There’s a commotion in the road. The roller-skating girl just let her dog run in front of a pizza delivery boy on a bike almost garrotting him with the lead and sending him and his pizzas hurtling into the road. The girl looks on unmoved by the chaos she’s caused and the dog makes off with the spoils.
It’s an accident that’s destined to play out continuously in the Groundhog Day streets of Pueblo Chico.
Hidden away on a quiet back road in La Orotava, the miniature world of Pueblo Chico is set in 20,000 square metres of beautifully landscaped grounds overlooking Puerto de la Cruz. Laid out amongst the greenery in a series of terraced zones, Tenerife in miniature doesn’t just have the island’s historic centres, iconic architecture and natural beauty spots all reproduced in perfect detail, it also has the sights and sounds of the life that occupies them.
To a soundtrack of bleeting goats in the Guanche zone a group of elderly men occupy benches beneath the shade of a tree, verbally putting the world to rights. If it wasn’t for the animal skins they’re wearing and the lack of a nearby bar, it could be a scene from any town plaza today.
In front of the La Orotava Ayuntamiento, this year’s sand mosaic is already in place; in La Laguna a school playground echoes with the shouts of its charges; on neighbouring Lanzarote a church bell chimes to call worshippers to prayer and back on Tenerife the local lad is about to win his Lucha Canario bout as he hurls his opponent to the floor.
All Tenerife life is here in miniature, from the house leeks growing amongst the Arabic tiles of roofs in the old quarter of Santa Cruz to paragliders launching themselves off the cliffs above southern beaches and the Fred Olsen Ferry dwarfing small boats alongside the Auditorio.
But it isn’t just about admiring the incredible detail in the models and smiling at the wonderful moving parts, it’s about discovering the little touches; the ubiquitous double parking; the teenage lad spying on his neighbour as she sunbathes topless on her roof; the workmen enjoying their second breakfast – or is it their third?
With gardens brimming with endemic and exotic plants; a very tasty restaurant and snack bar with a sunny outside terrace, kid’s menu and gift shop; and the whole of Tenerife at your feet, I defy anyone of any age not to enjoy it.
Pueblo Chico – fun for all the family. I rest my case.
Pueblo Chico Fact File:
Camino Cruz de Los Martillos, 62; La Orotava, off Exit 35 of the TF5. Tel: (0034) 922 33 40 60
Open every day from 9am to 6pm
Adults €12.50, children (aged 4yrs to 11 yrs) €6.50
Residents €8.50, children €5
Restaurant available for functions.