Four days in Tenerife, Canary Islands
Just got back from Tenerife, which exceeded my expectations for an exotic getaway destination! It had a perfect combination of beaches, mountains, food, and fun. It’s set up for tourism, but still offers a good dose of adventure. We took a direct flight from Brussels (Brussels Airways — Black Friday special for 100 EUR pp) and rented a car (which I definitely recommend) through Hertz (BMW for three days was $100). Some roads were super tight as you wind through the mountains — but that adds to the fun! We stayed in the north end of the island– Puerto de la Cruz– which was a great little town and a good base for day trips!
After arriving, we went to northern Tenerife, where we took a tense drive through a narrow path to get to the gorgeous, black sand Bollullo beach – it was totally worth it! There’s only one place to park– and a guy is waiting to take 3 Euro from you for a full-day’s worth of parking. Bollullo only had a few people milling around, and was completely empty by the time we left… save one couple getting professional wedding photos done there. This beach is a hidden gem– if you can stomach the drive in!
We wanted to go to nearby Patos beach, but the path down to it eroded and the trail was blocked off. It’s at least a 75-foot drop if you slip– so we played it safe and stayed at Bollullo!
Early Sunday morning we wandered around the capital, Santa Cruz, and went to the Africa market. On Sundays, vendors set up stalls around the market, but there wasn’t too much of interest for sale. Afterwards, we stopped in San Cristobal — a great historic town– for a lunch of fried Octopus and some Starbucks before heading to Anaga National Park. Anaga is filled with thick forests of thick, exotic plant life and moss-covered walls. The roads are super narrow (ie– like the one pictured here) and often windy, requiring the occasional love-tap on the horn as your come around the corner. The road into Anaga was jammed with cars and busloads of tourists, but it got less crowded as you get deeper into the forest. (Ie– we were going to hike the “Path of Senses”, which is the main draw for the park, but it was so overcrowded with visitors that we decided to press on. We went to Las Vueltas, where we found some great hiking trails that we had all to ourselves. From there, we took a gorgeous / windy TF-12 highway down the Playa Las Teresitas beach, which I totally recommend — it’s gorgeous and has a dramatic mountainous backdrop. We finished the day for some awesome squid ink seafood paella before heading back to the hotel.
We started the day driving to the village of Masca, which was stunning, but by 11:00 a.m. it was already getting crowded with tourists and parking was in short supply on the already crazy-narrow roads. We found a spot about one km up the road from Masca and trekked back. We ate lunch at Restaurant el Guanche — which I totally recommend. Great local food (and you can get half portions / tapas style to try more variety). We also got to sit on patio with this view!
Afterwards, we went on to Teide national park, passing through a gorgeous pine forest with volcanic rock, until we reached a desert-like landscape that reminded me a bit of Utah. We took a cable car up the windy mountain and hiked around the base of the crater of the volcano — it was freezing! We hiked around for a while and I tired in vain to make a snowball with the packed ice on top the mountain. We eventually took the last cable car down, before winding our way through the foggy mountain back to our hotel.