Playa de las Americas is a wonderful place to be based, not only for the fun and sun of the south, but also for an adventure to explore Tenerife’s undiscovered gems. It’s only an hour to drive to north Tenerife from Las Americas and when you have had your fill of sun and sangria, a trip to this less travelled part of the island to experience an entirely awesome different dimension.
Icod de los Vinos
Many are drawn to Icod de los Vinos to view its 3,000 year old ‘dragon’ tree, but this charming town is also home to a unique atmosphere of the older part of north Tenerife, with bandstands, a baroque church and shady squares. Along from here is Puerto de la Cruz, the first ever tourist spot, beloved by the Victorians.
Inland a little the sister town of La Orotava is just as pretty with its pebbled lanes and old Cuban style mansions. The road curves steeply up into the mountains to San Cristobal de la Laguna. The link from here, the last stop before the Americas, is hinted at in the way the streets are laid out in grids, a model that would later be copied in all the new American towns and cities.
La Laguna is a lively place, full of students from the town’s university, which creates a unique kind of nightlife, a bit more alternative than you’ll find elsewhere in Tenerife. La Laguna also has a fantastic market to buy fresh fruit and local cheese and honey.
And if you thought the uphill road to La Laguna was ear-popping, the El Bailadero mountain road is even more so. Climb through the laurel forests to the fishing port of Taganana. This village is so off the map that it only got electricity in 2004. Here, the rollers crash into the rocks, having crossed the entire Atlantic, and there are several good cafes to eat the fresh local fish that has just been caught here.
Garachico is another must-see spot on this bit of coast. It used to be a port, the main site for exports of Canary wine, but that was all destroyed by a volcano, and then ravaged by a cholera epidemic.
Now, it is a sleepy little place, and picture postcard pretty. As well as a castle and cobbled streets reminiscent of a Greek island, it has natural sea pools formed by solidified lava from a volcanic eruption at Mount Teide many years ago at El Caleton. Here, you can climb down on ladders, for a bracing and exhilarating dip.
Garachico is an acclaimed centre for authentic Tenerife lace, but do be cautious if it seems too cheap. The genuine hand-made lace does not come at bargain prices. If it does, it is probably made in China and imported.
Enjoy a Unique Excursion to North Tenerife!
After a jaunt into the misty mountains and snaky roads you will probably feel ready to head back to Las Americas and some beachside pleasures, but you can congratulate yourselves on having taken the time to see and enjoy a more ancient side of Tenerife and appreciate its traditions.