Teide National Park – Tenerife

If you only do one daytrip while staying on our beautiful island, where better to go than Mount Teide. Sitting in the centre of Tenerife, its often snow-capped peak is visible from all but one of the other islands.  What can be said that hasn’t already been said about Spain’s highest mountain and the island’s crowning glory, other than it is an absolute ‘must-see’ for any visitor.

It is easy to get to from both the north or south and whichever way you go, you drive through lush vegetation and leave the sun on the coast for the thick pine forest, which traps the clouds before you re-emerge into the dazzling sunlight.

Things to do in Tenerife, TEIDE

To get the most out of a trip, call into one or both of the visitor centres.  El Portillo in the northeast gives the geological history, the environment and the life forms that inhabit the area.  Cañada Blanca in the south has interactive displays, photos, and videos that explain how the whole volcano thing happens. A touchy-feely place that kids of all ages love, with its cables to pull and buttons to press, all housed inside a mock lava tube. Free tours take place twice a day. (See below).

Reaching the top of this dormant volcano isn’t too tough, as long as the cable car is running.  If windy, it’ll most likely be closed. Otherwise, it will whip you up to the summit in eight minutes where the views are simply breathtaking.  A permit is required to go right to the top.

Things to do in Tenerife, TEIDE

If you visit at night, it feels as though you can touch the stars. The sky is so clear it looks like part of a film set. Mount Teide National Park is considered one of the best star gazing places on earth.

The National park is approx 2000 metres above sea level and in the winter months the roads often close due to snow or gale force winds and the summit is covered in snow, which blends perfectly with the lava.  At this time of year, whole families make a point of visiting, although it is always a popular attraction.  In contrast, during the summer temperatures often soar to over 40C.

At the foot of the volcano lies the Ucanca Valley, you can’t fail to be impressed by this stunning lunar desert, impossible shapes, a myriad of colours and home to species that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world, such as the Mount Teide Violet or the Tajinaste. The spectacular scenery has featured in movies, until recently the most famous being One Million Years BC however nowadays Clash of the Titans is better known, but don´t believe anyone who says it was Planet of the Apes!

Teide has enchanted and inspired millions of people.  A couple of the more famous are Mike Oldfield and Brian May of Queen. The less famous or creative amongst us can be mesmerised by the history, myths and legends of this magical world.

Before leaving, one of the must-see highlights are the Roques de Garcia, the best known of which is el Cinchado, which challenges the laws of gravity. Don´t forget to have your photograph taken with the majestic and iconic Mount Teide as a backdrop to keep your memories alive.

Things to do in Tenerife, TEIDEEntrance to the Visitors’ Centres is free.  Open all year round 9am to 4pm (except Christmas Day, New Years Day and 6th January). The tours need to be booked in advance Tel: 922356000 or 922922371 Monday to Friday from 9am – 2pm.

The above photos are courtesy of Turismo de Tenerife and tenerife-photo.com”
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Masca – worth the journey

I could write endlessly about the different places to visit in Tenerife but the one that is truly astounding and I think the most picturesque is Masca, in the Teno Mountains.

Hidden to the North West it offers breath-taking landscapes, steep and rocky cliffs, and a driving experience not to be undertaken by the faint-hearted.

Settings off from the south of the island take the TF1 and you will eventually come to the little town of Santiago del Teide and the road to Masca. On your way, you will pass through every type of scenery imaginable including pine forests, rural villages, deep ravines, and long winding roads where one hairpin follows another. The bends are so tight that coaches cannot use them and even minibuses have to do a bit of reversing to get round some of the tight bends.

There is always plenty of traffic travelling the route but fortunately, nobody is in a rush. Thank goodness, because the mountain road has some serious drops and there are moments as traffic squeezes past on one side and there is nothing but empty space on the other!

Once you reach Masca, you will find a smattering of small white buildings, home to local residents and one is a tiny museum. Beyond the parking area and leading to the tiny church is the village square with a couple of cafés, gift shop, and sometimes people with craft stalls making their goods as you watch. The café we use is about halfway down the hill and serves homemade, soups, breads, pies and only non-alcoholic drinks, a very filling lunch at only €5 a head. It sits on a spectacular perch overlooking the deep ravines that slice through this dramatic section of mountains and you could sit for hours peering out to sea and over the horizon in the far distance.

Until fairly recently Masca was undiscovered, access by road has only been since the 1990s and because the village was so remote and hidden it was presumed to have been a pirate hideaway which is easy to imagining.

Masca is truly breath taking and you will be amazed how many times you can visit and still gaze in wonder!

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Jungle Park – South Tenerife

It is a few years since I have visited Jungle Park but having visitors recently it was on their list of things to do.  It was a beautiful day and despite me not being a fan of zoos all of the animals, apart from the penguins looked well cared for and happy.  The penguins were actually OK but when compared to those who live in Loro Parque then their pool and home looked very basic, yet compared to their actual needs it was more than adequate.

I have split the images below into groups, hope you enjoy –  Click to enlarge and be taken to slideshow.

The birds of prey show which I watch taking place from my patio most days is always thrilling and the various birds who live in the park are interesting even to non-bird lovers as some are very amusing to look at.

I can’t remember there being a sea-lion show on my last visit but that could just be my memory playing tricks as it looked as if it had been established for a very long time.

And the surroundings are as lush as ever, you really think you have landed in a corner of paradise.

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Playa Las Salinas – Costa Adeje

Close to the large Bahia Principe hotel complex in Playa Paraíso is Playa de Las Salinas. A small beach surrounded by a rocky bay that ensure the waters are generally calm and safe for bathers.

To get from Los Cristianos, along the TF1 motorway will take around 20 minutes in the car and parking close to the pedestrian promenade, that gives access to the beach, is usually easy. If you decide to use public transport the 471 line runs quite frequently.

Despite the beach being semi-urban there are seldom more than a couple of people using it at any one time, and these are generally guests from the hotel.

The beach is an ideal place to go with children. The waters are calm and being a small area, they are always in sight. However, it is made up of small rocks and grey volcanic sands, so it is recommended that footwear is worn, as it can be uncomfortable underfoot. There are no lifeguards and people with reduced mobility will find it hard to access.  It is nevertheless idea for those wanting to ‘get away from it all’.

Close to Playa Las Salinas is Playa de Ajabo in Callao Salvaje.

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The day that tourism was born in the Canary Islands

In the 1880s, “Health Tourism” became popular as many patients travelled to the islands looking for the cure and / or relief for various diseases including rheumatism, skin problems, and especially respiratory diseases. The climate of our archipelago and the sea made it the perfect destination.

On April 11 1886, a group of islanders decided to start up a hotel business ‘Sanatorium Hotels’ in La Orotava Valley. They fulfilled this goal by building Orotava Grand Hotel in Puerto de La Cruz. Although it opened on September 1st 1886, the Grand Opening took place on September 12th. It is therefore, considered that Canarian Tourism was born on September 12th 1886 in Puerto de La Cruz. As a result, many local owners of large houses in the area followed this initiative.

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