In the 1950s, the Canary Islands were in need of fisherman. And it just so happened that the struggling nation of South Korea was full of fisherman in need of work. So began a very far-flung mass emigration that has left a permanent mark on Tenerife and its cultural makeup.
Tenerife isn't a massive island, so the sheer diversity of landscapes it contains is impressive, from lava-strewn volcanic wastelands, to ancient laurel forests teeming with life. During a drive along the southern coast, we stopped to explore an area that has nothing to do with the fabulous beaches the coastline is otherwise known for: the Badlands (Malpais) of Güímar.
Tenerife is home to plenty of upscale resorts and charming mountain villages, but it also has an outsized share of places that have been abandoned and forgotten to time. We've already written about a few, but decided to spend a second day exploring the failed projects and obsolete constructions of the island.
While exploring our temporary 91-day homes, we're always on the lookout for weird and wonderful collections, whether that's parasites in Tokyo, fancy hats in Savannah, tobacco in Macedonia, or … umm … male genitalia in Iceland. So, when we learned about the private doll and teddy bear collection at ARTlandya, near Icod, we knew we'd be paying a visit.
Also known as La Recova, Nuestra Señora de África is the primary market hall of Santa Cruz. It was constructed in 1944 in a neo-colonial style, and today welcomes both tourists and locals to its interior patios, to buy all the trinkets, veggies, or meat they can carry.
Tenerife's northern coast is defined by the untamed ocean which pounds its shores. The waves are great for surfers and photographers, but if you want to take a dip in the water, you have to wait for a calm day... which doesn't happen too often. For that reason, many towns in the north have created natural pools, fed with water from the Atlantic, but protected from the most violent waves.
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.
The day after visiting Batan, one of the Anaga region's most secluded towns, we drove out to its most well-known. I mean "well-known" in sense relative to the Anaga forest; Taganana is still completely unknown by any other standard. The town lays along the northern coast of Tenerife; difficult to reach, but it's become something of a magnet for surfers, and people looking to get away from it all.
The mountains and forests of Tenerife are full of surprises. You can set out into the hills at random, and feel confident that you'll encounter something unforgettable, whether that's an unmarked trail leading to a glorious viewpoint, or a charming town you'd never heard of. We discovered Batan in this way, having set out in our car, without any itinerary... and it was among our best excursions on Tenerife. First, a quick (and unsolicited) plug for the…
Despite its location on the other end of the island from our house, we found ourselves repeatedly drawn to the Teno mountain range. Today, we plotted out a hike which would take us from the highland village of Teno Alto, through strange, jagged landscapes, down to the coastal road that ends at Tenerife's westernmost lighthouse.