(CNN) — By the point I attain the bottom of the mountain, my legs are already starting to present out on me.
Orange-colored mud flies upward then settles once more, revealing Mount Teide, an lively volcano that at three,718 meters (about 12,200 ft) is the tallest peak in Spain. From any angle Teide, which final erupted in 1909 is startling, even the white fog that shrouds its peak can’t disguise its enormity.
A two-hour flight from Madrid has taken me to Tenerife, the island 300 kilometers (186 miles) off the coast of West Africa that sprung from the ocean flooring 10 million years in the past due to a volcanic eruption.
For 3 days, I discover a destination with a panorama extra diversified than its 2,000-square-kilometer space suggests.
Tenerife is the biggest and most populous of the seven Canary Islands, with greater than 5 million vacationer visits annually.
This quantity is due partially to the “one thing for everybody” dynamic the island presents. In lower than an hour, it is doable to journey from a lush, subtropical rainforest to volcanic terrain.
Tenerife’s vibrancy rests in its untouched, pure splendor. The nation’s isolation on the Atlantic Ocean has allowed for an attention-grabbing evolution in biodiversity.
It is residence to 50 endemic species, together with 5 of seven remaining species of turtles on the earth, the Canary Cleopatra butterfly and sure, even an eyeless cockroach.
Conservation is a high precedence on Tenerife; 48 % of its land is protected. And at practically each flip, there may be some pure marvel to marvel over.
The southern a part of the island is residence to between 500 and 600 pilot whales that boats can take guests to observe.
Within the resort city of Los Gigantes, startlingly giant cliffs drop into the ocean.
In mountainous areas guests can stroll above a sea of clouds, a pure phenomenon brought on by commerce winds.
Within the harbor city of Garachico, neat cobbled streets hyperlink palm-lined plazas, and the pure lava rock swimming pools within the bay are stuffed with crashing seawater.
North vs. south
Whereas the arid stretches of southern Tenerife appeal to seaside lovers to its high-rise resorts, cooler temperatures, subtropical forests and tranquil cities characterize the north of the island.
The capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is a northern port city with church buildings which have stood because the 16th century.
In February, the city comes alive for Carnival, with revelers in fancy gown taking to the streets to drink and dance till the early morning.
Lower than a mile away from Santa Cruz, the cobblestone pathways within the city of La Laguna are lined with every part from boutique procuring, museums, to native artwork galleries. It is also residence to among the island’s most historic buildings and solely college, Universidad de La Laguna.
Tenerife additionally affords 70 seashores, so the query turns into not which one to go to, however which sort.
On El Bollullo’s seashores within the north, cascading inexperienced cliffs and bountiful banana plantations result in a sea of black pebbles glowing on even blacker volcanic sand.
For golden seashores and our bodies, the primary city of Adeje on the southern coast is the place to be and be seen.
Whereas simplicity of taste is the hallmark of Canarian delicacies, Tenerife gastronomy celebrates regionally produced components that fuse the very best of conventional and up to date recipes.
In quaint, hillside eating places across the island, many which had been as soon as houses, time-old household recipes carry recollections to life.
One restaurant that completely captures this custom of taste and household is El Calderito de la Abuela, which translated means, “Grandma’s cooking pot.”
Cooks and brothers Fabian and Mario Jr. Nunez have taken their grandmother Gregoria’s recipes and created an environment that retains locals at their tables and recent, conventional Canarian meals on the forefront of their operation.
Their dishes embody fried goat cheese coated with palm honey and mojo, skinny and crisply fried onion rings known as “cebollitas,” and conejo al salmorejo — a young and flavorful rabbit stew.
Sense of scale
Maybe Tenerife’s best marvel, although, is Mount Teide.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Website that skilled adventurous hikers can climb with written permission.
A cable automobile known as “El Teleferico” may whisk guests to the highest in eight minutes. And whereas the volcano dwarfs every part else on the island, from its summit there’s a good larger sense of scale.
Low ranges of sunshine air pollution imply it is an ideal spot for gazing into huge star-filled skies.
Kristin Braswell is a contract author and wanderlust. She’s contributed to Essence, ABC Information, NPR and Ebony, amongst others.