PHOTO: Mount Teide, Tenerife (Photo courtesy Tenerife Tourism)
Spain’s Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It has San Diego-like temperatures and everything a visitor would want in a relaxing vacation from uncrowded beaches and great hotels to fabulous dining and Spanish culture. But of the 5 million visitors that head to Tenerife each year, just a small portion are Americans.
That is changing however, as U.S. travelers are discovering Tenerife’s secrets — such as lush mountains, vast hiking trails, 43 protected nature areas and more.
It’s also home to outstanding year-round whale and dolphin watching since there is no annual migration from the waters that surround the island. There are as many as 26 species off of the west coast of Tenerife that include baleen whales, killer whales, dolphins, pilot whales and even blue whales.
The island has incredible geological diversity as well and is the perfect option for adventure travelers looking for biking, hiking, running, golf, tennis and more. If you are looking for somewhere that isn’t a “been-there, done’that” destination, here are five unexpected adventures that you can have on the island.
READ MORE: Travel Guide: Costa Brava, Spain
Surfing and Sailing
Sail onboard the SeaQuest FF as you hit up the islands on a surfing adventure. The journey can be customized to fit each participants level and familiarity with surfing and can accommodate trips for a day or a week. There is capacity for six guests and a captain in four cabins with enough space for surfboards.
Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Natural Coves
For those who have fallen in love with the stand-up paddleboarding trend (or want to) SeaQuest FF also has a SUP experience. They organize trips that combine the beauty of Tenerife’s stunning coves with SUP instruction, wildlife viewing and more.
Trekking to the Lunar Landscape
Visitors to Tenerife will love the diversity of the island’s landscape and there’s no better way to experience it than trekking through the hidden pine-covered Canarian forest to the Corona Forestal.
The only way to get their is a 13-kilometer walk that starts from the village of Vilaflor, along a stony path that dates back centuries. Upon arrival, visitors are rewarded with a an otherworldly landscape of conical shapes, chiseled slopes and layers of volcanic ash and stunning views down to the water and out over the Atlantic.
Admire the Stars from Nature’s Balcony
Admire the stars at Teide National Park in Las Cañadas. a natural platform for stargazers. Standing almost 8,000 feet, visitors can take advantage of clear moonless nights at any time of the year to spot constellations, the Milky Way and more. In August, take advantage of the Perseids meteor showers.
Dive Into Natural Pools
The Canary Islands are known for their natural pools forming along the coastline and creating deep, natural swimming holes for visitors to dive into, making a dip in the Atlantic a special experience and rendering your hotel pool nearly useless. Apart from the addition of steps and walkways to diving points, the pools exist naturally in their seaside environments and are a must when experiencing the islands.