Tenerife Guide of Things to See and Do From A-Z

Tenerife has so many attractions and activities that you may be overwhelmed by all the choices you have. To help you out, here is my Tenerife Guide from A-Z. I’ve chosen one attraction or place for each letter, and if you know somewhere or something which you think deserves the top spot more then let me know in the comments section below.


The Anaga Mountains are a place all of their own. The range sprawls across the northeastern part of the island, spewing green across the sandy landscape. The Anaga Mountains are for people who want a little variety in their beach vacation. Here, you’ll walk in the clouds, surrounded by lush, green trees and plants of all varieties.


The hike down the ravine from Masca to the beach is on one of the most spectacular trails in Tenerife. This is an amazing hike, where you will find yourself enjoying beautiful views, scrambling over rocks, paddling through crystal-clear streams, and watching out for local wildlife, such as lizards, colourful butterflies, and even osprey flying overhead.


Costa Martiánez is an amazing swimming pool complex designed by Cesar Manrique. The complex is made up of many huge seawater pools, and the whole area is clean, beautiful, and well maintained. The views of the sea and the surroundings, from inside Lago Martiánez are stunning.


Those who love sea life will enjoy a boat excursion off the coast of Tenerife. The waters are deep, yet warm and host thousands of species of microscopic life, perfect food for hungry whales, dolphins and other sea mammals. There are 28 cetacean species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise to see. How many can you find?

E is for EL MEDANO

El Médano is everything you imagine a beach paradise to be, plus a little more. While you have the sandy beaches and the sun-filled sky, you also have beachfront shops where you can catch a break from the water and grab a beer or ice cream cone. This area is perfect for kitesurfers, windsurfers, and kite-flyers.


Tenerife has great conditions for all year round freediving. No matter if you are a beginner and looking for somewhere to try freediving for the first time, or an experienced freediver wanting some training dives, then there is sure to be a company that suits your needs.


Garachico is a lovely place to stop for a while, about 25 kilometres west of Puerto de la Cruz. There is much to explore here, such as shady narrow streets, lovely cafes in hidden squares, and local craft shops. The best attraction is the lava pools. These are naturally formed and are great for a dip in the ocean. You can also enjoy walking along the paths between the pools and just enjoying the view.

H is for HIKING

If you have the chance to go hiking in Tenerife then be sure to take it. The nature is amazing and different all over the island from the dry south to the fertile north, to Teide National Park in the middle.


The Drago Milenario, the 59-foot tall Dragon tree of Icod in Tenerife is the largest of its kind and has become a symbol of the island. From a distance, it almost looks like two trees intertwined in a permanent hug; the gnarly trunk stands strong beneath branches that look like raised hands.


A fun way to explore Tenerife is to join a jeep safari. You can choose from different excursions such as a Teide Tour, a Masca Tour, an Around the Island Tour, and even a Stargazing Tour.


There are many different kayak companies in Tenerife. Some where you just rent a kayak and off you go by yourself, and others where you have a guide and a chance to see dolphins swimming close by.


Loro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz is a great zoo to visit and is loved by people of all ages. There are many animal shows to watch such as sea lions, dolphins, killer whales, and bird shows. Just remember to check the show timetables so you can fit them all in.


Monkey Park is a fantastic place to spend a couple of hours. You can actually feed some of the animals here, which children and adults love! It is lovely to have little monkeys come over to you, and take some of the food. The best part though is being in with the lemurs, and being able to stroke and feed them.


A great day out when in Tenerife is a visit to El Teide National Park. If you have rented a car then you can drive up through the park and come out at the other end of the island. It is fantastic to drive through lava fields, and see the old flows of lava on the volcano. The pine forests in this area are beautiful and very scenic too.

O is for OROTAVA

Orotava is a traditional Canarian historic town. It is situated in the middle of banana plantations, with amazing views over the Orotava Valley. Enjoy the pleasure of a stroll through the cobblestone streets, and admire the beautiful architecture of mansions, museums and churches. Take in the sights with a drink on a cafe terrace at a plaza, and smell the sweet scent of the many flowers.


Puerto de la Cruz has everything you could want from a holiday in Tenerife. You will feel like you have entered a paradise as you relax on the beach or take a walk through one of the many gardens. If you want to experience a bit of culture, you can take a walk through the cobbled lanes downtown or just sit on a cafe terrace outside one of the colonial style restaurants lining the streets.


This is along the same lines as the Jeep Safari, but even more fun as you get to drive your own quad bike. It is very exhilarating to ride a quad bike in Teide National Park or through the forests, and the views are stunning.


Los Roques de García are rock formations found in Teide National Park, which are thousands of years old. This is a great place for trekking with some amazing landscape and great hiking paths to follow. The views of the park and El Teide from here are spectacular so remember your camera.

S is for SIAM PARK

After a visit to Siam Park, you will understand why it is rated one of the best water parks in the world. It really is that good! You have a huge choice of superb waterslides, some relaxing, and some which will propel you down them at high speed. You can be surfing waves one minute, and watching deadly sharks the next.


Playa de Las Teresitas is said to be the most beautiful beach in Tenerife, and if you visit here you will see why. The soft golden sands, shipped in from the Sahara Desert, stretches across the whole beach. With the tropical palm trees and the turquoise sea, you could be forgiven for thinking you have arrived in paradise!

U is for UNIQUE

Tenerife is certainly a unique island. From its “Dragon Tree” to its “Lava Caves” there is something different to see and do here for all ages.

V is for VOLCANO

El Teide is an active volcano, but don’t worry, it hasn’t erupted since 1909. At 3718 meters, it is the highest mountain in Spain. The views in this area are breath-taking, and you won’t know which direction to look first. There are a couple of visitor centres, where you can pick up maps and souvenirs.

W is for WEATHER

Tenerife is described as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’, and after a visit here, you will understand why. While the south is a little warmer, there really isn’t that much difference and the north makes up for the slightly cooler weather with the green lush nature. The good thing about Tenerife is that if it’s raining where you are, jump in your car or on a bus and drive for a little while and you are sure to come across a place where the sun is shining.

X is for X FACTOR

With great weather, fantastic beaches, beautiful nature, and lots of top rated attractions for all different ages, I would say that Tenerife certainly has the X Factor!


A yacht trip in Tenerife is the luxury way to see the whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. With a free snack and drinks included, and also free snorkel equipment, the prices are actually quite reasonable and around €60 for an adult. Some companies will also arrange free pick up and drop off at your hotel. You can also book private tours, but then the price is much higher.


Jungle Park is Tenerife’s wildlife refuge and adventure park. Over 500 species call the park home, from pumas and tigers to penguins and primates. They are housed in a natural setting of more than 75,000 square meters.

Text and photos by Lynne Knightley

If you wish to read more about amazing things to do in Tenerife, then take a look at Lynne’s excellent guidebook.

Simply click here  > https://www.amazon.com/Lynne-Knightley/e/B00QNR2QGA to head to the download page.

You can also follow Lynne via her social media accounts:




See How to Uncover Tenerife’s Unique Beauty With The Italian Chica

Living in the Canary Islands is one of the greatest blessings that a person could desire: fabulous weather all year long, breathtaking landscapes worthy of the best covers of National Geographic, a sunny and always welcoming people and the ability to easily travel between the 7 islands thanks to efficient internal flights.

• Lanzarote: my currently home. I'm so glad to live in such a beautiful island…but I'm also happy to live close to other gorgeous islands and being able to travel and visit them! Soooo….let's start a new adventure!💪❤ #theitalianchicaporcanarias . Visit theitalianchica.com 🌹 . . ♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤♤ #theitalianchica #lanzarote #canaryislands #canarias #islascanarias #latituddevida #ok_spain #spain_in_bl #ig_canarias #ig_canaryislands #loves_canarias #ok_canarias #ig_spain #canon #canon6d #canon_official #canonphotography #landscapephotography #aeroplane #airport #master_shots #ig_europe #ig_worldclub #girlslovetravel #gltLOVE #femaletravelbloggers #amazing_shots #amazing_places

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Each island has its own unique and distinguishing features, and exploring them is an amazing experience that enriches the soul. Thanks to the “Influencer program” of Tenerife Magazine I had the chance to discover for the first time the island of Tenerife and it was an incredible experience!
My stay was at Pearly Grey, an extraordinary resort in the south of the island with every comfort: gym, massage room, two restaurants, a huge pool, Bali beds with spectacular ocean view and much more! From this lovely place, it’s possible to appreciate the magnificent sunsets that nature gives each evening, with the sun disappearing behind the island of Gomera.
The rooms inside the hotel have a stylish and elegant decor, and all of them are equipped with all the kitchen utensils you may need, a private bathroom with a huge shower and my room also had two huge breath-taking terraces facing the ocean: it was such a dream!
To get around the island I used a nice car provided by Poul’s Auto car rental. To collect the keys I didn’t have to wait at any office at the airport: that’s because their cars are equipped with a security box attached to the window, where you just need to type a code to have access to your car.
On the second day of my stay, I went with the Tenerife Magazine team to Oasis Los Gigantes: a delightful recreational complex with pools, bars, and a restaurant overlooking the majestic Los Gigantes Bay. It’s a place I absolutely recommend to spend a relaxing day with friends or family!
During the following days, I explored the island from north to south, trying to discover and capture with my camera all the most characteristic places in Tenerife.
Masca’s walk was one of the most amazing experiences of my life: after taking a taxi to Masca, a village in the northwestern mountains of the island, I walked down to its valley between the imposing rocks, until I got to a wonderful black sandy beach, walking for about 3 hours surrounded by nature only.

• Masca walk: one of the most beautiful (and challenging!) experience of my life! Walking down for 3 hours from a mountain, through a breathtaking landscape and arriving in a paradise black sand beach…so a m a z i n g ! Being inside the mountains and feel their energy is such a powerful feeling! 😍 Now…I feel like I need to rest for so long… but it was worth it! 💪💪💪 . . . Visit theitalianchica.com 🌹 . . . ♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢ #theitalianchica #tenerifemagazine #mypearlygrey #tenerife #canaryislands #canarias #islascanarias #latituddevida #ok_spain #espacio_canario #spain_in_bl #ig_canarias #ig_canaryislands #loves_canarias #ok_canarias #ig_spain #canon #canon6d #canon_official #canonphotography #landscapephotography #ig_canon #natgeo #travellingthroughtheworld #amazing_nature #femaletravelbloggers #girlslovetravel #gltLOVE #beautifuldestination

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Visiting the valley of Teide, the highest volcano in Spain, was another exciting experience: its scenery resembles the high mountain landscape, and it’s unbelievable how in just one-hour driving you can go from the heat of the palm-lined beaches to the cool mountain weather with its green pines.
The north of the island is very interesting also: from the capital of Santa Cruz, in the northeast, it’s possible to reach in a few minutes by car the beautiful beach of Las Teresitas but also the amazing protected area of the Park of Agana.

• Tenerife is an island full of surprises: from warm heavenly beaches, you can find mysterious forests where you can get lost and imagine to be in a fairy tale! 🌳🌈 . . . Visit theitalianchica.com 🌹 . . . ♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢♢ #theitalianchica #tenerifemagazine #mypearlygrey #tenerife #canaryislands #canarias #islascanarias #latituddevida #ok_spain #spain_in_bl #ig_canarias #ig_canaryislands #loves_canarias #ig_spain #canon #canon6d #canon_official #canonphotography #landscapephotography #ig_canon #ig_landscape #travellingthroughtheworld #ig_europe #ig_worldclub #gltLOVE #girlslovetravel #femaletravelbloggers #nofilter #nofilterneeded

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In the most western part of the island, there is Punta Teno: a hidden and pristine gem, surrounded by the many contrasting shades of blue ocean.
In addition to exploring the island, I was lucky enough to try other types of experiences like the amazing relaxing massages by Judith of Origins Wellness, and a Yoga and Meditation session in a dream place with the talented Emily of Yoga Vibe Tenerife.

• I miss those pleasant moments at @pearlygreyoceanclub in Tenerife, like this amazing sunset massage by Judith @origins_wellness ! 😊😍 She's so great, I felt like I had a new body! ❤ . . . Visit theitalianchica.com 🌹 . . . ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡ #theitalianchica #tenerife #tenerifemagazine #mypearlygrey #canaryislands #canarias #islascanarias #latituddevida #ocean #peace #massages #relax #luxurylifestyle #relaxing #relaxinglife #sunsetmassage #sunset #sunsetlovers #sunsetphotography #goldenhour #meditation #lawofattraction #gratitude #positivethoughts #goodvibes #goodenergy #traveldiaries #massagetherapist #canon_official

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A week in Tenerife has literally flown, and I will definitely return as soon as possible to continue to visit and discover all the secrets of this fabulous and unpredictable island!

Special thanks to my amazing sponsors for their extraordinary organization and for making me feel at home during my entire stay. They all helped to make this incredible and unique experience possible!

Our team would like to offer a big thank you to Kate Michelle Conti aka The Italian Chica for this blog post and all the amazing photo and video content she produced during her stay here in Tenerife. We hope to see her again soon! To see more of Kate’s travel photography, videos and blog posts make sure to check out her website and follow her on her social media channels:

5 Videos That Will Inspire You to Visit Tenerife

Tenerife, the largest and most populated island of the Canary Islands, has an abundance of amazing things to do, see and experience. While Tenerife is quite wrongly perceived by some as a cheap getaway destination only suitable for sunbathing, budget meals and drinks, with little else to do, for anyone who has taken the time to explore the island a bit more, or even do a bit of research before their first visit, it is clear that Tenerife is so much more than sun, sand and sea.

Beautiful @ojmesa with @repostapp ・・・ Tu y yo hemos sido testigos. Una tarde mágica, en la que le hemos visto la cara a las emociones, entre ellas la felicidad. Le hemos visto la cara a las lágrimas de alegría y hemos sido partícipes de ello. ¿Cuántos momentos así habrás vivido? Impasible, protegiendo que nada dañe lo acontecido. Yo te digo que hoy he visto miradas còmplices, de apoyo incondicional, que sumadas dan como resultado un amor sincero. Lo he visto y lo he respirado. ¿Sabes lo mejor? Ser felíz por la felicidad de ellos. Ya lo sé, el mejor lugar para verlo, junto a tí ✨ #ojmesa #pensamientos #instagood #instadaily #primerolacomunidad #photography #photographer #hallazgosemanal #thediscoverer #thecanaryislands #islascanariasoficial #incredible_shot #ig_photoknarias #igerstenerife #igerscanarias #ig_spain_ #ig_today #soycanario #visit_tenerife #gameofvisuals #gallery_of_all #latituddevida #ok_canarias #ok_mencionados #ok_landscape #canariasexclusive #tenerifemagazine #revistatenerife

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Even if you have taken the odd holiday or two here, it is likely that you’ve probably only scratched the surface of some of the adventures and more unique places to explore. While it can be common for some on holiday to Tenerife to remain close to the hotel or resort where they are staying and see little more of the island than the nearby beach, blue skies and resort amenities, here at Tenerife Magazine we want to inspire you to get out there and see some of the incredible sites that this beautiful island has to offer.

Here are 5 videos that you will make you want to visit Tenerife:

As you can see from just these videos, there is a huge variety of different experiences and places to see across Tenerife, and these are merely a small taste of what the island has to offer. Of course, we’re not denying that it is a wonderful place to go if you’re looking for a relaxing break to get away from stress and bad weather back home. There are some beautiful beaches, fantastic restaurants and a huge variety of resorts to suit all budgets and tastes.

We believe that Tenerife is perfect for a vacation filled with variety, from chilled out days at the beach or by the pool, to wandering around the towns or villages and then getting out to nature to see stunning sights natural sights such as Mount Teide or the Masca gorge. As well as this you can also throw more adrenaline filled activities into the mix like helicopter flights, paragliding and zip-lining through the trees! Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to visit this incredible island and try some new things while you’re here.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for new videos and inspiration! If you would like to submit any content for us to feature on our channel then leave us a comment below, email us or contact us via our social media channels.

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.


Tenerife – An Island Road Trip 

Known as the ‘island of eternal spring’, with its mild climate all year round and green landscapes, Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands. Its mountainous terrain reveals lush valleys, dramatic cliffs and moonlike rocks that are crowned by the majestic Mount Teide, an active volcano that rises 3,718 metres above sea level, making it the highest point in the whole of Spain. 

With scenery like this and pretty much guaranteed good weather, you have all the ingredients you need for the perfect road trip to explore this incredible island over a few days.  

Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes 

Puerto de Santiago on the West coast is a great starting point to take to the road, but before doing so, a visit to this town is a must for two reasons. In the south, you will find Playa de la Arena, a jet-black sandy beach with some spectacular volcanic rock formations around it.

In the north, the small seaside resort of Los Gigantes, nestled into the breathtaking cliffs of the same name, translated as The Giants. Admire these imposing 300-metre high cliffs from the Mirador de Archipenque, on the approach road to the town. 

Parque Nacional del Teide 

From Puerto de Santiago take the steep winding road up to the Parque Nacional del Teide, where there is so much to do, you can easily spend a whole day here… or even longer. The National Park consists of two huge craters separated by the Roques de García, a group of rock formations in the Las Cañadas Caldera and the most visited attraction in the island. It’s so popular, that the Roques de García were once featured on a Spanish note, before the Euro. There is a walking trail here that takes you through moonlike landscapes made up of pinnacles and ancient lava fields that have turned to rock. 

In the summer you can climb to the peak of the volcano, but it’s a gruelling 5-hour climb for hard-core hikers. But don’t despair. You can still access the summit by taking the cable car. Just make sure you are prepared for the cold. No matter how hot it is at sea level, the drop in temperature at the top tends to catch people by surprise. 

If you are thinking of climbing to the peak, you will need to apply for a permit in advanced. This can be done online (https://www.reservasparquesnacionales.es/real/parquesnac/usu/html/detalle-actividad-oapn.aspx?cen=2&act=1) and it’s free and pretty much instant. 

 Within the National Park, you can also visit the Teide Observatory, one of the major international astronomical observatories, on some days of the week. You will need to book in advance and confirm opening days. 


If you have spent a whole day on top of Mount Teide and the national park, head north to Masca the next day. Masca is a little village perched on top of a lush outcrop surrounded by rocky cliffs. Anyone who sees a photo of Masca could be forgiven for thinking it is located somewhere in Hawaii.  

The drive to the village skirts around the cliffs and it’s both terrifying and exhilarating, and it’s definitely worth doing. 

If you do have time, it is possible to walk down the gorge from the village and come back. It’s a very tough trek, but you will feel like you’re within the set of Jurassic Park and you almost expect a dinosaur to appear around the corner. One thing you will see is lots of bats, who live in the caves on the rock face. 

 If you plan to do this walk, remember that you will have to come back up, so start very early in the day to avoid getting caught out in the ravine in the dark. I cut it a little bit fine and it was slightly unnerving, as you are completely cut off from the world. But don’t let this put you off. It was one of the most spectacular treks I have ever done and it’s one of my best memories of Tenerife. 

 For those using public transport, there is the possibility of getting a water taxi from the shore when you get to the bottom of the gorge, but check what time the last one is as you don’t want to be left stranded there. 


Garachico is not only a town that sounds cute, but it also looks cute. It is one of the most picturesque towns in Tenerife, but it is also said to be the unluckiest. Legend has it that a monk who was expelled from the town put a curse on it and the next day Garachico was destroyed by an eruption. The eruption part of the legend, however, is real.

It is now a sleepy town with a traditional Spanish charm. It is set at sea level but due to the eruption, there is no longer a beach. There are, however, numerous natural pools formed by the volcanic rocks. A lovely place to sunbathe and relax, as long as the sea is not too rough. 

Icod de los Vinos 

Up the hill from Garachico is Icod de los Vinos, famous for being the home of a very old tree. But this is not just any tree, it’s a Millenary Dragon Tree that has become the symbol of the town. A visit to this umbrella-shaped tree is a must, as is a walk through the shady cobbled streets and beautiful squares.

You can also visit a volcanic cave here, Cueva del Viento, more than 11 miles long and thought to be the largest in the world.

If after this you still have some time in your hands, head back to Los Gigantes for sunset, one of the best spots in the island to relax at the end of the day. 

 Text and Photographs by Teresa Gomez  

Travel Blogger @ http://broganabroad.com   

Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest: @broganabroad 

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Climbing for the Children, Teide 2011

On the 9th and 10th September 2011, 15 climbers from Switzerland, France and Spain will walk away from the surfers and sunbathers at El Socorro Beach in Los Realejos and will begin a climb that will take them up 3718 metres over a distance of 30 kilometres. And every step they take will give a child a chance to live a life outside of hunger and despair.

“My first step in Cambodia was in Poipet. We crossed the border at Poipet – a huge slum on the border with Thailand. The first night, we went out of the association premises and had to be accompanied by a policeman as the area was very insecure at night. And there, in the middle of the slum and traffic, you could find children, fighting for survival, carrying big boxes, collecting the food left over in the street.”

For freelance web consultant Ernst Décsey who had taken a few months out of his life to travel to Asia to volunteer his time and expertise to helping deprived children, it was a raw introduction to the cause he has continued to actively support for the next 13 years.

The Cause
This year Krousar Thmey (meaning New Family in Khmer), the Cambodian charity dedicated to supporting children in difficulty celebrates its 20th anniversary. Krousar Thmey are not affiliated with any religious or political ideology. Respecting the culture and traditions of every child, they provide materials, education and social assistance to 4000 of Cambodia’s children who are most at risk, finding foster homes for street orphans, funding orphanages and all Cambodia’s schools for deaf children and blind children. To mark the anniversary, a team of volunteers have set themselves a mountain to climb, both figuratively and literally. Led by Ernst Décsey, the team intend climbing Mount Teide from sea level to peak in two days and they need sponsors to help them with every step.

In between training in the French Alps and trying to raise sponsorship, I caught up with Ernst (above) and asked him how a Swiss web consultant had become involved in a Cambodian children’s charity.
“I heard of Krousar Thmey through a professor at my university and I contacted them before visiting Cambodia in 1997. They liked the idea of building a web site, so I went and visited them. I stayed with the association for 3 weeks. When back in Switzerland I built their first website and became a member for the Swiss support Committee.”

“Krousar Thmey is an amazing association,” Ernst tells me. “Its administrative expenses are less than 4% per year, something very rare in the humanitarian world. The association was founded 20 years ago and is now run by Cambodians, for Cambodians. This was the objective of the founder, Benoit Duchateau-Arminjo, who also decided right from the start to focus the help towards the most deprived children, the deaf and blind. When I was in Cambodia I immediately felt that Krousar Thmey was outstanding for its philosophy, its management and the trust it put in Cambodians.”

The Challenge
It was while climbing in the French Alps that Ernst completed his first 3000 metre climb and like everyone else who achieves a personal best, he immediately started thinking about his next, and bigger climb. But this time he wanted to do it to raise funds for the organisation he had seen making such huge life differences to the children of Cambodia.
As Ernst has family living in the Canaries, climbing Mount Teide by a route that represents the largest vertical climb possible in Europe seemed the perfect project for 2011.

Out of the 15 person team, only three have undertaken the climb before. Beginning from sea level increases the challenge significantly and the climbers expect their first day to be extremely tough. They’ll climb 3200 metres over a distance of 25 kilometres with no water station en route which means they’ll have to carry four litres of water each. As much as the physical challenges, it’s the mental strength required to undertake the journey that will be the toughest part.
“Knowing that we do this for the children in Cambodia will motivate us!” says Ernst. “Knowing that people have made donations will be an encouragement for us to go higher and to reach the summit at 3,718 meters!”

The Pay Off
Teide 2011 needs sponsors to help the team to make it to the summit of Mount Teide. For every metre of sponsorship the team receive, they will be able to climb higher. For every 10 Euros they collect, the team will climb another metre which means they need 37,180 Euros to make it to the summit. Just to round things off, their target is 38,000 Euros. The team are all sponsoring their own costs and expenses and every Euro they make will go directly to Krousar Thmey.

The team will all assemble on Tenerife on 8th September in preparation for their climb. Tenerife Magazine wishes them all the very best of luck and will be following their progress closely through their Facebook and Twitter.

Making A Donation
You can help Ernst and the team achieve their goal and you can make a difference to a child’s life by making a donation. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you give, every cent is a step closer to their target. You can donate directly online or arrange a bank transfer at the Krousar Thmey website.

Photos by M.Orlovic/UNANGO

An Elegant Point of View at the Humboldt Mirador

“…but having traversed the banks of the Orinoco, the Cordilleras of Peru, and the most beautiful valleys of Mexico, I own that I have never beheld a prospect more varied, more attractive, more harmonious in the distribution of the masses of verdure and rocks, than the western coast of Teneriffe.”
Alexander von Humboldt

It was in the summer of 1799 whilst en route to climb Mount Teide, that the German naturalist and explorer formed that opinion. Today, Humboldt has been immortalised in bronze in the very spot where he stood above the La Orotava Valley.

In 1799 when Humboldt made his journey to the peak, it took him a total of six days to travel from his berth in Santa Cruz, to the summit of Mount Teide and back to his ship for onward travel to the Americas. In the glorious sunshine and vivid blue skies of a spring morning, a five minute drive from Puerto de la Cruz took us to the long awaited viewpoint which has been named in his honour, The Humboldt Mirador.

212 years after Humboldt’s visit and 11 years after the project began, the Mirador finally opened to the public in December 2010. Perched above the La Orotava Valley with awesome views over the mountain and the emerald carpet that lies at its feet, this stunning viewing platform has been well worth the wait.

An elegant open air terrace juts out in a circular platform furnished with the spring green parasols and chairs of a stylish cafe bar. Set into the exposed brick and smoked glass frontage of the two storey building, a small shop selling local crafts, wines bearing the La Orotava Valley denomination label and a comprehensive collection of books chronicling the exploration of Tenerife sits alongside the cafe. Below, a small pond and banana plant garden are establishing themselves in front of the glass fronted space in which a Humboldt exhibition is planned.

But the real star of the mirador show is the wide screen vista that moved its eponymous hero to wax so lyrically. Although developments over the intervening years have produced a very different landscape from the one the young naturalist beheld, nevertheless the imposing presence of Mount Teide above the emerald forested Tigaiga Mountains on the horizon has remained a constant and is still perfectly capable on a clear day of stealing the breath from your lungs.

From his vantage point, Humboldt observed the way the vegetation changed as it climbed its way from palm grove covered coast to pine forested cumbre and his studies led to the birth of a new natural science, biogeography. Today the terraces that sweep down from the island’s spine are a patchwork quilt of cultivated fields, banana plantations and vineyards punctuated by whitewashed fincas with red tiled roofs and bordered by the motorway, busy with its Dinky toy-sized cars. On the coast, sandwiched by swathes of banana plantations, the developments of Puerto de la Cruz spill into the glittering Atlantic Ocean.

With the sun on our faces and front row seats to Tenerife’s most spectacular show we order coffees from the overwhelming choice of 30 teas and coffees on offer, along with some enticing sounding bocadillos for our sunshine lunch with a view.
When our order arrives it has all the style and good taste of the venue, the clientele and the surroundings amongst which it is being served. No wonder Humboldt’s bronze is now looking inwards instead of out over the view. He clearly approves of what he sees, and so do I.

Fact File:

Mirador de Humboldt; Carretera Pinito s/n, La Orotava; 922 335 823; open every day 8am-11pm.

Following in the Footsteps of Britain’s Victorian Explorers on Tenerife: Part 2

The second part of our Following in the Footsteps of Britain’s Victorian Explorers on Tenerife follows Richard and Isabel Burton on their journey from El Sauzal to the top of the world.

There are worse spots to be abandoned on Tenerife than El Sauzal. The town’s gleaming white Church of San Pedro Apostle with its Mudéjar dome is almost as old as the conquest itself. It once served as home to the island’s council when the capital was ravaged by plague. Below the church the former communal washing area of Los Lavaderos is a maze of tropical gardens whose paved walkways serpentine down the cliff-side.

Although the Burtons clearly liked El Sauzal they were keen to progress, but despite Burton offering the locals a substantial amount of money, none were keen to help out.

“They shook their heads, wrapped their old blanket-cloaks around them, and stretched themselves in the sun like dogs after a cold walk,” wrote Richard, whilst Isabel amusingly observed “”¦they have nothing, and want nothing but sleep and independence”¦”

Eventually Burton persuaded a passing muleteer to take them to La Orotava and they continued on their way, passing through La Matanza where De Lugo, with his soldiers armed with pikes, swords and cannon, was defeated by the Guanche armed with sticks and stones. The mural depicting a triumphant Guanche beside a stricken knight at the entrance to the village illustrates where the Matanceros allegiance lies in that historic battle.

It’s not the prettiest road trip on Tenerife, but there are hidden gems to be discovered along its route. There are old haciendas and ancient inns, possibly even the ones that travellers like Burton stopped at for refreshments. In La Victoria the centenary pine, where De Lugo held mass after returning and wreaking vengeance on the Guanche, still stands in the town centre. At Cuesta de la Villa the warrior king Bencomo’s cave, now home to a herd of goats, lies hidden in the folds of a narrow ravine.

Below Bencomo’s cave is Humboldt’s Mirador where Richard and Isabel Burton turned a corner and were faced with their first clear view of the Orotava Valley. Both were enchanted by the vision that lay before them, moving Burton to write:

“”¦At last we learned why the Elysian Fields, the Fortunate Islands, the Garden of the Hesperides”¦were such favourites with the poets.”

When the Burtons reached La Orotava they were taken to an inn whose façade was described by Isabel as being an ancient relic of Spanish-Moorish grandeur.

Although they planned to spend a month in the town, Richard felt that so far he’d simply been following in the footsteps of other travellers. He was keen to scale the peak even though it was March and he’d been advised that at this time “˜furious winds threaten to sweep away intruders like dry leaves’

On the morning of March 21 1863, Richard, Isabel, a guide, 3 muleteers, two horses and two mules set off along the Camino de Chasna to scale Mount Teide.

At that time distances were a tad vague and all they knew was that the round trip was somewhere between 18 and 32 miles. The route to Las Cañadas took them past terraces growing potatoes and wheat, apple and chestnut trees and brown thatched huts; not much different from the sights that accompany modern travellers in fact.

When they reached Las Cañadas Richard was captivated and wanted to build a house on the volcanic plains whilst Isabel commented that the sun rained fire and blistered their faces and hands. The Burtons reached the Estación de los Ingleses without incident and set up camp for the night. They drank local wine and feasted on fowl, sausages, salt fish and gofio around a roaring fire then settled down for the night, but not before Richard and the Canarios had a good-natured argument about theology that ended with the Canarios deciding that Richard was an infidel.

At 3.30am they rose, warmed themselves with some hot coffee, using brandy as milk, and set off for the peak through the pumice and obsidian landscape.

Unlike climbers today, the Burtons had made the journey on horseback but the higher they ascended, the incline combined with snowdrifts meant they had to dismount at the Estación de los Alemanes and make the final part of the journey on foot.

Isabel discovered that scrambling up the steep slopes, occasionally dropping to her hands and knees to proceed, soon caused her body heat to rise, and to cool down she discarded her outer clothes as she climbed until she was left in only her petticoat and blouse; this was no ordinary Victorian lady.

At 7.40am the Burtons reached the peak of Mount Teide and stood proudly atop Tenerife’s world. At that point the guides handed out cigars to celebrate and confided that they had been seriously worried about the climb. No-one had attempted a winter ascent since 1797 and it had been deemed impossible by the people of La Orotava. As for Isabel, they hadn’t believed a woman could even reach the Estación de los Ingleses and yet there she stood on the very peak of Mount Teide in her underwear.

Richard and Isabel’s accounts of their visit to Tenerife paint a fascinating portrait of that period of the island’s history.

Follow in their footsteps and it’s still possible to experience a flavour of the island that existed whenTenerife was all shiny and new in the eyes of these Victorian adventurers.

Holding the Fort in Tenerife

It has always struck me that, for an island which for much of its history has held such a strategically important position on the world trade map, there are precious few castles on Tenerife, save for those that plop out of buckets and have flags stuck in them until the tide comes and washes them away.

You would think that, having fought so hard to take Tenerife from its original inhabitants, the Spanish would have immediately set about shoring up their defences so that no-one else could come along and steal their prize. But it would seem that the blueprint for Tenerife political life was set right back at the end of the fifteenth century when the policy of ‘do nothing’ was first established.

After the discovery of the New World, Tenerife became the gateway to trade between Europe and the Americas bringing her untold wealth and the attentions of every English and French ship sailing the Atlantic under the ensign of a skull and crossbones.

Despite repeated attacks on her major ports throughout the sixteenth century, Tenerife remained incredibly and completely bereft of any form of defence and it wasn’t until the invaders came under threat of invasion themselves that the thoughts of Tenerife’s settlers turned to the issue of strengthening island defences.

In 1513, with nerves on edge over the Spanish war with France, a committee was convened in Santa Cruz to agree a defensive strategy. Suggestions for the construction of a fort were dismissed on the grounds that a military presence may disrupt the “˜socio-economic rhythm’ of trade. The committee disbanded having left the defence of the island to the watchtowers and smoke signals that lined the coast scrutinising for foreign sails anchored beyond shipping routes.
No-one apparently thought to point out that, without fire power, the ability to spot an invasion as it happened was tantamount to selling tickets to your own demise and was probably not the sharpest military strategy ever devised.

Money talks
Economics eventually dictated common sense when, at the end of the 16th century, war impoverished Spain woke up to the fact that her treasury was completely dependant on gold and silver imports which came via Tenerife. Finally, moves were made to shore up that income stream.

Work began on fortifying Tenerife’s lucrative ports, beginning in Santa Cruz with the construction of the Castillo de San Cristóbal in 1575.
Sited in the centre of the bay on what is now Plaza de España, the castle became the centrepiece (and for 60 years the only piece) of the city’s defences.
At the same time, Tenerife’s wealthiest port of Garachico constructed the Castillo de San Miguel and a few years later the moated Castillo San Felipe was constructed in the port of La Orotava, now Puerto de la Cruz.

In 1604 as wine exports grew, the port of Santa Cruz was expanded prompting the need for further defences beginning with the construction of Paso Alto which became the mainstay of the port’s protection against the attempted invasion by Admiral Blake in 1657.

In 1641 the outbreak of the Portuguese revolution sparked further fear of invasion and the Castillo de San Juan Bautista, or the Black Castle as it was known, was constructed.

The addition of the Torre de San Andrés in 1706 made Santa Cruz virtually impregnable and by the time Admiral Nelson attacked the port in 1757 it had the firepower of 84 canon and 7 mortars housed in three castles, two forts, a tower and 12 batteries. What Tenerife lacked in numbers of castles, it made up for in defiant spirit when the Santa Cruz defences held against that attack by Nelson and the proudest day of the island’s military history was born.

Tenerife From The Air Is Picture Perfect

So there we are standing in the dewy Golf Costa Adeje grass at 9am waving up at a helium filled zeppelin, it’s the only way to start the day. Being Tenerife the sky was clear blue and the sun was already knocking out plenty of heat. The view of the golf course from our standing position was delightful but from the camera slung underneath the balloon it was so much more. A panoramic sweep showed the hills rising inland and the coastline sloping down to the twinkling Atlantic as gentle waves broke on the shore. This is Tenerife as seen by Vistaire Canarias and their aerial photo system and that’s just a hint of the new horizons opened up by this eye in the sky.

Martin Hejnar and Miguel Rodriquez, the business partners at the helm of Vistaire had met myself and John Beckley from Tenerife Magazine to show us just what their inflatable friend is capable of. The first surprise was seeing the balloon emerge already inflated from the back of their van, all wired up and raring to go. The camera suspended just underneath the main body was compact but powerful and Miguel was able to carry it to one of the greens to begin the test drive. As Miguel let out the line the zeppelin floated up to nearly 300 metres unwavering once it had reached the required height.
Martin had the fun part, tweaking the control box, easily held in one hand and able to zoom in and out as required not just to see us waving like school kids but also to take in any of the developments around the course and during a big tournament to follow the action quietly and with uninterrupted views that even the keenest spectators would struggle to achieve.

As we attracted curious gazes from the ground staff and early morning golfers Martin explained a bit of the company background. ” We started up in Mallorca 4 years ago and still have a base there but from Tenerife we cover the Canary Islands. The weather is nearly always good for us, the balloon is very aerodynamic and holds its position well in the air, it’s only really strong blustery cross winds that affect it.”

You may have already spotted the distinctive balloon around Tenerife on missions as diverse as mapping the coastline from Los Gigantes to Los Cristianos or filming the capital Santa Cruz to give unique still photos and video footage of cruise liners packing the port or rare views of iconic sights such as the auditorium. There is a full gallery on the Vistaire website and they are ready to take on any challenges that float their way.

View this interview with Vistaire on Youtube