Located in the center of Tenerife and dominating the horizon, the Teide volcano is an overwhelming physical presence on the island. For our final excursion, we decided to put ourselves once more in its shadow, by hiking along the Montaña Blanca. We couldn’t say goodbye to Tenerife without tipping our hat to the Teide.
In the Cañadas, there are 41 named routes, of varying lengths and difficulties, and I can imagine that all of them are worthwhile
Situated at 2390 meters above sea level, on the Teide Volcano, the Izaña Observatory (also known as the Teide Observatory) has been in operation since 1964. We took a tour of the premises, which introduced us to the history of the compound and its telescopes, and offered us a chance to stare at ... well, not at the stars, but straight into the sun.
It's fair to say that we were fairly underwhelmed upon pulling into the parking lot, and casting our first glance upon the Juan Évora Ethnographic Museum in the Teide National Park. This had to be one of the smallest museums we had ever seen -- a stone shack with two rooms in the middle of a wasteland. But the price was right (free) so we decided to check it out.
On our first visit to the volcanic region known as Arenas Negras, we had done a loop around the Montaña Negra. This "Black Mountain" last exploded three hundred years ago, utterly destroying the seaside village of Garachico. We were so impressed by the otherworldly area, that we promised ourselves to return for a second hike… and it was a promise we kept.
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.