The hikes we map out for ourselves usually tend to be circular. Round trips involve less hassle, and there's something satisfying about arriving back to where you started; it makes the day feel complete. But we couldn't resist the one-way hike between Anaga's Cruz del Carmen and Punta del Hidalgo, ten kilometers away, on the northern coast. The fact that it's almost entirely downhill might have helped.
The vast majority of visitors to Tenerife come for the sun and the sand; this is a tropical destination known primarily for its beaches. But during our first month on the island, we didn't visit a single beach, concentrating instead on the forests and mountains. Today, though we decided to check out the Playa de las Teresitas, in the town of San Andrés just up the coast from Santa Cruz.
Throughout the age of industrialization, the Canary Islands experienced massive immigration to the New World. Later, the current of people began flowing in the other direction. People from across Latin America settled down in the Canaries, including a large number of Venezuelans... and you know they weren't going to leave their arepas behind.
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.
What the Anaga mountain range is to eastern Tenerife, so is the Teno to the west. This natural reserve occupies the entire northwestern corner of the island, and although it's less forested than the Anaga, it's just as breathtaking. We spent a day hiking around its valleys and peaks.
Jürgen and I are very much "plan-ahead" guys. When we leave the house, we know exactly what we're going to do; otherwise, we'd never be able to cram so much into 91 short days. But we also leave ourselves open to surprises… such as our visit to the House-Museum of Cayetano Gómez Felipe in La Laguna. And these spontaneous experiences often turn out to be among our favorites. Our plan was to visit the church of La…
On the street of Nava y Grimón, you'll find not one, but two historic convents, both of which are still active. For centuries, the nuns of Santa Catalina de Siena have maintained a bitter, violent rivalry with those of Santa Clara de Asis.
On the second half of a long hike that began with an ascent up the Barranco de Ruiz, we passed through the charming village of San Juan de la Rambla, before continuing along the coastline back to our car. Along the way, we stopped for lunch at an amazing local spot.
Although they're long gone, assimilated completely into the genetic lineage of their Spanish conquerers, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands have a strong presence in Canarian culture. Before submitting to the Europeans, the Guanches lived on the islands for around two thousand years, and have left a large footprint.
We had enjoyed our initial hours of exploring Candelaria, but we really fell for the town during the second half of our day. After a coffee in the immense Plaza Patrona de Canarias, we walked up into the town's elevated historic quarter, saw some artisans craft clay pots, and discovered what might be our favorite restaurant on Tenerife.
We weren't expecting much from Candelaria, whose main claim to fame is a large Basilica. But the day we spent here was really nice. We learned about the Guanche kings, checked out an ancient cave chapel, and visited the incredible Basilica… and that was just within the first couple hours.
La Montaña Negra erupted, and as the lava flowed downhill to the ocean, the town was almost completely destroyed. And right now, you might be thinking, Mike and Jürgen should know better than to hike around a volcano with such an ominous name… but we did anyway. Would we survive?! Find out the thrilling conclusion later in this post!