Teide

Tenerife is known for its microclimates and diverse vegetation. Near the center of the island lies the biggest attraction of Tenerife, its volcano Teide, which you can see from almost any point in the island. This in itself, is a day trip or a few days trip if you are really into hiking. The regional parks surrounding Teide vary in a lot in views, vegetation, hiking difficulty, weather, etc. Most viewpoints are only accessible by car since there is only one “guagua” (bus) going to the cable car on Teide.

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Exploring Teide and its surroundings

How to get to Teide:
If you’re planning on making it to the peak of the volcano, you have to reserve a permit allowing you to enter the hiking path towards the peak. You need to reserve this at least 2 months prior to your visit. You can reserve it by clicking here.
If there are no more permits available and you really want to make it to the peak, you can book a tour with a third party, fyi… it’s a bit pricey. Tours to the peak are around €60. A company I recommend and have used before in other countries is Viator.
You can also go near the peak without the permit for €27 EUR roundtrip by taking the Cable Car. The officials instructions on how to get to the cable car by car or bus from either the north or south side of the island are here.  There is only one bus around 9am getting there, and the departing bus around 4pm. Details below.

Getting there by bus from the north side of the island: Bus Line 348  Puerto de  La Cruz – Las Cañadas del Teide (www.titsa.com). Departing: 09:15am from Puerto de la Cruz, with a stop in La Orotava, Montaña Blanca and Teide’s cable car. The return bus leaves from the cable car at 4pm (16:00)

Getting there by bus from the south side of the island: Bus Line 342 Playa de Las Américas – Las Cañadas del Teide (www.titsa.com). Departing at 09:15 am from Las Américas, with a stop at Los Cristianos at 9:30am. The return bus departs from the cable car at 3:30pm (15.30).

Driving up Teide is like entering the Twilight zone. First you see palm trees, then pine trees and the closer you get to the peak, the more dessert vibes you get with so many huge rocks and succulent plants. I was at awe with all the sudden changes and beautiful landscapes. Another way of exploring Teide is by hiking the regional parks. I recommend Anaga Regional Park. There’s different paths you can take with a range in difficulty, length and views. You can inquire about the hiking paths in the Anaga information point. There’s parking for your convenience and an amazing view point from the parking lot. The main road to get there is the TF-12 road from La Laguna, which goes past Las Mercedes; and the TF-12 road from San Andrés, if you are coming from Santa Cruz. You can get there by private vehicle and by public transport.

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Mirador in Anaga Regional Park

There are also some stargazing tours around Teide at night. A local mentioned that it’s so clear, you can even see the Milky Way during the summer. If you decide to wait for darkness and enjoy this majestic night sky with its mesh of stars, I recommend you stay the night. The streets are not light and it’s quite dangerous driving down that windy road in complete darkness with opposite side traffic. A quiet and small, but nice hotel near the the cable car is Parada de Cañadas del Teide. It’s across the highway from some impressive rocky magma rocks with an amazing view. A fellow tourist mentioned how this specific area is popular because it’s the image seen in the old Spaniard bills. More specifically, the 1,000 pesetas bill.

Expect the climate to be cooler in the Regional Parks and near the peak. The higher up you go, the chillier it gets. Bring enough layers, water, snacks and a camera. Wear comfortable and warm clothes, as well as shoes with a good grip since you’ll be walking on gravel, rocks, etc. Cellphone service is spotty up there so I recommend downloading the map in your phone so you know how to get back. However you decide to visit Teide, I hope you enjoy this majestic location at its fullest. When you’re up there breathing the fresh air and gazing upon the stunning views, remember to be leave all other thoughts behind and enjoy the moment. Always be present.

Tenerife, Isla Canaria

It was December in Madrid and I decided to escape the cold winter by visiting my first Spanish island. I’ve heard great things about the weather in Tenerife and how it has micro climates, making it always beach weather. The more research I did, and the more advice I received, the more I realized this trip wouldn’t be as easy as other cities in Europe where I get to know the city, and see all that is worth seeing with a walking tour. There is no metro in the island, only “guaguas” (buses). These are reliable but since they connect long distances, they don’t run as often as city buses in big cities.

The island is divided by the north and south side. They’re so different it almost seems like a different island. Sometimes, I even forgot I was still in Spain, specially in the south, which is overflowing with tourists from England, Ireland and Russia.

Near the center of the island lies the biggest attraction of Tenerife, its volcano Teide, which you can see from almost any point in the island. This in itself, is a day trip or a few days trip if you are into hiking. Check out my blog post on Teide for advice on visiting this volcano.

North Tenerife
The neighborhood of La Laguna is a must when visiting the north side of Tenerife. It’s a short 10min drive from the North Tenerife Airport. You can get a taxi at the airport. It shouldn’t be more than 11. If you land in the southern airport, but prefer to start your trip in the north, here’s how to get from South Tenerife Airport to La Laguna: 
1. Take the 111 guagua (bus) to Santa Cruz. It costs approximately €9.
2. About an hour later, arrive at the bus station in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Take the 015 bus to La Laguna.
3. It’s a 15 minute walk to the Cathedral, a centric point in La Laguna.

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Stunning mural in San Cristóbal de La Laguna

You can quickly walk through the center of La Laguna around Iglesia de Concepción and admire the colorful aesthetic of the buildings and discover the street art decorating different areas of the neighborhood. There are so many restaurants and cafés in the area that your only concern will be deciding on one. At night, I really recommend El Rincón de TinTinthis is where the locals go enjoy craft beers from all over Europe at an affordable price. Some nights you’ll be blessed with great live music. I was lucky to have heard an amazing blues band.

La Laguna is known for its great hiking paths and because of it’s proximity to the beach of Las Teresitas within a 20 minute drive of the center of La Laguna. A beautiful contrast of mountains and beach which reminded me of California because of the succulent plants growing next to palm trees. I also recommend driving or hiking up to the view point, El Mirador Las Teresitas. Beautiful views, especially during sunset. It reminded of the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

 

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El Mirador de Las Teresitas

Another short drive from La Laguna or Santa Cruz is Puerto de la Cruz; a stunning beach, popular by it’s black sand and lively boardwalk. This area is a bit more touristy. The restaurants and bars had an older crowd. Still, the exfoliating black sand was impressive, but I’m sure it gets really warm by absorbing all the sun rays in the summer.

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Sand art in Puerto de la Cruz


Garachico
is a small but pretty town known for its natural rocky pools, which were created by lava from the volcano. Worth visiting if you have the time. 
La Caleta, is another rocky beach worth checking out, but not somewhere where you could lay down in the sand since there’s an abundance of rocks.

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Jardin Victoria in La Orotava

La Orotava, is one of the cutest Spanish towns I’ve seen. You can do a DIY walking tour in about 2 hours. We started the day by parking near the houses then walking to the tourism office. There, we were provided a map with many landmarks that were walking distance from each other. Among them the Jardin Victoria, the museum Casa de los Balcones, and you have some amazing ocean views from Molino de Gofio. From La Orotava we drove up to Santa Ursula, less than 15mins away. We were hunting for the famous “guachinches”.

The Food
Eating at a Guachinche is the most local thing you can do in Tenerife. These are small restaurants in people’s houses. They have a set menu based on what they fished that morning and they’re located near the town of La Orotava, in San Ursula. There were also a few in La Orotava. I recommend a car for this trek since it’s high up in the mountain. There are many Guachinches in the area, the best way to decide on one is to ask a local. We heard several recommendations but opted for the only one opened on January 2nd.

Seafood is popular in Tenerife for obvious reasons. You can order a grilled-mediterranean style fish, or bathed in sauce. Rabbit seemed to also be a common dish in the north. The most iconic side dish is “papas arrugadas”, these are boiled potatoes with “mojo”. Mojo is a very delicious sauce that goes amazing with many things, especially seafood. There’s the green one, which is cilantro, garlic, oil and other spices. The red one tends to be spicier. Every restaurant seemed to have their own mojo recipe, encouraging us to try all of them. I apologize for not having any food pics, but my mind was focused on only one thing whenever food arrived. You gotta trust on this one, everything was delicious.

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Twilight in Costa Adeje, South Tenerife

South Tenerife
Costa Adeje is a popular destination in south Tenerife because of its abundance in beaches, as well as shops, restaurants and bars. Definitely a very touristy area. Never had I seen so many Irish people gathered together in the same place. Not even in Dublin! where I found a more international crowd. My friends and I walked into “Temple Bar” in Tenerife and we were the only two black haired people in that pub. We had a great time but we didn’t get to meet any locals in this area. Expect the same all over Avenida de las Americas, a popular strip that despite the tourist prices, it wasn’t as expensive as other main cities in Spain. You can find many British pubs and if you’re looking to dance the night away, there are many clubs in the area, among the most popular ones are Papagayo Beach Club,  TIBU, and Envy.

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Los Gigantes

Los Cristianos is another lovely beach frequented by tourists. It’s walking distance from Costa Adeje and Playas de las Americas.  If you have a car or the time to take a “guagua” to Los Gigantes I truly recommend it. The trip was easy and cost roughly 4 and took about 30-40 minutes one way. We took one big green bus from Playa de las Americas to the Los Gigantes bus stop. The cliffs, aka “Los Gigantes”, are huge and beautiful. I suggest walking up to the viewpoint, El Mirador Archipenque. You can also hike around the cliffs, but a tour guide is recommended if you’re not an experienced hiker. This whole neighborhood has many family-owned restaurants with authentic and delicious “mojo” recipes. We met the owner of El Pescador, an authentic Canarian restaurant with ocean views. He spoke about how he’s related to every staff member in the restaurant and how he’s daughter is teaching Chinese in the U.S. Quite an interesting experience. He definitely made us feel like another member of the family.

La Gomera is the closest island to Tenerife and can be visited in a day. You can easily see it from Los Cristianos beach in the south of Tenerife. The ferry departs from Los Cristianos port and arrives, an hour later in La Gomera. 2 companies connect both islands: Fred Olsen and Armas Naviera.

TL,DR… Tenerife is amazing! Even if the flight is expensive, the island is not. The weather is great, even if the north was a bit chilly. Don’t be discouraged from learning that you either need a car or patience for the Guagua (bus). There’s something for everyone in this island, so I hope you you’re able to visit and enjoy every moment just like I did.