Feb 092011

Day 5 (February 6, 2011)

Happy Birthday to Mark!

Itinerary for the day: Bus to Puerto de la Cruz, spend time in Loro Parque, eat dinner in Puerto

With actual plans today, we had to set the alarm and of course wake up earlier than we really wanted to. However, we were the first people down for breakfast and found the included hotel breakfast to be more complete than we would have expected. They had everything from hot food to mini pastries to yogurts to fruits and more. The itty-bitty croissants were especially adorable. The were only about as long as my palm and were tasty as well.

We had no problems catching the bus to Puerto de la Cruz. It was only about a 20 minute ride. When we got there we saw one of the free trains that transports guests from the east side of Puerto to Loro Parque. However, the bus station was already halfway there, so we started walking. We didn’t have a map and we could only guess the route, but eventually we did find some signs that pointed in the direction we were headed. The area really isn’t that big.

Loro Parque looks very asian. It is owned by the same company that owns Siam Park (a water park) in the southern portion of Tenerife. Siam Park is apparently very Thai. Loro Parque’s entry area was inside of a very Asian building. Once inside we passed over a bridge with fish on either side that looked just like some fish we’d seen in Singapore. Actually, the whole park reminded us off the Jurong Bird Park located in Singapore as well.

The park is a mix between Sea World and the Singapore Jurong Bird Park. I’m not sure if you can picture it. The park had the typical Sea World attractions like an Orca show, a sea lion show, a shark tank, a dolphin show, and a Penguinarium. However, it also had other zoo animals and it is home to about 3000 species of birds. The park is really mostly about the birds and the sea creatures.

We really liked the sea lion show and the dolphin show. Both were done very well and the animals had many tricks to show us. The sea lion show was done without any voices in any language, but the dolphin show was in both English and Spanish. When we travel, I am reminded about how accommodating all these countries are to people of multiple languages and how tourist attractions in the US aren’t. The dolphin show had about 8 dolphins at least all doing tricks together. It was amazing to see two dolphins swim underneath a trainer, lift him up in the air, each dolphin’s nose holding one of the trainers feet, then launch the trainer up and through a hoop lifted up in the air. The trainer of course did a flip in the air. Wow. The sea lions did lots of tricks while balancing a ball on their nose and even came out in the audience to kiss a few lucky people.

The Orca show was a little lacking, but mostly it was about seeing their 4 orca whales do a few things while educating us on proper conservation to save them. The most interesting part to me was watching the video on how they brought the 4 whales over on planes from Sea World San Antonio and Sea Worlds Orlando. What was even more amazing was that while I was in San Antonio applying for my International Driver’s Permit at AAA, I met one of the guys who helped deliver the whales. He was telling me about how they sent the whales over on a plane to the Canary Islands and I couldn’t quite believe it. And here I was today, seeing the very same whales this guy had helped send over. Small world indeed.

The other neat portion of the park was their walk-in bird aviary. We could walk right in and up to various beautiful birds while they sat in the bird seeder off to the side of the walkway and snacked on breakfast. I got some pretty good pictures doing this.

Loro Parque didn’t take the full day. We had time afterwards to walk along the black volcanic sand beaches and watch people body boarding or playing volleyball. We found a nice spot to watch the sunset and ended up at a place for dinner early enough, but not too early. Dinner in Spain is similar to dinner in the rest of Europe in that it usually starts after 8p.

We came back to the room with enough time to play around on the internet before bed. Overall, it was a very good day in Puerto de la Cruz.

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