Our first trip to Tenerife was nothing short of amazing. After 18 months of COVID lockdowns, we were willing to take any extra tests, wear masks on a 4-hour flight, and sign anything they’d hand us to get some to a warm, sunny beach. In the end, the hassles were mostly just up front in figuring out what all we needed. On the trip itself, there was very little inconvenience.
There was also the small matter of an active volcano going off on the island next door. That certainly made the weeks leading up to the trip exciting… will the volcano on Tenerife (which is much bigger) get triggered by the one on La Palma? will the noxious fumes from the lava hitting the ocean trigger our asthma? or worse?
It turns out, being 100 miles away made the whole thing a non-event. I captured this image from the plane on our descent, but that’s all we saw or heard from Cumbre Vieja.
The island is pretty much a big volcanic rock that’s rimmed with resorts. The south end has all the glitz of Vegas with white sand beaches, and the north end has some greenery and steep hill walks, but rocky beaches.
We chose something in-between: the west coast town of Los Gigantes. It’s set beside some massive cliffs that mark the beginning of the mountainous north side of the island, but a quick 30 min drive from the hustle of the busy beaches. This panorama was taken from our hotel balcony at the top of the town.
One of our first days, we took a harbor cruise. It took us out to see some dolphins and pilot whales, back to a cove for lunch and a swim, then back along the cliffs. Here’s some photos from that…
And a video… which also has some bits from another adventure you’ll read about next.
The big photo opportunity for me wasn’t so much the beaches or sunsets, but Masca village. I’d read this was like being in the Andes, but in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Mabel wasn’t interested in the 30 min drive on one of the steepest, wind-iest roads you’ve ever seen, so I went solo. The drive was pretty freaky, but manageable. I’m very glad that I went at first light so I could capture some of the clouds and fog that quickly burned off after just 2 hours there.
Here’s the panorama taken when I got the ridge before dropping down into the village, which is below the clouds you see here.
And here’s my favorite pics from wandering the village, which was pretty magical. You’re surrounded by peaks, but can see the ocean peeking out through a valley to the west.
We tried to take in a bit of the local culture, but mostly were fascinated by the banana plantations that were on all the hillsides (we’d never seen one). Our favorite meal by far was the local Canarian steakhouse. A giant slab of excellent, raw meat that you cooked on a hot stone next to the table to your desired doneness, while the sun sets next to you. I’d drive up from the south beaches just for this place next time we come.
On our last full day, we went to see the north coast for a change of scenery. Very steep roads, but it was great to see greenery and some different beaches. There’s also a tree that’s purportedly 1000 years old. I figured it was worth a few photos.
We loved it so much that we quickly booked a return to trip to Fuerteventura (another island) for 4 months later. Oh, and those sunsets? We’ll close with a selection, all taken from our balcony…
Yeah, we’ll be back.
Thanks for the wonderful memories! We visited both Teneriffe and La Palma 3 years ago and really loved the Canary Islands. That road to Masca is quite something – especially when you come across a tour bus (or 2 or 3)! Glad to hear you and your family are doing well. Stay safe!