Last February, the three of us jumped on a plane from Santander to Tenerife to experience our first family overseas trip. It was exciting for us because we had never ever been to the Canary Islands before and we weren’t sure how our 11 month old son, Elliott, was going to react to this kind of trip, so this made it all even more exciting.
Our main interests in the island were to visit the northern part of Tenerife and El Teide. Although there are a lot of tourists, our intention was to avoid the crowded areas of Tenerife, travel off the beaten track and go into the most wild parts of the island.
Our trips are normally in search of surf breaks and spots, but this time it was going to be a bit different, we had to adapt our interests to our son's needs and we wanted to see as much of the island as possible. We soon found out that Elliott was pleased to be out and about exploring with us.
We were staying at a friend’s studio near La Playa El Médano, in the southern part of the island. We were amazed with the number of windsurfers and kite surfers in the water and surrounding areas; we kept seeing people flying and jumping around all over the place, getting all tangled up with their kites. We were also impressed by the scenery. The surroundings were very much like a desert, the most “moon” looking part of the island, it was just different.
We rented out a small car and headed to the north of the island towards the valley of Anaga. The weather in the north is completely different. Temperatures dropped more that 15 degrees in a matter of 30km and the scenery was breathtaking, it blew our minds. It really reminded us of our trip to Kauai and Oahu (Hawaii) a few years back. We felt like we were in a special place again that brought back lovely memories. We couldn't help but compare the two — Hawaii vs Tenerife.
We entered the laurisilva forests, the oldest forests in Europe, and you could observe the antique water canalisations and feel how dense the humidity was. We weren't sure if the roads were going to be too dodgy for Elliott, with sharp bends and bumpy tracks but he was just fine. He would either be sleeping or looking out the window, he never got sick. We were so lucky.
We reached the town of Taganana and we had lunch in a guachinche, typical Canary restaurant where they served local food (normally ¨papas arrugás¨ with mojo picón, local fish, plátanos canarios) served with a self produced wine. Another special place that we loved was the Puertito de Armeñime. A cute port by a small beach with white fishermen's houses and a few old wooden boats settled in a beautiful landscape.
We were a bit disappointed with the Acantilado de los Gigantes, it was surrounded by many buildings and huge satellite dishes. We then tried to picture the beauty of it without all the man-made buildings and how amazing it must have been back in the old days. Here we compared it with Hawaii in the sense that Oahu, for example, seems a lot more protected. Apart from Waikiki many parts of which still have a lot of charm, the rest of Hawaii is pretty intact. Some parts of the island can just be accessible by boat or on foot. Villages such as Haleiwa on the north shore of Oahu or Waimea and Hanalei in Kauaí are untouched and still very authentic.
Valle de Teno, on the northwest part of Tenerife, was another place that we were anxious to visit, and despite the sharp bends again, and the rainy weather, the trip was worthwhile. We were blown away with the surroundings and the landscape. The town called Masca, known as the Machu Picchu canario, because it looks like a tiny version of the Peruvian town, was overwhelming. A small village settled on the top of a steep cliff. The views from the road that makes it all the way there are also amazing, if you are lucky and it’s not cloudy it must be even more breathtaking.
If you continue towards the coast, on the north west part of the island, you will reach Punta de Teno. The road ends at a large area headed by a lighthouse. A place full of volcanic rock and colourful flora. On that day the sky blended with the sea and all you could hear was the sound of the ocean and the wind blowing intensively.
After a few days postponing our trip to El Teide, due to the bad weather on the very top, we finally made it. Although a bit disappointed because we weren’t allowed to get to the top with Elliott because of his young age. In the end we were glad because then we avoided all the mass of people that were going up on the cable car and instead we were hiking along different tracks in the park where we just bumped into a few climbers and mountaineers which meant that most of the time we were on our own.
We didn´t expect such a rich lansdcape, the different types of rock, colours, shapes, the solid lava, the unique flora, reptiles, etc. It all made it a special place to remember. Again we couldn’t help comparing it with another part of Kauai, the Waimea Canyon, both have such a big topographical and climatological contrast with the rest of the island, that make them so remarkable and unique.
We think we are very privileged to have such an amazing island, so accessible to us and we are looking forward to visiting the rest of the Canary Islands some time in the future.