The natural symbol of Tenerife is its unmistakable Dragon Tree… or "Drago", if you're Spanish… or "Dracaena draco", if you're some kind of horticulture geek. These trees are native to the Canary Islands, and known for the red "dragon's blood" they ooze when cut. The largest example of their species can be found in Icod de los Vinos, though they're easily spotted just about everywhere on the island.
Garachico is trapped between a mountain and the Atlantic, but makes the most of its a narrow slice of land. We parked near the old harbor, where a set of natural pools welcome visitors in the summer, and went directly to the tourist office.
I don't think it's unfair to point out that the general populace of Tenerife is a little more… solidly built than on the Spanish mainland. And now that we're getting familiar with the cuisine here, we understand why. Theirs is nourishing food, served in construction-worker portions. And if you're not out in the fields all day, or regularly exercising, all that protein has just one place to go.
Is there any group of people more neglected in the touristic sphere than palm tree fanatics? I mean, we all know a few, right? These "palm nuts" who just can't get enough of their favorite tree, and travel the world on "palm-spotting" adventures? Actually, I'm not sure this is an obsession which anyone has, but if so… they'll find their Disney World in the Palmetum, a botanic garden dedicated entirely to the world of palm trees.
Lucha Canaria is a unique sporting event, practiced only on the Canary Islands, so we decided to check it out.
Despite the fact that it's just ten minutes by car from our house in Las Mercedes, it took us nearly a month to finally visit Tegueste, one of the principal towns in the northeast quadrant of Tenerife. But I don't think it will take so long for us to return -- this is among the most charming and pleasant villages we've seen so far on the island.
Located in the extreme northeast of Tenerife, the small town of Punta de Hidalgo looks out over the Atlantic, and is curiously popular with both locals and tourists.
Our initial driving tour of the Teide region ended at the Parador Nacional de las Cañadas, situated in front of one of the island's most impressive natural sights: the Roques de Garcia. Before calling it a day, we found the energy to complete a quick, 90-minute hike around the rocks.
We emerged from the forest of las Lagunetas into the vast caldera known as las Cañadas, and our automotive tour went from "gorgeous" to "stunning". This was a landscape unlike any we'd seen before, and we took our time making our way through it.
The Teide National Park consumes an impressive percentage of central Tenerife. This is an unforgiving territory, with rough volcanic landscapes, and few towns or services, so we were surprised to find it bisected with such fine roads. Our first car tour of the park would be along the TF-24, which approaches through the forest of Las Lagunetas.
One month after arriving in a new place, with a third of our journey under our belts and two thirds left to look forward to, we like to take stock of our initial impressions. Overall, Tenerife had been exceeding our expectations, and we were very pleased with our decision to come here. Here are some highlights from one month on La Gomera and Tenerife!
Thus far, our adventures in Tenerife had largely focused on historic towns, local restaurants, and hikes through unpopulated areas of the highlands. But there's another whole side to the island; the side to which a huge majority of foreign visitors restrict themselves. Today, we got our first taste of that other side, with a visit to Puerto de la Cruz. And we didn't like it.