The Anaga mountain range is big. We knew that, but didn't realize quite how big, until we drove out to the very last village on the road, Chamorga. Even though our house is directly at the front door of Anaga, it took us well over an hour to complete the drive -- about the same time it takes to drive to the other end of Tenerife!
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.
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.
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.
Both the valley and the city of La Orotava are blessed with the ability to grow apparently anything. Walking through town, we marveled at the variety of plants, flowers and trees sprouting from every garden, yard, or crack in the ground. But two parks adjacent to one another bear special mention: the Jardines del Marquesado de la Quinta Roja, and the Hijuela del Botánico.
This is the most historic and culturally significant of any city on Tenerife, and its casco antiguo, or old town, is replete in majestic palaces.
Generally, any whale-watching trip comes with a massive disclaimer: there's no guarantee that you're going to see whales. But the guys from Third Element were either recklessly confident, or the sightings between La Gomera and Tenerife are just that dependable, because they said we'd "definitely" spot some pilot whales, along with bottlenose dolphins.
A time-worn path brought us from the village of Afur, along the coastline to Taganana, and then back to Afur through the forests and hills of the Anaga natural reserve. With perfect weather, a well-marked trail, glorious coastal views, an evocative forest, the surprise kindness of strangers, and just the right amount of challenge, it was one of the best hikes we've ever done.
The history of Tenerife is tied closely to that of the entire Canary Islands. This is the largest of the seven islands in the archipelago, and has assumed the cultural and political lead throughout the years. Let's take a quick look at the most important events in Tenerife's history.
Jürgen and I are definitive city guys. We met in Boston and lived for years in Berlin, before moving to Valencia. We ride bikes, use public transport, and don't even own a car. But for whatever reason, we wanted our stay in Tenerife to be more rural, so chose a house in a small village. Las Mercedes: are you ready to entertain us?
The historic capital of the Canary Islands, San Cristóbal de La Laguna (more commonly shortened to La Laguna) is still considered to be the archipelago's cultural heart. We'd be spending a lot of time here during our 91 days on Tenerife, since our home village of Las Mercedes is just up the road, about five minutes by car.