After having paid €5 apiece to look at a tree, we were a little wary of dropping the same amount on another “experience” in Icod de los Vinos. But I’m glad we did — the Casa de Plátano was definitely worth the price of entry. And not just for the delicious banana they give you upon entering.
Have you ever heard of “banana suckers”? No, this isn’t a term to describe the tourists who visit the Casa de Plátano. Banana suckers are the fledgling banana trees which grow alongside adult trees, and soon replace them. Also: did you know bananas only produce a single bunch of fruit? And then they die? Oh man, I’m full of Banana Facts now. Did you know Canary Wharf in London is named for the Canary Islands, because of the banana shipments which would arrive there?
I’ll stop now, I don’t want to spoil the joy of learning all about bananas when you visit the Casa de Plátano. Found very close to the Drago Milenario, this is an old plantation with a small, self-contained field that includes various varieties of banana. Today, the only type known worldwide is the “Cavendish” … this is what you think of when you imagine a banana. But there are dozens of other types, many of which are grown and consumed popularly on the Canary Islands. (Banana Fact! Not long ago, the most popular type of banana was the Gros Michel… but it was wiped out almost entirely by Panama disease in the 1950s.)
The Casa del Plátano is not large, but makes the most of its space. Besides the tour around the field, there are a number of rooms with information on the historical cultivation of the plant, and its importance to the economy of Tenerife. At the end, you’re invited to sample banana liquor and wine, and try banana jelly.
The town of Icod de los Vinos didn’t capture our hearts, because it leans too far into the wrong kind of tourism. But the Casa del Plátano exceeded our expectations, and is definitely worth a look. You might be thinking that you don’t need them … but let me tell you, life is so much more wonderful with some Banana Facts squirreled away in your brain. You’ll be the life of the party!