The Canary Islands are part of Spain yet they are about 850 miles away whereas it is only 180 miles to Africa. Even though Tenerife is the largest of the islands, the distance from the northern to southern most towns is about 80 miles. Our tour guide said the cost of living is less in Tenerife than in Spain because it is a duty free zone and they don’t have the 20% VAT tax.
Our tour departed from the dock in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and took us to several places in the northern part of the island. In just that small area the temperature kept changing constantly. On and off went everyone’s jackets and sweaters regularly. At one point we drove through a tropical forest and all the windows of the bus fogged up. It only rains about 20 days in the year but the elevation of the tropical forest is so high that it is in the clouds much of the time. The guide said the southern part of the island is warm and sunny even in the winter and that is where the resorts are.
The bus (called Wa-Wa in Tenerife) took us up 4000 feet in elevation on such a narrow, curvy road that often times when a car came from the opposite direction, someone had to back up in order to get past.
There were no flat areas anywhere. The mountains are all straight up and very jagged. In fact, the highest mountain in Spain, Mt. Teide at 12,198 feet is on Tenerife. First we drove to a beach and got out and walked around a bit. Then we drove over the mountains to the village of Taganana on the opposite coast from Santa Cruz.
There, we went into a restaurant and had some local wine, cheese, bread, and olives.
We walked around in the village and also went into an old church.
With it’s sugar-cube houses on the green slopes, Taganana is very remote and one of Tenerife’s oldest villages.
Mostly potatoes are grown on the terraced plots.
We stopped at another beach that was very rocky and wild looking. This was a walkout along a rock.
Next, we drove to La Laguna, a city that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the ancient capitol of Tenerife. All the houses are painted in vibrant colors and the city is very clean.
Approaching the outskirts of La Laguna, you can see how colorful it is.
Our guide took us to a nice hotel on the town square where we could buy a cup of coffee that Tenerife is famous for. I can’t remember the name, but it consisted of espresso with a liqueur, condensed milk and lemon. Delicious!
This is a house for the local ducks.
Driving back to the ship in Santa Cruz.
View from the port looking towards the city. See the thick clouds over the mountains? Those are the Anaga mountains that we crossed. crossed.