One of the more well-known hikes on Tenerife leads from the village of Vilaflor to the so-called "Paisaje Lunar", or "Lunar Landscape". Sounds amazing, but this turned out to be the least compelling hike we had during our time on the island.
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.
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.