”¦but not just yet
Great news for La Laguna’s poor old cathedral which has been closed to the public for nearly a decade. The Spanish Government has agreed to add 6 million euros to the renovation pot which has already eaten up 5 million euros. The additional money should mean that we’ll all get to see what the inside of the cathedral looks like sometime in 2013; a hundred years after its inauguration.

A Charge for Parking the Car
Here’s an interesting curio. At the moment there is only one public installation on Tenerife where you can recharge your electric car (don’t ask how many electric cars there actually are on Tenerife) and it is in a most unlikely spot. The underground car park at the Hotel Gran Melia Palacio de Isora has two points for recharging electric cars. It’s predicted that there will be an increase of leccy powered cars on Tenerife over the next few years ““ or should that be a surge?

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to Tenerife’s Timeshare Crooks
The reputation of timeshare companies took a dent last week in Tenerife as Spanish National Police arrested twenty five people in connection with operating ten fraudulent timeshare resale companies on the island. Most of those arrested were German as were most of the timeshare owners who had been duped out of their cash. The fraudulent companies were found to have details of over 100,000 potential timeshare owners on their books.

The names of the fraudulent companies are: Fortress International, Nowatis, American General Inc Financial Services, Tourlmus , Royal Lepage, Callaway & Brookfield Ltd, European Ltd, Real Estate Investment, Wintermann & Son Investments and Elascan Da

Scams like these only serve to tarnish Tenerife’s reputation and also that of reputable timeshare companies, so a big Christmas pantomime hiss and boo to the fraudsters and a loud cheer to the Spanish police for putting these twenty five villains exactly where they belong.