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Travelling? 70 eco travel tips for a better planet

Are you amongst the fortunate few to be able to travel? Lucky you!
Now let’s make the most out of it! Not just for yourself but for the places and people that you’re visiting. Our travels can bring huge benefits to local communities. It can also destroy a destination. 

What impact do you make?

According to your facebook and Instagram accounts you have been travelling to the most beautiful paradises on the planet. You have eaten exotic delicacies, encountered magnificent wildlife, engaged with fascinating cultures, climbed to the top of the volcano and explored the funderwaterworld. You have memories of a lifetime.

I am one of these lucky bastards.

Lucky bastard exploring paradise

But you also have memories of trash on the beach, begging children, damaged corals, green ski slopes, porters like donkeys, people trying to sell a fruit for almost nothing, no fish today, chained monkeys, and sharks on the market. Just to name a few situations that make us feel bad, though are there daily.

The beach these days in the Gili Islands

You have experienced the preciousness of drinking water, fresh air, power, a roof, freedom, a toilet, feeling safe, internet, a bankcard, a clean beach, and a healthy body. Most normal ‘back home.’ Not for most us in the world.
You are aware of your lucky position in this world. And you really want to do something good. But WHAT can you do?
“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” E.B. White 
 If you are able to travel you have the skills or resources to make a positive impact. We can travel AND do good AND save money AND have fun. When we make conscious decisions, we can minimize our negative footprint and maximize the benefit for the place we visit and for the planet as a whole. Every decision and every action counts. Collectively our impact is major. With millions of extra travellers every year and a 1,5 million EXTRA people on the planet WEEKLY, it’s all becoming a bit crowded. Our planet and the destinations we’re visiting are reaching limits to cope with our demands. Climate change is happening and it’s probably worse than you think it is. It’s more important than ever to do your bit. It’s our responsibility to become part of the solution, not the problem

So what can you do?

Here are some easy eco travel tips and actions to make your travel a good one, for the planet and for you:

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Catching a Sailboat Ride in South East Asia

On to plan B: find a sailing boat in South East Asia with whom I can explore, dream, discover the Asian seas. And learn, more about boats, coastal sailing, and the sea.

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Sailing back into Europe: The Strait of Gib!

A lighthouse. Beeping phones. Airplane stripes. Fishing boats. The smell of pine trees! We are approaching Cabo Sao Vicente, the most western point of mainland Europe. That’s what struck me most: suddenly having the smell of pinetrees… after days of ocean breathing. Very special. It’s the start of the most exciting and challenging part of the passage: the Strait of Gibraltar!

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Atlantic Ocean Crossing part 2: Caribbean to Europe!

I’m back on the Atlantic Ocean. Again. Back to blue, breathing sea, stimulus stop, facing the elements, learning ropes! This time in a completely different setting. A boat and crew more than double the size of SeaYa, different route, different weather, different speed!

The sailing adventure begins…

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Kitesurfing in Cape Verde – Sao Vicente it is!

A long stretched empty white beach, a stunning mountain back drop view, a steady 20 knots wind 80% of the year, friendly Cape Verde beach boys and girls, good local food, and sunshine, all year round! That’s Salamansa beach in Sao Vicente, Cape Verde. What a kitesurfing spot!

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El Medano Tenerife: a kitesurf & adventure travel guide

Southern Tenerife seems for many adventure seekers a ‘no-go’ because of the big tourism developments and touristic crowd. Don’t let this hold you back from visiting the south coast.
Costa del Silencio in particular: the south-east coast. The old fishing town of El Medano (meaning Sand dune) is the place to be, especially for wind and kitesurfers looking to extent the European summer. El Medano is the kitesurf town of Tenerife. Here’s a little El Medano adventure travel guide that helps you plan and get settled when thinking to go adventuring and/or kitesurfing in El Medano, Tenerife.

El Medano: a sense of place

La Montaña Roja is the landmark, a 171 high volcanic ‘red mountain’ and protected natural reserve, where you can climb, hike and cycle. The area around the ‘mountain’ is the playground for the waterlusted adventure seekers. El Medano is a chilled-out laid-back town that hasn’t been conquered by invasions of northern European beach people. As opposed to other parts of Tenerife here the Spanish vibe is definitely present. Fisherman are catching the tapa of the day, elderly people are chitchatting on the boulevard benches, and locals and adventure seekers are having una caña (draft beer) somewhere at the plaza or wooden board walk in the no-traffic zone.  It’s one of these sticky places where you could end up hanging out wayyy longer than planned.
Kitesurfing in El Medano Tenerife. This is the kitesurfspot in El Medano

Kitesurfing in El Medano

El Medano is the kitesurf and windsurf spot in Tenerife. Thanks to the volcanic landscape on Tenerife, North East winds accelerate, and have made El Medano a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing in Tenerife. Where in the rest of Europe wind- and kitesurfers squeeze themselves already into 5 mm wetsuits in november, El Medano is still ok in board shorts (not for shivery types like me though).  Statistical July – August – September have the most windy days. As August is super crowded is places like Tarifa, El Medano could be a nice alternative. Windy days range from 15 up to 35 knots. It has made the place a windsurf world cup spot. When the Calima (strong hot dusty Sahara wind) is on, wind can go up to 35 knots. The bay at Playa los Balos has flat water or little swell. The spot is beginner friendly and there are many schools to choose from. The spot more upwind at playa El Cabezo is for the more advanced riders, where you can surf some sideshore waves. The wind usually picks up around noon and often lasts long enough for some sweet sunset sessions. Wind direction is side onshore. In the rare event of wind coming from the west you can kitesurf at Tejita Playa on the other side of Montaña Roja.
Cool PKRA kitesurf video of Tom Herbert shot in El Medano

Adventure things to do in El Medano

Rent a bike in El Medano

Cycle the Costa del Silencio! There’s nice coastal trail going from El Medano to San Miguel. The volcanic formations and erosions have created a super stunning coastline. Most beaches have an info point where you can learn more about the characteristics of the ecosystem. This is an easy peasy bicycle route. Inland there is more hardcore road and mountain-biking to ride. After all Tenerife has the highest peak of Spain! You can rent a good Mountainbike at BikepointTenerife. Hostel Los Amigos has budget bicycles which will get you along the coastline for 2 euro/day only.
Adventure things to do in El Medano Tenerife

Birdwatching in El Medano

The Montana Rojo is a special nature reserve with sand- and mud-based ecosystems. The area of Montana Roja has become a Special Natural Reserve and with more than 100 bird species it has been declared a Bird Area of International Importance. The Klentish plover is an endangered specie that can be spotted here.

Go Surfing in El Medano

El Medano and around has many surf breaks and board rental shops.

Snorkeling & Chilling

Chillax, have a picknick, go for a snorkel session and watch a sunset at La tejita Blue flag beach. There is a beach bar and beachwear is optional;)

Salt water pools of Tenerife

Go dipping in the saltwater pools that can be found along the coast of the Montana Rojo nature reserve. With high tide they are filled up and filtered by the volcanic rocks.  in a number of locations within the reserve, fed by seawater filtered through the sand at high tide.

Hike up Montaña Rojo

It’s only a half an hour hike and the views are priceless.
montana rojo tenerife

Best time to go to El Medano?

All year round! It’s the place where summer continues in European winter. October-January is peak season and you need to book in advance, unless you go camping.

Where to stay in El Medano Tenerife?

Budget places to stay El Medano

  • Los Amigos Backpackers. 15 euro’s per night. This hostel is located few kilometers outside of El Medano. It’s a hostel run by backpackers for backpackers. For 2 euro you can rent a bike. If you leave before noon it’s no problem to take your kitesurf gear on the bike (poco viento). The staff is very active in organising daily excursions and dinner gatherings. Breakfast (cereals, bread, fruit & veggies) and towels are included. The wifi is good. The crowd is multi-national. It lacks Spanish ambience if that’s what you’re after. For people who specifically come to kitesurf in El Medano, you may want to stay right in El Medano town.
  • Casa Grande Surfhostel. 15 euro per night. A budget surf vibe place in El Medano center. Shared rooms only.
  • Hostal Carel. 45 euro’s per night/per room. Budget friendly top location.

Midrange accommodation options in El Medano

  • Hotel Playa Sur This hotel is right on the kitesurf spot in El Medano. You cannot be closer!
  • Casas Bioclimaticas Eco houses powered by the wind. Located a few kilometers east of El Medano. 100% in nature. You would want to rent a car if you stay here.

Check Booking.com HomestaysFlipkey, Homelidays, Atraveo , and Trivago to browse more house rentals and accommodation in El Medano. Or stay with a local and find El Medano accommodation on HomeStay.com or AIRBNB. Numerous nice homestay accommodation in El Medano exist.


Cool places to Eat & Drink in El Medano

  • For a cafe con leche in the morning or cana after kiteboarding: Veinte 04 Surf cafe, on the square.
  • Tapas? Vetusta Bar Lovely staff, good wifi, delicious tapas! and Bar playa chica (5 tapas for 10 euro’s), both at the paseo Maritimo.
  • Flashpoint: right on the beach. Nice view of the world from here.
  • Go for the catch of the day in the town next to El Medano: Los Abrigos
  • For cocktails? Calima Cafe
  • In the small alleys on the eastern side of the bay you find more nice coffee bars, wifi-bars, an eco food shop and discodancing options.

Local food of the Canary Islands?

Forget about your usual food. These are must tries when in the Canary Islands:

  • Papa arrugadas: Canary Island style salty potatoes which come with a delicious salsa (sauce) Mojo rojo (red) y verde (green). I cannot get enough of this, and of the Mojo especially!
  • Rancho Canario: a tasty local chickpeas soup. Very nutritional!
  • Queso Rojo: the local cheese!
  • Mango’s, papayas, kaki fruit and a lot of them!
el medano fishing town

How to get to El Medano?

El Medano is super close the airport. A taxi ride costs about 10 euro’s. In 15 minutes you can be with your feet in the sand. You can also take a guagua (bus). The Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife linea 470 bus route passes through the town on its way to tourist town of Playa de las Americas. There are also buses from Santa Cruz.
Or rent a car a so you can do some more Tenerife exploration. +/- 35 euro/day.

Beyond El Medano

There is more in Tenerife than kitesurfing in El Medano. Climb, hike or cycle El Teide, Spain’s highest peak! Further, if time allows, consider going to La Gomera, a green tranquillo (quiet) hiking and biking nature islands south of Tenerife. It’s one hour by ferry or go hitch-sailing. Don’t go there for just a day.

El Medano kitesurf resources

Disclaimer: All recommendations in this El Medano Kitesurf & Adventure guide are my own. Some links are affiliate links, some are not.  If you book through my site I get a few pesos to put into the adventure fund. Thank you! If you would like to know more about this cool coastal town, leave a comment below. Happy to help.

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Adventure & Kitesurf Travel Guide of Tarifa | Spain

Thinking Tarifa for an active holiday or long term stay? Great minds think alike! After three years of intense exploration of the outdoor playground of Europe, I surely have some useful tips for you. You can use this little Tarifa travel guide as a start for your own Tarifa adventure! Read more

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Camping in Komodo National Park, Flores | Indonesia

Have you ever… snorkelled around an island? woke up with nothing but the sound of the waves and the singing of birds? had a day without using keys, or without using a phone? I had to answer no, no and a no. Until I went camping in Komodo National Park!

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The Difference YOU make by spending local: 7 reasons

‘Buenos Dias Guapa!’, Señor Pepe says while watching the TV from his home-trainer. He’s wearing a T-shirt that says ‘Aqui todo es muy bueno‘, meaning ‘Here’s everything very good.’ Pepe moves from his home-trainer to the counter where his ‘caña‘ (glass of beer) is located. Before I order I’m already offered to try a piece of the local cheese. ‘How was the beach today?’ he asks. I tell him about my day and order some seasonal fruit. Read more

Malo e lelei: a Special welcome in Tonga Paradise

tonga-island-timeTonga, a dot in the Pacific Ocean

A remote paradise destination, far away from civilization surrounded by endless blue seas. People are wearing woven mats as skirts and directions are based upon “the next coconut tree”.  This is the kingdom of Tonga: Where time begins and time stood still. I thought that this was ultimate paradise. This is an understatement. This travel experience goes beyond everything I ever imagined paradise to be.

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