Tenerife, the largest of the Spanish Canary Islands (an island chain about 300 kilometers off the coast of Morocco) is extremely popular with tourists, thanks to its balmy weather and friendly residents. What most tourists may not realize is the many wonderful opportunities that this island offers to those interested in ecotourism.
Bioclimatic Village Tenerife
Initially planned as a fully functioning vacation spot for eco-travelers with 100+ villas, this lofty idea was finally downgraded to 25 buildings that house the scientists that run the wind turbine farms just north of the village (which are also part of the project), and is itself an ongoing scientific project. These houses were designed by architects from around the world. Conceived as a contest, the rules stipulated the designs had to both blend naturally into the surrounding terrain and to be constructed using both recycled and recyclable materials. In addition, they needed to get the most out of any available solar or wind generated energy. As a result, the houses look vastly different than what you would find in most villages. Another requirement was the need to be almost completely energy efficient. Since the village is part of the study, which also includes the wind turbines and a huge solar panel farm, each domicile includes many sensors designed to record humidity, temperatures and air pressures both inside and out. This allows the project to constantly make improvements to become even more energy efficient. There is a Visitor’s Centre (which has also been designed to be bio-climatic). It includes a scale-model of the entire project, as well as exhibits and demonstrations on how to make your own living spaces more efficient. A walkway outside allows you to get a closer view of the buildings. One can wander on the walkway and in the center by oneself, but to view any of the other buildings; you have to have a guide, which can be arranged in advance.
Path of Senses
This short hiking trail, located in Anaga Rural Park near La Laguna and Santa Cruz, follows the old route between the city of La Laguna and Anaga village. A portion of the road was restored to a limited mobility trail to allow all visitors to experience the many diverse features of this forest. The Cruz del Carmen Visitor’s Centre has guided booklets that will walk you through each of the three short trails, with future plans to include a store that will sell more guides, as well as any needed equipment or food.
Teide National Park
Another wonderful hiking spot is Mount Teide. Towering at just over 3,700 metres, this is the third highest volcano in the world, and is the highest point in all of Spain. The easiest way to get near the top is via the mountain’s cable car system, though the mountain itself can be hiked with a guide, which takes about 6 hours. To reach the mouth of the volcano, you are required to get a free permit ahead of time from the Orotava office, and the view from the summit is well worth this extra step. Both the hike from the base and the hike to the summit mouth require participants who are in good physical shape, as portions are quite strenuous.
Tenerife, being an island, is naturally conducive to activities related to the sea. These include sailing, scuba diving and snorkeling, whale and dolphin watching (southwest portion) and surfing (northeast). There are many operators on the island that would be able to accommodate any or all of these water activities for you. Find amazing cheap holiday deals to Tenerife with Direct Holidays.